Musicians and social media go together like PB+J, though it seems as though sometimes it’s a love/hate relationship. There is always a new platform to sign up for, a new app to download, a check-in to make, a video to watch. As we all know, the internet can definitely suck up some time, and a musician would generally prefer to be creating music than poking around online. That’s why it is important to use these three guidelines to streamline your method of attack for social media to maximize it and make sure it’s working for you as an artist and promoter of your own music.
1. A Well Chosen Presence
You have to show up to the game to win it, so a social media presence for a working musician is absolutely necessary. Having a presence online lets fans and potential business partners like venues know that you’re a professional. Make sure not to scatter your energies, however. Take into account the social media accounts that you gravitate to as well as where most of your fans seem to congregate. Facebook is probably going to be one of them as it is the behemoth right now. If you are drawn to long form blogging, by all means do it. If Twitter calls to you, tweet away. Just don't force something that will only lead to a poorly updated blog on your website or a last tweet date of June 2014. Better to have a few well-matched platforms that you consistently update. Generally, it is recommended that you have a presence on Facebook, Instagram, and accounts at Youtube, Soundcloud, and Reverbnation for starters. If any other niche platforms pull you in, by all means participate.
2. Consistent Action
Finding your voice on social media is a lot like finding your voice in music...you have to try a lot of things before it gets dialed in to something true to you. The general rule of 80/20 applies here: 80% of your posts should be about you as a whole person: your likes, thoughts, funny stories, great photos. 20% is reserved for the hard sell...gig promotion and pointing people to your music for sale. Respond to them when they comment, and build rapport with current and potential fans. You are looking for a long term relationship with each person, and that takes time and care to tend. Let them know who you are as a person and an artist and they'll be in your corner for your whole career.
3. Interesting Content
Once you’ve built your community on the platforms that suit you and your fan base, you need to keep creating interesting content that inspires people to talk about you. Youtube is a key tool; everyone uses it. Make lyric videos to your songs, simple but well-done live videos of you performing (not just loud venue cell phone recordings). Post photos and show posters. The key is to create content that people will share, and ask them to share it! Sometimes artists forget that part...a simple “Please share this song!” at the end of a video post does wonders.
Working on these three essential steps will bring your social media presence leaps and bounds ahead of thousands of other artists who phone it in and don’t pay attention to their fan base online. Nurture those dedicated fans, and they will nurture your career for the long run.