6 Shocking Reasons Your Facebook Fans Aren’t Engaged [Part 1 of 2]

BRUSSELS- MARCH 13:  Facebook Announces Mobile DevCons In NYC, L
This article was co-written by Jon Ostrow and Ariel Hyatt
Last week, we discussed some major obstacles that are stopping your effective growth on your Facebook fan page.

Facebook is making it almost impossible for the non-advertiser to create effective engagement, but there is no doubt that there is also human error involved as well. Take a look at last week’s article for a full breakdown.

The reaction from that article made us realize something…

A vast majority of social media users are still unaware of just how difficult growth of a Facebook fan page can actually be.

This data is not meant to scare you away from building your community on Facebook, the purpose is to shine a light on the harsh reality that is Facebook-centric community building.

With this understanding, we hope to help you set more realistic goals, put more effective strategies in place and build stronger fan communities:

1. Average Life of a Facebook Post

One common complaint about the internet in general by new users (or non-users) is that they don’t like the idea that something published online ‘lives forever’.

Well fret not… because this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Yes, your content will technically be online, but the average lifespan of a Facebook post is just a short 3 hours. This means that after the average 3 hour timespan, your Facebook posts will no longer show up in any of your fans’ news feeds.

 

Image Source: edgerankchecker.com

Image Source: edgerankchecker.com

Although this is actually a far higher number than, say, Twitter (see: 18 minutes of fame), this does mean that you MUST understand when your fans are online and most likely to engage with your posts so that each day you post in your most effective 3 hour window.

2. Average % of Total Fan Base Willing to Engage with a Brand Page

As we discussed last week, Mashable covered a recent study by Napkin Labs that exposed the shocking statistic that only 6% of a total fan base will ever actually engage with a brand page:

On average, just 6% of fans engage with a brand’s Facebook Page via likes, comments, polls and other means, according to a study from Napkin Labs, a Facebook app developer that works with brands and agencies. Of those fans that did, the average engagement was the equivalent of less than one like over the course of the eight weeks the study was conducted.

While this does fuel the fire of the argument that you need more fans – A LOT more fans – in order to build any sort of community on your Facebook page, this study actually contributes to the idea of having 1,000 True Fans (see Ariel’s series on that here).

The fact that 6% of a total fan base will engage with a brand page is partially because of Facebook’s algorithm… Facebook’s ‘Edge Rank’ algorithm is a system that ranks and displays only the most ‘relevant’ and ‘important’ content on your news feed from your friends and pages you have liked. But the issue of your fan base lacking engagement also has a lot to do with the fact that the overwhelming majority of the average fan base is made up of ‘Ambient’ or even ‘Engaged’ fans, and not the kind of ‘Super Fans’ needed to truly build a consistently engaged community.

3. Average Engagement Rate

And as scary as the ‘6%’ stat above is, this one gets even more frightening…

There have been several recent studies done on the actual average engagement rate of a page (the ‘People Talking About This Page’ number) and it is shown that the average engagement rate of a fan page is only .96% (yes, that’s less than 1%).

THIS MEANS: Anything above a 1% engagement is considered strong, results-wise.

The difference between this stat and the one above (See #2) is that the number above reflects the percentage of fans who are EVER willing to engage with a page over the lifetime of the relationship. In other words, for the average fan page, 94% of your fans never have nor will they ever engage.

Meanwhile, this stat reflects the true engagement of a fan page on Facebook’s rolling 7 day scale. In other words, within 7 days (on average), the # of ‘People Talking About This Page’ / the # of ‘Total Fans’ will equal around 1%.

Here is a great matrix from Michael Leander that shows how this engagement rate actually breaks down:

 

Image Source: http://www.michaelleander.me

Image Source: http://www.michaelleander.me

 

On Next Week’s Installment…

Next week, we will continue with Part 2 of this series where we will discuss why your visibility and engagement are so low, and why you’re Facebook posts won’t be going ‘viral’ any time soon.

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[FREE E-BOOK] Quick Fix: 12 Ways Instantly Improve Your Band Website

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Bandzoogle has a nice gift for everyone. During the last few years they’ve reviewed thousands of musician websites, and often, they see the same issues come up over and over again. So they’ve released a free e-Book called “Quick Fix! 12 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Band Website”.

The eBook is a collection of 12 quick ways that musicians can improve their websites to make them look more professional and be more effective.

Download the free e-Book here: http://bit.ly/quickfixebook

Below is a sample chapter to give you an idea of what you’ll find inside the eBook:




Website Quick Fix: Make it easy to listen to your music

Another quick improvement you can make to your website is to make it easy for people to listen to your music. First time visitors should be able to sample your music in one, easy, and obvious click.

