Category: Networking for Musicians

Music and Social Media: Instagram

Music and Social Media: Instagram

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Unlike more-generalized social media platforms, Instagram specializes in something: sharing photographs. In fact, that was all you could use the virtual photo album for until last year, when they began allowing short video clips. Regardless of its specialization, Instagram is a wonderful way to connect with your fans on a personal level.

To get the most out of Instagram for your band, here are a few tips:

Get creative

With its various photo filters and many challenge groups, Instagram was the first major social media platform to encourage users to play with their photographs. Feel free to explore their filters (or use one of hundreds of photo-editing apps) and participate in challenges; get creative with your shots, trying new angles or styles. You can even share a short video clip of your most recent gig or slideshow of images from a trip or event. Bonus: the video or slideshow should feature your band’s music.

Act Naturally 

Save your staged photos for album cover art. Instead, post photos your fans can relate to, photos of you and your bandmates doing ordinary things. Whether it’s a snapshot of a massive burrito from an all night diner while on the road or a behind-the-scenes look at band practice, your fans will love you a whole lot more if you can show them just how “normal” you really are.

Add Captions  

They say that “a picture speaks a thousand words”, but a caption can summarize it beautifully. Make sure to add captions to your photos to help your fans know what they are seeing. 

Use hashtags  

Hashtags are key to helping random users discover your account. Just add the hashtags to the caption of your photo using the number sign (#) and a searchable keyword description of the image without spaces (#houseparty, #livemusic, or #thekickstour2014, for some example). Do follow Instagram etiquette, though; make sure your hashtags are relevant to your picture.

Get help 

Unless you’ve got your own personal photographer, chances are you won’t have time to be shooting all of your photos by yourselves. Ask your fans to take pictures of your band at gigs or take pictures of themselves hanging out, listening to, or imitating your band. Have them upload their photos on their own Instagram accounts and tag you to get more traffic your way. If their pic is phenomenal, you might consider reposting it; be sure to give them credit, though. Also, be sure to tag other users (bands you’re performing with, venues you’re at, or fans you’ve met) if they’re in your pictures.

Sync your accounts

With Instagram, posting photos directly to your other social media platforms is easy. As a word of caution: be sure to check your default settings and the active account (if you have a personal account and a band account) prior to posting to keep from sending a picture to the wrong crowd.

In the end, Instagram delivers what your fans want. Sure, they like your music, but they want to feel like they know you. Why not hand them a photo album to thumb through?

Have you used Instagram? Was it a personal account or one for your band? Did it affect the size or quality of your fan base?

See also: Music and Social Media: Promoting Your Act, Music and Social Media: Facebook, Music and Social Media: Twitter, Music and Social Media: MySpace, Music and Social Media: YouTube, Music and Social Media: Google+, and Music and Social Media: LinkedIn.




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Music and Social Media: Google+

Music and Social Media: Google+

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Google+ has been designed to follow the framework of many other social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace, but it can do so much more. Like other sites, you can create your own profile page, post comments and promotions in news feed, and add contacts. However, Google+ allows you to sort those contacts into certain groups (called circles) and then control the content that each group sees.

With the right tools, you can create a Google+ band page that will get you noticed by the right people. Follow these tips to get the most out of Google+.

Use Your Circles Wisely

On Google+, you can customize your list of connections into as many groupings as you’d like; for bands, you’ll probably want to group contacts into circles like venues, fans, other bands, and music industry connections.

Hang Out With Your Audience

Google+ doesn’t limit you to simply posting thoughts or links to videos and articles. Instead, it works to break down the challenges presented by physical proximity. Using its Hangout feature, your band can perform for or interact with fans anywhere, collaborate with other bands around the world, or meet with industry professionals across the country. To fully explore this feature, visit the Hangout tab in the top right corner of your Google+ account window.

Get The Word Out

To reap the full benefits of Hangouts, don’t count on your circles being online when you happen to need them. Promote the Hangout ahead of time, both to your Google+ contacts and to fans and contacts from other social media platforms.

Offer Something Besides Self-Promotion

If you’re a musician, your fans assume that you’re creative and have something to say. Why not write some of those brilliant thoughts down and share them with fans? Providing regular, insightful glimpses into your band member’s lives, thoughts, and feelings can be a sure way to keep fans coming back. Besides, if all you ever share is shameless self-promoting content, your fans will tire of you.

Make a Guest Appearance

Use Google+ for networking and increasing your fan base. Find other bands you respect and trade guest posts on each others’ pages. This tit-for-tat is a great way to help new fans find you.

Google+ may be the new kid on the block, but it has the potential to become one of the most popular, too. If you use these ideas to promote your Google+ band page, you’ll see why.

See also: Music and Social Media: Promoting Your Act, Music and Social Media: Facebook, Music and Social Media: Twitter, Music and Social Media: MySpace, Music and Social Media: YouTube, Music and Social Media: Instagram, and Music and Social Media: LinkedIn.




