I should probably start this post off by explaining why ‘work around’ is in quotations. Well, this is not really a work around because there isn’t really a work around. There is no way to have your Page’s posts show up on the Newsfeeds of more of your fans unless you’re willing to pay a billionaire some money. In Facebook’s defence, I’m sure (or rather, I hope), the main reason they implemented their mysterious EdgeRank was to deal with the fact that most folk’s Newsfeed would be overrun with posts every few minutes. The problem is, Facebook has seemed to put a higher priority on your Auntie liking a picture with painfully religious/cheesy text than your favourite local band’s post about how their awesome new album - which they’ve poured their heart and soul into - is available for free, for a limited time. Or etc.
I posted a while back about how I thought the promoted posts thing was a bunch of BS, which I still do, but I’ve been meaning to do a follow-up about dealing with said BS. It’s only nice to stomp and complain for a little while, but then you need to re-group and re-strategize, otherwise you’ll just be the last kid on the Myspace swings. Over the last few weeks, I’ve seem more than a few Pages post about how if you hover over the ‘Like’ button, you’ll see an option to ‘Show In Newsfeed’. Which was being presented as a solution to this whole Promoted Posts / EdgeRank thing.
Well, unfortunately, that doesn’t really fix things. The above ‘solution’ is ignoring the main problem, and that is Facebooks EdgeRank ranking system. Your Page’s posts will still be battling it out with your old high school classmate’s photo of her ultrasound, and your Page’s post will usually lose that battle (and don’t even think you have a chance against a co-worker’s post about going to the gym). I don’t fully understand how EdgeRank works (although here is a blog post about how to improve your EdgeRank-ness), but just know that your Page’s post will always only show up on a fraction of the actual number of people who ‘like’ your Page. In fact, a lot of the Pages you ‘like’ probably already have that ‘Show In News Feed’ checked, even if you’ve never done it manually (and that hasn’t prevented their posts from disappearing from your Newsfeed).
So Now For The Work Around That Isn’t Really A Work Around…
You can create something called an Interest List. The reason this isn’t really a work around for your Page is that it is something you need other people to do, and in order for your Page’s post to show up in their Interest List, they need to add your Page to one of their lists first. If your page is added to an Interest List, then all your posts will show up in that list (alongside whoever else is in the list). Think of it as a filtered Newsfeed, filtered by your personal taste / choice, rather than a mysterious Facebook algorithm.
But this is something that ‘people’ need to do. So I’m going to stop talking to ‘pages’ and start talking to ‘people’. People, there are a few reasons why setting up an Interest List is in your best interest (and not just because you’ll make whatever Pages you add to your list happy, although that’s a reason too):
If Your Fans Won’t Make A List, They Might Subscribe To One…
As mentioned in step 4, it is possible for a Page (i.e. the person who manages a Page), to make it easier for their fans to start using Interest Lists which contain their Page in the list. And you can do that by making your own Interest List, and then them public. Once you have done that, all someone needs to do is Subscribe to your list and they can bypass all the ‘creating an Interest List steps’ (all 4 of them) and still end up with a filtered list of interesting posts (which includes your Page’s posts). The key to that, is creating a list that someone would find worthy of subscribing to (i.e. you can’t just make a list of just your Page and expect people to flock to that). It is also a good way to earn some internet karma by turning people on to more than just your own stuff.
I have created three lists; lists that will (hopefully) both interest me and interest others. Anyone can subscribe to these lists, which would then have them show up on the left sidebar of their Newsfeed. And yes, I have added HI54LOFI RECORDS to all three lists, but not out of straight cheeky-ness (I think it is fair to say that HI54LOFI RECORDS applies to all 3 lists).
Here are my 3 Interest Lists, which anyone can subscribe too (you’ll need to be logged in to Facebook in order to see / Subscribe to these lists):
HI54 Friends & Friendlies: this is a list of all the Pages that I am either ‘internet friendly’ with or the Pages of actual FRIENDLIES on HI54LOFI RECORDS (this list is almost exclusively music related). In a nutshell, these are all the bands and blogs that I am personally very interested in keeping up with, as I love what they do and want to know what’s going on with them. Maybe you do too?