Make a first impression: Music to listen to, not only purchase

Keep in mind that a lot of your traffic is from people who aren’t your fans yet. Maybe they’ve heard about you. Maybe one of their friends posted your website somewhere. Maybe you’re opening for a band they like and they want to decide if you’re worth showing up early for. Think of them by putting your best track right there, at the top of your homepage in high bitrate glory (good sound quality). A good video? Even better. That way you’re grabbing their viewing as well as their listening attention.

All too often music pages only have music for sale that at best offer 30-60 second sample clips. Sometimes there is only music available to purchase with no music samples at all, or worse yet, only links to external sites to purchase music, with no music available on the artist’s site whatsoever. You should definitely have your music for sale on your website, but make sure to also have at least 1 or 2 songs people can listen to, from start to finish, so they can get a good taste of what your music is all about.

Make it clear where to listen to your music

Once your music is available to listen to on your site, make it very easy for people to find it. Again, best thing to do would be to have a music player right on your homepage. You can also use a site-wide music player that can continue to play while people surf the different sections of your site. Once they start listening, having a “playlist” of your best songs that keeps playing is definitely better that forcing them to hit “play” for each track (because chances are, they won’t).

Speaking of the different sections of your website, “Music” should be in the main menu of your website. This sounds like common sense, but there are still too many websites that either try to be fancy with sections like “Experience” or “Discover”, or have the music buried within another section of the site like “Media” or “Store”. You might only have that person’s attention for a minute (maybe less), so make it clear right on the main menu where they can find your music.

Your website is your hub, give people every reason to stay

Your website is your hub, and you should have everything available on it, including full songs to listen to. If your fans can listen to your songs on Facebook, Myspace, music blogs, etc., then they should be able to listen to them right on your website, which is where you really want fans to spend their time.

This way, they can stick around, listen to your music, look at your photos, read your blog posts, and hopefully sign-up to your newsletter or shop at your online store. If you don’t have any music for them to listen to while they’re on your site, they might leave and go to your Facebook page (or your rarely updated Myspace page), or worse, just leave your site and move onto something else entirely to pass the time.


Download the entire “Quick Fix!” e-Book here: http://bit.ly/quickfixebook

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Sound Advice TV – Ariel & Jon Discuss ‘The Dreaded 6%’

In this brand new episode of Sound Advice TV, Ariel and Jon discuss two new recent studies about fan engagement and digital revenues, the result of both leads to 6%. Watch above to find out why…

Also – the graph from the Bit Torrent study that Ariel references is below:

source: torrentfreak.com

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The #1 Reason Why Your Facebook Page Isn’t Growing (And 5 others too)

like message on keyboard button, social media concepts
This article was co-written by Jon Ostrow and Ariel Hyatt
If you are anything like the majority of people, artists, authors, entrepreneurs and beyond who have built a Facebook fan page, then I’m sure you’ve noticed something…

Facebook makes it ALMOST impossible to make any sort of real growth happen.

A recent study reported by Mashable (from Napkin Labs), showed that on average only 6% of fans engage with a brand’s Facebook page:

On average, just 6% of fans engage with a brand’s Facebook Page via likes, comments, polls and other means, according to a study from Napkin Labs, a Facebook app developer that works with brands and agencies. Of those fans that did, the average engagement was the equivalent of less than one like over the course of the eight weeks the study was conducted.

There are several reasons for this. Most of these, truthfully, are human error which we will discuss below. But there is no doubt that Facebook is taking strides to make it more difficult for you to achieve growth & impressions on their platform.

The problem at hand is akin to a common proverb:

Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime…

Except in Facebook’s case, it’s more like, once you teach the man to fish, you then put a thick layer of ice over the water, making it FAR more difficult.

So let’s dive into the issues at hand below:

You Don’t Pay. Period.

This is the proverbial ‘ice over the water’. No matter what you do to correct your own understanding of how Facebook works, and implement a more effective strategy, you WILL have to deal with the fact that Facebook uses an algorithm that works in the favor of advertisers. The money that advertisers spend on Facebook grants them first access through the ice to all of the fish in the sea.

A friend of Ariel’s, technologist Marcus Whitney explained the dilemma here beautifully in a recent panel they spoke on for AIMP at ASCAP in Nashville (reported by Music Row):

“Of FB’s $1.53 billion in revenue, 95% of what they earned was in advertising and 25% of that was from mobile ads. You used to be able to reach 100% of the people that liked your page on FB, but now you can at max reach 15% of them without paying.”

At the end of the day, Facebook is catering to their customers. Believe it or not, but Facebook’s customers are not you. They are advertisers. They are the people willing to spend money to be connected with others, and this algorithm was created to ensure that this happens.

