Tag Archives: social media

Steve Palfreyman Shares 3 Keys To Success For Musicians & Creative Businesses

Steve Palfreyman

Steve Palfreyman

I’ve known Steve Palfreyman for a long time. Honestly, he’s a good friend and mentor, which is why having him on the DIY Artist Route Podcast is such an honor. He and I share a lot of the same ethos, our philosophies and ideas on how to grow and build are similar and synced in many ways.

One of the coolest things about Steve, which he shares in this episode, is that what we do determines our legacy, which is the most important piece of our success as human beings. Never mind success in the world of art or music or business. Legacy is a big deal, and you can see (and hear) from everything he says that this is what drives the quest for growth.

This is the first episode of the podcast that I’m doing Show Notes (see below) to capture some of the specific parts talked about. It’s also one of the only times (with the exception of Derek Webb), where the conversation lasted close to an hour. Still, this is one of the best conversations I’ve had with a colleague and fellow growth farmer on the pursuit of success for all of us in the creative industries. Steve is known for the gold that is produced from his words (through quotes). That is certainly true here.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 5.10.08 PMOne other big point to make is that the Music Launch Summit, which he is the creator and host of, is kicking off soon. I’m privileged to join friends and past guests of the podcast like Benji Rogers & Andrew Apanov, along with Yann Ilunga, Wendy Parr, Arial Hyatt, and a bunch more folks in the creative industries. It’s free to sign up now, so get in. Get in to the Music Launch Summit here.

Podcast Show Notes:

*There are a few spots in the recording where the audio gets a little crackled or poppy. Don’t worry it’s not your speakers or your web connection.

It has to do with the recording from Skype to Logic X. I’m a bit of an audiophile and these little spots irk me on a technical side. However, this conversation was so good, and the time difference being what it is, that I stuck with this session instead of rescheduling to run the gambit of audio-syncing again.

In this conversation we’ll cover a lot of ground including

-Why you need to know your values to truly build powerful connections with the right people

-What marketing actually is (and it’s not pitching your music or work)

-Emotional intelligence, what it is, why it matters, and why your growth in emotional intelligence can determine how successful you are at anything

-Why reflection and empathy are essential tools to build solid relationships

Steve1PURE GOLD-Great quotes from Steve Palfreyman in this podcast episode:

“Marketing is just delivering stuff that is awesome.”

“Our industry is unempathetic and that’s what needs to change.”

“Emotional intelligence comes from life experiences. We all reflect, but not as much as we could.The deeper I dive, the more gold I dig.”

“Without it (emotional intelligence), the art will stagnate.”

“Social media and managing your career is no different than learning an instrument.”

“If we’re more thankful we’re all going to have more oxygen to keep doing the things that we’re doing and not feel like we’re just running on fumes all the time because it takes so much grit to get anything creative off the ground and we need so much to help each other keep going until we can get the monetary benefit too.”

Build Stronger Audience Connection With Amy Schmittauer

AmySchmittauerMost of us in the music and creative business space are seeing more and more videos in our social news feeds. Why is that? One big reason is video’s ability to build engagement. We’re naturally drawn to the power of moving visual and audio media. This is especially true when people are present in the videos. That’s the power that Amy Schmittauer shows us how to excel at.

I was not aware of how excellent Amy’s work is as a video blog coach until my friend Chandler Coyle pointed me to a video she did that talked about the power of radio for musicians. Her reference points are more in the pop realm of radio airplay, but the points she makes are spot on. In this example alone, we can see how the power of effective communication through video can convert people into becoming not only fans, but tribesmen. I’m not in her tribe, because one video wasn’t enough. I wanted to see what else she was teaching.

This video is how I first saw her work. Is it a How-To for getting radio airplay? NO. She’s talking about how getting your music in front of radio should be the first thing you think of when you think of marketing because it’s a natural fit. That’s completely true.

Amy’s site is full of her numerous videos, all showcasing ways to grow your audience using the power of video. I wanted to connect with her to learn more about her story, get her insights into how to take this platform of video production and translate it into the DIY music space, and build a dialogue. Her helpful personality isn’t just something on screen. It’s who she is  (authenticity is a key to building a solid core audience of super fans in any realm).

