It is hard to underestimate the impact that social networking has had upon the music industry. The entire market is being reinvented with the demise of traditional record companies, and the ascendancy of direct band-to-fan marketing. While a successful marketing campaign would use multiple outlets, it seems clear that the most important social media site at this time is facebook. With over 350 Million active users, and a six month growth of 70% in the first half of 2009, facebook is destined to be the dominant social media site for some time.
Personal Profile vs. Band Page
Individuals register a personal profile with facebook. Publicly-known brands, companies, figures, and most germanely musicians, can also register a Page. A Page is similar to a profile, but comes with some additional benefits. Among these benefits are the ability to advertise the page, and a relatively unrestricted number of fans (as opposed to the hard limit of the number of friends any given profile accommodates). Other benefits of the Page include:
- info tab tailored to your business type
- additional widgets such as a music player
- review section
- ability to share page administration tasks
- analytics on page interactions
Making others aware
Most bands and musicians are probably aware of the value of pages as opposed to profiles. Accordingly, most musicians maintain pages in addition to their personal profiles. But facebook does not automatically make others aware that a personal profile may also be related to a fan page. How does one create an awareness of a page’s existence? A person can become a fan of a given page. In doing so, facebook will by default display this linkage upon the Pages section of the Info tab of the profile. However, there is no way to force facebook to display an artist’s own page in preference to the other pages which are displayed therein. What is displayed there is a small random selection from all the pages of which one is a fan. As such, there is no guarantee that the artist’s own page will be selected for display at all.
The process I describe herein will allow the artist to permanently and prominently display a link to a given page from your profile. Further, this link will appear in the profile’s sidebar, so it can be seen whether the Wall tab or the Info tab is currently being displayed. Better yet, the link will also contain the page’s ‘profile’ picture, leading to recognition for your page’s graphical brand. You can see an example of this on the left sidebar of my personal facebook profile.
There are two elements to pull together to obtain this benefit. The first is that we need the ability to place arbitrary content on our profile’s sidebar. The second is to create the desired linkage to place in the sidebar. The former we will accomplish with an application called Custom Profile Box. The latter we will accomplish with a native facebook tool called a Fan Badge. The following is a step-by-step tutorial on these objectives.
Custom Profile Box
Our first objective is to add the application ‘Custom Profile Box’. This application will create an element that we can fill with arbitrary content. We will later fill this element with our page link Fan Badge, and then move it to our profile sidebar.
- From your personal profile, on the lower left select ‘Applications’, then select ‘Browse More Applications’.
- In the ‘Search Applications’ field, enter “Custom Profile Box”.
- Click on the desired ‘Custom Profile Box’ application in the search results.
- From the application’s Fan page, click ‘Go To Application’.
- Click the ‘Allow’ button.
- Go back to your profile wall.
- Below your status entry box, click ‘Options’, then click ‘Settings’.
- Click the link ‘applications settings page’.
- On the list of apps, a drop down ‘Show’ menu select ‘Authorized’ to show all the apps authorized to access your profile data.
- Click on ‘Edit Settings’ link next to ‘Custom Profile Box’.
- In the pop-up window, make sure the ‘Profile’ tab is highlighted. *
- Next to the “Box” item is the word ‘Add’. Click on this to add a box to your profile for this app.
- Decide and modify the Privacy — I suggest setting this to “Everyone”.
You are done setting up the app.
* There have been reported cases where there is no ‘Profile’ tab on the popup at this point. Further reports indicate that this may be alleviated by editing the Box, and adding some content, then returning to this step of the process. More as it develops.
This problem, and its solution, are now more fully understood. The issue is that the Custom Profile Box application will not have a ‘Profile’ tab on the Edit Application Settings popup until such time that some data (any dummy data is sufficient) has been added. The solution is to place some data in the Custom Profile Box as per steps 1-5 of ‘Place the Fan Badge in the Custom Profile Box’ below. After that, return to this process. Note that any data is sufficient — it does not yet need to be the code for the Fan Badge, and it does not need to be entered in ‘Source’ mode (though it will need to be later, as described below).
This also applies to the sister application ‘HTML Profile Box’.
Generate a Fan Badge
We have so far installed the ‘Custom Profile Box’ into our profile. Next we need to generate a Fan Badge for our page. Later we will place this Fan Badge in our Custom Profile Box and move the Custom Profile Box to our profile sidebar. Oddly, to make a Page Badge, you need to travel through your (personal) Profile’s Profile Badge link. The code for the Fan Badge will be copied and pasted into the Custom Profile Box’s editor. Accordingly, it may be easiest if you open another browser tab for this next bit.
- Go to your personal page’s Info tab.
- Near bottom left is a link entitled ‘Create Profile Badge’. Click it to go to the Profile Badge page.
- On the Profile Badge screen there is a column where you can choose what type of badge you want. Choose ‘Fan Badges’. This will take you to the Fan Badges Widget screen.
- On the Fan Badges Widget screen, find the dropdown entitled ‘Select a Page’. From that dropdown, select the page for which you wish to create a badge. Note that you must first be a fan of that page.
- From the 2nd field on the Fan Badges Widget screen, copy the HTML code for your Fan Badge.
Place the Fan Badge in the Custom Profile Box
At this point, we have installed the Custom Profile Box application, and created a Fan Badge for our destination page. The code for the Fan Badge is in out buffer. We next need to paste this into the Custom Profile Box. Later, we will move the Custome Profile Box to our profile’s sidebar. Go back to your earlier browser tab.
- Click on the ‘Applications’ status bar menu and select the app from the pop up window.
- An editor will load, and takes 30 secs or so on busy connection.
- On the editors toolbar, click the button named ‘Source’. This allows you to enter raw FBML code.
- In the editor window paste the (FBML) code for the Fan Badge, which should be in your buffer from the earlier objective.
- To save your creation to the app box, click on the ‘Update’ button. If all is well your box should appear in the boxes section of your profile.
- Click on your profile, and select the boxes tab. See your app box and your creation in it.
- You can drag your box to any desired location on the page by left clicking the box and dragging around.
Move it to the profile sidebar
OK, we have added the Custom Profile Box application, generated a Fan Badge for our destination page, and placed the fan badge in the Custom Profile Box. The last step is to move our Custom Profile Box from our profile’s Boxes tab to the sidebar.
- Go to your profile
- Select the Boxes tab
- Locate the Custom Profile Box on the Boxes tab
- There is a pencil at the upper right corner of the Custom Profile Box. Click it.
- Select ‘Move to Wall tab’.
- Go to your wall. You should see the Custom Profile Box, with your Fan Badge linking to your artist page, in the sidebar. You can change the location of this sidebar element by left-clicking and dragging it where you want it. There is however, the restriction that it cannot appear higher in the sidebar than the standard facebook sidebar elements.
Collect more fans!
That’s it. Now all visitors to your personal profile will be met with a graphically branded link to your artist page. By making it easier for people to find your page, you should collect new legions of fans.
Got a facebook topic you would like to see covered? Let me know in the comments section!