Facebook has created an option for those of us who are NOT full-time advertisers, that for better or worse, gives the opportunity to ‘gain access to fish in the sea’ more quickly and effectively. This is the dreaded ‘promoted post’ function that Facebook introduced several months back.

By paying even as little as $15, you are FAR more likely to see true engagement happen on your posts, simply because Facebook is ALLOWING this to happen (because you’ve paid for it!).

As ridiculous as this seems, this option does present you with a good opportunity to jumpstart the engagement of a new page by promoting select posts that nurture strong engagement with your audience.

Ariel and I tested this over the Holiday season with one promoted post and here were our results:

Cyber PR Promoted Post
With just $15 spent, we received 46 likes, 237 comments and most importantly (for the purpose of this ‘algorithm’ conversation), the number of people who SAW the post was 4,517…

A whopping 10 TIMES the number of our average post.

But even with this great response from the one promoted post, it would have meant nothing had we not been prepared to leverage the new engagement through a strong strategy.

This strategy is the piece that so many are missing. This is the human error mentioned above. Here are 5 things that, if you don’t do, you’ll never reach the level of success you hope to achieve through Facebook:

You Don’t Post Consistent, Compelling Content (CCC)

This means that your content is not only consistent in terms of the style and theme, but in terms of frequency as well. A well run Facebook fan page should have 1 post per day (2 if you are getting great engagement) and the content should be varied enough to keep it interesting but similar enough that it helps to develop your overall brand.

Your Don’t Use Mixed Media

Facebook is not Twitter. Text isn’t the answer to success on Facebook. Facebook has acknowledged the fact that people are more likely to engage with photos, videos and links than they are simple, standard text updates.

Engaged Media on Facebook
Facebook gives these types of posts more weight in their algorithm.

3. Your Don’t Focus on Community

Facebook is a SOCIAL network. It is not a broadcast tool. If you spend your time on Facebook telling people about yourself over and over again like a broken records rather than asking, conversing and building real relationships, you’ll miss out on what Facebook actually has to offer. Find ways that your fans can not only interact with you, but can interact with each other, and you’ll really start to see some magic happen on your page as well.

4. You Don’t RE-Engage Your Community / AKA You Only Engage ONCE

It is one thing to ask questions to your fans on Facebook, or to share compelling content that warrants comments, questions, etc. – but it is entirely different for you to RE-engage your community by responding to each comment and question. It is this re-engagement of your community that will keep them coming back, helping them to build stronger loyalty to your brand. Oh… and all of this will help you to rank higher in the algorithm.

It is a snowball effect, the better you perform, the more weight your posts will hold in FB’s algorithm, and the more people will see your posts and engage with them…

5. You Don’t Pay Attention to Analytics

It is shocking how many people ignore the fact that Facebook actually GIVES you detailed analytics on your fan page. They do this for a reason! (See: the snowball effect above in #4).

Facebook’s ‘Insights’ give you a detailed look at who your fan base is, where they live, and most importantly, what content they are most willing to engage with. Your content strategy never needs to be a static thing – it should be fluid! It should shape-shift as you find out more about who your fans are and what their needs are. Using Facebook Insights is critical to a strong Facebook fan page that holds well in Facebook’s algorithm.

Of course, using Facebook Insights are only helpful if you know what the average metrics on Facebook are, so that you can compare your efforts to the standard.

First off, you have to understand the average number of fans on a Facebook page… this will help you establish a realistic goal to work for:

Source: AllFacebook.com

Source: AllFacebook.com

Secondly, once you have a realistic fan growth goal, you need to understand what the realistic amount of engagement of your total fan base actually is! Believe it or not, the average engagement rate of a fan page (Engagement Rate = ‘People Talking About This Page’ / Total Number of Likes) is between .5% and .99%. A GOOD engagement rate is anything over 1%.

What HAVE You Done in Order to Best the ‘Facebook Algorithm’ and Garner Stronger Results?

We’d love to hear about your own experiences overcoming Facebook’s challenges! Leave us your feedback in the form of a comment below.

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Nagivating #SXSW: Advice from the Streets of Austin – RECAP + More

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Though our time in Austin has come to an end, we still have a bit more to share…

Our final day at SXSW was once again packed with top notch events, showcases and of course people, all the while grabbing nuggets of advice along the way.

A special highlight of the day for Chris and I was the chance to see Cyber PR® client, and Peru’s own Bareto perform. Their set set was fantastic! Full of energy and dancing (something I had yet to see at SXSW until this point).

Bareto - SXSW Showcase @ Austin City Hall

Bareto – SXSW Showcase @ Austin City Hall

And now, let’s dive in to the last (but not least) group of people who shared their advice with us on friday. If you’re new to this series, see the links to all of the previous articles from this week’s SXSW series that ran throughout the week.

