Category: Networking on Social Media

Finding New Fans: Why You Should Be On Pinterest

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

I have an idea of what you might be thinking: Pinterest? For my music? Isn’t Pinterest for girls planning their weddings?

As a musician, using Pinterest for your band may sound a little strange, but just give me a minute. There is a chance you are missing out on a great opportunity to market your music.

Pinterest Basics

If you’ve never used Pinterest before, its concept is simple. Users create topical pages called “boards” and add content to their boards by “pinning” pictures, videos, or audio files. Much like bulletin boards of the past, a user’s pins are a mishmash of images from their own life, items they want to purchase, things they want to try, places they want to go, and things that inspire them, spark their creativity, or simply make them happy.

Unlike a private bulletin board, Pinterest is a very social system. You can find and follow other users by searching by name or by linking to your other social media accounts. A user’s pins show up in the home feed of everyone who follows them; likewise, the user can see the pins on boards of users they follow. When following other users, you can follow one of their boards, all of their boards, or only their boards that interest you. Most boards are curated by only their creator, but boards can be shared among multiple users, allowing for easy collaboration on projects. Users can also create private boards, accessible only to their creator. Lastly, users can comment on pins, repin a pin on their own board, and send pins directly to other users.

Pinterest History

Since its creation five years ago, Pinterest has gained millions of users. Its purely visual format is simple, the content is inherently shareable, and it allows users to collaborate easily. What’s not to like?

Pinterest has an interesting—almost niche—user base. About 75% of their users are female, and most users are between the ages of 24 and 34. The most popular topics on the social network are food-related (recipes) and DIY projects. Don’t be fooled, though, into thinking Pinterest can’t be relevant to you or your music. There is a vast array of content. Yes, you can find step-by-step instructions to frosting the perfect cupcake. It’s right there next to tips on turning wood pallets into coffee tables, makeup tutorials, and the fall line for Marc Jacobs, which in turn are mixed in with humorous memes, pretty pictures of handwritten song lyrics, celebrity snapshots, and photographs of classic cars.

Regardless of what they’re looking for, a large portion of Pinterest users choose the site as their go-to search engine. Which makes it a little less surprising that close to 90% of “Pinners” have purchased something that they pinned.

Pinterest for Musicians

For the musician, Pinterest has two main benefits:

Connection

What makes someone really truly love a song? Good melodies help. An interesting phrase can catch someone’s attention. But, chances are, someone loves a song because that song makes them feel understood. Listeners feel like they share an experience or emotion with the artist.

If used correctly, Pinterest can be as helpful in building connections with your fans as your best songs are.

Pinterest is a great way for your fans to get to know you and vice versa. Your customized, topical boards let your fans have a sneak peak into your life. Common interests and tastes may turn a casual listener into a real fan who is ready to support someone they feel close to. Chances are, if they already like the music that you make, they will have some other similar tastes that can be a jumping off point for a strong connection between you and your existing fans.

You can also see the things that your fans like. If a particular style is consistently repinned by your fans, you might think about adding a product with a similar style to your merch table. Tailoring your products to the tastes of the people who will potentially buy those products can mean more merch sold and more money in your pocket.

Pinterest is also a great way to reach new people who might enjoy your music. If you have thoughtful content on the site that interests your followers and prompts them to share it, their networks will see it. If the new viewers are interested and look into the pin (i.e., follow it back to the source), they might discover someone new to follow (you!) and something new to like (your music!).

Conversion

Pinterest is an aspirational website. Its users pin content that reflects something they hope to be, or do, or buy.

Pinterest is also inherently viral. The vast majority of content on Pinterest is “re-pinned,” meaning that people are sharing existing content rather than generating original content. Because of this, pinned content stays around for much longer than a Facebook post or a tweet, and something that you uploaded months ago still has the potential of being repinned.

Lastly, Pinterest is effective at sales conversions. Pinterest beats out other social media platforms in terms of links leading to online purchases. It also has more users click through to the source site than any other social media platform.