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Music and Social Media: YouTube

Music and Social Media: YouTube

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Many artists count on gigs to grow their fan base; while gigging is important, it has its limits. For example, when you’re based out of Kansas with a broken-down van, it can be hard to get gigs much farther afield than your local pub. And, while playing at the same place every Friday night might have earned you a small dedicated group of fans, it’s not the best way to expand your fan base. If that’s your situation, how do you branch out?

This is where platforms like YouTube come in. YouTube allows users to create profiles, upload and share videos, establish channels, search other users’ videos, and subscribe to others’ channels. It’s an incredibly popular site, with over four billion views on YouTube each day. YouTube also happens to be one of the most popular search engines for music on the internet today, second only to Google. 

You could think of YouTube as the ultimate gig, unencumbered by time of day or geographic location or venue capacity. This means that, without fixing up your van, you aren’t limited to small-town Kansas or the local pub. It also means that you can make music on your schedule, and fans can watch it on theirs. Unlike other social platforms, your fans aren’t limited to reading about your gig or catching a few pictures online; instead, they can watch your performance, making it almost as if they were there themselves.

If you’re ready to sign up, great! Of course, like any other social media site, there are a few tricks to getting the most out of your YouTube channel. Here are some tips to get you started:  

Customize Your Channel

Like MySpace, YouTube allows you to customize your channel to match your band’s personality and brand. Name your channel after your band, then add your own banners, color schemes, and photos. You can also make a playlist of your band’s best videos to feature on your page. 

Improve Your Odds

Remember: YouTube is a search engine, not just a social network. This is important to keep in mind when creating your profile and channels and uploading your video. One way to work with this is Search Engine Optimization, a marketing tactic that encourages search engines to find you. Use this to your advantage, stressing your band name, genres, song titles, and locations. Add searchable tags to the tag box and geo-target using the “targeting” section of your account page.

Check Your Statistics

YouTube is a wealth of information for your band. Not only can you see the number of views, likes, dislikes, comments, and shares on your videos, but you can see the demographics of your audience and other things they like. This information lets you cater to them more accurately (if you wish to do so).

Share Videos

Use YouTube as a base for your videos. Link back to your videos and your band’s YouTube page from your website or on other social media platforms to help fans find and share your music.

Monetize Your Videos

As any struggling artist knows, making music and paying bills don’t always go together. But with YouTube’s Partner Program, you can earn extra cash just by letting them post ads on your video pages. Though you can’t specifically choose the advertisements that will appear on your band page, you can influence the type of ads used by using effective tagging and descriptive terms.

YouTube provides musicians an incredible opportunity to expand their reach and connect with fans, and it provides more data on those fans than most social networks. like There really is no reason not to create a band page on YouTube. Better still, tie it in with your other social media profiles to maximize its usefulness.

Do you share your music videos on YouTube? Have you found any drawbacks to using the site, or has it only helped increase your fan base? What’s your top-viewed video, and why is that particular video so popular?

See also: Music and Social Media: Promoting Your Act, Music and Social Media: Facebook, Music and Social Media: Twitter, Music and Social Media: MySpace, Music and Social Media: Instagram, Music and Social Media: Google+, and Music and Social Media: LinkedIn.




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Music & Social Media: MySpace

Music and Social Media: MySpace

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Although it might be overlooked by many, MySpace is a wonderful social media platform for creating a compelling band page and promoting your music. It’s also a vast improvement over the MySpace from the earliest 2000s. If you haven’t considered it for your band, you might want to think again.

Of course, as with other social media platforms, you have to use MySpace correctly to benefit from its full potential. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Customize Your MySpace Page

Unlike most social media sites, MySpace allows extensive creative freedom when setting up your profile. Take advantage of this. Upload professional band photos and your album artwork, share songs and videos, and select a theme that is consistent with your band’s brand and personality. If you create a compelling and personalized MySpace profile, your page will be all the more attractive and thus gain a stronger following.

Invite People to View Your Page

Because visitors to MySpace don’t have to create profiles to view content, you can direct existing fans from sites with more-limited options and showcase what you’ve got. Also, reach out to those visiting MySpace in hopes of discovering new music. Provide the content they want, and make sure it is easy to find.

Less Is More

Sure, you could post 50 videos and 5,000 photos of your band, but doing so will slow your page down significantly, and the clutter can be confusing for fans. Reduce the headache for fans and viewers by maintaining a curated selection of your favorite photos and videos, and archive the rest elsewhere. Think of it like a portfolio, not like a filing cabinet: highlight only your best and most recent work.

Post Tour Dates

MySpace allows bands to easily post a list of upcoming tour dates (instead of creating separate events for each date). This quick access to all upcoming shows allows fans to find exactly the information they need.

Don’t Forget To Network

MySpace might not be as useful for building a fan base as other social media sites, but it is popular among those in the music industry. Don’t neglect the fan base-building aspect of MySpace, but do spend time connecting with other bands, producers, labels, and venues. If you can impress them with your page, the effort of creating and maintaining a profile was well worth it.

You’ve poured your heart and soul into creating the best band you can muster, and you’ve invested hours into practices and heart-felt lyrics. Think of MySpace for bands as an extension of this dedication. Polish your page to make it a glamorous grab-bag for musical promotion and band recognition.

