The Future Tools of Social Media is a series by Prescient Digital that provides insight into emerging online trends shaping the future of the music business. Read the first part of our series here.
The Future of the Feed: Facebook Groups
In the early years of Facebook’s launch, it was a place for college students to connect with other students. Next, it moved beyond requiring a college email address for account registration to letting anyone from your mom to your Aunt Shirley have an account. Then entered businesses and brands.
According to Hootsuite’s 2018 Global Barometer Report, 98% of the businesses marketing to consumers use Facebook. The lines between professional and personal use on Facebook are often blurred, making the platform an effective tool for businesses. However, Facebook recently announced the focus of the feed will be shifted from showing posts from family, friends, and businesses to a more personalized feed showing posts and updates from the groups you’ve joined.
“There are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook. When people find the right one, it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook. And today, more than 400 million people on Facebook belong to a group that they find meaningful,” Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post.
Facebook’s redesign will include a new groups tab placed in the middle of the menu bar, and the feed will now be personalized to receive updates from groups the user joined and recommendations on new groups based on their interest.
So what does this mean for musicians who also use Facebook to market themselves to their existing and prospective fanbase? In this article, we’ll explore how you can use Facebook Groups to quickly grow your fanbase and make more meaningful connections, all while monetizing your efforts.
Authenticity is king
A Facebook Group is “a place to communicate about shared interests with certain people”. The whole purpose is to find a like-minded community, where people can come together for discussion, opinion and sharing content, which is exactly what the Country Club Disco did when it created its Group page, the Country Club Disco Community.
Within the first month, Country Club Disco Community’s page had over 5,300 members, each bringing unique perspectives and content to the page. But the Group’s main objective was to provide useful resources and an open and comfortable community. We did a brief Q&A with Golf Clap to get some more insight on their strategy with the group.
“We are trying to build a community where anybody in our scene can meet like-minded people and network. We want to provide resources to help producers finish their tracks, help DJs get more bookings, help promoters sell more tickets to their shows, help people find photographers in their area, etc,” said Bryan Jones, co-founder of Golf Clap and the Country Club Disco Community. “Also, we aim to provide a judgment-free zone to ask questions about music industry-related issues that previously were hard to have answered. We want people to join the group and meet other people that can help them grow personally and professionally.”
Once you create a group, you can’t just set it and forget it. Maintaining authenticity and personal connections with your members is an important aspect of the group. The moderators of the Country Club Disco Community page spend a lot of time thinking of new ways to give more value to their members. They’ve collaborated with other brands who have offered exclusive discounts to the group and they’re working on setting up live chats with companies who can explain their products and how they can help members. They also offer a mentorship program, where members can sign up to become a mentor or be mentored.
“A lot of people set up groups and just expect people to talk about how great they are in it the whole time. If you’re not actively providing useful content to the members, they aren’t going to care about the group,” said Jones. “Sometimes we’ll ask the group members to buy our song, or follow our page, or do something else for us and they usually do it. The only reason, though, is because we are providing other useful resources for them. Just have to keep that balance and make sure you’re always giving more than you’re asking for.”
Monetizing your efforts
After putting all of this work into your Group, how do you turn that work into money?
The theory of 1,000 True Fans suggests that creating and maintaining a direct relationship with your audience will create True Fans; and if you, as the artist, can make $100 off each True Fan every year, you’ll only need 1,000 fans to make $100,000 every year. This theory takes into account the use of modern marketing channels, such as social media, where the artists keeps 100% of the revenue instead of only receiving a small portion of revenue from a music label, publisher, studio, etc.
And with the rise of Facebook Groups, it’ll be easier than ever to reach your 1,000 True Fans. To compete with sites like YouTube and Patreon, Facebook is developing several new ways for artists to monetize on Facebook:
Fan or Group Subscriptions: Pay a monthly subscription fee to join a group and receive access to exclusive content, such as live videos, expertise, and mentorship.
Digital Tip Jar: Facebook is currently testing a tool called Stars, which would allow users to tip during live streams. It’s currently used to tip during gaming streams.
And keep in mind, Facebook Groups are different than Facebook Pages, which are more like profile pages for public figures, businesses, and organizations. Facebook Groups are more focused on interacting with your audience and empowering the members of your community. Because of this, Facebook Groups reach 60% larger audiences than Facebook Pages.
As the largest and most popular social media platform, utilizing Facebook should be a part of your marketing strategy. Every day, Facebook is thinking of new ways to entice artists to use its platform to reach its 1.4 billion daily users. With Facebook’s redesign and the shift to provide users more personalized content from the communities they’re associated with, it’s easier than ever to market yourself and connect with your fans.