Does she talk about doing things in a digital space to build a big audience? Yes. Does that go against the grain for Audience Growth Farming? No. Here’s why: All of Amy’s content is about creating content for an audience you want to build a connection with. She talks about doing something from the perspective of the person you want to reach. That is EXACTLY the Growth Farming Method.

If you hear her talking about “mainstream” media or marketing in this piece, don’t ignore her words altogether because she’s still talking to you. She’s talking about all of us. We need to look at how we can present our

There are some really insightful and strong pieces of advice that Amy shares in this podcast episode (download and stream via iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker). Among them are how to focus on being consistent with your videos instead of trying to start out with the best equipment.

From my days back in the university world of media and journalism, I worked with a lot of young people starting their media experience.  They would hold off starting to work on their dreams of making videos until they got the best gear. Then they’d spend a fortune on gear that sat in a closet unused. Amy’s wisdom and advice here to start with what you have is spot on.

One key (very BIG key) that she points out repeatedly is something that’s covered extensively in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. Your focus with your marketing and engagement methods must be on the person you want to reach. Think about what matters to them. This is your tribe of super fans, your core audience we’re talking about. What do these people care the most about? How can you serve their interests? By making your end user your focus, you will not only stand out, but you will find that the right people are magnetized to you.

“No one’s thinking about what the end user really wants, they just put out what they want to put out, and that’s NOT how you get people to like you.”

Amy Schmittauer goes beyond just talking about how to make videos that people want to see. She’s a master at building engagement. It’s not enough to just make a video that has you playing your song, or acting out drama for a music video. The audio element is key too. As Amy puts it, “Audio will kill your video. If it’s not good audio or it’s windy, or it’s crackly, no one’s going to watch that video. But if the video of the video is not the best quality in the world, people still watch it, which is why Snap-chat is a thing and crappy video is fine. It’s relatable. People think, ‘That’s probably the best I can do with a camera too.’ ”

“The best thing you can do is use what you have and actually make a video. Find out what the mistakes are. Find out how important lighting is, how important audio is. Your phone is a powerful device. You don’t need a bunch of gear. You’ve got to test and you have to practice. People want the perfect set before they get started, but we never get the perfect set.”

Everything we do to growth farm our audience involves a process of building trust and relationships. Flash-in-the-pan methods of getting attention are short-lived. They don’t create the connection and growth that we need as creatives to have sustainable careers. For musicians, radio airplay is a big part of this journey, because it builds upon the trust that they listener has with the station they tune into for great music.

“We want to say things a certain way but our audience is not going to understand it until they know, like, and trust us and want to go down that path with us. I think musicians and radio speak to that because if you see somebody come out on the radio, a lot of times it’s because they’ve been working really hard and finally come out with an album or a single track that’s perfect for radio in a popular nature. That’s the thing that gets them the exposure and the eyeballs and the influence and then the second album comes out and it’s like ‘I want to know who this guy is.’”

Listen and stream the full podcast episode here:

 

This is a realm of engagement I’m working on too, concerning video. I’m doing more and more of it, particularly on Youtube and Facebook. It’s important for us to learn more about what actions we can take to get our messages out to the right people who are wanting and needing us. Amy’s insights here are a great resource for that. Follow her on Youtube to gain more insights into effective video production for growth and great tips on being successful in this creative space.

Take what Amy Schmittauer talks about in building a stronger audience with radio airplay to the next level. Sign up for the Indie Radio Course now to get your music in front of more music super fans on indie radio.

James Moore Joins The DIY Artist Route With PR Tips

“A lot of artists, if they don’t know how to do something, they find some sort of ideological reason not to do it, and that holds them up. You do need to take that leap. Learn about it instead of complain about it.” -James Moore, Independent Music Promotions

Image credit: Ryan Donnelly

James Moore; Image credit: Ryan Donnelly

PR is a buzzword in some business circles. In some music circles it’s a curse word. Author and PR pro James Moore is working diligently to correct the misinformation about not only the the business of PR for musicians, but also the pieces that make it up.

One of the ways he’s done this is from his fantastic book, Your Band Is A Virus. Websites, branding, social media and guerilla marketing are all subjects covered in the book. I’ve read it, and encourage musicians to pick it up to educate yourself on the pieces of the entrepreneurial puzzle that is the music business for DIY artists.