Music Blogs/Labels/Sites: this is a list of what you might expect; a bunch of blog and record label Pages. It also is a pretty good way to keep up with the constant flow of new music and music happenings, and hopefully find a few new gems along the way.
DIY: this is a list of Pages that are either sites / tools that I use (i.e. Bandcamp, etc.) or Pages that often post about music related stuff (as in advice or tips for musicians, etc.).
Well, that more or less covers things. Again, this isn’t an actual “work around” for by-passing the way Promoted Posts / Edge Rank works. This is just a way to have Facebook show you more of what you are interested in (and hopefully, for all you Pages out there, people will be interested in having your posts in their lists).
I am now going to post about this post on our Facebook page, and no one will see it. Except for me, because I now have HI54LOFI RECORDS in an Interest List (3 to be exact).
About a week ago (or at least that was when I first noticed the little ‘promote’ button on the bottom of my Facebook posts… which I was reminded of when I saw the above picture on my timeline), Facebook made a really stupid and greedy change to how a page’s wall posts work. In the past, when you posted on your page, that post would show up on the timeline of anybody who ‘liked’ your page. Which made sense. People ‘liked’ a page because they were a fan of what you did, and them liking your page meant they wanted to keep up with what you were doing (although, I don’t think a post ever showed up on all your fans timelines, I’ve definitely noticed the amount of people seeing posts dropping for awhile now… which was probably a build up to introducing promoted posts).
For some reason (the reason must be ‘more money’) Facebook has changed that. Now, when you post on your page, the post is only shown to a portion of your fans. If you want the post to be shown to more people who already ‘like’ your page, you have to pay for that. It is the equivalent of Twitter making you pay in order to have your tweets shown to people who have chosen to follow your Twitter account. You would think, after pissing off so many people with their forcing of the Timeline look on all pages, they would have been a bit more careful with their next move (personally, the Timeline thing didn’t piss me off at all… but this new one definitely does).
I really don’t get the logic behind this. Facebook was already a place where almost no band actually liked having to be. They have never been a great place for sharing your music, although in the past year or so, they have become tolerable (with third party apps like Bandcamp and BandPage, you could have your music on the site, albeit slightly hidden in another tab). And Facebook has always been really limited in how you could communictate with your fans (i.e. if you ever wanted to talk to someone as your band, you had to wait for them to come and talk to you). But this latest change really makes one question the point of having a Facebook page for your band. I mean, the main point used to be that you could share things with everyone who ‘liked’ your page, so it made sense to have a page and to hopefully get as many people as you could to ‘like’ it (the other point being that almost everyone who is on the internet has a Facebook account).
This new change is also annoying to the individual. When I ‘like’ a page, it is because I want their updates to show up on my timeline. I would much rather have the new album from a band I like show up on my timeline instead of a status update from somebody I went to highschool with (I don’t care that you are going to the gym… and yes, you are still chubby). So now, I am only going to see posts from bands I ‘like’ if I’m included in the unknown algorithm that decides which fans see the post (not totally unknown, it’s called EdgeRank), or if the band spends some of their limited album sales in order to make sure their post goes out to everyone who ‘likes’ them. Which is pretty bullshit.
I guess we’ll see if they keep this change, which really seems like it should have been (at the very least) only implemented on pages with 1000’s of ‘likes’. I don’t think any small band (or small business) is going to be paying $5 to communicate with people they have already created a relationship with (it’s hard enough getting people to ‘like’ your page, and now Facebook wants us to pay in order to share things with the people we got to ‘like’ us?). Sure, it might be a good way to get some money out of the Coca Cola’s of the world, but I really don’t see myself ever paying $5 to get a few more people to see a link to this blog post.
It would be nice if this was the straw that finally broke the dam, and we would see a flood of bands heading somewhere else (kind of like the Myspace exodus of 2007-2008), but I just don’t know if there really is somewhere else worhtwhile to go (at the moment). People just don’t use the internet the same way we did back in the Myspace days, so I don’t know if ‘the next Myspace' is something that would even work, or something that will ever exist again… the internet is just a lot more spread out now and we all use it differently today then we did back then. Facebook had every chance to be the closest thing to 'the next Myspace', but they just seem to becoming less and less relevant (i.e. useful) for bands. Which is sad, because it would be sooo easy for them to be totally relevant for bands (it's not like they don't have the money and technical skills to do it).
