A Facebook Fan Has Nowhere Near the Value of a Mailing List Subscriber.

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This post was written by guest contributor John Oszajca from Music Marketing Manifesto.

Musicians may be relying too heavily on social media for building a relationship with their fans and promoting their music.

By default, your Facebook wall is set to display “Top News” rather than “Most Recent”. The way Facebook assigns priority to the posts of people you are friends with, or the pages you are following, is by the amount of interaction between you and the user/page.

That means that just because you got someone to “Like” your fan page, there is no guarantee your post will ever actually be read. If you are not interacting regularly with each fan, the reality may simply be that your posts are displayed too far down on your followers’ wall to even get seen.

Even when your status update does get noticed, the inherent “noise” of social media is such that the impact of a Facebook post is simply not the same as the impact of an email message.

I recently sent out two concurrent blasts. One to my email list and one to my Facebook fans.  At the time I had 3850 fans on Facebook and an email list of 4638 subscribers.

Take a look at the difference in the results…

That means that while my Facebook list made up 43% of my total number of followers, it only accounted for 3.8% of the clicks that I got from a promotion sent to both lists. The value of my email subscribers as compared to my Facebook fans is obvious.

This is not to say that Facebook has no value. I have found Facebook to be a fantastic tool for reinforcing the relationship I have with my email subscribers. The viral potential of social media is also unquestionably valuable.

However, for all you musicians who think that because you have 1000 “Likes” on your  Facebook page, you have 1000 actual fans… you might want to think again.

To learn more music marketing tips from John Oszajca and to get his free Music Marketing Blueprint video go to http://musicmarketingmanifesto.com

Interscope recording artist and online marketing expert, John Oszajca is an in-demand consultant and speaker at seminars world wide. John speaks about the new music business, on and off-line marketing strategies for musicians, social media, performing, songwriting, recording, and the new frontiers of independent music made possible by the internet.

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  • Anonymous

    "However, for all you musicians who think that because you have 1000 “Likes” on your Facebook page, you have 1000 actual fans… you might want to think again." I sometimes wish I could imprint that on a chip and implant it into an artist's brain! mhl

    It only takes a few seconds on the majority of FB band pages to notice they are making the same mistakes they made on Myspace. Hell, my FB inbox is full of those mistakes. Now, if we could get every musician on the planet to subscribe to the same mailing list, and run this or a similar article a few times, we would have a much better chance of anyone reading it, and more importantly, heeding its advice! 🙂

    • LOL. Thanks Wicked_D. Glad you liked the article.

  • John Oszajca

    Hey folks, John Oszajca here (the author of the post). If you have any questions about the post be sure to let me know via the comments.

    • Mail

      This was really good and insightful. Trying to establish my mailing list. Thanks for the reminder. Great read.

  • Pingback: Facebook “Like” vs. Aquired Email | ANHEDONIA MANAGEMENT()

  • Awesome post and I agree 100% because for me even though I have over 4000 total likes on both of my Facebook pages and over 15k followers on Twitter and 800 followers on Tumblr I still get more clicks on my links when I send emails to my very small list of only 209 email subscribers..I have been working to build my list and so far its going great so an opt in email list is a MUST HAVE for anyone in music.

    • We’re on the same page TM101. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Pingback: Sadly, Only A Small Percent See Your Facebook Posts | Madalyn Sklar's Blog - social media + business coach()

  • Ericdodge

    I have a question, I have focused on my facebook and twitter. I still have a few thousand on my mailing list but what programs or what mailing lists have you found that are user friendly for musicians to use, and most of all, what free lists have you found. If you have any good suggestions please e-mail me at ericdodge@ericdodge.com id love to find a better mailing list. Right now I use Big Tent and it is free but it is kind of difficult to add people. Thanks for the good article.

    • In my opinion the “go to” solutions for professional list building are aweber.com, getresponse.com and lately I’ve been impressed with mailchimp.com

      Andy

  • Ericdodge

    I have a question, I have focused on my facebook and twitter. I still have a few thousand on my mailing list but what programs or what mailing lists have you found that are user friendly for musicians to use, and most of all, what free lists have you found. If you have any good suggestions please e-mail me at ericdodge@ericdodge.com id love to find a better mailing list. Right now I use Big Tent and it is free but it is kind of difficult to add people. Thanks for the good article.

  • Ericdodge

    I have a question, I have focused on my facebook and twitter. I still have a few thousand on my mailing list but what programs or what mailing lists have you found that are user friendly for musicians to use, and most of all, what free lists have you found. If you have any good suggestions please e-mail me at ericdodge@ericdodge.com id love to find a better mailing list. Right now I use Big Tent and it is free but it is kind of difficult to add people. Thanks for the good article.

