This is a re-post of a previously published article. Because of the many new features that have cropped up on Facebook this year, it seemed like a good time to revisit some best practices for Facebook marketing.
Amy Porterfield is a social media and marketing expert. She got her start in marketing right out of college when she began working for Harley-Davidson Motorcycles managing events and marketing campaigns. Then, she spent six years directing the content and marketing behind renowned Peak Performance Coach and Entrepreneur Tony Robbins. She currently works with the online marketing company Traffic Geyser where she has overseen several huge product launches, and is also a regular contributor at the world’s largest online social media magazine, Social Media Examiner. She helps entrepreneurs across industries establish strategies to help them maximize the power of social media and increase the success of their marketing efforts.
I got to talk to Amy about some common marketing mistakes artists make on Facebook and other social media sites, how to generate online content that keeps a conversation going and how musicians can establish a consistent blogging strategy.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Amy. How did you get into marketing?
I started out at Harley-Davidson in the marketing arena. I did a lot of event and promotional marketing for products and services and events. And from there, I loved what I was doing. But I was young and right out of college, so I wanted more. And I wanted to get into different aspects of marketing.
I became a fan of Tony Robbins. Long story short, I broke up with a boyfriend and couldn’t sleep at night. I saw all his infomercials playing every single night. And I got really hooked. I listened to one of his programs and loved everything about his message and what he was teaching people. I looked into it more, and I eventually ended up working for him. For about six-and-a-half years in the content development and marketing arena. I traveled with him, worked one on one with him and accompanied him to many of his events. Tony has a million ideas. He has a small team of content developers who turn them into products, event outlines or other ways to get out the message to his audience.
That was a whirlwind experience. From there, I moved into more online marketing with all his programs, services and events. That’s when I started to get really excited about online marketing and social media. At the very end of the time I was working with him, he got on Twitter. And he was very reluctant. At the time, Twitter wasn’t a huge venue yet. But a lot of people were saying it was an up-and-coming platform. When he got on Twitter, he quickly got over a million followers. And I thought, “Wow. There’s something here.” I started to dig a little deeper and fell in love with Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and all those great sites that give you massive exposure if you know how to use them right.
Because Tony taught me everything I needed to know about starting my own business, I eventually left and started my own social media consulting firm. And that’s what I do now.
And you’ve also written a book.
Yes. I co-authored the book Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies that just came out a few months ago. It’s basically your bible for all things Facebook marketing related. I say “bible,” because this thing is a big book. It’s over 600 pages of how-to for Facebook marketing. We talk about the strategy and the principles behind Facebook marketing in the beginning. And then we go through step by step how you execute these strategies, how they relate to your business and if they’re a right fit for you. Because the book is so big, I have two co-authors.
I certainly don’t want you to give away the milk without people buying the cow. You’re somebody that helps people with their brand – musician, self help guru, etc. Could you discuss some common mistakes people make with their Facebook and online social media strategies?
There are definitely some mistakes I see consistently across Facebook, Twitter, blogging platforms, all the great tools there are to use. Whether you’re a musician who has been out there for a while or someone who is just starting out, what’s so important is personal branding, especially as it relates to social media.
Social media gives you this huge platform to tell people who you are, what you’re about and really influence people and make them see you the way you want them to see you. You have control over that message when it comes to the social media. The biggest mistake I see is that people are not consistent and they’re not patient. I’ll give you a few mistakes, but I want to first start out with the mindset, and how these strategies really work. It takes time. You’re not going to see huge Facebook success over night. Even with Tony Robbins, it took us a while to really ramp up and have people catch onto his messages. Even for celebrities, it doesn’t necessarily happen overnight.
I think the people that really make a difference and get that exposure are those that network and connect through social media sites on a daily basis – Monday through Friday at least, maybe a little bit on the weekends. I think 10 or 15 minutes a day. But it’s a few posts per day and reaching out one-on-one with people through the different social media sites. That consistency of every single day makes a huge difference. Someone that does an outstanding job of getting exposure by doing it every day sees very different results than someone that does it once a week or every few weeks sees. That second person will die out very quickly. It says a lot about you personally if your personal brand is not consistent on these social sites.
So, the #1 important element is consistency. And then, patience goes along with that. It really does take time. You’re not going to see those big bangs for your buck right away. But if you have patience and trust this is going to work for you, you’ll stay consistent and stay the course. And if you’re aware these are two common mistakes, you can come out ahead of your competition pretty easily just by using patience and consistency as your secret weapons.
