Sound Advice TV – Ariel & Jon Discuss ‘The Dreaded 6%’

In this brand new episode of Sound Advice TV, Ariel and Jon discuss two new recent studies about fan engagement and digital revenues, the result of both leads to 6%. Watch above to find out why…

Also – the graph from the Bit Torrent study that Ariel references is below:



The #1 Reason Why Your Facebook Page Isn’t Growing (And 5 others too)

like message on keyboard button, social media concepts
This article was co-written by Jon Ostrow and Ariel Hyatt
If you are anything like the majority of people, artists, authors, entrepreneurs and beyond who have built a Facebook fan page, then I’m sure you’ve noticed something…

Facebook makes it ALMOST impossible to make any sort of real growth happen.

A recent study reported by Mashable (from Napkin Labs), showed that on average only 6% of fans engage with a brand’s Facebook page:

On average, just 6% of fans engage with a brand’s Facebook Page via likes, comments, polls and other means, according to a study from Napkin Labs, a Facebook app developer that works with brands and agencies. Of those fans that did, the average engagement was the equivalent of less than one like over the course of the eight weeks the study was conducted.

There are several reasons for this. Most of these, truthfully, are human error which we will discuss below. But there is no doubt that Facebook is taking strides to make it more difficult for you to achieve growth & impressions on their platform.

The problem at hand is akin to a common proverb:

Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime…

Except in Facebook’s case, it’s more like, once you teach the man to fish, you then put a thick layer of ice over the water, making it FAR more difficult.

So let’s dive into the issues at hand below:

You Don’t Pay. Period.

This is the proverbial ‘ice over the water’. No matter what you do to correct your own understanding of how Facebook works, and implement a more effective strategy, you WILL have to deal with the fact that Facebook uses an algorithm that works in the favor of advertisers. The money that advertisers spend on Facebook grants them first access through the ice to all of the fish in the sea.

A friend of Ariel’s, technologist Marcus Whitney explained the dilemma here beautifully in a recent panel they spoke on for AIMP at ASCAP in Nashville (reported by Music Row):

“Of FB’s $1.53 billion in revenue, 95% of what they earned was in advertising and 25% of that was from mobile ads. You used to be able to reach 100% of the people that liked your page on FB, but now you can at max reach 15% of them without paying.”

At the end of the day, Facebook is catering to their customers. Believe it or not, but Facebook’s customers are not you. They are advertisers. They are the people willing to spend money to be connected with others, and this algorithm was created to ensure that this happens.

Facebook has created an option for those of us who are NOT full-time advertisers, that for better or worse, gives the opportunity to ‘gain access to fish in the sea’ more quickly and effectively. This is the dreaded ‘promoted post’ function that Facebook introduced several months back.

By paying even as little as $15, you are FAR more likely to see true engagement happen on your posts, simply because Facebook is ALLOWING this to happen (because you’ve paid for it!).

As ridiculous as this seems, this option does present you with a good opportunity to jumpstart the engagement of a new page by promoting select posts that nurture strong engagement with your audience.

Ariel and I tested this over the Holiday season with one promoted post and here were our results:

Cyber PR Promoted Post
With just $15 spent, we received 46 likes, 237 comments and most importantly (for the purpose of this ‘algorithm’ conversation), the number of people who SAW the post was 4,517…

A whopping 10 TIMES the number of our average post.

But even with this great response from the one promoted post, it would have meant nothing had we not been prepared to leverage the new engagement through a strong strategy.

This strategy is the piece that so many are missing. This is the human error mentioned above. Here are 5 things that, if you don’t do, you’ll never reach the level of success you hope to achieve through Facebook:

You Don’t Post Consistent, Compelling Content (CCC)

This means that your content is not only consistent in terms of the style and theme, but in terms of frequency as well. A well run Facebook fan page should have 1 post per day (2 if you are getting great engagement) and the content should be varied enough to keep it interesting but similar enough that it helps to develop your overall brand.

Your Don’t Use Mixed Media

Facebook is not Twitter. Text isn’t the answer to success on Facebook. Facebook has acknowledged the fact that people are more likely to engage with photos, videos and links than they are simple, standard text updates.

Engaged Media on Facebook
Facebook gives these types of posts more weight in their algorithm.

3. Your Don’t Focus on Community

Facebook is a SOCIAL network. It is not a broadcast tool. If you spend your time on Facebook telling people about yourself over and over again like a broken records rather than asking, conversing and building real relationships, you’ll miss out on what Facebook actually has to offer. Find ways that your fans can not only interact with you, but can interact with each other, and you’ll really start to see some magic happen on your page as well.

4. You Don’t RE-Engage Your Community / AKA You Only Engage ONCE

It is one thing to ask questions to your fans on Facebook, or to share compelling content that warrants comments, questions, etc. – but it is entirely different for you to RE-engage your community by responding to each comment and question. It is this re-engagement of your community that will keep them coming back, helping them to build stronger loyalty to your brand. Oh… and all of this will help you to rank higher in the algorithm.

