Hello! Especially to anyone who has arrived here from a link that I posted to this on this blog’s Facebook Page, as this is all about you. Because if you did, it’s because you are among the lucky 17-42% of people who ‘Liked’ my page on there who will have been seemingly permitted to have the post containing this link appear on their timeline. Of course if I want more people to read this or simply be made aware of its existence, there are ways and means to make a few more people to read it, but those ways and means come at a price…
For those bands and artists and associated others who pass by these pages every now and then, you may well have noticed a couple of things on your Facebook Pages. If you currently have more than 400 ‘likes’ for your page (I have 42, go me etc), then
- You’ll see that the number of people reached and the associated percentage of your total readership has probably dropped like a stone; and
- You have a lovely new “Promote” button.
Rather handily, one of these things will alleviate the other. By clicking on the Promote button with every new post you make you can make a small donation to ensure that the gap between the number of people who want to read your words and the number of people who actually get to see them is lessened. A bit, anyway – from what I can see elsewhere, the success of this payment seems a bit arbitrary, and the promotion period seems to be for three days only in which case you’ll presumably have to pay again for the benefit of the tardy few.
Now. Here’s the thing. Anyone using Facebook to promote their band/business/charity/blog/self is currently doing so for the princely sum of sod all, and can continue to do so. This is a massive benefit to anyone currently doing this, because the potential audience is – let’s face it – bloody enormous. So perhaps it’s not completely unfair to fork out a couple of quid every now and then to alleviate the suffering of the poor people who paid far too much for shares in a company that provides much but generates relatively little of its potential? Of course, relatively little = huge wedges of cash in this case, but this isn’t how investors see it.
But where it gets a bit unfair is that it’s unclear who you’re promoting stuff to, even when you do pay. For example: you are the person doing the Facebook posts for a small but popular band. You have freshly-minted European Tourdates to hand and you’d like your European fans to know about this. How do you know how many of the x% of your readership that you choose to pay to promote to be the Europeans that this news will be of benefit to? You don’t. Which, given Facebook’s history of pinpoint-accurate ad targeting, is a bit bizarre and almost comes across as a half-arsed and somewhat rushed idea. Because it is.
It’s not the end of the world though, it just requires a tiny bit of work and occasional light co-operation. The easiest way (and which most people do anyway, thus negating the previous 500 words) is to use an alternate social media site to let people know in less than 140 characters that you’ve done something somewhere else, directing people straight to your Page. Those with your own websites, it’s probably a good idea to dust them down a bit and start using them again to engage with those who send you money in order for you to do stuff, and farm their email addresses for the purposes of
evil letting them know what you’re up to. And make your Facebook posts interesting, enlightening and/or entertaining enough so that your fans like them and share them and bugger up the whole promotion idea up entirely, so that someone somewhere will be forced to come up with something worse. Whoops.
It’s all changed from when I was a nipper – albums used to come with mailing addresses where you’d be lucky to get a badly-photocopied order form for really expensive T-Shirts sent to you within a year of sending (and that’s only if you sent several times the postage amount in stamps/IRCs in the first place). It must be awful for some of the older acts to find themselves in the position where they actually have to talk to people nowadays, and it’s utterly lovely that so many of them actually do from a fan’s perspective. That this is still a fairly new phenomenon is evidenced by people still buggering about with the ways that this can be done. It shouldn’t be costing them a load of money for the partially random ability to do so though.
As you can see from the rubbish way which that last sentence tailed off, I’m not actually sure what’s going on. Maybe the boffins at Facebook HQ would like to let those expected to pony up the cash know what they’re paying for. And maybe one day I’ll have another 358 likes at some point so that I can see for myself what all the fuss is about.