Ari Goldstein (Band Manager, Motive – @motiveband) A band playing shows during SXSW should know that they won’t be able to follow their schedule exactly, so allow a lot of time getting from show to show. Expect to get frustrated. Expect some shows to be empty. And remember this is not a make or break situation.

Bryan Vaughn (Owner, Paper Garden Records – @papergardenrecs) You never know who is going to be in the room so just play and have fun.

Jeremy Styles (Musician, Pearl and the Beard – @PEARLntheBEARD) SXSW these days is more a situation of if you don’t have buzz coming in, you won’t have buzz coming out. So don’t expect too much

Tim Convy (Manager, Tommy & The High Pilots/ Member of the band Ludo – @TheHighPilots / @LudoRock) Need to remember that there’s potent amount of potential for the industry to be at your show, but it’s just as much that, as it is ordering a taco next to industry folk in the taco place or standing next to them ordering a beer at the bar, and starting a conversation and creating a connection that way. Also playing at sxsw can be beneficial just to be able to say you played it.

Dave Mann (Blogger, Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie – @STPPie) It’s important for a band to play a few times at least during sxsw. I booked shows at 5 different venues at this years festival and discouraged any bands from confirming a slot if that was going to be their only show in Austin. Only a few bands out of the 200 that I booked ended up only playing our STPP showcases.

Benji Rogers (Founder, Pledge Music – @pledgemusic) South By music fans are some of most rabid fans who have traveled to see you. Take care of the fans first, THEN try to go out and network with the industry people.

Eric Weiner (Blogger, The Wild Honey Pie – @thewildhoneypie) It’s important to play A LOT at least one year, and then work with bloggers for the next year so that you can get on their showcases. Also, very important, don’t reach out to bloggers for showcases that you’ve never worked with… these showcases are typically reserved for bands/ artists that have been covered and supported by these blogs already.

Navigating #SXSW: Advice from the Streets of Austin – SERIES RECAP

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Navigating #SXSW: Advice from the Streets of Austin – 8 Friends Chime In

Kickstarter 101 Panel - Jon Ostrow, Jenny Owen Youngs, Martin Atkins

Kickstarter 101 Panel – Jon Ostrow, Jenny Owen Youngs, Martin Atkins

Wow, yesterday was a blast! The day started early as Chris and I headed to the Bumstead showcase at the Canada House, and we kept on full-steam ahead with showcase after showcase, until the wee-hours of the morning.

Oh… and did I mention the panel I spoke on?

The Kickstarter 101 Panel, moderated by Martin Atkins and joined in by Jenny Owen Youngs and myself was really a blast – getting the opportunity to speak with the room about our own experiences (successes, surprises, obstacles, etc.) was a lot of fun!

But beyond anything else, yesterday was all about one thing – networking.

As you’ll see below, Chris and I took every opportunity to ask friends, old and new, to contribute to this series.

Dive in and enjoy! We’ll be traveling back to NY tomorrow, but we’ll post a recap with further advice we can muster from today on Sunday. So be sure to check back then!

Arron and Andrew (Band – @arronandandrew) – Connect with people on Twitter before getting here, it’s a great way to secure meetings. Leverage existing network to make new connections.

Tim Des Islets (Bumstead Productions – @BumsteadProd) – Play as much as you can and meet as many people as possible. Not everything will lead to a break, but everyone here is ready for networking so don’t be afraid to speak up.

Jenny Owen Youngs (Musician – @jennyowenyoungs) – Stay hydrated. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Martin Atkins (Author, Educator, Musician – @Marteeeen) – Do something different than everybody else, which means not playing, helping other bands, cooking pancakes, being nice… Do these thing and I think the things you want will come to you.

Stephen Francis (Singer/ Guitar, Model Stranger – @modelstrangerSF) – Have intention. A band needs to know what they’re coming down here for and what they hope to get out of it. That includes managing expectations. Don’t get distracted by the party. Make some friends.

Nigel Finley (Mood Media – @moodmedia) – Don’t count the people in the audience! Even if there are only a few, each one could be a potential super fan.

Joseph Kelley (Balcony TV Brooklyn – @BalconyTVBK) – Bring ant-acids!

Patrick Ermlich (The Outlet Collective) – Keep costs really low, come down for your first year just to get the lay of the land and get to know know the venues. This will set yourself up for the NEXT year.

BONUS: Jon and Chris – Run a blog series like this! Asking people to contribute, be it a musicians, blogger, label head, promoter or beyond gave us some amazing opportunities to network and connect with people. Thank you to EVERYONE who contributed!

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