We live in a strange time. With the internet exploding in exponential chaos, we find almost all aspects of our lives are splintering to take new shapes and forms because of this hyper-connectivity. The music industry-and the artists creating within it-finds itself in a place of constant change. Finding target demographics is now a breeze with the multitudes of analytic software available. Music has changed from primarily physical product to almost completely digital. Traditional marketing has turned to social media marketing and branding for guidance.
Thanks to Spotify and other instant music streaming services putting music literally a click away, record labels barely beat out indies for total revenue in 2014. Now is the perfect time for artists to forgo the backing of a major label and tread through the murky waters of the music industry alone-aside from sometimes hiring out services like social media marketing and merchandise. Indie artists traditionally have much more creative freedom than their major label counterparts and usually get a much higher cut of any income they bring in. If artists are paying out of pocket for these types of services, they will sometimes want to take a stab at social media marketing themselves. Check out our list of 10 simple music marketing tips for indie artists.
1. Connect with your fans – Fans like to know what their favorite artists are up to. This simple concept is one of the reasons why interviews are a huge step in a band’s promo. Take the time to tweet something about yourself or post a quick video of you in the creative process. One step further: retweet and respond to your fans-it makes them feel even closer to you. Take the time to give your fans a peak behind the red curtain.
2. Keep Social Media Up To Date – Nothing is worse than going to a band’s Facebook or Twitter page and their tour schedule is from last summer. You should be editing performance dates and venues the day you confirm them. Give people time to work around their busy schedules and allow them to make it out to your shows. Beyond tour schedules, ensure that content is updated frequently so that fans have something to look forward to each time they visit your page.
3. Connect All Your Social Media Accounts – You should be utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and each of them should have accessible links to the others. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, however. There are 100’s of social media websites-you don’t need to use every single one.
4. Don’t Sound Like A Generic Advertisement – We all know THAT band who has a social media account that sounds like they are selling you something on every post or tweet. Be genuine! If there is something you hate about a band’s social media page, learn from their mistakes.
5. Visuals, Visuals, Visuals – People get bored of plain text all the time. Pictures and videos stand out and will make visitors stop and check out what you have to say. Instagram’s entire model is based upon visuals, and it’s worth $35 billion. Take a picture in the studio or shoot a video with a quick message to your fans. In fact, photos and videos get a higher organic news feed ranking that pure text posts on Facebook.
6. Post Regularly/Stay Active – Nothing says “we don’t care” quite like a band whose last tweet was two years ago. Every waking moment does not need to be spent on social media, but frequently posting is a great way to keep fans interacting with your band.
7. DO NOT SPAM – Keep content original! Posting the same status or tweet with the same text and same link every day is a huge no-no. Never let your fans question whether it’s the artist or a robot controlling their social media page. However, reusing highly engaging posts down the road is totally acceptable.
8. Give Out Exclusives – Giving out exclusives is a great way to give fans a reward for subscribing to your social media pages. Upload an MP3 online and post a link where fans who like your page can download it and put it in their music library. This is also an effective method for growing your email database.
9. Automate What You Can – Automation is not always a bad thing. Do some research and find a good tool for you that can help streamline your social media activity. There are some great apps out there that help you schedule tweets and your posts on your Facebook page.
10. You Can’t Rely Only On Facebook/Instagram/Twitter – This one is a little outside of the realm but still very much a social media tip. Social media can’t be all you do! You’re a musical artist, not a “Twitter Pic Of The Day” collective. Network with people in the industry, book shows, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Social media is an amazing tool for indie artists, but it is not the be-all end-all.
BONUS TIP – Email marketing is not dead! As much as you can, be sure to capture data for a mailing list. ALWAYS collect at least email AND Zip Code or location, so that you can geotarget concert messages.