If I talk specifically about Facebook, because the book made me live, breathe and eat Facebook marketing, the #1 mistake I see with that is I think a lot of people don’t know how important it is to create a custom landing tab and a custom welcome landing tab for their Facebook page. I’m not a big advocate of lots of bells and whistles. You can use a lot of different apps and tricky, cool things on your Facebook page. But I think this can distract from your message. However, the one “bells and whistles” component is the custom welcome tab. It’s a tab you create that tells a little bit about you – who you are and what you’re about – and it gives a strong call to action that says, “Click the ‘Like’ button above.” If you set it as a default, this is where people land the first time they come to your page if they’re not a fan yet. You get to welcome them through this tab, and when they respond to your call to action, it automatically brings them to your wall, where they can get involved in the conversation. The last thing you want to do is start a conversation with somebody when they’re confused and don’t know what you’re about. And this is what happens when they go to your Facebook page and are immediately thrown onto your wall.
This custom welcome tab is your way of giving a quick introduction to yourself. This is especially great for musicians, who can highlight and point out who they are and what their skill is. You can even make a quick video of two, to three minutes of you doing what you do. Or, you can just use images and say what your skill is and why people should get to know you. Of course, the most important thing is writing the words, “Click the ‘Like’ button above.” And I always advise people to include a red arrow too that points to that “Like” button. Studies have shown that you can get 50% more likes on your Facebook page if you have this custom welcome tab that tells people to click the “Like” button; because, if they don’t click the “Like” button, you’re not going to get out into people’s newsfeeds. They’re never going to see you, because 90% of people don’t come back to your Facebook page after they click that “Like” button. Instead, they’re seeing you on their newsfeeds. And that first step to do that is to get them to click the “Like” button.
A lot of people skip this welcome tab step and say, “That’s not needed. I’ll start engagement and get people really excited about what I do.” But I really think you need that custom welcome tab first.
It’s pretty amazing, because there are a bunch of companies in the music industry that provide custom landing pages, where you can post music, video and tour dates. And many people don’t take advantage of that.
That’s cool. I didn’t realize there were companies in the industry that actually do that. Hopefully more people take advantage of that, because it’s so valuable.
You mentioned that your role for Tony Robbins was not only online marketing but also content creation, which is something I really stress; because if you’re selling a product, there has to be a reason people are going back to your website or looking at you on social media. There has to be a two-way conversation. What does a successful content conversation look like from your vantage point? How can you generate content and make it consistently interesting?
I love that question, because I think everything is all about content. Once you have your Facebook, Twitter and the rest of your foundation set up, your content is the most important thing. What I always say is, when it comes to social media sites, mix up your media. When we’re talking about social media sites – especially with musicians – I think you have a huge advantage because you can use video, audio and the written word interchangeably to attract your ideal audience. Some people – whether they like your music or not – want to listen to your music, where others want to actually see you perform it. All people are different in the sense of how they take in information.
When it comes to content, there are a few tips I have. First, I think you should mix up your media. So, one day, you could post a video – whether it’s of you or of somebody you admire or that your audience would love. Just posting videos and that kind of valuable content is a great way to get people engaged on Facebook. The #2 thing people do on Facebook is click on videos. The #1 thing they do is look at images. People love looking at photos on Facebook. So, if you go to a cool event, you should take videos. Or you can show people a “behind-the-scenes” look of your studio, or where you love to play music or write music the most. Take pictures of those environments. People love to see behind the scenes. You can use video and photos. Also, posting audio is just as valuable as posting other types of media especially with music. Mixing it up is important. And post one new thing per day. One day you can post a video, another you can do a great blog post. And maybe the next day you can post some great mp3 files. How you want to mix it up is up to you.
I also think stories are incredibly important when it comes to content. Talking about why you do what you do, what inspired you to write a certain song, the instruments and how you got started will really engage people. People love stories more than anything. So, if you can infuse stories into what you do as a musician, that is really valuable to marketing and getting the word out about yourself and what you do.
Do you feel it’s appropriate for people to share personal things that aren’t directly related to their business? For example, I coach musicians. But I’ll bitch about the fact that I haven’t had a good day of surfing in New York for a long time on Facebook. Do you advocate leaking personal information from outside one field’s of expertise, or should everything be relevant?