It is a snowball effect, the better you perform, the more weight your posts will hold in FB’s algorithm, and the more people will see your posts and engage with them…

5. You Don’t Pay Attention to Analytics

It is shocking how many people ignore the fact that Facebook actually GIVES you detailed analytics on your fan page. They do this for a reason! (See: the snowball effect above in #4).

Facebook’s ‘Insights’ give you a detailed look at who your fan base is, where they live, and most importantly, what content they are most willing to engage with. Your content strategy never needs to be a static thing – it should be fluid! It should shape-shift as you find out more about who your fans are and what their needs are. Using Facebook Insights is critical to a strong Facebook fan page that holds well in Facebook’s algorithm.

Of course, using Facebook Insights are only helpful if you know what the average metrics on Facebook are, so that you can compare your efforts to the standard.

First off, you have to understand the average number of fans on a Facebook page… this will help you establish a realistic goal to work for:



Secondly, once you have a realistic fan growth goal, you need to understand what the realistic amount of engagement of your total fan base actually is! Believe it or not, the average engagement rate of a fan page (Engagement Rate = ‘People Talking About This Page’ / Total Number of Likes) is between .5% and .99%. A GOOD engagement rate is anything over 1%.

What HAVE You Done in Order to Best the ‘Facebook Algorithm’ and Garner Stronger Results?

We’d love to hear about your own experiences overcoming Facebook’s challenges! Leave us your feedback in the form of a comment below.


Nagivating #SXSW: Advice from the Streets of Austin – RECAP + More

Though our time in Austin has come to an end, we still have a bit more to share…

Our final day at SXSW was once again packed with top notch events, showcases and of course people, all the while grabbing nuggets of advice along the way.

A special highlight of the day for Chris and I was the chance to see Cyber PR® client, and Peru’s own Bareto perform. Their set set was fantastic! Full of energy and dancing (something I had yet to see at SXSW until this point).

Bareto - SXSW Showcase @ Austin City Hall

Bareto – SXSW Showcase @ Austin City Hall

And now, let’s dive in to the last (but not least) group of people who shared their advice with us on friday. If you’re new to this series, see the links to all of the previous articles from this week’s SXSW series that ran throughout the week.

Ari Goldstein (Band Manager, Motive – @motiveband) A band playing shows during SXSW should know that they won’t be able to follow their schedule exactly, so allow a lot of time getting from show to show. Expect to get frustrated. Expect some shows to be empty. And remember this is not a make or break situation.

Bryan Vaughn (Owner, Paper Garden Records – @papergardenrecs) You never know who is going to be in the room so just play and have fun.

Jeremy Styles (Musician, Pearl and the Beard – @PEARLntheBEARD) SXSW these days is more a situation of if you don’t have buzz coming in, you won’t have buzz coming out. So don’t expect too much

Tim Convy (Manager, Tommy & The High Pilots/ Member of the band Ludo – @TheHighPilots / @LudoRock) Need to remember that there’s potent amount of potential for the industry to be at your show, but it’s just as much that, as it is ordering a taco next to industry folk in the taco place or standing next to them ordering a beer at the bar, and starting a conversation and creating a connection that way. Also playing at sxsw can be beneficial just to be able to say you played it.

Dave Mann (Blogger, Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie – @STPPie) It’s important for a band to play a few times at least during sxsw. I booked shows at 5 different venues at this years festival and discouraged any bands from confirming a slot if that was going to be their only show in Austin. Only a few bands out of the 200 that I booked ended up only playing our STPP showcases.

Benji Rogers (Founder, Pledge Music – @pledgemusic) South By music fans are some of most rabid fans who have traveled to see you. Take care of the fans first, THEN try to go out and network with the industry people.

Eric Weiner (Blogger, The Wild Honey Pie – @thewildhoneypie) It’s important to play A LOT at least one year, and then work with bloggers for the next year so that you can get on their showcases. Also, very important, don’t reach out to bloggers for showcases that you’ve never worked with… these showcases are typically reserved for bands/ artists that have been covered and supported by these blogs already.

Navigating #SXSW: Advice from the Streets of Austin – SERIES RECAP


Navigating #SXSW: Advice from the Streets of Austin – 8 Friends Chime In

Kickstarter 101 Panel - Jon Ostrow, Jenny Owen Youngs, Martin Atkins

Kickstarter 101 Panel – Jon Ostrow, Jenny Owen Youngs, Martin Atkins

Wow, yesterday was a blast! The day started early as Chris and I headed to the Bumstead showcase at the Canada House, and we kept on full-steam ahead with showcase after showcase, until the wee-hours of the morning.

Oh… and did I mention the panel I spoke on?

The Kickstarter 101 Panel, moderated by Martin Atkins and joined in by Jenny Owen Youngs and myself was really a blast – getting the opportunity to speak with the room about our own experiences (successes, surprises, obstacles, etc.) was a lot of fun!

But beyond anything else, yesterday was all about one thing – networking.

As you’ll see below, Chris and I took every opportunity to ask friends, old and new, to contribute to this series.

Dive in and enjoy! We’ll be traveling back to NY tomorrow, but we’ll post a recap with further advice we can muster from today on Sunday. So be sure to check back then!