  • Gnicassio

    how do you get people to sub to your email?

  • i believe the results of this test, but how exactly did you post it on facebook? if it was a bit.ly link maybe the users thought it looked suspicious and didn’t click?

  • Sam

    Assumption: A Facebook Fan Has Nowhere Near the Value of a Mailing List Subscriber.

    Here’s a thought:

    A Reverbnation Mailing List Subscriber has about the same value as a Facebook Fan.

  • Hi, agree totally – and have debated this with other musicians – I already have more on my mailing list than on my facebook page ‘likes’ – and as you say they’re more valuable!!
    Thanks for the article – short + sweet!
    Ed
    http://tattierecords.com

  • What are you guys using for mailing lists? How are you integrating the same mailing list on all your pages (myspace, facebook, website, reverbnation etc etc)? I’m having trouble with this. cheers, joel

  • Rd

    Nice. I can see why you r in demand. How about a follow up between email and actual friend identity on fb or Twitter account. Thx great info.

    rD

  • Offer an enticement. Free MP3? Unreleased demo? Access to exclusive video content?

  • Spence Whitehead

    Thank you so much for doing this experiment and sharing your data with all of us! It is invaluable, and suggests some interesting questions.

    One question I have is, Do you know how much overlap there is between your Facebook fan list and your email list? I'm wondering whether part of the disparity in your numbers might be that people on both lists see your email before they see the Facebook message, and therefore don't need to click the second time.

    A second question I have is, How relevant was your particular promotion to each list? In our case, for example, a lot of our Facebook fans live all over the world and not in our hometown, so they are less likely to show interest in a local concert, whereas our email list tends to be people who want info about upcoming concerts. Hence, we always get far more interest in concert announcements from our email list, on a percentage basis. So I wonder if this would explain some of the gap in your results as well.

    Spence Whitehead, Promotions Manager and baritone
    Atlanta Sacred Chorale

    • John Oszajca

      Good questions Spence,

      There is some overlap, but a huge percentage of the facebook likes came from paid advertising and so while there is definitely some cross over I’d say it’s less than half.

      The demographic of each list was more or less the same and the promotion was not a geo-specific one.

      My gut feeling, and experience as someone who has done a TON of email marketing, is that there is just far more inherent value in an email promotion than a social media post (to the sender). If for no other reason than an email sits there until it’s deleted. A facebook post just continues to get pushed down the wall until it’s irrelevant.

      • Of course there is more value in an email than in a Facebook page status update.
        But:
        It is perfectly OK to do daily status updates on a Facebook page, whereas most email lists would loose subscribers when they

      • Of course there is more value in an email than in a Facebook page status update.

        But:
        It is perfectly OK to do daily status updates on a Facebook page, whereas most email lists would loose subscribers when they would send out a daily mail.
        Hence, you need to compage e.g. 30 Facebook status updates with 1 email and see what gives you the biggest value. Also, don’t forget that when Facebook fans share your update it will attract new likes. This is much less true for newsletters.

  • Another point is that you actually own your mailing list.

    Whilst Facebook is great for interaction & relationship building it's still a 3rd party site that you ultimately don't control.

    When they change the rules – you suffer the consequences!

    • John Oszajca

      Very good point Andy.

  • Joel,

    In my opinion the "go to" solutions for professional list building are aweber.com, getresponse.com and lately I've been impressed with mailchimp.com

    Andy

    • Kiko

      Mailchimp really is great. I’m a terrible web designer, but their online database and email design interface are extremely user-friendly. Very affordable for average sized lists.

    • I’d second mailchip.com – have a couple of lists with them, really easy to use 🙂

  • ohama

    This was great, but also it really depends on the artist. I have an example that illustrates the possible value/non-value of a facebook "like". There's this band that has over 200,000 "likes" simply because of the nasty name their band has…and they've had to start a second page for their real fans…which has under 1000 fans. If you are interested, the two pages are here:
    http://www.facebook.com/youslutband http://www.facebook.com/pages/YS-Official/1723238

    Thanks John!

    • Maybe there will be a pileup at the new Page too.

  • Carloscantor06

    ¿Isn't it a contradition that CD Baby invites to promote the artist and wikipedia writes in point 1 that is not a promotional vehicle?

    • A real oxymoron.