Have you used MySpace before? Was it long ago or more recently? Does your band have a profile on the site? How do you use it?

See also: Music and Social Media: Promoting Your Act, Music and Social Media: Facebook, Music and Social Media: Twitter, Music and Social Media: YouTube, Music and Social Media: Instagram, Music and Social Media: Google+, and Music and Social Media: LinkedIn.




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Music and Social Media: Twitter

Music and Social Media: Twitter

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

While Facebook is great for turning friends into fans (and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends…), finding fans outside that network can be difficult. On the other hand, Twitter and its hashtag feature allow you to find and connect with complete strangers around the world with similar interests—be it musical style, television shows, politics, or food photography.

So how do you use Twitter to find more fans and market your events? Here are a few ideas:

Follow To Be Followed

There are thousands of musicians on Twitter. Follow established bands in your genre and look at their followers; then follow them, too. You can search for specific bands that you believe you sound similar to or for venues in your area. You can also search others’ tweets for keywords (like “folk punk”) to find people most likely to become your fans. Follow only those accounts that are active and relevant to your act.

Be Active

Post your thoughts or what you’re doing, announce upcoming releases, share posters for your next gig, link to your blog posts, favorite tweets you find particularly amusing, reply to mentions, and re-tweet shout-outs from fans. Be sure to read others’ tweets, especially those of your fans and fellow musicians, and reply to some. Remember that you’re connecting with fans, not just talking to them.

Provide Incentive

Contests and free give-always are a great way to encourage your followers to interact with you or share your tweets. Offer a free piece of merchandise to anyone who can come up with the most creative way to use your band’s name in a sentence, for example. Crowdsource your followers for your new album artwork. Or, when someone shares your tweets, videos, or music with their followers, thank them with a mention and a free download code.   

Plan An After Party

Shows can be a dime a dozen, and making yours stand out can be hard. However, as many musicians on Twitter have already discovered, planning an exclusive after party during which your band will perform is a sure way to get the crowds talking. Tweet a time and place, then wait for the party to begin.  

Tweet on the Go

Because of it’s 140-character limit, Twitter is an ideal on-the-go social media platform. Tweet on the way to a gig or between sets, or snap and share a pic from the stage. Remember to mention fans and venues, too.

These steps can help you create and maintain a dedicated fan base. Remember, sometimes, the best way to a fan’s heart is not a perfect ballad—sometimes it’s a witty  tweet.

Do you use Twitter to connect with fans and market your music? How did you build and maintain your fan base?

See also: Music and Social Media: Promoting Your Act, Music and Social Media: Facebook, Music and Social Media: MySpace, Music and Social Media: YouTube, Music and Social Media: Instagram, Music and Social Media: Google+, and Music and Social Media: LinkedIn.




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Music & Social Media: Facebook

Music and Social Media: Facebook

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

There are many social media platforms through which you can promote your music. By far, the most popular is Facebook. To reach that potential fan base, you need a Facebook page.

Developing a strong fan base and promoting your music is more complicated than simply adding a slew of friends and strangers to your profile. If you want to see your number of fans grow to it’s full potential, then you need to correctly use Facebook to promote your band. These tips will help get you there:

Create a Fan Page

This gives fans (friends, family, and strangers alike) a central place to go for information, and lets you keep your personal life off separate from your music career. Since it gives a unified front, it’s especially helpful when your act consists of more than one member. It also lets you track your posts’ exposure rates, share special offers, or create events. Be sure to brand it with your logos, album artwork, or band pictures, and keep it up to date.

Catch Fans’ Eyes

A picture will capture the audience’s attention much quicker than a lengthy piece of text ever could. If you have a story, promotion, or announcement, glam it up with an relevant, quality image.

Keep It Brief

Don’t post chapters of your memoir to Facebook. Fans will tire of reading lengthy posts and begin ignoring you. Try to keep posts to a few lines, or put the lengthy content on your band’s website and link to it with a brief description.

Stay Active

Don’t invest your entire day into posting on your band’s page; in fact, doing so may actually get you deleted. You should post regularly, though. Also, be sure to check in and respond to your fans’ comments. Since popular posts with high activity are more likely to show up in news feeds’ (thanks to Facebook’s algorithms), responding to comments in a timely manner ensures that your posts are showing up in fans’ news feeds. It will also show your fans how much you appreciate them. 

Pay Attention To Geography

If you’re touring, geo-targeting is a great way to get your info in front of relevant audiences. Use the names of cities or regions near your tour locations to ensure that your posts get to the right audience.

Great bands play at great venues, and in the world of social media, Facebook is one of the greatest. Don’t let your band miss out on the incredible marketing opportunity Facebook offers.

Do you use Facebook to promote your music and connect with fans? What are your favorite features? Are there any drawbacks?

See also: Music and Social Media: Promoting Your Act, Music and Social Media: YouTube, Music and Social Media: Twitter, Music and Social Media: MySpace, Music and Social Media: Google+, Music and Social Media: Instagram, and Music and Social Media: LinkedIn, Creating and Using Your Band’s Facebook Page.




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