One of the primary online tools for any band or artist is facebook, and even artists who hate facebook usually find it impossible to be successful in today’s world without a facebook account. Sure, facebook’s time-wasters abound, and even if you steer clear of Farmville 2, there are still all those game invites your facebook friends send out seemingly hourly. Facebook also allows you to see the most tasteless, offensive sides of all your facebook friends, through the thousands of meme graphics that show up on your newsfeed every day. But you DO need facebook, and in fact you need two different facebook pages. Lesley Hahn, the hard-working woman behind the immensely useful facebook page Fort Collins Live Music, has been campaigning tirelessly to encourage more musicians to have band pages. we had a brief chat this afternoon about facebook pages- here’s the juicy bits…
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Lesley Hahn (Fort Collins Live Music): There should be a professional page for sharing etc. I can’t get status updates and share their pages with mine if they don’t have one. I don’t see why people would want to use their personal page as a place for their gigs especially as a solo!
ME (Ravenmount): I think most solo artists start out with more friends than fans, so they just get used to posting events as status updates to their friends. Transitioning often means they wind up having to post everything twice, and of course facebook only shows some of your followers some of your posts, so many artists continue posting everything twice, once on their personal and once on their professional page, so more people actually see it. Their professional pages may seem redundant at that point, at least till they have more complete strangers as fans and see the value of keeping their personal lives more separate.
Lesley: I would just not want to have to have strangers friend me to see gigs! If they just make an event on their band page all they have to do is share it with their personal page. And I like the Pin to Top feature on the pages. You can leave the next gig right there and just click share! Plus with a page they can give others access to make gigs and do other stuff on the business page w/o having access to the personal page!
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Facebook, for all its flaws, and it has many, still offers an easy, free platform for advertising your music and yourself to your friends and your fans. If used wisely, facebook may be an amazingly useful tool. On the personal account side, facebook chat and friend lists are among my favorite features. I have used chat (which now stores unread chats as messages to read later) to clarify details about artists’ shows, and even to conduct interviews. Friend lists allow you to group your friends, so that when you have status updates you want to share only with certain categories of friends, you can adjust the privacy on your statuses accordingly.
Professional pages, as Lesley said, have great features that allow you to have other people create gigs check stats, etc. This means if your drummer set up the page and is the primary facebook dude, but all of your band needs to be able to create or modify gig events, you can set up the permissions to allow the rest of the band access to the features they need to use. Professional pages also have stats, so you can see how many people saw your posts, how many new people liked your page, and various other sometimes useful statistics. And, perhaps most importantly, you can keep adding fans (who like your professional page and see your posts from it) without having to ‘friend’ every fan or potential fan you encounter.Your fans won’t have to see your posts about how much you love or hate Obama, or all those cute baby pictures your sisters posted of you.