I wanted James to join me on the podcast because we have similar mantras about growth, fan building and the essential need that every artist, startup and creative entrepreneur in this space has for using basic business principles to win. His quote above is something we discuss in the podcast, and address solutions for.

“Getting rid of the mental obstructions that are holding you back is the same for businesses as it is for musicians or any endeavor really.”

It’s easy to complain about all the pieces of the puzzle that is entrepreneurial business. There is a LOT to be confused about. There are even more pathways available to learn something new, and grow your ability to connect the dots. James’ work with musicians with his company, Independent Music Promotions, does a blend of education with hands-on networking.

One key piece of this puzzle is the reality of how networking and relationship building actually works in the digital space. I’m thankful that social platforms like Facebook and Linked In have given us the ability to connect with fellow community members across the country and around the globe. However, there is a misnomer that clicking a Follow button is the same as networking. It’s not. Networking is relationship building. This requires time, conversation and shared interests. We build our networks and our relationships over chats, talks, and reciprocal connections.

I’m thankful to James Moore for sharing his insights into how growth works from a PR standpoint, educating both musicians and entrepreneurs on the role of media coverage in the development process, and the myriad of great quotes provided in this conversation.

What stands out the most to you from what James shared? Is there one thing in particular you’ve been trying to figure out about PR and still don’t understand? Reach out and we’ll figure it out together.

In this chat we also talked about my upcoming book, The DIY Musicians’ Radio Handbook: How To Growth Hack Your Fan Base Using Radio Airplay. The book will be out in early May. Make sure you’re on my book list to get first dibs and special bonuses.

Gain Super Fans With My Upcoming Book. Sign Up For The Book Release Here:

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Essential Music Promotion Keys Guide

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 5.08.21 PM(This info graphic is much larger with links to pieces that help you. Download it below.)

For DIY musicians and unsigned bands, there are so many marketing and promotion pieces that seem essential to your growth.

Does it seem overwhelming?  The sheer volume (no pun intended) of things you’re told to keep up with as a musician is very overwhelming. You’re not alone if you feel like there’s too much stuff to keep up with.

 

 

How to make growth real and obtainable

Growth is a process, and there are pieces to it. How can you know which pieces are essential and what can be tabled for a later time? I have the answer for you.

The reality of audience growth is that your music connection occurs in two different places at the same time. There’s a balance (just like in all things) between your online presence and your live experience. One happens in real time and the other happens 24/7 with or without you being present.

Music promotion is far more than having a Facebook page, Twitter account and your music on Soundcloud. Ultimately it’s about connecting with real people in a powerful way that creates loyalty and support for your work. By using more than just an online presence you great new opportunities for growth that matters.

The basics of music promotion is like playing an instrument

Music promotion is similar to learning to play piano (follow the metaphor). Once you know the essential keys you can take next steps to putting them to work for you with the greatest opportunity for success. Your success and your use of these keys will defer from other artists, though you can find some similarities at the same time.

The key to growth is to Be Uncommon. The uncommon artist isn’t following bandwagons and doing what everyone else is doing. This is one of the biggest problems that artists encounter as you hear an industry expert say you have to do this or do that online or social media. Forget that. Focus on the keys. Once you learn the keys, you get to determine the sound of your music promotion. Your sound will be different from other artists. That’s what makes you unique, and that’s what draws your super fans in.

Get these keys and put them to use in your music. Want some more help or insights (and maybe a few uncommon ideas to help you)? Reach out to me and let’s talk.

Infographic-Music Promotion Keys For DIY Musicians (download here)

How Strengthening Your Core Audience Creates Real Success

MichaelScott

One of my favorite lines from Michael Scott (played by Steve Carrel) of the NBC TV Show The Office is when he’s trying to explain to Oscar why he spent $1200 on a piece of fitness equipment. It’s a Core Blaster Extreme. Scott says:

“That is by far, the best way to strengthen your core. This machine… You sit on a stabilizer ball, you put your feet into the power stirrups, you reach up and you grab onto the super-rod, and you twist, and you twist, and you twist. It strengthens your entire core. Your back core, your arm core, your… The Marine Corps actually uses it. I think that’s how they got ‘core.'”