    • juepucta

      Not really. In fact, you can tell real fast when an entry is not seen as a proper encyclopaedia entry but an opportunity to write some badly written PR BS. Really.

      You can focus on the positive, list your achievements (assuming you can back them), etc. But you can spot bad bios from a mile away. Hell, Wikipedia even has a disclaimer sometimes saying something to the effect of: “the following entry shows absolutely no objectivity and makes outlandish claims”.

      -G.

  • I notice that the links are to different content, are the mailing list and facebook pages aimed at the same target audience? Are they being presented in the same way?

    I agree that mailing list fans are more valuable, but I think perhaps a fairer test is needed to give conclusive stats?

  • Jon Patton

    This is a perfect example of how backward some things are. I know a band who was trying to get accepted to play NACAA gigs – they had a mailing list of over 10,000, but were told they wouldn’t even be considered without 1000 “Likes” on their Facebook. Once they were allowed to audition, they were apparently the toast of the conference. As one of the few completely independent bands there, too.

  • That is frustrating. Of course, all they have to do is email their 10,000 email list and ask them to "like" their Facebook page.

  • Though very new in all the social media networks, I’ve already had to unsubscribe to quite a few.
    I agree with the above comment, though I didn’t do the comparison test. Thanks to cdbaby and amazon.com, I get better feedback from fans and subscribers.

  • Guest

    I agree with the premise of this article, when all is said and done it is all about the email addresses. Additionally, here are a couple of things about Facebook that have really worked for me in getting more email addresses:

    1. While doing FB advertising, don’t advertise your FB page but have the ad link go to your website Home page. Then on your website, entice people to sign up for your email list and ALSO like you on FB through an FB Like Box right on the Home page. If your Home page is well presented (such as with a music video as the first thing they see so they can check you out right away), they will do both.
    2. When doing FB advertising, only advertise to people who already “like” similar artists as yourself (or at least your genre), don’t try to advertise to the “general public”. Also, enable the advanced setting where you exclude advertising to those who already like your page so you don’t waste that advertising money.
    3. I personally also use FB comment boxes on my website. This makes it easy for people to leave comments and interact with you, and easy for you to see who is leaving you comments on your website and you can respond quickly to someone who asks a question or whom you may want to thank. When they make a comment, it is also supposed to show up on their FB wall (although I haven’t gotten this to work yet)
    4. Once people have become your fan, friend them from your personal page also (at least the ones who leave you nice comments). Then when you have a big thing to announce (such as a new music video or a CD release), create a FB event and invite all your friends to it (FB only allows you to invite friends of your personal profile to an event, there is no option to invite fans of a band page that I have been able to find). After you have created an FB event, you can message all your event invitees at the same time which will arrive as a message to their FB Inbox. This is MUCH more effective than posting a status update for reasons mentioned in the article.
    5. On your FB page, twice a week or so, post regular status updates consisting of interesting info in your genre (videos of other (past) bands, news about yourself or others, survey question: what is your favorite song etc). Make your FB page a place for fans of that type of genre to hang out and interact with you and other such fans. (It works best with a real niche type of music I think – this is what I am in fortunately.) Then when you do post something (about yourself), it gets to a point where people will be posting lots of comments and interacting with you – this will keep your announcement high in the FB news feed.
    6. I haven’t tried this yet but when you have a CD release for example, you can also do FB advertising to your own fans (those who already like your page). Don’t know how effective it is but I am going to try it out for my upcoming release at least for a couple of days around the release date.

    By doing the above I have gained 2600 FB fans and 1600 email list subscribers simultaneously in about the past 4 months (from 0 fans and subscribers) within a niche audience. I am now personally finding that when I do a promo blast for a new music video (which I have been doing every two months), the majority comes from Facebook (probably from the event message) and my email newsletter is a close second. Fans will also post links to the new video on my website on their own Facebook walls which gets some new fans and subscribers here and there

    It takes a little investment of advertising funds to do this but it takes relatively very little time once you have it all in place.

    Now, what I would like to know is, once you have a decent sized email list, what percentage of people can you expect to actually buy your CDs? I am going to release my first CD in a couple of months, and would be interested in people’s experiences with percentage of email list that buys. I have been looking to find anything about this online and haven’t been able to find anything so far.

    Also, any tips for creating the email “sales letter” for the new CD would be most welcome!

  • Awesome advice. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Awesome advice. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Another valid point and for some reason musicians in my genre just won’t list to me smh shame on them

  • Michael Arkk

    Thank you Andy,
    I do take your advise seriously and I will begin to use my Emails much more. Thanks again.