Are you one of those people who feels social media is, in general, not great for humanity, rather annoying, or even an all-encompassing scourge on the modern world?
If so, you’re certainly not alone, but as a musician trying to make a living in today’s all-digital world, you don’t really have the option of totally ignoring this part of the internet. Sure, you can be high and mighty and completely avoid signing up for popular programs like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, but you will do so at your own (career) peril.
Those sites, which were started as fun ways to keep in touch with family and friends and to post inconsequential photos and statuses, have now grown into tech behemoths that own our shortened attention spans and which dabble in everything.
We’re more surprised these days when a person doesn’t have a profile on any of the major players than when they do, and a few of the most popular platforms have now become the primary way most people stay in touch, keep tabs on the brands and musicians they care about and stay up to date on what’s happening in the world.
How the masses find the content they are most interested in is shifting, with aggregators like Twitter replacing regular blog visits. Can you image having a blog write about your new song, but the outlet didn’t share said new posting on any social accounts? You’d be somewhat annoyed, wouldn’t you? So why would you do the same thing to yourself?
If you’re against social media for yourself, think for a moment about how many people you are missing potentially reaching, and about how much farther every piece you compose and record could go if you promoted it properly. If you’re already on social, or if I’ve convinced you this is a major tool you should be wielding to grow your career, here are the nine online social networks where you absolutely need to have at least some kind of presence.
Not doing so immediately means you’re missing out (and somebody could steal the account name you want)!
If you don’t already have a Facebook profile before opening this article, you’re already off to a bad start. I don’t mean to sound entirely too negative from the outset, but Facebook is easily the most important network in the world. Facebook pages have overtaken traditional websites for so many musicians, and with good reason.
If somebody Google searches your band’s name, the FB profile is either the first or one of the first options typically to pop up, and that’s not going to change.
Forget anything about updates or posting statuses, Facebook allows you to put all the information people may need about you and your music in one highly visible place. Via your FB account, you can include tour dates, a bio, contact information (which I have always found incredibly helpful as a Journalist looking to reach out to Publicists and Managers), music, and links to all other social profiles.
Facebook has become everything on social, and it’s the first place to start if you’re only beginning to get into this field.
You can be high and mighty and completely avoid signing up for popular programs like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, but you will do so at your own (career) peril.
Photos do well on every platform, as people are more drawn to visuals than text, and no site/app combo is better at visual stimulation than Instagram. In just a few years, IG has replaced Facebook for many younger people, and it continues to grow not only in numbers but in importance every day.
Just as is the case with every social media platform, there are different rules for how to best operate your Instagram, and while it might be the new FB, the best practices are certainly not the same. You’ll want to develop a visual style and a “brand.” While this might seem pretentious and ridiculous, when it comes to something like social media, those are the Instagram accounts with the most interaction and which receive the most followers — so it’s worth the investment.
Forget the low payout rates and the argument that allowing people to hear your music on this video hosting giant stops them from buying anything—you need a YouTube page, and that’s all there is to it. Millions of people around the world only access the tunes they love via this site, and it is still the first place many of them look when they want to watch a music video.
You may have opted to go with an alternative like Vimeo, and while there are certainly reasons to go this route, not having your clips and not spending some time creating YouTube-specific content aside from just music videos (which can then be shared elsewhere) is a serious mistake.
The features that made Snapchat what it is have been stolen by the likes of Instagram and more recently Facebook, but this doesn’t mean it is no longer relevant, or will be disappearing anytime soon. Snapchat is hugely popular with younger crowds, and they use it constantly so while it may require you to update quite often, the app can be an amazing way to form a serious connection with people in a relatively short period of time.
Also, it is worth mentioning while other social media outlets require you to put time and effort into everything you upload (editing, cropping, and just generally creating something visually appealing or perfectly worded, etc.), Snapchat is inherently fun and fancy-free, and if you try to make things too perfect, you’re kind of missing the point of it entirely. Snapchat allows you to be silly, spontaneous, and real; this is part of what makes it so great for creating true connections with fans.
While you might only want to update a Facebook page once to remind everybody about an upcoming show, Twitter is where you can really sell some tickets by nudging your followers over and over without ruining your brand.
There are a lot of people who will tell you having a LinkedIn is totally unnecessary, or that perhaps as a musician (or anybody in the music industry—trust me, I hear this one a lot) you don’t even have a “real job,” but with the amount of work you’re putting into making this all happen, you know you’re definitely working hard — meaning you should have a page on LinkedIn.
The good thing about LinkedIn is, for the most part, you can set it up, enter all the relevant info, and then leave it be. Sure, you’ll want to update it and check your messages from time to time, but the site has never been huge when it comes to music, and you shouldn’t be dedicating any real time here. Having said that, it’s also silly not to set one up, even if you leave it alone for some time.
Creating a website for your band has never been easier or cheaper than it is these days, but I still know plenty of musicians and acts who have decided not to go this route.
If you’re not very good with HTML coding or if you don’t have any money to hire someone to help you out, consider heading to Tumblr to set up the simplest of band websites. Even in an age when fans will likely find you on six different networks before heading to Tumblr, it’s still good to have this online presence, especially because you can share so much more on this site than anywhere else.
Bandsintown isn’t necessarily so helpful for the site itself, but rather for where it spreads the information you input. The outlet allows musicians to enter all relevant info regarding your upcoming shows or tours, and fans can subscribe to you. This way, those who love you (and especially seeing you in a live setting) will receive email notifications when a new date is added, and your job marketing every performance just became slightly easier.
It’s a neat service, but Bandsintown is truly helpful because it connects to Facebook and other networks, so you only have to enter all of this information once and it spreads everywhere. With ticket sales making up more and more of an artist’s revenue, you could use all the help you can get moving tickets and making sure fans know when you’ll be in town.
It’s one of the coolest new social networks out there, and if you’re not already on the platform, you’re missing out on engaging with an entire age group.
Sing-along app Musical.Ly is, at its core, pretty silly, but it is also (as its name suggests) musically inclined, and that means it is immediately worth consideration. The app allows you to sing along to the tunes you love, and your fans can do the same. You can even do it with your own songs, which is easy and super fun promotion. If you want those who enjoy your output to be mouthing the words back to you at a concert, why wouldn’t you want the same on social media?