The extended comedy in this is that we often confuse what core actually means, and don’t apply ourselves to understanding one of the (pardon the pun) core principles of strengthening anything.

The Core is the center, the location where the most energy is and output comes from. Merriam-Webster says it’s:

a central and often foundational part usually distinct from the enveloping part by a difference in nature <the core of the city>; the central part of a celestial body (as the earth or sun) usually having different physical properties from the surrounding parts ; a basic, essential, or enduring part (as of an individual, a class, or an entity) <the staff had a core of experts> <the core of her beliefs>; the essential meaning :  gist <the core of the argument>; the inmost or most intimate part <honest to the core>

All of these are properties that define the essence of who we should be wanting to reach with our creations, be that art, music, innovation, products or services. Our core audience is the central part of our following, the key individuals who are impacted the most by what we do.

In our media-crazed world where, if we’re really honest, our attention span is mere nanoseconds due to the tsumani of information, images, videos, and everything else that is blasted at us online (be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) we often lose our perspective of core in favor of everything else, or everyone else.

To promote our work and reach our goals, we convince ourselves that we have to make our content go Viral, so millions and millions of people will see it. Then we’ll be successful.

Viral is a pipe dream for most people, especially marketers. Many so-called marketing experts have tried to sell a platform that “makes your social media posts/videos go viral overnight.” I’ve seen 3 this morning alone. But at the end of the day, how many people who will see your “viral” video but not engage in your content or care about what you really have to offer?

That’s the problem with viral, there’s no loyalty or love in it. It’s a fad, a bandwagon, a tsunami and blows through but doesn’t stop and interact. It misleads you into thinking that all these people who viewed your content will come back and engage again. Some might, but often once the tsunami blows through those same people won’t be back. You’ll need a new piece of content to go viral to bring the masses back, but they will be a different set of masses, and the need to truly connect will still be there.

Your core audience is not the tsunami. Your core audience are the rescue workers, the giving and caring people who nurture, heal, bless and contribute to things that hit them in their heart in a way that nothing else does. Your core audience connects with people, ideas, products, and services that connect with the core of who they are. Your core audience are the people who naturally are attracted to you and what you do. You know some of them, and others you might not know well. Your core audience are the uncommon people you should make your focus.

Common people in the world of media and promotions are those who see and hear but do nothing to engage or interact. They’re too busy, too pre-occupied, too hungry for something else to see and entertain them for 8 seconds. They’re people who see a great headline to an article or blog and share it on their Facebook or Twitter page, but never actually read the article. They’ve essentially endorsed and promoted something that has no real value to them because they have had absolutely no engagement with it.

It’s all too common to Like and even Share something we don’t actually have any engagement with. Because Likes and Shares only require a click of a button, but no click of the heart.

Your core audience clicks with their heart. And they click with their keys and words when they leave a comment, send you a message or add a line on a Share about how you’ve made a difference in their lives. Your core audience promotes the WHY behind what you do because they know it and love it. They engage with your offering because it’s valuable to them. Your why hits them at their core.

But who is your core audience? Do you know where to find them and how to interact with them? In the pursuit for creating the viral content, it’s easy to lose sight of the people in the middle because everyone on the outside is where the target is aimed.

MeByAbbeyRoadSignI hope you’ll take the binoculars off and reset your focus towards the center, to the people in your proximity who you have the best opportunity to really engage with, the people are are already appreciative of who you are and what you do, the people who don’t need the marketing messages to reach. Here’s why:

I spent 13 years working in public media, i.e. public radio/public broadcasting (think NPR). The business model is a non-profit, fundraising based model where local contributors are the lifeblood of stability for the organization. The years when stability and contributions were highest were years where we had achieved at being very closely connected to our local community and the individuals who most strongly supported the core of the organization. Those loyal, dedicated, and passionate individuals, business leaders, and innovators continuously went above and beyond the call “to give” because they believed whole-heartedly in the mission of what we did for the community.

These experiences showed me time and again that the people who continuously support you are the crown jewels of your outreach. And they are at the center of your customer base. The old adage that it’s 300% more difficult and expensive to attract a new client than to get a past client to repeat business with you applies in the nonprofit realm, in music, in small business, and in any entrepreneurial endeavor. Satisfied people who support you, your product, your company, or your endeavor with their money will return again and again. Little to no marketing required.

