How To Make The VERY Most of Facebook (An Interview with Dennis Yu)

learn to like Facebook

I don’t know if you know Dennis Yu, but you should familiarize yourself with him ASAP. The man is a Facebook genius AND just so happens to love helping musicians! We have chatted on plenty of occasions but I wanted to let you in on a few of his best secrets and tips! Tons of great stuff in here and even more if you start clicking links. Dive in:

#1. I know you have been meeting a lot of musicians lately and chatting about Facebook. What would you say is the largest simple thing that they are missing or simply don’t know about?

Great marketing of lousy music beats lousy marketing of great music.

But because musicians are averse to marketing themselves– nobody wants to be perceived as a chest-beating, self-absorbed primadonna– they tend to not get their music in front of the right people.

The best targeting and content delivery machine in the world is Facebook.

Ghostface Killah FB post as explained by dennis Yu  why we advocate artists getting the word out about them– their new single, their upcoming tour, something fans would find interesting– through Facebook. Then spend a dollar a day on it to hit the right fans.

#2. There is often discussion in the music industry about if paying to promote or boost posts is “worth it”. What are your thoughts?

You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shiitake.

So being self-promotional and expecting immediate fame is just unreasonable. But if you boost posts that are cool videos, images of the band doing everyday things, and stuff that helps fans get to know you better, then yes.

Dennis yu uses Ghostface kill to show how effective  Facebook marketing can be for musiciansWe spend a couple thousand dollars last month promoting the launch of Ghostface Killah, putting all the effort behind Facebook promoted videos.

Because of the band’s association with the Wu-Tang Clan, using that target and the existing 750,000 fans of Ghostface, we got a lot more exposure, sharing, and sales that if we relied upon organic alone.

But if you don’t have 750,000 fans and are not on Jimmy Fallon, doesn’t mean you can’t still succeed here.
Just look at Tasman Jude!

learn how to win at social media and Facebook in the music industry with Dennis YuWhen you hit the boost button on Facebook, you’re letting them decide who they think is most likely to engage.
Usually, they’re pretty accurate, since they start with your fans, friends of fans, and people in the local area.

Two years ago, I railed hard against boosted posts, back when Facebook was still figuring things out.

If you’re not a marketer by trade, like we are, then boosted posts are just fine— especially if you don’t have a lot of time or money.
If you want to be pro about it, then you need to learn Facebook’s Ads Manager, set up custom audiences, and get your web, email, and social integrated.

#3. I think custom audiences are something that most musicians and industry folks have heard of but don’t fully understand, can you quickly break down how they are useful?

Sure thing.

Custom audiences are when you bring your existing email list and website traffic into Facebook.
Facebook matches up these users, usually at 60-70%, and then you can target them on Facebook via ads.

Think of Facebook as an extension of your email list and website.
So if you send out an email or post something on the blog, not everyone will see that message.
You can redeliver the content to them while they’re on Facebook, which is usually on their phones.
In the same way you pay for Mailchimp or another program to send messages, you pay Facebook to send messages.
It’s about $5 per thousand messages or people you reach.

The other cool thing is called lookalike audiences. That’s when you ask Facebook to create audiences of people who look just like your top fans– people who have bought, joined your list, or done something else.  This is when you get Facebook to do the heavy lifting for you.

And as part of that, Facebook provides you analytics to understand who your fans are. What other bands do they listen to? Do you have a fan base in Norway that loves you, which you didn’t know about? What content do they find more interesting and what are they talking about?

If you’re doing Google retargeting, which is chasing people around who have just left your website– all over the internet– then you can think of Facebook marketing as the same thing.  If this is confusing to you, just consider the various ads that follow you around when you look at  some product.  Sounds fancy, but not hard to do.

#4. Let’s give one really concrete strategy from a hypothetical scenario: Let’s say Dennis & Andrew recently started a band, between our circles and some gigging we have gathered 1500 “likes” and are ready to launch our first single. The song and video are for sale at iTunes and other online retailers starting next week, we have $150 set aside for social media promo… What do we do?

First off, you’d fire me, since I have absolutely zero musical talent. Then you’d target diehard fans of Milli Vanilli so we could promote some awful lip syncing.

Just kidding.  In our hypothetical situation, where you have your single on iTunes, you’d make sure to have your content on YouTube, Facebook, and your band page/website/whatever.

Go to to enter your credit card, upload your email list under “custom audiences”, and start promoting the content at $1 a day.

Don’t promote only the iTunes link– promote a mix of interesting content.

And while you can just hit the boost button– to let each post run at $1 a day for 7 days, you can use the Ads Manager to target these custom audiences.  Sounds scary, but it’s not.

If your email audience is small, then you might create a lookalike audience and include that in your targeting.
Monitor the traffic and sales in your Google Analytics and iTunes to see how it’s working.
Then you’ll have an idea of what other kinds of content to share and what resonates with the fans.

You’ll want to load up your budget a bit more during launch, so you can get more sharing going on– you need to build momentum. So while we advocate a dollar a day at least to keep things going, for launch you’d probably want more than $150. I know that’s a lot of money for starving musicians, but that’s the name of the game– you need traffic.

The most effective use of Facebook ads (I’m saving this for last for everyone who has read this far down) is to target the media and music industry insiders.  We can target folks who work at Sony Music Canada, SOCAN, Manitoba Music, the CBC, or whoever. Could be the folks who organize certain festivals you’d like to play at, as opposed to the fans of those festivals.

This is workplace targeting and it’s something Facebook hides under “more demographics”. It’s our favorite tactic to use and it’s been working like a charm for years for us. Andrew, I’m sure you have some things to say about this technique, unless you want to keep it a secret! (I love it)

Thanks so much for your time Dennis! If people want to get in touch with you, where can they find you?

Of course, they can reach me on Facebook at
But I’m at the 5,000 friend limit, so best thing is to email me at
I’m happy to help and we’ve created some free stuff for musicians– whether they’re established or trying to break.