Welcome to the age of the internet and technology. A lot has changed since the days of your superstar idols, and a lot of that change can be traced back to Social Media. You’re starting up a band and you want to take off, so you set up a Facebook page and (maybe) a Twitter account. What now? How do you do it?
First of all, know which formats are right for you. Facebook is a given. LinkedIn is pretty useless for bands, but okay for solo musicians. Tumblr doesn’t really add much. As okay as Myspace Music was, who even uses Myspace anymore? And Youtube and Soundcloud are so single-purpose they’re not really relevant to this topic (but get on them anyway – it’s important to connect in every possible way).
Twitter is just as valuable as Facebook, if not more valuable, to a new artist. Facebook is great as a sort of hub until you get a proper site up, but Twitter is a much more marketable option. It’s far easier to interact and get noticed on Twitter. Everybody knows the hashtag set up on Twitter. Does anybody even use the hashtag set up on Facebook? Not that we know of.
Your first task after setting up your accounts is to get a plan together. How do you want to operate social media? Do you want to be that band who spam themselves all day long, or do you want to be the savvy marketers of your material who don’t spam all day but promote themselves at opportune moments?
You want to be neither. In the digital age of the internet, it’s far too easy for bands and artists to appear faceless. You’re musicians, you’re not marketers or spammers. You don’t need to be all “me, me, me, look at me”. If people are liking your page or following you, they most likely already like your music. You won’t win anyone over like that.
Your approach should instead be a cohesive reflection of your band as a person. You want to be approachable. You want to be making conversation with fans. You want to, obviously, promote your own stuff when it’s relevant but you also want to promote your peers. Use social media for your musical project as you would for yourself (just without all the slagging off of people if you do that – don’t slag people off too much, it’s not very attractive to promoters). Don’t be selfish rockstars or faceless corporations. Be human. Connect.
You also want to know how to use each form of social media before you begin. What works on Facebook won’t translate well onto Twitter. Don’t just repeat yourself on both platforms all the time. Vary it. Play with wordings. Say different things. Make it worthwhile to your fans to be connected to both. This is great for bands – get one person to operate Facebook and the other on Twitter. For solo artists, it’s a little more tricky to not directly repeat. But it’s not impossible.
The main thing to keep in mind is that social media is just that: social. It’s not a platform for shameless self-promotion 24/7. Connect, and promote tactfully. Sure, on Facebook there are groups where you can post your new music and get fans that way, but you don’t want your page to be all about the marketing. You’re a musician, not a music machine.
Aside from the press releases we get sent from promoters and bands, the main place that we check for new artists is in Facebook groups and Twitter. That, and word of mouth on social media itself. And that is why social media is important to every new artist. Word spreads fast on the internet, so make sure you’re in the right places.