Sound and Tone: How Musicians Can Use Visual Facebook Ads in their Promotions

You’ve got a knapsack, a ton of sticky tape, and often need be quick-of-feet in case they get caught. It may give one some cool cred at the local indie bar to say their a music promoter – but just like how being a bike commuter can be a world of worry in tandem with fun – posting up concert promos around the city can be a hard and difficult thing (especially if within a grey area of the law). Yet, for a long time this was a chief way for new musicians to get word out.

Now, there are Facebook Ads. You know they exist, you always see them, and you often click them. Nonetheless, while there is no shortage of guides on how to setup Facebook ads, advertising as a musician is a harder task given the ads are seen but their product is heard, and so not every musician uses Facebook ads in the optimal way to get them a good return (read: more people clicking and listening to their songs).

As a result, just as the Beatles were discovered in a smoky Liverpool bar – and music history is swarming with stories of great artists being discovered in obscure places online and off– even today there is music good music going unheard.

Let’s look a little more now into why this is so, and what can be done…


Bringing together Music and Images

Music is by its very nature an acoustic product. If people listen to your song and love it they’ll surely be a fan of you for a long time to come. Yet, just the same as streaming has replaced Top 20 radio, so has the rise of online brought with it a rich opportunity to get noticed; but also required to look anew at the tried and true idea of sending a mixtape in the mail. Many as a result turn to Facebook to promote their music.

Further, Facebook may be the most popular social network at present; but switching up from using it for professional reasons beyond personal use can be a bit of an adjustment. It can be awfully uneasy to puzzle through the vagaries of the advertising world. There is all such of jargon, terminology, and industry-speak – some of it like CPC/PPC is necessary – but other jargon …not so much.

So, for the aspiring musician with the sleek drum solos or the big booming voice, may this be a step by step aid to getting your voice out there online.

Sign up a business a page right away


The Guns N’ Roses may be all fine with delaying a release of Chinese Democracy for 20 years but if you are new to music sooner and faster is better. In turn, while you can amuse yourself and toy around in your personal facebook account for a while, once you’ve decided to get busy pinching Grammys off Taylor Swift you need get a business page fast.

This is usually an easy-do, and can be linked into your personal Facebook account making it easy to keep it updated, share content, and post updates between the two accounts. Starting a whole new page may feel like a bit of a pain, but if your a serious muso you need ensure your business has a seperate online presence to your personal page, lest the two clash.

Use the Ads Creator First

There are two main options for Facebook ads: the Ads Creator and the Power Editor. The latter has more features and is powerful –  but just like how you don’t need a F-18 hornet to fly a Melbourne to Sydney red eye – so too shall the basic option suffice when you’re just starting out with ads.


Fighter jet

‘I still cannot believe that airline website sold us these seats for $10’

This is in the main because right now you just seek to start out with ads – not commission a 24/7 online campaign that may not yet be setup to properly reach the right audience and do what it should. Accordingly, it is imperative you…

Decide your Campaign Objective

Unless your currently a bar tender moonlighting as a musician moonlighting as a coder its unlikely you’ve got an app to advertise (and but if you, email me and tell me about it #coolstuff). Instead, what you need to pick is either page likes, clicks to website, or event responses. Where you are in your current career and calendar – are you gigging locally, set to go on a tour, or just build hype surrounding your next album launch – shall be the guiding stars that inform where you see page likes, website clicks, or even responses.

If you find a objective has an overlap with another that is usually fine – you may be seeking to get more clicks to a bar’s website where you are set to gig regularly, and where people shall see your Facebook page advertised – but just seek to ensure your campaign fulfils your chief aim. Seeking to get event responses to a gig you’ll do in a year’s time is not nearly as wise as getting clicks to a website if your album just launched this week.

Get a Good Ad and Copy Done

In a bygone era the saying ‘don’t just a book by its cover’ had creedence. This is when you picked up a dusty old paperback in a quiet country bookshop and hoped for the best because the guy behind the counter hadn’t heard of the author before. Now, there is Amazon Kindle, Google Books, and 100 other sites like it, and the same dynamic applies to music.

If a potential listener is scrolling through Facebook without any music on right now, you’re unlikely to get a click if they see your ad with only a mediocre album cover and some dour text to invite them to a listen. A good way to test your ad is to do the ‘Times Square Test’ when you look at it…


Times Square

Would you be OK with your ad featuring here? If not back to the drawing board to up its quality.

Just the same as you wouldn’t release a new song online without putting it through editing in Adobe Audition or FL studio, so too need you ensure the visuals of your ad support the strength of your music as even great music will go unheard without the right introduction.  So, seek out a professional who can create for you a compelling ad and rich copy that can get your ad noticed for its imagery,  clicked for its words; and your music listened to.

Alter and Change-Up as Needed


The advertising world is full of renowned campaigns and failed campaigns. At their essence though the good and bad share an essential factor in common: communication. A good ad is need not be overwhelming or overloading – as indeed something with a clear message shall always be best – but it does need convey something with clarity. A bad ad can risk undoing altogether the good work of your product, just as a good ad can really enhance and build out its base.


Between these two worlds are ads that have found some success but need a refresh. This applies to your Facebook Ad.  If you’ve spent the past fortnight advertising your ad in Brazilian colours to celebrate the Rio Olympics then your campaign may be akin to Carnival! But, now the games are over it is time to switch those colours out to something else, lest it look dated or irrelevant.


Getting the Greatest Hits


Your music may be great but if your website, advertising, and overall visual presentation isn’t as good as your drum solo of your EP’s first single you may struggle to get listens. So, get a good logo, get a good ad, and get going on picking out just how many strobe lights you’ll need for a world tour. Also, seek to take the time to really get it right.

Good ads is a little like being good at darts. Hitting the bullseyes once is great – but if it is only that one time you are not going to do nearly as well as someone who is just short of the center but is regularly on target.


‘OK Buddy, great your aiming for a bulleyes – bad your last 3 darts hit the fish tank…’

Accordingly, better to fail a campaign with the right audience than achieve some modest success with one that is totally wrong. A slight re-positioning of your aim and quick adjustment of your copy or audience can fix the first, but an entire shift of content, target, and aim is needed for the latter – so focus on good form over results alone at the outset.

Beyond here, if you’ve so far been operating via Facebook, and perhaps a YouTube and SoundCloud account, it may be time to start your own website. It needn’t be complex – in fact simple is often best – but it can offer you a great new avenue to showcase you solo like John and croon like Brenda.

Ed Kennedy is a journalist, ghostwriter, and web developer from Melbourne, Australia. Contact Ed via on LinkedIn or Twitter@EdKennedy01