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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 really didn’t 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 is practically impossible to keep track of how many people have been there since your ad. Also, you can’t follow up with these people because you don’t have an email or a way to do it again.

But the second problem is more related to human psychology. As human beings, when we meet someone for the first time, it is highly unlikely that we will do anything they ask of us.

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 new country music album, so I go to my local country music bar, walk up to the first person I see and say:

“Hey, I have this cool new album, I 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 see outside?”

The chances of that person doing it are slim or nil.

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

Basically, you are asking a complete stranger to stop everything they are doing and then leave Facebook to go listen to your music.

And in fact, there is a much better way to promote your music with Facebook ads.

Imagine this different scenario …

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

Now you start looking around the room and notice that some people nod their heads and move to the rhythm of your sweet melodies.
You walk up to them, 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 would love to give my EP for free, can I get your email to send it to him?”

They say yes. And boom. You now have a direct connection to someone who is interested in your music and could become a fan.

We can do the same on Facebook by running a paid video ad. Don’t put links or anything crazy in the text. Just a simple headline. What it does is make people discover your music naturally, and if they’re curious, they’ll click through to your page and learn more about you.
And if you’ve set up your custom audience lists on Facebook, you can post a follow-up ad to 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 are not asking a stranger to do something. Instead you are sharing their music and they can choose to watch your video or scroll to the next.

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