Social media is more important for brands and bands now than at any other point in its existence. The vast majority of conversations and consumer engagement taking place online today happens across the numerous social media platforms that have risen to popularity over the last decade, and those numbers are likely to increase in the years ahead. If newspapers and town halls were the hubs of community and discussion one-hundred years ago, Facebook and Twitter are their modern replacements. You probably have several social media accounts right now, and you probably feel a slight shiver run down your spine every time a new service begins gaining a lot of popularity. We feel the same, and while we never want you to feel like you need or even can be everywhere at once we do feel you need to position yourself to handle whatever the quickly changing digital landscape throws your way. The following tips should help any person or group familiar with these services improve their digital marketing efforts, but only if you make them your own. Find what works best with your audience and use that knowledge to build a community around your art.
Real-time posting is for people who can afford to spend hours online every single day. Schedule your content in advance and lose the need to be constantly connected.
Manually posting updates to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and the like in 2016 is the digital equivalent to rubbing two sticks together in hopes of creating fire in the new millennium. Both approaches eventually get the job done, but they are far from the easiest way to handle your business. Services like Hootsuite and similar social-delivery systems allow you to schedule your content several days, sometimes even weeks, in advance. You can set your latest song premiere to hit your blog at a specific time, as well as set all your social networks to link to the track, all long before the day of the premiere arrives. This allows you more time to work on outreach to publications, songwriting, or anything else you desire without having to sacrifice an ounce of your marketing efforts. You should still log on to see how people react to your news, of course, but you can do that whenever time allows instead of creating space in your already crowded schedule to dedicate to sitting on social networks hoping for engagement.
Incorporate concert listings wherever possible
Every artists hopes that by making their music easy to find online that they will be discovered by the masses in time, but history tells us there is no faster way to build a relationship with music fans than by getting them to see you perform in person. To do this, setup an account with Bandsintown or a similar concert listing application and connect it to all relevant social media networks. Services like Bandsintown will maintain your concert listings, as well as tweet out relevant performance information in advance of your gigs. Like the scheduling tools listed above, these services cut down on the total amount of time artists need to spend focusing on things outside their music, which in turn allows for more creativity.
Want more engagement? Ask questions.
Only a fool would approach their digital presence with the belief people online a looking for one-sided conversations. As much as fans may follows your accounts in hopes of hearing what you have to say, the real reason anyone follows anyone online is the hope that a deeper connection may be formed. Fans don’t want to simply hear about your career, they want to know about you as a person, and they hope you want to know about them as well. The quickest way to appease this desire and raise engagement for your digital presence is to pose questions to your audience. Who has the new album? What is everyone’s favorite song? What tracks do they want to see you perform on tour? Who else are they listening to? These questions and more can help you not only retain fans through engagement, but they can also help you understand your audience in ways the simplify future promotions efforts. If your fans like Song A more than Song B, play Song A last. If they keep comparing you to another band at the same level in their career, consider touring with that group so that you can both help one another by sharing listeners. Again, it all comes back to building and retaining a community around your art.
Update your profile as often as you do laundry
Most profiles have an incredibly short shelf life in terms of offering unique information or media. When was the last time you changed your profile picture? How about the link in your Instagram profile? Have you updated your bio in the last year, or ever? Making small changes to your profiles on a regular basis can give the appearance of being busy even when you’re scraping together change to get to your next gig. Profile updates tell fans there is a reason to continue checking your pages and activity because you’re being active and working toward the future. Stagnate pages give the illusion of death, and you definitely do not want that kind of attention.
Try new tools and platforms as they become available, but only stick with what works for you
Have you tried Facebook Live yet? What about Periscope? Have you created a geofilter on Snapchat so fans can brag about being at your next gig? There are new tools, tricks, and platforms to help raise awareness for your efforts going public every week. We do not support attempting to use all in addition to your current channels, but we do encourage you to try everything that makes sense for your band. If you try something and see no results, delete your presence and move on. When you find something your fans enjoy, add it to your ongoing marketing efforts.