What is required is continued connection and engagement. This is where we often lose track on what to do and how to do it because our focus is on growth by reaching outside people, the common folk roaming around out there.

What if the common folk could be attracted and brought in by your core audience? Isn’t this how recruiting for the military, many churches, and peer-to-peer selling works? You go out to 5-10 people you know and bring them into the fold. Some will like it, others won’t, some will stay, others will leave. Those who stay may become part of the core over time and connection, relationship and interaction. Then they can go out and do the same thing, only multiplied because the core has now grown.

If you don’t ask anything of your core other than buying your new release or new product, it’s difficult to experience the growth you want. So you allow yourself to be drawn to the so-called marketing experts who promise that they can take your work and get a million people interested in it who don’t know anything about you. Does that seem a little more far-fetched now, in light of seeing how interest from passionate people who know you and have experience with you works?

There are two main center-pieces to everything I do. One is to be an uncommon person who follows an uncommon path. Your path and my path have similarities but they’re not the exact same road. Common people blend into the background. They’re the myriad of people in all the Where’s Waldo pictures. You’re not scanning to find the common people. You’re looking for Waldo. Waldo is Uncommon.

I believe people who have something that makes other people’s lives better, brings them happiness, and solves problems are uncommon people. Common people want to blend in the background, or they want to be famous for doing nothing of any significance, but to be famous and popular. There’s no value in that. You are an uncommon person for reading this post, because I’m not telling you how to be more popular, or what to do to go viral. As a fellow Uncommoner, I welcome and appreciate you.

The other center-piece is focus on core audience for real growth and success. It’s uncommon to talk about this, but that’s why I’m not a marketing expert. I’m a relationship growth person. It’s how I took an offering in a small town and grew it to be heard and loved across the country. It’s how I’ve been able to not only meet and talk with artists, business leaders, innovators, and influential people around the world by also building relationships with them.

The essence of core audience building is relationship dynamics and communication.

I want to share with you my “secrets” to building a solid core audience and how to use social media in ways that the experts and gurus don’t know (or do know but aren’t promoting). Join me for a Free Webinar this week that will cover 2 very simple, yet very practical things you can do each day that will strengthen your core audience connection, and create new success for you.

 

How To Initiate Connections With Influencers

Oprah-Magazine-2013-10

Growth.
Benefit.
Increase ___(fill in the blank)__.

These are what we want with our lives, our projects, our work, and our connections. Often though, growth means reaching outside of our social circles and into uncharted (or unknown) territory. This new world is where people we don’t know reside.

We may know some powerful influencers’ names and faces (since the online world is so transparent; thank you Facebook) but we can’t call up folks like Oprah or Richard Branson and say “Hey, haven’t heard from you in a while. Let’s go grab a beer on Thursday and catchup.” We don’t have that kind of connection.

So what do we do?

We jump on “connection outlets” like social media’s Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, and the lot. We “Like” and “Follow” influencers and then send them private or direct messages hopeing to make a connection. Sometimes we get a reply or a “Like/Favorite” but mostly we get silence. And then we search for what to say that will build the connection we seek so that what this person has or does can benefit us with where we want to go.

Sound familiar?

Does this quest for connection seem a little selfish? It does because it is. That’s ok, it’s human nature in a way, but it’s also one reason that making good, strong relationships with people we don’t know (or have direct access to) is so difficult.

When someone you meet in a face to face setting smiles, shakes your hand, and says it’s good to meet you, you feel welcomed in their presence. Yet, if this same person then spends the next 20 minutes telling you all about them, sharing their life story with you, their work, their struggles, what makes them tick and on and on……..How do you feel?

Seriously, how do you feel?

Do you still feel welcomed by them or to them? Is it really nice to be met by this person, or is it nice that they’ve found someone to listen to them drone on and on?

The same is true with our communication to new people in the digital realm. Often, we get an email address or a Twitter profile and we reach out to make a connection. Once a reply or connection is made, we are tempted to unleash a LET ME TELL YOU ALL ABOUT ME message bombardment, which many of us have done (myself included).

Sometimes we get a response from this message.

Often we don’t.

The same social norms and relationship rules that exist with our face-to-face interactions apply in the online world too, perhaps even more so because the face-to-face is missing.