Arron and Andrew (Band – @arronandandrew) – Connect with people on Twitter before getting here, it’s a great way to secure meetings. Leverage existing network to make new connections.

Tim Des Islets (Bumstead Productions – @BumsteadProd) – Play as much as you can and meet as many people as possible. Not everything will lead to a break, but everyone here is ready for networking so don’t be afraid to speak up.

Jenny Owen Youngs (Musician – @jennyowenyoungs) – Stay hydrated. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Martin Atkins (Author, Educator, Musician – @Marteeeen) – Do something different than everybody else, which means not playing, helping other bands, cooking pancakes, being nice… Do these thing and I think the things you want will come to you.

Stephen Francis (Singer/ Guitar, Model Stranger – @modelstrangerSF) – Have intention. A band needs to know what they’re coming down here for and what they hope to get out of it. That includes managing expectations. Don’t get distracted by the party. Make some friends.

Nigel Finley (Mood Media – @moodmedia) – Don’t count the people in the audience! Even if there are only a few, each one could be a potential super fan.

Joseph Kelley (Balcony TV Brooklyn – @BalconyTVBK) – Bring ant-acids!

Patrick Ermlich (The Outlet Collective) – Keep costs really low, come down for your first year just to get the lay of the land and get to know know the venues. This will set yourself up for the NEXT year.

BONUS: Jon and Chris – Run a blog series like this! Asking people to contribute, be it a musicians, blogger, label head, promoter or beyond gave us some amazing opportunities to network and connect with people. Thank you to EVERYONE who contributed!


Navigating #SXSW: Advice from the Streets of Austin – Cari Cole

Common Mama - 311 Club Showcase at SXSW

Common Mama – 311 Club Showcase at SXSW

Our first day at SXSW yesterday was intense and amazing.

We jumped around from showcase to showcase, seeing some truly amazing sets throughout the day including Cyber PR’s very own Common Mama who played one of their 6 sets yesterday at the 311 Club.

Before we connected with Ferdinando, Jon and the whole Common Mama team, we spent some time at the Pretty Much Amazing sponsored showcase. And who did we run into there?

Cari ColeThe amazing Cari Cole!

So we took this opportunity to include Cari in our series:

Cari Cole is a Celebrity Vocal Coach + New Music Biz Mentor. Her company Cari Cole Voice + Music has been in the music industry for the past 25+ years in New York City. Her programs + free advice serve indie artists worldwide.

BONUS: Visit for some free gifts! (Vocal Road Warrior 3-part series: Keep Your Voice Healthy on Tour and more!)

Cari’s Advice:

Dress to Impress But Lead With Your Friendly Personality and Not Your Ego!

Your visual is the first impression people get. While dressing casual at a conference can be cool, be sure it’s rock n’ roll casual (don’t wear sneakers and clothes that don’t depict you are a musician.) YOU are your brand. Flaunt your style and have fun with it! Secondly, people remember people that are interested in them, so lead with your friendly personality and not your ego.

REMINDER: Jon will be speaking on the ‘Kickstarter 101‘ Panel TODAY at 3:30pm with Martin Atkins and Jenny Owen Youngs!


Navigating #SXSW: Advice from the Streets of Austin – Chris Rockett of Music Marketing Classroom

SXSW 2013After sitting in JFK Airport for over 5 hours due to weather delays, Chris Hacker and I are finally here at SXSW.

Connect with us on Twitter – we’d love to meet up with all of you!

Jon: @jon_ostrow
Chris: @chrisnhacker

In the meantime, we’ve got another nugget of advice for you from Chris Rockett!

ChrisRockettChris Rockett is the founder of the Music Marketing Classroom, whose mission is to empower musicians to create a sustainable income, even with a modest music career, and teaches a simple four-step marketing philosophy to achieve that goal.

First off my advice would be that even though you may get all the Margaritas you can drink as part of your rider, it does not mean you have to use it.

I was over playing on the BBC stage at SXSW a couple of years back and after a long flight (and our set being pushed back until 1am) it was not our finest hour.

On a more serious note I would suggest that every musician take a moment to think of some EPIC freebie you can giveaway during the event.

There is a lot of people there trying to get noticed so you need to go the extra mile to stand above the noise.

For instance you might give away your whole album… PLUS a video recording of one of your shows.

You can do this by uploading it to SoundCloud and YouTube as a private upload that can only be accessed from a special link. (There is an option for that on each site)

Next, print up 200 business cards with a URL that will allow you to capture an email address in exchange for your killer freebie. Make it your mission to go out and talk to as many cool people as you can.

After a few minutes of being a super cool dude slip in that you would be happy to give them a free $25 coupon to get your “album package” and give then the card with the website URL on it.

You could also get them to text you or just go old school and make a note of their email address on your phone.

Once you have the email address you can use a killer app for Gmail called “Rapportive” that will show you if your new contacts are also using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Chatting with your new music biz contacts through these sites will deepen the connection.

You now have a brand new email and social media list which is something very concrete and valuable to show from your time at SXSW.

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