You sound amazing! I hope, you have a website or some type of social media platform I can check out (because who knows…I might want to share how awesome you are).
Read that again.
If someone discovers you, and likes what they find, one of the first things they are going to do is try to find out more about who you are. And, if you don’t have a solid online presence, then how are people going to even know you exist? More importantly, if you want to take your music career to the next level, you’ll need to start building up that online presence! That brings me to the next topic we are going to go over: Introduction to Social Media Marketing for Bands and Musicians.
Hopefully by now, you (or your band) have a website. If you or your band is thinking about taking the next step(s) to reach more listeners and you want to directly interact with all your loyal fans, you need to start there. If you haven’t already, you should check out our article on How to Create an Effective Website for Musicians and Bands. If you already have a website, Great Job! If not, no worries, but go make one asap!
Anyhow, the next step involves building up your overall online presence and making it as easy as possible for your fans to find you and communicate with you (as well as, all the important press and promoters that are dying to get in contact with you). But before we get into the “how” to do that, I want to give you a brief history lesson of the music industry (I promise it won’t be too boring).
Music Business History
Today we are currently in Music “3.0.” We are in such a great era, due to technology, that we can now connect directly with our fans, and vis versa. Basically, the middle man can be completely eliminated. The artist (or artists), can now distribute and promote themselves and their own material. And in this fast paced, technological world we live in, you no longer need to produce a full album to get your music out into the world; all you need is a single track on a social sharing site such as facebook or youtube, and people can discover you! This single type approach, is very useful in keeping you fresh in the eyes and ears of your audience. And lastly, you can target more specific listeners who would love to hear you, but if it weren’t for technology, they might never have gotten the chance to have their ears blessed by your music.
In the early days (way before anyone who is currently reading this was born), there was “Music 1.0.” Music 1.0 relied heavily on the record label and record stores to reach the consumer. The artist didn’t really have much control over their distribution, promotion, or image.
It looked something like this:
Artist → Record Label → Record store/retail outlet → Consumer
Then, came “Music 1.5.” This was when CDs became a “thing,” and MTV and other media outlets allowed for more promotion and a wider range of audience you could reach.
Next, came “Music 2.0.” This was the dawn of the internet. Remember Napster or Limewire? Free music downloads were a thing, and record companies were not happy. Then, Apple unleashed itunes, and monetized the way music was sold over the internet. This allowed for greater access to music, and allowed individual songs (instead of whole albums) to be downloaded or purchased.
That brings us back full circle, to “Music 3.0.” Bands and musicians, are now able to have direct influence on what their image is, and how they interact with their fans. This allows for a much more intimate connection with one another. (There, that wasn’t too bad was it?)
Artist → Fan
Intro to Social Media
Although we live in such a great time, many still do not know how to unleash all of the potential that is sitting at their fingertips. In this post
Well, let’s get started with some of the basic tools needed to accomplish this:
- Website – Music Releases
- Email list – Youtube video posts
- Facebook, Google+ posts – Blog posts
- Twitter – other social media outlets
3 Social Components
There are 3 social components to remember in order to effectively establish your band’s brand.
- Content – This is the material you generate. This would include, but not limited to: your website, mailing list, blog, videos on youtube, music files on soundcloud or spotify.
- Interaction – This includes all the places where you interact with your fans, clients, and customers online. Some examples would be: Facebook, Twitter, and other online social networks.
- Tactics – This defines who you are in the online world (your image or brand).
You need all three working together with each other to be as effective as possible!
Social Media and Branding Your Music and Band
Social media is larger than you think! Facebook and youtube alone have over 1 billion users! That is the size of a big country! To give you a comparison, China and India (the two largest countries by population) both have over 1 billion people, while the United States only has a little over 300 million.
To give you a basic idea, let’s use Facebook as an example. The average Facebook user has about 190 friends. Which means, if you include all of your friends, and then include their friend’s friends, you now have access to about 156,000+ people to initially showcase your music to.
Now, think about when you or a friend discover something very useful or amazing (of course im talking about your band!). Ok, now someone ends up telling another person, and it keeps going. That’s word of mouth marketing, and that is the best, and cheapest (it’s free!) kind of marketing possible. Are you starting to see the importance of social media and developing a strong online presence?
The Artist Brand
Your brand is, and should be a promise of quality & consistency. Let’s dive a little more into what that means:
Think of a band you like (or don’t) that is well known. There are two things that should stick out when you think about them. They have consistency in their persona (who they are and what they stand for), and consistency of their sound (this can change over time, but overall you know when you hear a song if it is that band or not).
So, how does a band know its brand?
Start by asking yourself who are you?
- Whats your musical direction? (music and career)
- What do you like/dislike?
- What do you stand for? Why?
Developing Your Band’s Image
Some steps you can take to develop your brand/image should include:
- Your brand must portray your music and personality (be you!)
- Keep it honest and simple
- Differentiate yourself
- Keep your look consistent over all platforms (social media, website, music, videos – should all convey the same message)
- Create a remarkable & memorable logo (how will people identify you?)
- Give away samples!!! (Great for promotion, but let’s be honest, who doesn’t like free stuff?!)
The last point is huge! Give away stuff! More importantly, give away you music! I know that sounds like the exact opposite of what you should be doing, but it is in fact the correct action you should take. Your Music is Your Marketing!!! 90-95% of an artist’s revenue comes not from their music, but from concerts, merchandise, publishing, and licensing deals.
Make GREAT music, so that people from all over will want to see/listen to the message you are trying to get across.
The strategy to get people following you, and more importantly, talking about you (word of mouth marketing), is as follows:
- Create a website – This is rule #1. Having a website is a must, and will be your focal point; where anyone can go online to see all about you or your band.
- Create a mailing list – create one mailing list that is available to sign up across all platforms; multiple signup forms, but only one list where they are collected.
- Create social media accounts – You should have at least 4 of the “big” social network accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, etc). (All offer different types of interactions with their audience.)
- Use a social media broadcast app for all social posts – This will help keep you organized and keep you consistently producing content. (Content is Key!) Some useful tools include Hootsuite or Buffer.
- Funnel back to website – All of your social media outlets should feed back to your main focal point, which is, your website.
While you may think social media isn’t for you or is a waste of time, it can directly bring your career to the next level. Social media is a great way to get you or your band’s image and voice heard. With all the tools available nowadays, you can directly target your audience to people who are, or would be, interested in your music/message. These tools will also allow you to analyze your posts, and gauge the reach of posts, or tell you what sort of content is working or isn’t working. Using various social media outlets will allow you to reach audiences you never thought possible, and if you are consistent with your content, you could end up going viral (remember that friends of friends on Facebook thing I mentioned earlier).
Overall, the 2 biggest advantages of utilizing social media are:
- It is pretty much free to use.
- It is much more intimate (social media allows you to speak directly with your fans)
Social media is still in its infancy, but as the internet progresses, people around the world are able to connect with one another like never before; and if you participate, people may just discover or like you or your band!
Until next time…where I will discuss more in depth on how to utilize Facebook as a Social Media Tool to expand you and your band’s