What does this mean for bands using Pinterest? A few things:

  • Your content should resonate with fans, genuinely hitting on something they hope to be, do, or buy.
  • Sharing existing content isn’t bad, but uploading original content is better. With original content, you can link to content on your website, driving traffic back there. You can’t really do that with someone else’s images, video, or audio. Additionally, original content is something that your followers haven’t likely seen before… which means they haven’t already pinned it and can do exactly that.
  • Your profile should link to your website. That way, anyone curious about who exactly is pinning this amazing content has a way to find out more.

Keep the above in mind with pinning, and you will likely see your website’s traffic and your sales increase.

As With All Marketing

As with all forms of marketing, the first step is to know your audience. Pinterest isn’t for everyone. If your audience is mostly 55-year-old males, Pinterest probably isn’t the best social media platform to use to market yourself. However, if your target audience is 20 or 30-somethings or largely female, it may well be worth the time it takes for you to establish and run an account.

In the end, you have to be smart about the tools that you use to market yourself and make sure that the time you spend on any marketing endeavor is worth your efforts.

Want to learn more about how to use Pinterest as an effective tool to market your music? Check back later this week for practical tips to build an engaging, effective profile.




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Music Marketing Strategies

Better Marketing in One Easy Step: Shooting for a Bullseye

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

You’ve just spent countless hours revamping your website, following and chatting with fans on social media, and sending a hundred—or was it two hundred—emails to add more bookings and press to your schedule. Your eyes are red and itchy, your fingers are beginning to cramp, and when you look away from your screen you can hardly see straight. It’s time to stop for the night.

And what do you have to show for all that hard work? A few new followers, some extra likes, three automated e-mail responses from people who are on vacation… but no real results.

This is a dismal story, but it’s one I hear too often. Musicians, working hard to market themselves, are not getting any real return from that work. It helps to know what marketing is.

What Exactly Is Marketing?

Marketing is a term that gets tossed around often but can be hard to grasp, especially for musicians. Merriam-Webster says that marketing is “the act or process of selling or purchasing,” and “the technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.”

To put it simply: Marketing is the work and the strategy of selling something.

All businesses use marketing in some form or another. TV commercials, junk emails, a tweet, and a flyer tucked under a windshield wiper are simple examples of what marketing looks like on the surface. But there’s more to marketing than the public message. Behind those advertisements are people measuring the effectiveness of the ads. They are tracking views, shares, and traffic and pinpointing exactly which ads and strategies are increasing sales. Then, they take that information and use it to create more sales.

So with these definitions and examples in mind, have you actually been marketing? Or just keeping yourself busy?

Marketing 101

There are many different ways to market yourself, and everyone has an opinion on what works best. But it all boils down to this:

Good marketing means tangible results.

I could stand in a forest for a thousand hours, paint myself green, and glue sticks to my arms, but it will never make me a tree. It’s the same story for musicians and all the hard work they put into marketing. If you aren’t getting results, you aren’t actually marketing.

But what exactly are results? To measure results, we have to have goals. To have relevant goals, we need to know what our customers need and want. To fulfill those needs, we need to have products.

Product

As a musician, you probably think you have an idea about what your product is: your music. The songs you create and record are your signature product. Your music is what people are going to remember you for and what they are going to purchase from you. However, the music that people consume in various forms—physical CDs, digital downloads, live performances, etc.—is merely one facet of what you are actually attempting to market.

Music isn’t your only product. It isn’t even your best product. You are your best product! As an independent musician, you aren’t just selling CDs or tickets to shows. You are selling the brand you’ve created around yourself and your music and the entertainment that brand offers to your customers.

While there are countless other products you can offer, it all comes back to you as an entertainer. If no one wants you and the brand you’ve built, they won’t want your music and events and merch.

Customers

So if you are your product/service, who is your customer?

Many musicians make the mistake of limiting their customer base to people who listen to their music. In reality, it’s much broader. Anyone who buys anything from you or pays you for a service is your customer. This means that listeners are your customers, but so are venues, record labels, publishers, licensing companies, concert-goers, and so on.

With each new type of customer, you have the opportunity to create a marketing plan that will effectively reach them. Creating a marketing strategy around a known customer tends to result in more effective marketing.

