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The Real Reason Facebook Ads “Don’t Work” For Musicians

One common thing I hear a lot from musicians is “I used Facebook ads once and it didn’t really work for me.”

And that’s common for many companies, not just musicians. But as musicians we are not selling a solution to a problem like a dentist or a lawyer. So we have to approach music marketing differently.

What many musicians do is have an album or a single to promote. They make a post that says something like “Check out my sweet new single!” Then they put a million different links to iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, SoundCloud, YouTube, Bandcamp and tell people to listen to it for free.
There are some problems with this method.

The first problem is that when you send someone to a third-party platform like Spotify, it’s virtually impossible to keep track of how many people went there since your ad. Also, you can’t follow up with these people because you don’t have an email or a way to follow up with them again.

But the second problem is more related to human psychology. As humans, when we first meet someone, we are highly unlikely to do anything they ask us to do.

So if a stranger comes up to you and asks you to do something, it’s not going to happen. If a friend asks you to do something, you are much more likely to do what he wants.

This “GO SEE MY MUSIC” ad is doing the exact same thing.

I like to make an analogy to explain this.

Let’s say I want to promote my cool new country music album, so I walk down to my local country music bar, walk up to the first person I see, and say:

“Hey, I’ve got this cool new album. I really think you’ll like it. You can listen to it for free, but we have to listen to it outside in my car because I only have one copy. So you want to come check it out?”

The chances of that person doing so are slim to none.

And that’s what a lot of musicians are doing with their ads.

You’re basically asking a complete stranger to stop everything they’re doing and then leave Facebook to go listen to your music.

And there’s actually a much better way to promote your music with Facebook Ads.

Imagine this different scenario…

You walk into the local country music bar, but this time you walk up to the DJ or bartender and say, “Hey, if I give you a few bucks, could you play my new album for everyone to hear?” They say yes and put it on.

Now you start to look around the room and notice some people nodding and dancing to your sweet tunes.
You walk up to them and start a conversation and tell them about your band, that you moved here from a different city. At the end of this interaction you say “I’d love to give away my EP for free. Can I get your email to send it to you?”

They say yes. And boom. Now you have a direct connection with someone who is interested in your music and who could become a fan.

We can do the same on Facebook by running a paid video ad. Don’t put any links or anything crazy in the text. A simple headline. What this does is it allows people to discover your music naturally and if they are curious they will click through to your page and learn more about you.
And if you’ve set up your custom audience lists on Facebook, you can run a follow-up ad for them later asking them to give you their email in exchange for their album for free.

This method is a much better way to advertise your music on Facebook because you’re not asking a complete stranger to do something. Instead, you’re sharing your music and they can choose to watch your video or move on to the next one.


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