If any bands ever needed another reason as to why they should have their own website, perhaps the constant let down of depending on sites like Facebook or Myspace to not shit the bed would be that reason. And who knows, maybe Google+ will stop being such a ghost town… I know I just visited it for the first time in months, and it’s looking to be a pretty alright place for sharing Facebook-esque posts.
So tomorrow is the day that Facebook will be making their Timeline look mandatory on all pages. Which means, if you haven’t got yours ready yet, it might look a bit wonky tomorrow (for you and anyone who visits it). I put together a blog post awhile back with a few tips on getting yours ready and you can still check that out for a good starting point (it doesn’t take too long to get something in place that looks pretty good).
One thing that original blog post mentioned as two negatives (I guess that would be ‘two things that original blog post mentioned’), has been addressed today by Roots Music (i.e. the people behind BandPage… which all bands should be using). Those two things were:
- you can no longer set an App (like BandPage) as your default landing page
- most Apps had not updated their services to better fit the new wide layout of the Timeline look
To see how to deal with both of those issues (in regards to your BandPage tab), check out the Roots Music blog for their detailed post on the topic.
As you probably already know, Facebook has introduced their new ‘Timeline’ look. At first, it was just popping up on different friends profile pages and I didn’t really pay it any mind. But last week they started to introduce that same look to Pages. So I paid it some mind. At the moment, you can still keep the old Pages look, but on March 30th the ‘Timeline’ look will be forced on all Pages. So whether you like the change or not, there is no avoiding it.
Like a lot of people, my original feeling was “just leave it how it is”. I wasn’t a huge fan of how Facebook Pages looked, but I had a good grasp of how they worked and looked, and I was fine with it. After playing around with the new look for a bit… I think it will be an improvement (once we all get used to how it works and looks, I don’t think the learning curve will be too steep to climb). Of course, I imagine there will be a bunch of ‘Petition Facebook To Go Back To The Old Pages Look’ groups springing up, but I think your time will be best spent adapting. So this post is an attempt to help you get your page setup and ready for the new look with a focus on a few of the important things:
1. Cover Photo - This is the big photo that will now be at the top of your page. I like this change. The look of Facebook pages has always been the opposite of visually appealing, so this is a nice touch. The important thing you need to know about the cover photo is the dimensions of the picture, and those are 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels high. With the right picture for your band, your Facebook page increases in sexiness tenfold. So find a picture that you think best represents you and crop it to the right size. You can see what we’ve done on our page, and you can also check out what we’ve done so far on Patrick Porters and A Singer of Songs page (we’re still in the process of getting fully setup, as well as other artists setup). Personally, I don’t see how anyone can look at those new ‘timeline’ looks and compare them to the old looks and say that it is not an improvement.
2. Apps - These are now shown at the top of your page, as opposed to down the left hand side. The other big change is that you can only show 3 main ones (you always have to show the ‘Photos’ app) and the rest of your apps are now ‘hidden’ under a drop down menu. They have also removed the option of choosing an app to be your default landing page (which, a lot of bands would normally of had set to have people automatically land on their BandPage or Bandcamp). At first, I didn’t like this at all, as the option of listening to ones music lives away from your wall (or ‘timeline’ as it is known now). It is kind of annoying that people now have to do a little exploring before they can find where to listen to music, but I suspect this is something that we’ll all just get used to.
What I imagine Facebook is creating is a way to turn your Facebook page into something that works a bit like your own website, and apps are now acting like the different menu options a website would have. At the moment, the makers of these apps have not had time to update / implement changes that are specifically designed for the new ‘timeline’ look (i.e. there is a lot of white / wasted space in the tabs at the moment, as they were originally created for a width of 520 px and not 851). But when they do, I think it might be able to look / work quite nice… but you’ll definitely need to be selective with your apps and make sure you’re using the best ones. BandPage and Bandcamp are still tops on my list and I eagerly await them to adapt their Apps to better suit the new layout, as right now they don’t look right on the wider page.