Goals

So we know what you are selling, and we know whom you are selling it to. Now you have to set goals to get those sales.

Though income may be your ultimate goal, there are also different goals you can set that, while they don’t lead to an instant payoff, can add up to income over time. This type of goal could be fan interaction, like signing a certain number of people up for a mailing list, or getting a new video shared. It could also be a networking goal (meeting someone from a certain music blog) or a creative goal (writing a set amount of new material by a deadline). Your goal could be something as simple as the number of CDs you want to sell at your next show, or it could be landing an important gig. These goals involve you actively doing something to generate more income.

Practical Strategies: Work Smarter, Not Harder

So now that you’ve discovered the three most important things to consider as you market your music, it’s time to stop. Take 5 minutes and write down 3 goals that you want to accomplish and a time line for accomplishing them. Got your timer set? Good. When you finish writing down your goals, keep reading to find out how you can make those goals reality.

Ready, set… go!

All done? Great. Let’s get marketing.

Step 1: Target

Want me to clue you into a little secret? This is the only step. Target the things that are working for you, and spend the most time on those things.

Say for example you’ve posted every day this week on Facebook. But just one of those posts—a video—had significant interaction. So the next week, you create another video, and post it to Facebook, alongside your other posts. Again, this video was shared, liked, and commented on. The next week, you decide to post another video exclusively on your website. Since your fans already know they like your videos, they are more likely to click to your website to watch. One you have them on your website, you can get more information about them, like their email or phone number, so that you can have even more interaction with them. This interaction can lead to music sales or to fans coming out to see you live, and those sales means money in your pocket.

This is a specific example, but the principle is the same no matter what your goals are. Find out what works with your customers, and do more of that.

Don’t be afraid to try experiment a little. Go all scientific method on this marketing thing. Set up a time frame, and try different ways of doing things until you find one that works. This goes for social media, for your website, even for face-to-face interaction with fans and industry contacts.

You want to make your live shows more effective? Book some small gigs and take some risks. Play music for 95% of the gig. At the next show, maybe tell a story between each song. Try different ways of talking about your latest project or the awesome new t-shirt you have for sale. Find what works for you and for the people who are listening to your music.

I’m not saying totally eliminate other things that don’t work as well. Variety is not a bad thing. Just make sure that the things that don’t work as well aren’t taking up much of your time. Don’t get so settled into a routine that you don’t try other things that could work for you, or ignore when your current success becomes a little less relevant. Having varied content helps keep fans interested long term, but your time is too valuable a resource to spend on things that aren’t going to help you meet your goals.

Marketing your music and reaching goals doesn’t have to be a mystery. Be creative, target the things that will get the results you want, and work hard.




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Why YouTube Is Important, Even If It Won't Make You Famous

Why YouTube Is Important, Even If It Won’t Make You Famous

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

First thing’s first: YouTube will not make you famous.

(Don’t misunderstand us. It also doesn’t mean that you can ignore YouTube. It’s an important tool and platform that musicians should be aware of and using. We’ll explain.)

There are exceptions, those few performers who gain international fame because the right person saw their YouTube video, or those individuals who—as a result of their extreme and innate wit, talent, and ingenuity—have gained millions of subscribers and even more video views. We don’t deny that YouTube can make you famous… we just argue that, odds are, it won’t. Here’s why:

YouTube Is Not For Being Discovered

After signing in to your YouTube account, the home page shows videos of other users. The list of popular videos on YouTube are videos that already have millions of views. The list of recommended videos are based on videos you have watched previously. Unless your video has hundreds of thousands of views or is similar to something users have watched previously, it probably won’t show up on other users’ home pages.

Let’s assume that the user wants to find something new, so they click on “Browse channels”. The page shows 14 featured channels, 111 paid channels, and hundreds of channels that fall into categories like Music, Comedy, Film & Entertainment, Gaming, and so on. These categorized listings of channels, while extensive, only scratch the surface of what is available on YouTube. Users can enter a search term, but that will pull up thousands/hundreds/dozens of videos that fit that criteria. Even a specific search term (such as “fort worth folk blues”) brings up thousands (11,319) of channels in the search results.

