Social media is a resource now used by more industries, companies, businesses, and individuals to market themselves than any other medium. There’s hardly anywhere you can go where you don’t see a Twitter or Facebook icon, and that’s just the half of it. The influx of social media marketing (and the continued rise in people doing it) leads to a lot of messaging taking place.
What do all musicians want? A larger following. Social media provides a way to make that happen. However, there are some very common ways that most musicians (especially DIY and indie acts) misuse the platforms. Here are a few ways to get the most out of your Twitter, Facebook, and other social endeavors, as well as a few common mistakes people make that short-change their efforts.
1. Have a web presence that is monitored regularly and updated.
This seems obvious but there are a lot of artists who have social media channels that they use often but haven’t updated their website or homepage in a long time. On Twitter, they’re sending folks to their Soundcloud or Bandcamp page for their latest song release, but the link to their homepage (accessed from their profile) is very outdated. The Artist/Band homepage has no mention of music from the past 3 years, contains only old graphics or pics, and lists a tour schedule from 2012.
There are several basic web platforms that offer hosting and domain registration for no cost (and some for a nominal cost) which can be built and managed by you with little time commitment. Keep your site current because potential fans are looking for how legitimate you are, versus just having a Twitter handle and a Bandcamp site.
If you haven’t reached the point yet where you have a domain name or website, don’t worry. But if you have a main homepage listed on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, (etc) profile, make sure it’s up to date.
Have you ever had someone tag you on Twitter to listen to their song, but you have no idea who they are? Welcome to my world, and the world of many of my colleagues in both radio, online media and in music labels/artist reps.
We get solicitations from every channel possible, but being tagged on social media by folks we don’t know is becoming a constant issue. It’s something we’re not keen on responding to, let alone following the link to the track or music. Tag folks you know, and tag folks you want to get to know. Use that to start conversations or make a reply to an ongoing conversation. This is a great way to build new connections and relationships.
However, when you don’t know someone and you tag them for the sole purpose of listening to your music (or just clicking on your link for site views), you lose a potential supporter and promoter. In essence, promotion is what anyone in media and label/management does. We talk about artists because we’re passionate about you and what you do. If you want to be someone who gets promoted by passionate people (in our realm of media or management or otherwise), have some social tact and connect with us first, before soliciting us to “check out” your stuff.
Follow as many people as you want/can to get reciprocated likes and follows. Do what you need to in order to build your followers and grow your brand. But me mindful of how you tag other people, especially folks you don’t know or don’t know well.
3. Be Inclusive Not Exclusive
The best way for you to build your fan-base and followers is to include your fans in your messages, pics, and content. The bands I have the strongest connection with that are also the most successful do this very well. After a concert or gig, post something online from the gig making mention of the folks you met and people you connected with. People love being included in content, especially when the posts come from the artist they just saw. Pics work well here too, but make sure you have people’s permission before you put a pic of them online. Most folks don’t have a problem with this but every now and then…….
There are a lot of artists and musicians who travel town to town, play a show and then instantly start talking on social media about the next place they’re off to. They don’t mention the great experience that they just had. All it seems that they want is someone in the next town to go to their next show. This doesn’t build connection or following as well as spending a little time in the moment with the people who just gave you their time, money and excitement.
If you want to see good examples of how to be inclusive, check out the Facebook stuff from my friend Kelley McRae. She and her husband Matt have spent the better part of the last 5 years on the road, building a following of very passionate people.
These are just a few examples of what works and what doesn’t with social media and social marketing. Your end goal is to increase the number of people who not only hear your music, but like it. Subsequently you want them to like you too. Not doing these social marketing no-nos as a musician will really help you build your brand, grow your fans, and be more successful in what you do.