Marketing musicians and their music can be tricky because the consumer decision making process tends to be inverted when looking for new music. Traditional decision making starts with a need and ends with a specific product being chosen. In music, most fans already have a specific band in mind and will be drawn to music that satisfies a similar need. Because of this structure and the intensely competitive nature of the music industry, it’s important to focus on the key elements that will make you succeed not trying to be everything to everyone.
Tip #1: Document Your Existence
This seems straightforward, and it is, but it’s very easily overlooked in the chaos of managing all of the other aspects of a band, your music and touring. The long and short of it is simple: get on social media and get posting! There are dozens of platforms to choose from like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but musicians have a few more platforms available for them specifically like Reverb Nation. The best way to choose what makes sense for you is to see where your audience is. If you’re playing in a Jimmy Buffet cover band, you’re probably not going to need Twitter since your core audience’s age range shows they are more likely to use Facebook. Instagram tends to be a universally great platform because it is so visual and is specifically geared to show short clips of video, audio as well as snapshots of your gigs.
Tip #2: Engage! Engage! Engage!
There’s nothing worse than having someone talk at you without ever waiting to hear your input. Don’t let your social media and communication efforts do this either! Engage back with your audience and make them feel like their input in your growth is valued. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and like, follow, and comment on everyone of your fans’ profiles, you have bigger fish to fry. What this means is that you should post polls or open-ended questions asking you audience simple questions like “Where’s your favorite local venue” or “What do you use to stream music most” and then following up on those answers. If their favorite venue is Reggies Chicago, start making friends with their booking agents and get a show there. Likewise, if an audience member is asking you a question, reach out and answer them. Sometimes you have to have hard conversations too, not all communication is positive but finding a solution will always be better than letting something fester and grow out of proportion.
Tip #3: People Like Winning Stuff
Winning stuff is always a good time, what’s better than free? Promoting contests for a free pair of tickets to your next show or a free tee shirt and CD is a great way to get a lot of people excited about you and get them talking about your next gig. Band/artist meet and greets are a great giveaway prize as well and have the potential to turn into a great opportunity for future content. When planning out your promotions, be sure to look into your area’s rules as well as any platform specific rules since these can have a big impact on how you are able to structure your campaign.
Tip #4: Post Fan Content
Everyone is looking for their fifteen minutes of fame and the chance to get put in front of a lot of people is one most people won’t pass up, especially on social media. Ask your fans to take pictures or videos of themselves at your shows and then share it with you. Not only is this a great way to build up content to post on social media, it’s an ever better way to give back to your fans. As you post more fan content, your fan base will get more engaged with what you’re doing. It gives your music a sense of authenticity and shows you care about your fans just as much as they care about you.
Tip #5: Influencers are a Big Deal
Terms like ‘social media influencer’ or ‘content creator’ are thrown around much more frequently now than ever before, and with good reason. The internet has allowed people to connect with each other and share their opinions at an unprecedented scale, the best respected rise to the top as influencers. Music critics are among these individuals and can do wonders to help grow your fan base. Send your latest album or demo to prominent critics and social media influencers to be reviewed. If they like it, you’ve just reached all of their audience that trusts their opinion and are now interested in your music. If they don’t, take it as a learning experience and try again. The feedback from influencers can help guide your efforts and growth, an objective opinion is invaluable in the music industry.
Tip #6: Polished Websites Get More Traffic
If you don’t have a website, get one! Websites are your custom storefront and window into your band. You’ll want to be sure to have a place where your music can be purchased, show schedule, videos and pictures from past shows, and a place to contact you for booking. Your website should be your hub for all of your digital efforts. Physical press kits have fallen out of vogue, and in their place artist websites have risen to the top. A well-built and managed website will show up in more search results and offer fans a taste of your personality as a musical artist. If you’re not sure how to setup your own website there are dozens of free tools to get you started and web professionals that can take you to the next level.