While playing shows and releasing new material is crucial to having a successful career, these days, it's pretty much expected for a band or artist to have a presence on social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, engaging with your fan base through these channels can be an effective way connect with them. Unfortunately, too many bands treat social media like free advertising, doing little more than trying to sell their latest EP or tickets to their next gig. While selling your music and tickets to your shows is an important and underlying goal, social media is much more powerful with the right balance of content.
Build Your Brand
Most of the content on your social media channels should be about building your brand. In other words, it should be about giving your followers a closer look at the story and personality behind your band. Maybe your band plays black metal but has an upbeat sense of humor. Maybe everyone is an animal lover. The goal of building your brand is to blend your music and personality in a way that gives followers a closer look at who you are. This creates a personal sense of attachment to your band that music alone can’t do. You’ve probably noticed that the biggest fans of most artists don’t just like the music – they dive deep into the story and personality of that artist.
Here are some examples of content that builds your personal brand:
-- A picture of you and your dog during a recording session -- A video of your band backstage just hanging out -- A sincere thank you note to fans that caught your last gig -- A journal chronicling life on tour
The important thing is to share content that is intimate and endearing, things that give followers a real personality to lock on to. As you can see, this type of material can be fairly broad. If you have trouble coming up with ideas, simply think of the kind of posts you would like to see from your favorite bands.
About 20% of your posts should be content from other bands and artists. And while the portion is small, it’s a vital aspect as it helps in building your network. As with most other careers, networking is crucial when it comes to opening doors and gaining new opportunities. As an up-and-coming group, you’re most likely regularly playing shows with other groups or collaborating with different musicians. If a band you’ve played with in the past is having a show near your city, take the time to promote them. They will most likely appreciate the shout-out and return the favor down the road, establishing a mutually beneficial relationship between your two bands through social media.
Here are a few examples of posts that can fall under this category:
-- An event hosted by a promoter who has gotten you gigs -- Details on an album release from a band you’ve toured with -- Sharing information about a side project involving one of your band members
This content shouldn't be about just any band or project, though. You have to honestly believe in what you're choosing to share. If you simply post about just any artist for the sake of earning brownie points with them, you might come off as ingenuine in the eyes of your followers which will ultimately hurt the integrity of your brand.
And finally, about one in every ten posts should be about self-promotion. While communicating the release of a new album or the beginning of a major tour is important, every post on that subject doesn’t have to be a sales call-to-action. For example, instead of telling your followers to buy your album point-blank, you can set up a live stream and invite fans to join in and listen. Or post about interesting aspects involving the recording session of your new album. In other words, use straightforward sales pitches sparingly and instead try to engage your followers in other ways that will likely lead them to buy the album.
Social media is a powerful tool that allows bands to instantly connect with their fans in ways that were never possible before the internet. But with that said, it doesn't do artists any good if their page is nothing more than a series of ads. By striking the right balance of brand building, networking, and creative self-promotion, you can use social media to its full potential.
Your Turn to Sound Off!
What are some other ways bands can use social media to effectively promote themselves?