I have a model I follow with that, and I call it the “80/20.” What I do on my personal site and what I coach my clients to do is, 80% of the time on your Facebook page, you should focus on your business, your niche and you market. You can branch out a little bit, but 80% of the time, you should relate your posts to what you do and what people are coming to you for. Then, 20% of the time, completely step out of there. If I went on a family vacation with my husband and son, I might post some pictures of that. Or, my husband just became a firefighter, so I might post some pictures about that next week. You can – 20% of the time – post about things people might like to know about your life. Personal branding is about letting people know you’re human and have a life outside what you do. So, 20% of the time, I think that’s really important. But you have to keep yourself in check and make sure it’s appropriate and that people will care about it. And you’d be surprised at how much people really care about your personal life.
80/20 is fantastic. I’m definitely trying to keep it within those boundaries, because nobody cares about my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and how delicious it was.
In my diagnoses of a lot of musicians’ businesses and digital presence, I find there isn’t a lot of cohesiveness between the different social media pages and the website. Do you advocate any one of these places being the ultimate destination? How do all these different areas destinations work together to create a unified front?
I have a few thoughts on that. The short answer is, I think your website should always be your hub, because you own that. Facebook, although it’s very unlikely, could go away tomorrow. Facebook just made a huge number of changes recently. And maybe some changes that come up might work against your business one day, and you might not want to use Facebook as your hub. You can’t control these other sites. They could technically take away any of them at any time. So, make your website your hub at all times.
However, I do believe there’s a way to pull quality leads to your website, and I think you need social media these days to do that. What I say is, choose social media sites where your audience is truly spending time. That might mean one or two sites, or it might mean four or five. You have to do a little detective work and find out what your audience wants, needs and where they’re spending their time online. Usually Facebook is a safe bet, with over 800 million users, and 50% of those people getting online almost daily. It’s pretty safe to say your audience is on Facebook. And if that is true, you should amek Facebook your network hub. Facebook is where you can get the conversation started. On my website, I post blogs regularly and I interact with people. But I can’t get that same relationship building and interaction on my website as I can on Facebook. People are on Facebook to chat, have fun and interact with me on a different level than they are on my website. I don’t own Facebook, so people don’t feel threatened that I’m going to push things on them or try to sell things. It’s a safe environment.
You can build relationships on a daily basis on Facebook and continually be active about driving traffic to your website, whether you promise freebies or point people to valuable content on your blog. Then you tease them with really great stuff to get them to step outside Facebook and visit you on your regular website. That’s the strategy I use with Facebook and my website specifically.
I’ve been blogging two, to three times per week for several years. And I know musicians have the same issues I do, which is that they have a hard time not making it all about “Me, Me, Me, Me … buy my stuff.” What do you advise people to do when they get writer’s block? It can be really difficult to come up with quality content. How can they generate good content and communicate their enthusiasm about their area of expertise, which in the case of musicians, would be their own music?
I think anybody in any industry definitely can run into writer’s block, or thinking their ideas aren’t important enough or interesting enough to keep writing about. You’ve been blogging for so long that you probably have gotten into a habit, and have gotten really good at it as time goes by. So, some quick tips for that:
First, I keep a Google doc. And every time an idea comes into my head, I jot it down in that Google doc. And I’m always online, on my computer or on my phone, somewhere I can access it. I just keep a running list. At first when I did this, I would just write two or three lines about an idea. And when I came back to it a week later, it meant nothing to me. And I wasn’t really charged or passionate about it. So, I started writing three, four or five lines about my thoughts in that moment. Be a little bit more detailed when you get an idea, so when you come back to it, you’re going to continue to be passionate about it.
Another thing is, I have noticed that I have to make a conscious effort to step outside my niche to get topics to blog about. And this is silly, but I love Real Housewives of New York. It’s completely trashy and has nothing to do with my niche or my market. But there’s always something on that show that will spark my creativity and get me thinking about things in a different way. And somehow I know it fuels me to make really great ideas about blog posts. The same goes for books and magazines I read completely unrelated to my niche. Don’t be afraid to step outside your niche so you can get fresh ideas for things to write about. Innovation comes when you’re able to be a little bit more lenient about your market and see things in a different way.
And the third tip for getting ideas is, look at what other people are doing. I’m a huge advocate of modeling the best. I don’t think you need to reinvent the wheel. I learned this tip from Tony Robbins: Go out and find who is doing it right. Who do you love to follow? Who does your audience love to follow? And what are they doing? How can you take their principles and strategies and model and shape it so it fits your personality and what you love to do? So, if this person writes a really great blog post, you shouldn’t copy it. But, think about how you can take those concepts and shape them into your own ideas. I get a lot of fuel from people in my industry that I respect and trust. Model the best, and don’t reinvent the wheel. That will take the pressure off having to worry about what you blog about on a regular basis.