Looking at the statistics provided by YouTube doesn’t paint a more-encouraging picture. Yes, the market of potential viewers is huge, with more than one billion unique users and more than six billion hours of video watched each month. However, 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute. That’s a lot of other videos for users to wade through to stumble upon yours.

When taken all together, this means it’s pretty unlikely that YouTube will help you be discovered.

You Should Be On YouTube Anyway

YouTube may not be good for gaining random fans, but it does have its uses. When used properly, YouTube is a great way to:

  • strengthen connections with your target audiences
  • learn more about your audiences
  • make a little more money off your craft

These might sound like small things, but they can have a huge impact on your career as a musician. We’ll elaborate on each below.

Using Video to Connect with Your Target Audiences

As a musician, you might think audio should be your focus. In terms of marketing your music, though, it’s widely acknowledged that video is increasingly becoming an essential element of successful marketing strategies. Video allows you to send a message and connect with viewers in a way that text, graphics, or audio alone can’t.

If you’re going to add video, you need to know what your options are. You don’t need to spend millions on a national television ad campaign, but you probably should add a video player to your band’s website or share videos on your various social media accounts. Instagram and Facebook have added built-in video-sharing functions (15-seconds/unlimited time, respectively), and applications like Vine focus on creating video and sharing it (either with your followers on Vine itself or on other social media accounts like Twitter or Facebook). Websites like Vimeo seem to compete directly with YouTube, although their user count is much smaller. Obviously, YouTube isn’t the only method of mixing video into your marketing strategy. However, its size and market dominance make it worth seriously considering. Additionally, it’s simple for you to share your YouTube videos on your other social media platforms.

If you’re marketing your band, you need to know who your audience is. As an independent musician, your main audiences are your existing fans (your first audience) and their connections (your second audience). With your existing fans, you want to use video to connect deeper and strengthen their loyalty to your band. Behind-the-scenes videos can make fans feel like they’re on tour or in the studio with you. Music videos let you visually tell the story behind your song’s lyrics. Announcing band news via video is the next best option to announcing it in person. All of these video uses help strengthen your fan’s connection to your band. The more committed that your fans are to you, the more likely they are to share you with those around them. In terms of your second audience, they are likely unfamiliar with your work and who you are, but they trust the opinion and recommendations of your first audience. You want to hook them, so your videos need to grab their attention and leave them wanting more of you.

Why is YouTube important in reaching your audiences? Well, remember those one billion unique monthly users? Some of them are your fans. They are already on YouTube, watching other videos. Putting your videos where they already are just makes sense. Additionally, YouTube makes it extremely easy for your fans to share your videos, either with their connections on YouTube or with their friends on other social media sites. Below every video is a “Share” tab, with links to the top ten social media platforms as well as the option to embed the video or email it to someone.

Using YouTube to Analyze Your Work and Audience

YouTube provides you with loads of information (perhaps more than any other social media platform) about your content and fans. You can see how your channels are doing by looking at the number of subscribers, the number of views, and the total time spent watching videos from that channel. You can also monitor an individual video’s number of views, amount of time watched, likes, dislikes, shares, comments, and favorites. For shared videos, you can see how often it has been shared as well as where.

In terms of fan data, YouTube provides information on the age range, gender, and general location of viewers. It also allows you to track your subscribers, helping you understand what gains fans and what loses them. You can break this down further and compare overall viewers to your subscribers. YouTube tells you where your videos are played (on the video’s page, on your channel, on other websites, etc). It also lets you see where your traffic comes from and compare organic traffic versus paid traffic.

This data about who your audience is, how they’re getting to your videos, what they’re doing with your content, and which content is most successful is extremely valuable for marketing purposes. To access this information, simply log in, click the down arrow (at the top of the page next to “Upload”), then select “Analytics”.

Getting More Out of Your YouTube Videos

YouTube gives you a way to learn more about your audience and share content with them; both features are great. With the YouTube Partners program, though, it also gives you ways to make money from that content (as long as your account is in good standing and has not been previously disabled for monetization).

