In the last 10 years, social media has completely changed the game for the independent artist. For many it can be a confusing new world to navigate. Here are some of the things I’ve learned about using Facebook and Twitter to my advantage as an artist.
Once you have created a profile, you will need to build it up. The main reason social media marketing works so well is because it gives you the opportunity to interact with your fans. You are not just a business trying to take their money; fans can now interact with you and connect your face and personality with the name. You can easily post updates, keeping people informed about anything relevant to your music. You can also share photos, videos, or other interesting tidbits that your fans may enjoy. Customers can easily post questions or comments on your profile page, which you can directly respond to, increasing their trust that your customer service is beyond accommodating.
How to get noticed:
You now have literally a billion people at your fingertips with Facebook, so make sure everything you post is eye-catching. While it may be frustrating at first to see a picture of a cute puppy getting 95 “likes” while your post about your gig tonight gets only 2 “likes,” what you should be learning from this is that maybe you should have included the puppy pic with your post! You’ll be amazed how much more notice your posts will get if you include a visual element. Also, tag as many elements of your post that you can, include your collaborators or any other relevant tag, so that your post shows up on as many people’s news feed as possible.
How to sell product:
Treat your band page more like a personal profile than a business profile. If your posts are engaging and entertaining, then people will naturally want to follow and eventually buy product. The more personal or relevant your post is, the more interest will be generated. You never want your audience to feel like you are trying to “sell” to them. Be creative!
How to share your music/merch:
For a long time Facebook didn’t have a music player, thankfully many different apps have popped up to offer a solution. Most music player apps create an add-on Facebook page where artists can upload not only information, but also add songs (with the option for fans to listen, download and/or buy). You can also add show dates with tickets that can be bought through Facebook. The app lets you combine your Twitter feed, as well as your YouTube videos, making it the easiest way for your fans to get what they need in one place.
Developing an image:
While some artists fear social media, claiming Facebook and Twitter are “demystifying” the artist, I believe social media puts more power into the artist’s hands to create the image they’d like to present. You can share as much (or as little) as you’d like about your personal life, and share your interests with your fan base through photos or thoughts you express. You have to ask yourself “what kind of artist am I?” Unfortunately a talented musician without an image and a web presence that appeals to the public won’t get very far. It is important to take a moment and step back to think about how you would like to be perceived by others. What are you doing to portray this image to your fans?
Promoting through ads:
While I’m mostly focusing on free options, Facebook also gives you the option to buy ad space. Tagging interests to your ad will target specific people (i.e., “If you like [insert famous band] you will also like [you].”
With Twitter, the goal is not only to have the most followers, but also to get as many “retweets” as you can with each post – which helps bring new followers. But the ways to reach more followers is slightly different than Facebook. Once you add all your personal friends, start following your interests – favorite musicians, filmmakers, comedians, relevant blogs, etc.
What to share:
Twitter found a way to simplify the “status updates” feature begun by MySpace and Facebook, narrowing the length of each tweet down to 140 characters. But you can still get plenty of cache out of those few characters. Twitter is the perfect way to check in throughout the day. The post doesn’t have to be, and probably shouldn’t be, about your music every time. Retweet inspiring quotes, talk about what movies you are excited to see – bring people in by showing them you are an interesting person, and then maybe every fifth post – say something about what’s coming up with your music – be it a new album, a tour, a local show. Make sure they know that they are hearing from you and not your manager. This secures their trust and keeps your fans by your side.
Keeping the customer satisfied:
Your job is to keep your fan base happy, to keep them engaged, and to give them something that they are excited to share with their friends. To put it simply, treat them like friends – rather than simply customers and they will not only return, but also spread the word about you. This is how the power of social media and brand image can really work in your favor.
Using your creativity:
A successful artist is an artist who did the right things, the right way, and never gave up. Create value and then creatively tell people about it. Find new topics to write about that your audience is interested in, sprinkle in videos, new music and show information, and keep focused on making your site the most entertaining experience you can for your fans.
- Be creative in everything you post.
- Your main job is to keep your fan base happy and entertained.
- Always tag as many elements as possible to your post.
- Treat your followers as friends, not clients.
Shane Tutmarc is a singer/songwriter who hails from the musical hotbed of Seattle, Washington. A BMI songwriter since 2001, Shane released several indie pop albums with his group, Dolour before turning more towards roots music with The Traveling Mercies. Since moving to Nashville at the top of 2010, he’s created a strong buzz for performing solo, in addition to becoming a sought after co-writer and collaborator for many projects. For more information visit: http://www.shanetutmarc.com and follow him at http://www.facebook.com/ShaneTutmarc and http://www.twitter.com/ShaneTutmarc