Recent changes to Facebook Pages have been especially important for musicians. First, the social network’s switch to Timeline led to new ways for artists to mark their developments and major milestones. Second, the addition of the new Listen button means less need to use music-focused apps in order to get your songs in fans’ ears.

These changes mean that musicians have to be particularly nimble in their Facebook marketing management. A pop artist needs so much more than just a “play” button to have a strong and consistent presence online.

What can musicians do to make the best of Timeline? These four pop music acts have used Facebook wisely — making good use of the technical features and providing content that fits their brands. Let’s take a look at how they’re rocking it.

1. Coldplay

There’s a lot of effective elements in Coldplay’s approach to Facebook. First off, along with the usual PR team posts, the band members sometimes post more personal items signed with their initials. These posts might be about other songs or videos that are inspiring them. This approach allows fans to get a more personal connection with the group.

Another nice touch to Coldplay’s Page is the level of detail in the band’s milestones. Their founding is shown with a photo and the date of their first rehearsal in January 1998. The other key events they’ve highlighted include album releases and important performances.

And they’ve maintained a high level of personalization with the text for those milestones. For instance, the band’s headlining performance at Glastonbury on June 28, 2002, reads, “The stakes were certainly high, but it remains of one of the band’s favourite ever shows.”

2. Rihanna

As we’ve noted in many posts about Timeline, the new format strongly favors visual storytelling. And few artists have the visual element nailed down like Rihanna.

The pop starlet’s Page uses photo and video content to help generate buzz. For instance, she’s going to release a music video soon for the single “Where Have You Been.” The release is being preceded by a behind-the-scenes video about the making of the final product. There’s a dramatic still photo of the singer dancing captioned, “How much do you guys want to see this video?” That photo has 41,896 Likes!

Don’t feel limited by what you as a musician have to offer for visual material. Rihanna’s photos range from magazine covers, to behind-the-scenes music video sets and vacation photo shoots. And don’t forget the importance of performances. The singer is the subject of many stage shots; there’s an album of pictures from backstage during her tour and several albums with pictures of her fans. There are many ways to use visuals to keep your fans’ interest, so get creative and think about what best fits your image and style.

3. “Weird Al” Yankovic

The most important lesson to learn from the master of song parodies’ Facebook Page is to always let your character and quirkiness shine through. For instance, on Nov. 1, 2011, he posted a photo collage of people who dressed as him for Halloween.

Weird Al also uses Facebook as a platform for sharing many of his other projects beyond the music. He posts links to videos ranging from home movies to performance clips. His newest interest is a web series called “Face to Face” where he interviews celebrities with predictably ridiculous results. All of the content affirms the musician’s eponymous weirdness, which is a huge reason for his appeal. If you have a well-known trait or a characteristic that’s worth emphasizing, make sure it’s obvious in every facet of your Page.

4. Alicia Keys

The R&B singer and pianist has taken a wildly different approach to Facebook than most other artists. While it’s common to see an onslaught of promotional material that’s likely curated by a public relations team on a musician’s Page, Alicia Keys has a Facebook presence that looks refreshingly real.

She’s taken a diary-like approach to her Page, particularly taking advantage of the Timeline features. Her history begins with her actual birth rather than her start as an artist, then has milestones such as meeting her manager, penning her first original compositions, and graduating from high school.

She began taking the more personal approach to her regular posts in 2011. Today, she frequently posts photos from Instagram, either of herself at work in the studio, or out on the town with friends. There are also inspirational quotes and occasional news items unrelated to her career. It reads more like a personal Page than a brand Page. As a result it’s a powerful approach that sets her apart from the rest of the pop-music field.

Who’s your favorite pop music inspiration on Facebook? Let us know in the comments!

[Image credit: Martin Cathrae]