I’m still not decided on who my ‘number three’ app will be, but for now, I’ve gone with something to show our tweets (at the moment, I use Tweets To Pages for that). If you are band that plays gigs, I would reccomend checking out Songkick’s app. The main reason for this is — as there are more than a few options for sharing your gigs — Songkick also works with Bandcamp, Soundcloud and BandPage, so by adding a gig date once, you can have it show up automatically in all those other places.
To make up for the loss of being able to set an app as your default landing page, Facebook has at least added the nice touch of being able to create custom pictures to represent the apps (and you can name them however you like). So instead of having your app named BandPage and showing the Roots Music logo (which may be recognizable to you… it might not be that obvious to other people as to why they should click it), you can call it something like Music Player and use a picture that more intuitively tells someone that there is music to be listened to there. The image size for these ‘app pictures’ is 115 pixels wide by 74 pixels high (so, pretty small; don’t use something that requires too much detail). To make those changes you just click on the drop down arrow to the right of your ‘top’ apps, which will then show all of your apps. When in this mode, hovering your mouse over an app will show a ‘pencil icon’ on the top right corner of each app. Click that and then just choose ‘Edit Settings’. I’ve done it for our current top 3 apps, and I think it looks a lot nicer than the original images that were shown.
3. Let’s get visual, visual - The new look is definitely geared around being more visually pleasing. This is especially noticeable with the new option of ‘highlighting’ a post. When you click the ‘star icon’ on the right corner of a wall post, it makes that post stretch the full width of the screen. It works really well if you have a nice picture or video posted to your wall and really makes it stand out. Which means you should probably start thinking about posting more nice pictures and videos.
4. Use it differently - The main thing that this new look will force upon you (besides the look itself) is how you use Facebook. This will mostly come with time, but here are a few things that come to mind:
Facebook recently came out with some new changes to their Pages feature (i.e. your band / business / etc. page). I won’t get into all the details (you can check HERE for that - or just go to your page and see a preview), but I thought I would quickly say my piece on the change that is the nicest:
You can now interact on Facebook as your Page.
This is a pretty sweet improvement. Before, I could only communicate as HI54LOFI RECORDS directly on my Page. I could never take HI54LOFI RECORDS voice to anywhere else on Facebook and had to wait for someone to take their voice to my page in order to interact. That was quite limiting and I think a major reason why Facebook never took off for bands. Most of us were used to roaming around Myspace and talking to people as our Band and not with the names our mother gave us. Hopefully this change will bring back a lot of the interaction between musicians that I think a lot of people have been missing since Myspace pulled their own plug.
This change will especially have a huge effect on those musicians who like to / have to keep their creative world separate from their 9 to 5 world (and lets be honest, that is most of us). I know that back when I had an office job, I never had to worry about interacting on Myspace because no one in my real world really knew who HI54LOFI RECORDS was. Once the Facebook migration started, that interaction almost completely disappeared because now I had to go interact as Jeremy Sroka. This not only meant I could easily catch some grief for not working during office hours (come on bosses of the world, nobody works a full 8 hours anyways), but a lot of the bands I would have been interacting with wouldn’t even have known who Jeremy Sroka was in the first place.
Anyways, I thought I’d quickly add my thoughts on this, mostly because the change that Facebook is introducing directly effects what I had just written about Facebook in the ‘The Next Myspace’ post that came before. This change makes getting a Facebook page for your band an even more obvious thing to do.
This post was originally written for and appears on the HI54LOFI RECORDS blog.
To listen to the mix tape, just head over to our Facebook page (you’ll find it in the BandPage tab). Each song has a ‘Buy’ link that will take you to where / how the artist has made the song available (you’ll find that a lot of the ‘Buy’ links could actually be called ‘Free’ links). I’ll be doing individual posts on Tumblr for each of the artists featured, in one way or another, before the next ‘Book Face’ mix tape is posted (not sure when that will be, but probably not until the new year - if the world doesn’t end early).
Besides following the ‘Buy’ links on any track you like, here are the Facebook links (and sometimes Myspace links) for each artist featured:
This mix will most likely end up on our 8tracks page as well, but that might not happen until after it comes down from the Facebook page. Since the BandPage works with Soundcloud, you can also listen to the mix over there.