Most serious musicians understand the potential benefits of effective social media use (i.e. reaching new ears, connecting with fans on a deeper level and selling more music). However, some musicians feel that social media wastes time that could be spent improving a lyric, tweaking a melody or otherwise becoming engulfed in the euphoric blur that is the creative process.
As a lover of music and social media, I find myself with one foot in each of these camps. I understand the importance of protecting music-creation as an artist’s paramount focus. That’s a given. Without it, no amount of amazing marketing or networking will make much difference anyway. I also understand that music fans don’t seek out, listen to or buy digital tunes the way they did in the past.
For musicians to reach their exposure potential, technology and social tools can’t be ignored. Below are a few tips to help musicians be heard in 2014.
Coordinate and cross promote. With so many different social platforms and apps to choose from, strategically choosing where to focus your time and energy is a must. Facebook and Twitter are often where bands and musicians start, but consider communities like ReverbNation and SoundCloud, which are commonly used for sharing tracks. Tumblr and WordPress are great for personal blogging about your musical journey to connect with your audience on a more personal level. Instagram is well-suited for fan interaction. If you’re looking to raise capital for artistic projects and events, turn to your fans with crowdfunding sites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter. Whenever possible, be sure to register official names and get verified to boost your credibility. Then, link all of your accounts together and promote your content across all platforms.
Quantify success with data. Like every other niche where social media is used, accessing and analyzing data is key in this era of digital music. The question is what’s most important to measure? SoundCloud plays or website visits? Twitter retweets or Facebook likes? If your ultimate goal is making money to fund the next tour or pay bills, dollars-in-pocket is the end all metric. Using data from link analytics from services such as Bit.ly can help you determine where your efforts are most successful. If numbers make your eyes bulge and your head hurt (and this does happen to some right-brained individuals), partner with someone who excels in this area (such as a social media manager at StrataBlue)!
Promote and build buzz. Using social media is a powerful way to raise awareness of important digital and “offline” happenings. Be creative in your messaging and utilize all platforms to promote upcoming tours and live shows, sell merchandise, announce song releases and drive traffic to music videos.
Scott Dylan, a digital marketing consultant, said it best in a recent article.
“Taking social media seriously is important in this digitally-driven day and age. For 2014, all musicians should make it a resolution to make more of an effort in the online sphere, and reap the rewards this time next December.”
What social tools have you seen work or flop for musicians? Leave a comment or tweet me at @AHersh317.