Before social media came about, the promotional structure for a new release was always quite similar. During the run up to the release date, it was all stops out to get your promotional copies out for review, organising interviews and features in regional or even national media. As well as getting band photos done and getting back on the press publicise your launch party. Once released, there was typically a few weeks of activity which slowly died away, and that was that.
Does this Method Work for Everyone?
While it might still work for the big players, it is not very effective for most other people. Printed press is declining and regional print magazines and circulars are becoming less and less common. Social media on the other hand is booming. User numbers continue to rise in the hundreds of millions and they show no sign of stopping. It can be argued as a powerful medium though, as an article in printed press has a much longer life – weeks or even months if it is a weekly or monthly print. Conversely, an article on an Internet news site will often be read by many times more people, but the article life is barely a day. On social media, the lifespan of a post is often a matter of hours, or in the case of Twitter, minutes!
The music industry on the whole is in a state of flux at the moment – the way we consume, share and talk about the music we listen to is changing. It’s an exciting time for the industry and right now, there isn’t a definitive one size fits all marketing model for the new era – we are all trying out new ideas. From here on, I will be sharing some ideas on using social media.
How Can we Use Social Media Effectively?
Social media is designed to enable its users to communicate and interact with other people, no matter where they are geographically. Through websites like Facebook and Twitter, you can now interact with your fans every day of the week, no matter where they live, or where you are.
We can and should use our social media to support the traditional approach of press by sharing links, letting people know when and where you’re touring, or that you’re doing an interview on a radio station. Where I see most artists go wrong, is by posting exactly the same posts to their Facebook and twitter pages, posting nothing but self-promotion and selling posts.
The Personal Touch
If continuous self-promotion and selling none stop is the wrong approach, then what should you be doing? Engaging and interacting with your fan base. Your interactions do not always have to be strictly related to the band – comment on something that’s going on locally and create a discussion. Use that classic British favourite and comment on the weather. Share an interesting article you have read. If you are a band doing this, sign off your posts with your own initials – this adds a more personal touch to the post, and lets your fans know whom they are talking to.
What About My Releases, Gigs and Merchandise?
Now that you have built up a rapport with your fan base, you can post about your new release, or an upcoming gig, or where your fans can go to buy your t-shirt. Because you have interacted with them before on a more personal level, people are more likely to read what you write, click your links and therefore buy your stuff. This approach works in the long term too and can promote a release long after its release date.
It’s a difficult balance to get right – as an artist, you want to get your material and products out there, you want people to listen to your stuff and come to your shows. If that’s all you post about though, people will simply stop reading it. Aim to have the majority of your posts (80%) related to general conversation and promotional content taking up 20% of your posts. By interacting with your fans like this, in a way you would interact with people in general, your promotional posts become a lot more effective, and the end result is you will have more people at your gigs, you will sell more tracks on iTunes and you might even have to order another run of T-Shirts.