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):
- Promoted Posts / EdgeRank did not just effect a Page’s chance of having their posts seen, it also messed up your ability of finding out about things that you tried to tell Facebook you wanted to know about (i.e. by liking a Page). By creating an Interest List, you can have a filtered list of all the posts you are not only interested in, but are probably missing out on.
- It is really easy to setup.
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.).
A Couple More Things (three to be exact)…
- With any Interest List you have created, you can always add or remove Pages from your list whenever you want. I won’t diagram it out, as it is basically looks and feels the same as Step 3 in the above diagram. Whenever you are viewing an Interest List, there is a ‘Manage List’ drop down which then has an ‘Edit List’ option. Select that and then a pop window comes up showing you who is on this list. Change ‘On This List’ to ‘Pages’ and then you can select and deselect Pages till you heart’s content.
- You can add a Page to a list you’ve created (or even create a new list… you can even remove them from a list) directly from a Pages page. By either hovering over the Pages ‘Like’ button, or clicking on the little ‘gear’ symbol, you’ll see all those options. You can even add a Page to your list without liking them. Although, if you’re interested in what they have to say, you should probably ‘Like’ them as every ‘Like’ is a small confident post, no matter how loudly a band may say they don’t care about Facebook.
- If you’ve created a list that you want to share with others (i.e. you hope other people will subscribe to it), there is a little ‘Share’ button beside the ‘Manage List’ button I mentioned earlier. So you can share your lists as ‘person’ you, or as ‘page’ you.
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).
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.
Here is a video of good ol’ boy Bruce, talking about Woody and sharing his wisdom with all us young ‘uns. The video above is just a snippet of him dropping knowledge. He dropped more and sang more, and he can see the full thing over on NPR.
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:
- Change your ‘About’ section so that it is only a sentence or two, or rather, so that you have room to add a link to wherever you would most ideally want someone to go to. For us, I’ve put our website link. For you, it may be your Bandcamp page, or just the link to that app you would have preferred to be your landing page (i.e. like the ‘listen.to’ link for your Roots Music BandPage). You can’t count on people to actually go into your ‘About’ section and find your website link, so make it available from the moment they arrive on your page.
- You can now pin a post to the top of your timeline, and it will stay there for 7 days. Meaning, if you have a gig that week or a new album out or a new video, you can have that be the first thing people see when they arrive on your Facebook for 7 days, which is a good thing.
- You may not be able to set your BandPage or Bandcamp app as your defaul landing page anymore, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be posting tracks from either directly on your ‘timeline’. And those tracks play directly within your ‘timeline’, so you can still get people listening to your music without a default landing page, you might just need to be a bit more proactive about it instead of assuming that they are just automatically showing up on a page with a music player and pressing play. Also, it’s important to remember that a lot of people will be interacting with you on Facebook directly from their newsfeed. So maybe a default landing page just gave bands a false idea of how much people were being exposed to their music. Anybody showing up to your Facebook page for the first time is probably coming there because they want to check you out, so I think they’ll be able to find your music (especially if you have tracks on your ‘timeline’ as well as in your BandPage and Bandcamp apps).
Well, that is about all for now. There is definitely more that could be talked about — things like ‘Milestones’ and going back and documenting your bands entire existence— but I think that the above stuff is enough to get you prepared for when your pages look will change at the end of the month (also, I haven’t done any of that other stuff yet). If you want to know more, or do more homework on the matter, some other people have posted on the new ‘timeline’ look and they were what I referred to when getting our page setup (those articels: Roots Music slide show
and Hubspot’s Guide to Facebook’s New Page Design
But I think the main thing you need to do is just start using and getting used to it. And you should also ‘like’ us on Facebook
Dave Grohl breaks down how to write a hit. And in the process, he also writes a future Nickleback hit about life being a bitch and how one should just keep on trucking.
Some great advice for any band out there, whether you’re just getting started or have been at it for awhile. Also, if you’re not already, you should follow Rawkblog’s tumblr, as it is pretty high on posts that intrigue and make you think.
Are you a band or musician? Would you like someone, anyone, to write about your music? Here is some advice.
“For a songwriter, you don’t really go to songwriting school; you learn by listening to tunes. And you try to understand them and take them apart and see what they’re made of, and wonder if you can make one, too. And you just do it by picking up the needle and putting it back down and figuring it how these people did this magical thing. It’s rather mystifying when you think about songs — where they come from and how they’re born. Many times, it’s very humble and very mundane, the origin of these songs.”
More reasons why Tumblr and Soundcloud are two sites you should be using…
Tumblr and SoundCloud both are fantastic communities of people expressing themselves through the things they create; we think bringing them together is like a match made in heaven. So from today, we are thrilled to announce along with the fine folks from Tumblr that you can now easily share the sounds you create to Tumblr!
Here’s what we’ve made possible:
Record and share to Tumblr:
Capture any audio on-the-fly with our iPhone and Android apps and share your recordings directly to your Tumblr blog. This is super neat for impromptu interviews, commentary, breaking news, comedy or poetry - heck, pretty much anything you hear around you.
Meet Tumblr’s David at a spontaneous Tumblr meetup in Berlin? Hit the record button:
Here are some other nice recordings from Maura, Bijan, Caroline, David & Alex.
Auto-publish your new sounds and favorites:
In your advanced SoundCloud settings, you can now choose to automatically push favorites and new sounds you created to your Tumblr blog. Save time when sharing the sounds you create!
Found something on SoundCloud you like? Easily post to Tumblr by pushing the Share button on SoundCloud or grab the url and post it as an external source on Tumblr Audio posts.
Search SoundCloud on Tumblr:
When creating an audio post, you can now search, preview and post audio from SoundCloud to Tumblr.
Oh and in case you hadn’t noticed, we’re all big fans of Tumblr and a number of staffers use it every day for their personal blogs. Find out who does and follow at will!
Thank you team Tumblr for your hard work on getting this out in the wild. We can’t wait to see what happens when people capture and use sound in their everyday lives, ultimately making the web less silent.
Do you make music? Or are you involved in the making of music at all? Heck, even if you are just a fan of music, you really should read this article over on The Quietus right now. Or if not right now, then maybe save it for later. But do read it.
It is hands down the best piece of writing on the state of the music industry I’ve ever come across. It is as well written as it is long, so you’ll probably want to grab a cup of coffee first. Don’t expect any solutions being offered up, just expect the perfect sum up of what things are like now. There is a wealth of chatter going on in the comments as well.
If you are like me, then this article might also be your introduction to The Quietus. I ended up spending quite a bit of time on it last night and it might be the crown jewel of music writing on the web. I think I got more inspiration and knowledge from one night on The Quietus than a whole year of Music Think Tank and Bob Lefsetz combined. Those two are still good sources and I would recommend subscribing to both of their newsletters if you are interested in ‘music industry stuff’, it’s just that The Quietus writes with such eloquence and grace that I sort of got a bit of a boner for them last night. And it’s still here in the morning.
That link again (to that article you need to read): How The Music Industry Is Killing Music And Blaming The Fans
And remember, it is a long read, but it is worth it if you care even just a little bit about the making of music in whatever century it is that we are in. A hat tip to Sargent House for pointing out the article.