Musicians need to embrace their inner-social media guru in order to get their names and their music out there. Up-and-coming rock stars have plenty of opportunities to get discovered. The starting point: talent.
“You have to be good. Great, even. Fantastic,” says Sarah Wefald, Relentless Artist Management. “It is not enough to simply make great music.”
First and foremost, musicians must have a basic website. The key is to have a central location that has pictures and video, as well as info on albums, gigs, contests, email list sign-ups, etc. where you can send your fans from your social media channels. Sure, you’ll post this info (pics, events) and more on your social sites, as well, but it is important to have everything in one place. Plus you need to have a place to send music bloggers and potential venues, as well as fans and booking agents.
Sign up for the primary social media sites – Facebook and Twitter – as well as Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Vine. You can even go old-school and join MySpace, if you are not already there. Also, seek out less traditional artist sites, like Talenthouse, an artist collaboration site; Access4Artists, an online talent-discovery platform; IROCKE, a live digital concert distribution channel; SoundCloud, an audio-only site, and ReverbNation, an artist promo app.
Here are 5 things musicians can do to develop a social media following.
1. Find your audience
“It’s not the massive numbers that count,” says producer/songwriter Tim White. “It’s about having an audience that is passionate about your stuff. You want to find that smaller group that is going to be proactively engaging you and your music, sharing it, and actively participating in your community. A great way to do this is by searching out similar bands or artists and finding out where their traffic comes from. You can get this data from YouTube referral stats or even just a simple Google search. Find out which blogs are talking about those bands and then reach out to them yourself. Build relationships with those bands online.”
2. Post meaningful, sharable content.
“Use social media not only to promote yourself, your music, or your shows,” says singer-songwriter Lindsey Walker. “Use it to help develop an online community where the common denominator is your music. … Start conversations. Answer questions. Ask questions. Show support for other musicians. Post videos of musicians that have inspired you along the way.”
Melissa Lowery of Nice Girls Media recommends embracing your peers. “Are you working on a song with an awesome songwriter? Tweet about it – and @mention that person! Rehearsing with your band? Post a photo – and tag everyone in the pic! Chances are good that those you tag will RT, reblog, and repost.”
3. Engage your current fans.
“Encourage them to spread the word,” says Billy Bones, Marketing Director, BBE Booking Agency. “I would also set up an incentive system for their fans, like Tweet for a Track, or Like to download a new song. Being successful in social media is all about engagement and giving your fans the tools that they need to spread your content in order to develop and increase your social media following.”
4. Continue the social push IRL. Hand out swag. Put up flyers.
“Always make social media contact with fans at the venue you’re playing in person,” suggests social media strategist Drew Milford. “Don’t fall victim to the old ‘sign up for our e-mail list’ pitch that’s now outdated. Ask people to Tweet from the venue, and then retweet and follow them back on-site, in the moment. Social media is about immediacy, so make that connection while you have fans in front of you.”
5. Post consistently.
“I recommend musicians keep their social media presence very positive and upbeat with a consistent flow of varying information,” says Damani J. Goodson, The Brand Architects. “That could be in the form of tour dates, YouTube videos of live performances, new projects, release dates, collaborations, etc. By keeping your channel fresh and updated your fans will start to look at your timeline to see what you are doing. If nothing is going on at the moment or the musician is in between projects, engage followers with current events related to music. … At the end of the day, your social media presence should drive album sales and keep fans updated on your latest happenings in a clever and concise manner, because they are the most important aspect of your career.”
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