Artists, labels, venues, websites, pretty much anyone in the music business these days is involved in social media to some extent. Everyone knows it’s important, but knowing what the best parts are can save you hours, achieve better results, and streamline what you do online.
In order to decide where to focus your energy, you need to focus on what you expect from a social media campaign. “I just want to get my name out there.” is not enough anymore. You should have specific goals, ideally centered on making money.
What makes the most money for your band or company? Is it selling CD’s or music downloads? Selling merch? Ticket sales for your shows? Whatever it is, exploiting it should be the focus of your online presence, and will make the most effective use for your time. Expanding in the areas you are lacking should be a secondary goal.
If exposure is your goal, not money, try narrowing it down further. Who do you want exposure with? More fans? Labels or company executives? And what will this exposure lead to?
Know Your Networks
Once your goals are in place, knowing the differences between social media sites can tell you exactly where to go to achieve them. It is also important to respond to what is working differently on each site, and not waste time with things that aren’t. Understand, I am not suggesting that all your posts should be “buy this!” or “share this!”, but keep your goals in mind as you craft each page and persona.
Facebook is a good place to start; it is the most popular network in most parts of the world. Facebook’s best asset is that it is the most likely to have all the people you actually know. First of all, this means building an initial fan base should relatively easy. Also, having a network of people you are already friends with and that live nearby gives you a great crowd to advertise shows to. Other sites that are more likely to include people from across the country may not help you much selling tickets to your shows. Facebook is also becoming the standard for informational, “like”-able pages, perhaps the first place someone might look that hears of your band or company.
Twitter is a much harder place to build your network, but that network can be very rewarding. It is full of music industry people, and no matter how small your genre or specialty, they are easy to find. However, unlike other sites, you will only get followers by having good content, and saying truly interesting things. Your profile does not have the same fluff of the other sites, such as a bank of photos, a place to have your music, etc., but Twitter users are very active and like to share what others like them are involved with.
Your followers on Twitter will be all over the country, and more likely, all over the world, so don’t expect to gain a lot in ticket sales. On the other hand, tweets about new products, music, and especially press and blogs you are featured in will get a great response.
YouTube is the best way to get lots of plays for your songs and people listening to your music. More and more big names started by doing frequent cover songs to sell their own original music. An embedded link in a video can be seen thousands of times if a video has enough plays, whereas reaching that amount in one post on Facebook and Twitter can be almost impossible.
YouTube’s major drawback is that it is not as good for conveying information. You would never click on a band’s YouTube profile to find out if they had shows coming up, read their biography, or see their past discography. But it’s a great way to be discovered by random stumblers or old fans who just want to listen to your latest music.
In all, one social media site will not accomplish all of your needs as an artist or company. And any social media site, listening service, blog, or network can have a benefit. But it is a better use of your time to have clear purpose for each one you become involved in, and limit what you do, rather than try to use all of them for everything, and end up with not enough.
Guest post by Kyle M. Bagley