- No Music/Band page
- Have a page, but it is unsearchable (no username)
- No activity
- Not utilizing tools that interconnect with Facebook (ReverbNation, Damn The Radio*)
- Unprofessional posting behavior
No Music/Band Page. When I hear somebody new that I really like, I'll search for their Facebook Page. If they don't have one, I wonder why. Facebook is a powerful networking tool, and every serious musician needs to be using it.
No Username. Additionally, many times I've had a search come up blank and then I'll find the page through someone I know, who is already a fan. It turns out that the singer/band has never grabbed their username. Having a username means that instead of something like "facebook.com/123456789," you will see "facebook.com/yourbandname" instead. This makes search engines very happy and thus, your page much easier to find. Note that you must have at least 25 fans to be eligible for a page username, so let all your friends know how to find your page and ask them "like" it, so that you may personalize your username as soon as your fan list reaches 25. You can go HERE for your username. If you are a solo musician and already have a Facebook account that is using your personal name, you will need to select a variant for your music page, such as "facebook.com/janedoemusic."
No Activity. A Facebook page with no activity is almost as bad as no Facebook page at all. Not only do you need to be posting regularly to keep your fans interested, you need to provide them with rich content that keeps them coming back.
Not Utilizing Tools/Apps. There are apps that allow you to customize your band page so that people can listen to your music, view your events, and most importantly--share you with their friends. I certainly don't know about every possible app that can be used for this, but I'll tell you about the one that I have extensive personal experience with. ReverbNation has powerful free tools that interface beautifully with Facebook (and Myspace and Twitter). If you don't already have a ReverbNation account, you can get one HERE. You'll be able to upload photos, your bio, mp3s, press clips, etc. They'll walk you through everything. Once that's done, you can go back to Facebook and utilize the My Band app that allows the two to interface, which you can find HERE. This will install tabs on your Facebook page that will showcase your photos, music, bio and events. These automatically update in real-time whenever you update them at ReverbNation, so it's a one-stop way of simplifying what you do. Additionally, you can use ReverbNation's free widgets to place your music, etc. on your website, MySpace page, and many other places. It's fabulous. I also really like their fan mail feature.
Unprofessional Behavior: Avoid Foot-in-Mouth Disease. The worst thing you can do with your official Facebook page is to "show your arse" in public. If you really want to look professional, you do not want to be a) talking about your sex life, b) badmouthing associates, c) using profanity, d) discussing messy politics. Limit that stuff to your personal page, and--for God's sake!--keep the personal page as private as you can, if you do indulge in those types of posts. The last thing a serious musician wants to do is to alienate potential business, or the parents of potential business. Now, that's not to say that you can't promote something benign such as "Support our Benefit to Shave the Whales," but stay away from blanket statements, such as "All (insert your hated group here) suck, and if you are a (insert your hated group here), you are stupid!" I think it pays to keep it polite; bands have crippled their careers by speaking before thinking, and this is particularly easy to do online (Twitter may provide one of the scariest opportunities to self-destruct, ever, because it is so easy to wing off a remark without thinking the consequences through). If you need a place to vent about politics, etc., do it from a separate, designated blog or online journal...it doesn't need to be on your Facebook page. Same goes for sharing links to items completely unrelated to music. Those should remain on the personal page so that you can keep your fans focused on the point: your music.
So, there you go...a few indie career tips with regards to Facebook. As always, I encourage your feedback, and I thank you for reading.
*Damn The Radio is a new feature that I am researching. It is designed to interface with Facebook, allowing customization that includes uploading banners and other promotional tools. The setup process is very time-consuming, so I haven't used it yet; when I do, I'll report back on its pros and cons. If any of my readers has experience with DTR, I'd love to know about it.