Posted: Oct 14, 2013
Category: Social Media
**Guest post written by Brandon Seymour, musician, SEO analyst, web designer, and social media marketer.
I’ve been involved in SEO, social media, and online marketing for going on 5 years now. But in my free time, I like to play in bands around South Florida, as much as possible. Although I really enjoy playing out and working on new material with other like-minded musicians, one of my favorite parts about being in a band is the marketing and promotional aspect. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that social media is an integral part of creating a fan base online. If your band doesn’t take the time to build and maintain a strong social following, then chances are you’ll get left behind. I hate to break it you, but there’s a lot of independent bands and musicians out there. Even if you’re from a small town in the middle of nowhere, your online presence helps you compete on a global scale. We all know the key players in the social media game, but how are they different and how can each be used independently to flex your marketing muscle?
- Network with other artists – Whenever you’re a new band just starting out, it’s usually difficult to book decent shows since you don’t have much of a following. That’s why it’s important to network with some bands that have a better draw than you at shows. The benefit here is two-fold: You get to play shows that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to book, and as the opening act you also have the opportunity to poach some of the headliner’s fans. Don’t be afraid to jump on a few shows for free with some more established bands to get your foot in the door with a solid venue. Just don’t make freebies a regular habit. You never want to sell yourself short or take anything less than you feel that you deserve, unless you’re getting something else out of it like additional exposure or the opportunity to make more money in the long-run.
- Offer more than just your music – As a musician, you’re selling your music. But that doesn’t mean that the music is everything. It’s also important to build your image online. And your image isn’t only defined by logos and cover images, but also by the people that make up your band. Of course you’re going to post about upcoming shows, press mentions and new releases, but it’s also a good idea to post content that speaks to your audience on a human level. As a band, you have the unique opportunity to be the “tastemaker” for your audience. Step outside the box and incorporate some non-band-related content that you find interesting and chances are your followers will find it interesting too.
- Be responsive – Nobody likes to be ignored. Whether it’s a direct message or a wall post, make a conscious effort to engage with your audience as much as possible. The more you engage with them, the more they’ll engage with you. You can even take the offline online, and give a shout out to a fan that came to a recent show and bought a t-shirt. Chances are you’ll make their day, and they might even share the post with their friends which could potentially help you snag a few more followers. This may not apply to you if you’re just starting out and have limited engagement, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind for when you build a larger following.
- Blog regularly – Now blogging may not fall within the realm of social media per se, but it definitely has a lot of potential social benefits from a content marketing perspective. Sometimes it can be difficult to say everything you want to say within a single post. That’s where blogs can help. Maybe you have an album coming out soon and you want to update your audience on your progress. With a blog, you can craft your post, publish it and then share it across your various social channels. Also, instead of being limited to a few lines of text and a tiny thumbnail image, with a blog you can include more content by incorporating images or embeddable videos into your post to create a richer and more engaging user experience. And if you blog regularly, you can create some steady traffic to your website or blog, which isn’t ever a bad thing. In fact, if you get a decent amount of traffic to your blog, you can even parley that traffic into an additional revenue stream by selling advertising space to relevant businesses within your niche, like music stores, music blogs and internet radio shows.
- Don’t auto-post ANYTHING – Seriously. Don’t do it. There’s nothing more infuriating than following a band on multiple channels and seeing the same post regurgitated on each one like a broken record. Every channel is unique and should be treated as such. Not only are certain types of posts more effective on certain social platforms, but by diversifying your online content, you’re actually casting a larger net. Social media is about people – not robots. By providing a unique experience on each of your social channels you’re giving your audience the most bang for their buck, and you’re also increasing the likelihood of them following you on all of your channels, as opposed to just one.
I hope that you found this post useful. If there’s anything in particular you’d like to hear more about in relation to how bands can better market themselves online, please drop me a comment below and I’ll consider writing about it in another post.
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Brandon Seymour has been playing in bands for over a decade, playing hundreds of shows at many different venues across South Florida. He currently plays in 3 different bands and works full-time as an SEO analyst at BodyLogicMD in Boca Raton, FL. He also does freelance online marketing for bands and musicians, specializing in search engine optimization (SEO), web design and social media marketing.