Here’s the thing: It takes time to build a friendship or any relationship, even work or project related networking. People are human, not machines, so an instantaneous click doesn’t create a solid ally who automatically has your back and will go to war for your to see you succeed. That kind of connection takes time.

Yet that’s what we’re searching for, right? We want powerful and influential people to celebrate our work so that others will too. That’s the end goal. While “beginning with the end in mind” is a proven piece of wisdom in having clear vision, it does require some foresight and objectivity. It’s not wise to ask for the end goal at the start of the engagement.

There are people and companies online who are marketing and selling programs that supposedly give you access to the Oprahs, Jeff Bezos, and Lebron James of any industry. I don’t know how real these services are but I do know this: Making a lasting and true connection will take time and will require you to give something of yourself, particularly sincere interest in the other person.

My growth strategy and how I took my 1-man radio platform to a nation-wide audience through syndication involved slow, relational nurturing steps. Quick, fast, Me-First tactics produced little. Community building, relational and reciprocal connections took time, yes, but also made the best promotion and growth results I could have wished for.

Which would you prefer: Me-First, quick & fast with little signs of true and lasting growth
Or
The Seeds that are planted, nurtured and cultivated to produce fruits to benefit you for years?

If you chose the latter, join me. I want to show you this process of building powerful connections.

It is a process and does take some time, but like learning how to bake or how to drive, once you know the steps you can adapt it to your own way of operation and grow even more.

How can you join me? Tell me here what influencers you want to connect with and what you are wanting from them to help you grow.

Want to Fast-Track your connection with Influencers by learning the process to take that makes it happen? All of the connection tips, insights, and how-to are mapped out and showcased within the Indie Radio Promotion Course, available for just a limited time.

Get signed up now to learn how to take your connections to a whole new level.

Following This Twitter Trend Will Burn Bridges

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“Twitter Tip: Keep tagging the same person in a post that you make every single day with a link from 9 months ago to boost your site traffic.”

That’s not really a Twitter tip, but there are people who are following this course of action every day. It’s certainly a way to burn bridges quickly with the people who are tagged. Here’s why:

Someone a while back must have found some success doing this on Twitter, so they told someone else to do it. Eventually it became a trend or a “How-to-grow-your-Twitter-following” tip.

Or maybe no one has had success with this but continued doing any way, and because they did it to someone it was copied. We tend to do what we see others do, even if it doesn’t work.

But the reality is, this provides little benefit to the people who are tagged when there is no response from the individuals posting the tweet. There’s also no response from the followers of either entity, no clicks to the link, and no traction from the post.

If a social media trend annoys you, it probably annoys others too. If something annoys you, do you want to have people do it to you?

Here’s what happened: I did a feature article on an artist who was trying to grow their audience. It was a short piece several months ago (close to a year now), a few words, a video, a brief review and that’s it.

The week the tweet was posted, I promoted it a few times. That’s appropriate. The promoter of the artist promoted the link as well. Two weeks later, they were sending the exact same tweet nonstop every other hour. Then 6 months (yes months not weeks) later and at multiple times a day the exact same tweet was being posted by this promotion group for the artist. And I’m tagged in it.

“Why is this annoying?” you may be thinking. Isn’t getting tagged so much by artists and promoters a good thing for rankings and publicity?

It might be, but I honestly haven’t see a jump in site views or links clicked because of that. What I do get are countless notifications that someone tagged me. Like you, I want to see who is engaging with me and how I can respond. But you can’t respond to the same message again and again. It’s Spam, and trying to respond to spam doesn’t do much.

Plus, the Promotion Company won’t reply to the tweets I have sent regarding this issue. So what good does their Tweeting do for them?

When you get publicity, a review, or mentioned by the media you should promote that link or video or whatever it is. You should promote that for a week, and you should use that to forward your marketing. But don’t rely on that one piece of press exclusively. Certainly don’t use the exact same copy every time you post something on social media, especially if you’re tagging the media contact in it each time.  It doesn’t make you look very good.

Let me be clear. I’m not opposed to being tagged, actually it’s a great thing because it usually builds connections. But when tagging someone turns into spam, it’s going to be really hard to get them to talk about you organically to their following, and that is what you’re really after. Organic shares generate so much more activity than any other kind of post, including paid promotions (which are also effective).