First, you can monetize your videos by allowing ads on your content. When you upload the video, you’ll be able to select the ad format you want on your video. You can also go back and monetize already-uploaded videos. The video will then be reviewed (especially looking at the content and copyrights) before any ads are approved. Note: you must either own all the content yourself (you created it and have retained the rights to it) or have expressed, written permission by the rights holder to use the content; this applies to the video itself as well as the music you’re performing in the video. (Visit here for more information.) Also note that you are currently unable to add ads to private videos. To get paid, you will have to link your YouTube account to an AdSense account and then reach the set payment threshold (in the US, that’s $100).  Your profit will depend on the type of ad, the  price paid by the advertiser, and the number of views the ad gets.

Another method of making money is by profiting off of others’ use of your content. YouTube allows users to protect their copyright claims on their material (the video itself, the audio of the video, and the lyrics/melody are all addressed separately) through its Content ID program. When you join this program, you verify that you hold all the exclusive rights to your submitted content. YouTube then scans all videos (past, present, and any going forward) to see if your copyrighted material is used. If results are found, you have the option to block the video (either entirely or just the audio, and with different geographic options), track the video’s statistics, or monetize the video. If you monetize another user’s video because it has your content, the profit from the ads will go to you instead of that user.  Not every user will qualify for YouTube’s Content ID program, and it won’t work on instances of allowed use (i.e., you can’t monetize a video of a cover of your song if you authorized the cover). However, it’s worth looking into, especially if you know other users have been using your content or want to prevent others from doing so.

So, What Should You Do?

It’s hard to deny or ignore the impact YouTube has had on the internet and on the music scene, and it’s unlikely that YouTube will be going anywhere (but up) anytime soon. While YouTube won’t likely lead to your big break or help you gain a million random followers, it is still a useful tool for marketing your music, connecting with your fans, and adding to your income as a musician. Your best bet is to learn how to use it effectively… and then do so.

Do you use YouTube, and are you a consumer of content or a creator of content? How have you incorporated YouTube in your band’s marketing and social media strategies? Have you monetized your account?




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Music and Social Media: LinkedIn

Music and Social Media: LinkedIn

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is not aimed at helping fans find you or you communicate with the masses. Instead, its purpose is to facilitate networking within industries. On a personal account, this means adding business connections instead of friends and family. For your band, it means focusing on your peers and others in the music industry, not your fans. Here are a few tips for maximizing what LinkedIn has to offer:

Connect With The Right People  

Again, LinkedIn is not like other social sites. Focus on the quality (not quantity) of your connections; connect with those that can actually benefit you, either by example, advice, or working together. Music managers, media personnel, marketers, and other musicians are contacts that will help you advance your career. 

Be Professional  

It’s accepted (if not expected) that you have fun with your band’s Instagram or MySpace page; however, your LinkedIn profile should be polished and professional. Keep your page free of clutter and ill-conceived ramblings; focus on making the best impression possible. Make sure any links you share will send users to relevant, attractive, information-packed sites.  

Optimize Your Page For Searches  

Aside from direct connections, keywords are the best way to generate new traffic to your profile. Think of words that promoters and record labels are likely to search for; this includes your band’s genre, location, and your music’s subject matter.  

Use Your Resources  

You are not alone. Hundreds of bands and promoters use LinkedIn every day, discussing various aspects of the industry. If you have questions, use your connections as resources. Start by joining groups related to your band or interest (Independent Artists and Musicians, or Music Promoters of America). If you have something to contribute, comment on existing discussions; or, if you don’t see an existing thread with your topic, start a new discussion.  

DON’T Spam! 

We’ve said it before, but it’s even more important on LinkedIn. Spamming on other sites might cost you a few fans; on LinkedIn, spamming equals banning. Keep comments and updates professional and relevant, and save the spam for the grocery store.

Having a lot of fans is an important part of any band’s success, but it’s certainly not the only part. If you want to take your band to the next level—a professional level—then you need to treat it like the business that it is. Use LinkedIn to connect your band to right resources to make that happen.

Is your band on LinkedIn? How have you used it to help advance your music career?

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+, Music and Social Media: Instagram.




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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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