New acts now struggle to make impact on Facebook, expert says

facebook-logo-2Facebook’s continuing evolution from social networking tool to monetised content platform has made it tougher for new acts to make an impact on the platform, Rizzle Kicks’ manager Joey Swarbrick has said.

Talking to M about the importance of social media in launching the careers of new artists, Swarbrick explained that it is now more difficult for acts to engage with fans on the platform than it was 18 months ago.

The manager, who launched the Top 10 hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks, said: ‘Across the board, Facebook is becoming a much harder place to promote anything – unless you’re prepared to spend money.

‘As [the platform] has become monetised, you have to be more careful about what you put up. Previously you could post pretty much what you wanted and it would be treated evenly. Now, if you post content that is outside Facebook you will get a smaller push around the network. External links don’t really work for that platform anymore.’

Songs, not stats
This issue is being confounded by declining public interest in the likes of Twitter and Facebook, which is affecting the way new artists engage with fans online, he added.

Over the last few years, the music industry has placed emphasis on social media statistics when signing, promoting or supporting new acts but Swarbrick said the number of Facebook ‘likes’ and Twitter ‘followers’ should no longer carry as much weight.

‘People shouldn’t judge music on the numbers.If something’s really good, but it’s still super early for the artist, they’re not going to have a huge fan base,’ he said.

‘It’s no longer easy to get people to like your Facebook page and follow you on Twitter: it’s a much tougher relationship,’ he said.

‘About three or four years ago people were a lot newer to social media so they liked, followed and engaged more freely. Now, people unfollow more. They’ve decided they don’t need to follow 500 people on Twitter and they whittle down their activity.

‘People’s commitment on these platforms is much harder to garner than it once was a few years ago when things were fresh and new. No one wants to be overloaded with information any more so they’re much more selective.’

Wider trend
Back in July, a YouGov survey also found that the public’s appetite for Facebook and Twitter was in steady decline.

Its Social Media 2014 report showed that 10 percent of social media users stopped using Twitter and around the same proportion (nine percent) stopped using Facebook in the past year.

The main reason respondents cited was a loss of interest (55 percent), followed by increasing concerns about privacy (26 percent).

One in five (21 percent) said they were fed up with advertising and marketing strategies and one in six didn’t like third parties having access to personal content (17 percent).

The research also found that, despite its relative decline, Facebook is still the dominant force, with 86 percent of active social media users using the service.

This is almost double the proportion of its nearest competitor, YouTube, which is used by 46 percent of active social media users.

Twitter, the third most popular, is used by around a third (32 percent) of active social media users, while Instagram and Pinterest are used by nine percent and six percent respectively.

To hear more from Joey Swarbrick, come back tomorrow to catch our feature on how to launch a music career in 2014.