Social media is the most relevant, powerful marketing tool a band has, whether they are brand new and unknown, or world famous and have the massive promotional budget of a big record label behind them. It’s how to get the word out about everything you’re doing, and how you give your fans a chance to be a part of the action. Musicians can send photos from inside the recording studio directly to their fans in real time, then share songs, promote the album when it’s done, and invite listeners to hear the songs live at a show, all with a few keystrokes. It’s kind of amazing when you think about how musicians used to go about marketing (some of it involved actual stamps, you guys. Crazy.)
The downside to having this much flexibility, having so many functions happening on the same channels, and having the ability to immediately connect to your fan base? It’s easy to get it wrong. Especially since most of us came of age in a time when social media was just this fun, new thing that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The truth is, now social media is a hardcore business tool. So, if your band is hardcore serious about making your marketing efforts work for you, here are a few things you should try to avoid doing online:
1. Spamming your friends
This is a good rule for anyone who is regularly promoting any kind of event on Facebook, but bands seem to be the most frequent perpetrators. When you share an event, or send requests for friends to Like a page, take a few extra minutes out of your day and only send the invitation to people who actually stand a chance of coming/being interested. If your show is, say, in Baltimore, don’t keep sending event invites to your college roommate in San Diego. Canvassing your entire social network for every single announcement isn’t going to do anything to truly broaden your social media influence, and really, it’s just going to annoy people. Social media is about engaging with your audience, and doing a little extra work to get to understand who your followers are, and what they want – and don’t want – to see.
2. Blasting the same post to all platforms at once
Let’s say you have a new YouTube video that you understandably can’t wait to share with everyone on the internet ever. Tools like TweetDeck and HootSuite give you the ability to push out the same post to a lot of social networks at once – but that’s not always the best bet. In fact, I would argue that you should only do that with text-only posts. The reason? Different platforms display content differently. Taking the time to go through and post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., one-by-one will help you make sure that everyone in your network is seeing your content in the optimal way. Not to mention, each social channel has a different way of interacting with your followers; adding a custom introduction in each place will help start a conversation and help personalize the post, both of which are great ways to get your followers more invested in your music, and more likely to share your post.
3. Only talking about yourself
If all you ever use social media for is to talk about your band, share new music and videos, or promote events, you’re going to find the Internet becomes a real lonely place, real quick. You/your band’s presence online is meant to help let people know who you are; everything you say, how you comment and interact with others, the things you share that have nothing to do with your band – all of this gives more dimension and depth to you as a brand. And made no mistake – you and your music are a brand. This is your business. Your personality and the feeling you give off about yourself online is how you tell your followers how to feel about you and your music. Make sure you aren’t giving off a cold, self-centered, distant vibe.
4. Not being supportive of other bands
In creative professions, what you like is almost as important as what you create. If, for example, you post a link to another band’s new music video, or a great review of their new album, and someone shares that post, and someone who doesn’t know your band sees that you like this other great band that they love, they are going to immediately have a positive feeling about you, be more interested to find out more about your music, and even be more inclined to like it when they hear it. Plus, there’s never anything to be lost by presenting yourself as a supportive, non-competitive, generous participant in the music community. Music makers are always the biggest music fans – showing love to other bands could just win you some love in return.
5. Not having consistent branding
Your music isn’t the only way your fans recognize you. You might be creating sounds at shows and on albums, but your social media presence is more visual than anything. Choosing colors, fonts, and other design elements carefully is crucial to building the image you want for your band. Visual components have a hugely emotional impact with your audience, so not only do you want to choose things that evoke the feelings you want to associate your music with, but you should be sure to carry those visual parts consistently over all your social media outlets. Cover photos on Facebook, wallpaper on Twitter, themes on Tumblr – they should all carry your aesthetic brand. You can reinforce this even further with the content you post; if you see a video, or photo, or hear a song that just “feels” like your band, or makes you feel how you want your music to make people feel, share it! These are the details that do powerful, subconscious work to build recognition and identity for your band.