This afternoon I was writing to a musician client of mine about social media marketing tools that I think are important for musicians to implement and utilize regularly and decided that I would share my advice (that comes from working as a social media manager for 3 years) with you.
The first thing a musician needs when it comes to marketing is a professionally designed website that looks really striking and contains lots of useful information including a bio, tour dates, blog, mailing list, photos, music and video files. It should also contain easily identifiable icons that link to your other social media sites and/or social plugins for Facebook LIKE boxes and Twitter streams.
Next to Google, Facebook is the number 2 site on the Internet, followed by YouTube. So, a Facebook fan page (or business page as they are also known) is really important! Definitely more so than MySpace which is dying a slow death – I’m witnessing the fact that musicians are deleting their MySpace profiles every day now as I monitor my clients’ accounts.
You should post on a Facebook fan page regularly and be sure to add any new press, photos, videos, links, etc. whenever you can, but not necessarily all at once. It’s good to space out your posts so as not to inundate people. If you can do some video blogging or have a good quality video made of you performing, that would be most beneficial too. Having a YouTube channel and building it is very useful. Using Twitter is a way to reach people who may not be on Facebook as some people tend to prefer it because of its simplistic and real-time format (it’s also easier for those who want to, to remain anonymous).
Social media marketing never ends and it’s not going to go away either. If you want to increase your public profile, you have to do it. That’s where people are these days…online! If you want to connect with people who may be able to help your career, you have to do it. It’s all about being social though so that part is really important. It’s more important to engage with others than it is to market yourself (says Scott Stratten, author of UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging). Your website should do that beautifully.
If you don’t want to spend money on a website right away, at the very least, you can create a dynamic Facebook fan page (or have someone like me do it for you!) complete with a customized BandPage tab (my favourite music application on Facebook, although ReverbNation’s My Band is also excellent) that can act as a landing page for people who haven’t LIKED your page yet so that they can hear your music before they decide whether they like it.
You always have to give people a reason to keep coming back to the page too. The BandPage needs to be updated with your tour dates so that people know where to find you and music samples should be changed once in a while. You should provide contact info, up-to-date bio, photos, .MP3 files of your music, any links to videos with you in it or links to all the sites that you’re currently on, tour date information, your influences and other artists that you admire, copies of any press or reviews, and info regarding your mailing list if you have one. You should also decide whether you want to market yourself as a band, solo artist, session player, or instructor, etc.
The end of the year might be a good time for you to send out CDs and one sheets to many different music festivals that you might be able to play at across the country for the following year. You could set up a Twitter account that you can use to start following people who have similar taste in music to your own and to start following music publications, bloggers, festivals or venues that you might be interested in playing. Connect with the owners and organizers that way and you may land some gigs. It CAN work but you have to WORK it.
As a social media manager, my job is to get people up and running on the sites that would be most suitable for them, teach them how to use them effectively and monitor them regularly for any email or comments that need to be responded to while deleting the junk. I can also help build the numbers by cross promoting between Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (as well as other social media sites that are beneficial to musicians). I provide other services as well and you can read about them here.
The trick is to not stress about social media…if you can update your Facebook (which can also be set to go out as a Tweet) fan page twice a week, that would be great. If you can spend one hour a week on Facebook and one hour on Twitter for starters…you’ll notice the benefits of it. Just go on the sites and engage with the other people who are there. Artists who are really successful with their social media marketing probably spend an average of 10 or more hours a week on their social media profiles. It takes time. But it’s worth it! If you feel more comfortable having a beer or a glass of wine while you’re doing it…so be it. Just remember that social media engagement is similar to being at a cocktail party: mingle and talk to other people about the things you have in common. If you’re a wallflower and don’t talk to people, you’ll never make beneficial connections. (I have to remember this myself when I’m at parties and social events because I can be shy in person when I don’t know the people.)
Above all, have FUN with social media marketing and don’t try to hard sell anyone. Just make sure that the information is available, be approachable and let it be.