Who are those people who go to see bands at “unsigned nights”? It is very rarely someone who happens to be passing by a venue and just pops in (especially if there is an admission fee). So who will be at your first few gigs?
Friends and family of your band members – Phone them, text them, invite them to events on your chosen social media platform and get them to the gigs. Promoters will expect you to bring at least a small crowd.
Those who have discovered the band online and feel they have a relationship with the band – This will happen more as your audience grows but if you are talking to your fans on Twitter and Facebook and your music is great this can happen earlier.
People at the gig to see another band on the same bill – These are the people you need to win over. Make sure your live act is amazing, rehearse your songs in order and make sure you practice under “gig conditions”.
Enthusiasts of the genre of music you play – If you are playing a genre specific night such as a punk night or a prog night you may well get fans of the genre turning up to listen. Playing with bands of a similar genre is often a useful way of getting people out of the house.
Musicians looking for a gig themselves – Often other musicians looking for gigs of their own will make up a significant part of your audience. If you help others and try to build a community amongst local musicians you have more chance of hearing about interesting opportunities that can benefit your band. The music industry is all about relationships, who you know. Start getting to know people from the start, don’t be afraid to talk to people.
Press/industry people or bloggers – It’s very unlikely they will be at your first gig unless there is a massive buzz about your band, but it is worth a try.
Eventually the crowd at your later gigs should start to include friends of friends and those who have discovered your band through social media and the press. Your audience grows one person at a time, slowly but surely. Building a fan base is not quick or easy but it can be done.
If there is one thing that almost every musicians dreams of, it is of that first major tour. Its that feeling of playing night after night, in the best venues of all of the major cities around the world, and always to a sold out crowd. But before that will ever happen, you need to answer one major question: Do you have a plan? If not, you can be sure to kiss that dream goodbye. And if you do have a plan, is it good enough? Music is a business just as anything else, and as such it is your job to play entrepreneur and marketer. While it is your product or service you are trying to sell, it is also your job to expose your music to the public.
First we will take a look at forming a proper plan, followed by exploring different strategies for putting that plan into action. The following are 3 very important steps to ensuring that you have a proper plan in place before you even attempt to get that first gig: Continue reading →
If you are serious about promoting your music to the whole world, you can’t rely on your personal profile forever. Make an official page for yourself as an artist. This is going to be your promotional “headquarters” on Facebook. You can still use your personal profile from time to time to post about your music, but you will want to have your official page become the main destination for people looking for your music on Facebook.
Having professional pictures or imagery to represent yourself as an artist is key for two reasons. For one, you become more engaging as an entertainer when a listener can associate an image with the music. Many “superstar” artists are known as much for their image as they are for their music, and the concept is the same for indies. Secondly, having a specific picture or image will make you recognizable online. If someone is searching for you, they will be more confident that they’ve found the right page if it features pictures. Make use of the cover photo feature as well as photo albums, and put a few pictures out in status updates from time to time. Show your personality, but keep your imagery of a professional quality and try and limit the subject matter generally to music-related activities.
Fill In Your Info Sections
You have several sections on the page for information, “About”, “Basic Info” and “Contact Info”. You need to fill these out to make best use of your page. Include a concise and descriptive paragraph about yourself or your band that communicates key points such as geographical location, style/genre and influences. Make sure you have names, emails and phone numbers in the sections for your press, booking and management contacts. Even if you are self-managed, you need to include this contact info. Do not assume that everyone who is interested in working with you will contact you using Facebook only. Make other options available.
Facebook supports a lot of apps that bands and artists can use to promote their music. While there is no specific app or apps that I would recommend as essential, it is important to utilize applications to facilitate a few core functions of music marketing: music hosting, video hosting, webstore, e-mail list sign-up, events and contests. A great way to scout out apps and see how they can be used to enhance your social media marketing is to visit the pages of some of your favorite superstar artists. All superstars have a professional social marketing team working with them who are always researching and developing apps. Take a look at their work for ideas.
Manage Content Flow
Here is where a lot of artists stumble; content management. If designing good content flow strategies were easy, I would be out of a job. There is a fine line between too much and not enough and between too direct and too tangential. Like in all parts of life, balance is key here. Without going overboard on detail, here are a few fundamentals to keep in mind when posting status updates on your music page. Ideally, you should be posting new statuses a couple times per day or every other day. There should always be a “purpose” to the status update. Each one should include a link to one of your videos, songs, webstore pages, an e-mail list sign-up, your website, your event calendar, websites of venues you will be playing at, etc. Sprinkle in a couple musings or unrelated content to break it up a bit, but don’t turn your music page into another personal page. People want to see interesting content (links, music, videos, etc), and if what you post is not interesting or relating strongly to your music, you will start to be ignored. Do not repeat the same content multiple times unless you are coming up on a deadline. For example, if you have a show this weekend, it is okay to post about it a few times. Do not however, post about the same song three of four times in the same week. This is called message saturation, and you will lose the interest of your audience. Design a “content cycle” for yourself, and be sure to keep your content fresh by rotating it every few weeks. If you are at a loss for new content, don’t be afraid to go dark for a little while until you have something new to talk about. Nobody likes the people who talk needlessly without anything new to say, and this concept translates to the digital world as well.
Facebook is a treasure chest of cross-promotional opportunities. If you work with other musicians or artists, propose that you share each other’s page or links to each other’s audiences from time to time. Don’t be afraid to post on the pages of venues you are playing at in order to connect with their fans. Whenever possible, ask others to share your content and be willing to reciprocate by sharing theirs. Watch out that you don’t come across as a spammer however, or that you become too aggressive in your cross-promotion. Exercise tactful restraint. Don’t make it look like you are desperately trying to piggy back on everybody else’s pages. If done right, these cross-promotional activities will help you open up new audiences and continue to grow your likes and interactions.
Don’t Pay For Likes
While it looks great to have thousands of likes on your page, they are meaningless if you pay for them. At best they will distort your analytics and make all of your audience data unreliable, at worst they will make your page a target for spammers. 1 like from a real fan will be better than 10 likes that are artificially gathered. Steer clear of paying for likes.
Keep Tabs On The Competition
If you want to be successful, you should do what other successful artists are doing. Visit the pages of major label artists and observe how they maintain and run their pages. As I mentioned before, all major label artists have a social media marketing team behind their Facebook page. Use them as a resource and observe the product they put out. Keep your eye on the competition and stay innovative. Don’t obsess over what others are doing, but check in every few months to see if the stars are doing something that you aren’t.
If you follow these tips you will be well on your way to making the most out of Facebook as a promotional tool for your music!