All this to say, be careful how you treat your posts and marketing messages online. If you’re saying the same things over and again, and if you’re not really working to make connections and conversations with people, that can come across the wrong way and burn a bridge. Do you know what your marketing and communication strategy is online or do you have one? If not, you and I should talk.

Spam doesn’t serve anyone’s interest, the musician/artist, the media platform, or the audience. It doesn’t work on social media and it doesn’t work when contacting radio stations. Yet, this happens every day. Have you ever tried to get noticed by radio, media, or online fans by tagging people? Have you sent the same message out to countless contacts, hoping to get a reply so you can get featured?

You may still be waiting for a response that won’t come.

There is a way to make real connections, both with fans and with radio. It has to do with how you reach out, not necessarily what you say. If this has been your experience, let me know what you are wanting to do that isn’t working. Your difficulty or struggle is something artists face everyday. Let’s talk about how you can overcome them.

Keys To Building A Focused Audience

Image by  Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

Image by Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

Get Insights On Focused Fan Growth: Sign Up For The Free Webinar Here

I wrote previously about the difference between trying to gain 100,000 Twitter followers (or simply a giant group of music fans online) and focusing your time, energy and money on a specific group of people. Numbers are a big sales point that most people are looking to increase, but when your focus is on the wrong number for the wrong reason, you don’t win as much as you want to. Here’s why:

You need to grow your audience to be able to keep making more music. That’s a bottom-line reality every musician and small business faces. And yes, you are a small business once money enters the equation. A focused group of fans is much more powerful than a giant number.

The confusion between real, prosperous success and fame (or what is considered “success” in young markets) is an obsession with the wrong kind of number.

Let’s say you have 10,000 Likes on Facebook. For some artists, that’s a small number, for others it’s a goal they’re still trying to reach. In either case, how would you view a band who has 500 Likes on Facebook or 600 Twitter followers? You might consider them to be rookies, newbies, or not very good musicians because the number of followers is small. But what potency does the 10,000 have that the 500 doesn’t other than sheer volume alone? You don’t know, because all you see is a number of followers.

Image by Dave Catchpole

Image by Dave Catchpole

This obsession with the high number without knowing much about WHO is in either group is what’s wrong with musicians and bands trying only to grow the number-base of their audience without trying to grow a specific group of people who are prime fans for their work.

You can buy Likes and followers on any social platform. You can purchase enough “followers” to make it seem you have a substantial fan base when reality tells a different tale. So how powerful is that giant number now, or better stated how real is it?

What the number metric misses is Potency, or strength. This factor is key to success in the short and long term of your music career. Potency is driven by real connection with a focused group of people who are passionate about the unique aspects of your music. Artists and bands with incredible potency include KISS, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Shins. Their fans go out of their way to showcase how much they love these bands including costumes, fan made documentaries, and traveling large distances to see shows.

Think about it in terms of two very popular and potent brands: Apple and Microsoft. Chances are you are using one of these brands right now in some capacity. Mac users are hardcore, passionate and extremely brand loyal. Most PC (Microsoft) users will go with whatever maker or brand they feel like who runs the software they’re used to, be it HP, Sony, Dell, etc. Yes both are powerful brands. But where Apple’s user base may be smaller in size compared to Microsoft, it’s more than compensated with user (customer) potency.

Can you say the same thing for your fan base?

If 10% of your fan base shares your content with their friends (be it online social posts or old fashioned word of mouth promotion), you have a really strong connection with your fans. That’s a high conversion rate for most bands and small businesses. What if only 1% of your fan base is an evangelist for your music? That’s still a good portion. But when a fraction of a fraction of 1% is talking about you, that big number of your fan base that you brag about isn’t as powerful. Actually, that’s more indicative of what your true fan impact is.

Focus on connecting with a specific group of people, a targeted section of folks who make up your Ideal or Super-Fan group. This is the potent, focused group of fans who will increase your music success a lot more powerfully than an arbitrary number of followers online.

How can you grow your connection with a targeted group of people? The strategies and tactics for doing that are outlined in an upcoming webinar. Sign up here.

Best Practices For Musicians And Social Media

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.

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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.

15338308235_014a57c693_z2. Have an actual of relationship with those you tag on Social Media

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.