By Stephanie Brooks
Social media marketing has become increasingly important for organizations and brands — and the same goes for bands and musicians. From Facebook pages to LinkedIn groups to Twitter posts, YouTube profiles, and Instagram, there’s no shortage of ways to maintain a solid follower base, help generate new fans, or showcase your music to the wider public online. Whether you post a status update on your own, or your management handles your accounts, here are some quick social media tips:
1) Be natural and conversational in tone
One of the great things about social media tools is their ease-of-use and the informal, candid nature of its content. Being conversational in tone – finding your own social media voice – will ensure your profiles don’t seem robotic.
Fans will know if the account is being managed by someone other than its owner, especially if the posts are in the third-person. Also, if there are updates being sent through an artist’s account while he or she is onstage playing, the audience will soon find out it’s not them behind the profile.
2) Balance your message
Don’t be purely a self-promoter – that’s a good way to lose friends, fans, and follower numbers on social media. Ensure a good balance of content you’re posting and sharing: updates, pictures, videos, interesting information or articles, questions to your network, participating in chats or discussions, responses, etc. Pushing out content just about yourself to your network 24/7 is not only uninteresting, but it is not the purpose of social media. Make a habit of posting news and videos about others in the country music community, music you enjoy, or interacting with those who have influenced you – or vice versa.
Respond to comments and questions where warranted. It’s important to interact with users, but in a sustainable way that fits your usage. Set a standard for yourself and follow it.
Throughout all channels, keep your name, location, etc. the same to ensure it is easily searchable and simple for cross-referencing. For example, if you are listed as John Doe on Facebook but John Doe Music on Twitter, fans will be dissuaded and confused.
This goes for the use of imagery, logos, etc. as well. Try to be image-consistent, and when you update these things on one account – do the same to all.
4) Cross-promote your channels
Encourage your followers on Twitter to check out your Facebook page and vice versa, for example. You’ll be able to build a larger following on multiple networks this way. Be sure, also, to drive people to your website – it will help to increase your website page views and encourage visitors to browse your site. Your website should also have a social hub for easy access to each of your social networks.
5) Don’t auto-post
There are different social media networks for a reason – because they’re each for different uses. For example, Twitter is a microblogging platform with a 140-character limit – Facebook is not. Updates should be tailored to each audience and channel; there is no one-size-fits-all model.
Because of this, it’s important you don’t link your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, for example, together. Fans will see through this and it looks unnatural.
6) Don’t neglect – or overuse it
Yes, there is such a thing as overuse of social media. Clogging up someone’s timeline with excessive RTs and Foursquare check-ins? Unfollow. But at the same time, you also aren’t going to amass a great number of loyal followers if you tweet once a month. Find a rhythm that works for you – whether it be pre-scheduling a few tweets a week using a free service like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck in addition to coming up with your own, or setting aside time everyday to update your channels and respond to mentions.
The 24/7 nature of social media renders it an ongoing project… decide how much time makes the most sense to invest in it and follow through.
7) Maintain some discretion
You do want to be conversational, but social media is word-of-mouth at its best – so make sure what’s being spread is positive!
Remember that what’s up there is up – forever. So, if you’re contemplating posting something, err on the side of caution. If you wouldn’t put it on the front cover of a newspaper, or on a billboard on the side of the highway, don’t post it. This is your profession and your professional reputation. Keep it clean!
8) Befriend spell-check Posting things quickly, especially via mobile (damn you, autocorrect!) can often result in simple spelling or grammatical errors that, while on the surface, don’t seem to be a big deal, can erode your credibility and professionalism.
There’s no reason nowadays for spelling errors, since most of our applications, including many social media sites, have a built-in spell-check function. Do a quick re-read before posting!
9) Announce a contest Social media contests are great ways to spread your music’s awareness, build a community, and generate new fans by offering prizes for their engagement. Essentially, it gets others to do your marketing for you via social media in turn for a great reward. Common contests include offers for meet-and-greets, tickets, or merchandise at an upcoming show for the first person to reply to a post correctly answering a question regarding the artist’s music. They can also be as simple as following a new fan for being the “follower of the week.”
Many country artists have implemented such contests recently, and have seen considerable social media success through these efforts. Jana Kramer launched a campaign on Instagram last year that let fans “unlock” new music and videos from her first album being released. Fans had to share pictures that reflected three of her songs on the album, and when a certain number were shared and tagged, a song (50 shares) or video (100 shares) would be released.
Justin Moore took to his 460,000+ Twitter fanbase to promote songs from his new album recently. To build momentum for its release, he had fans tweet #OffTheBeatenPath plus favourite lyrics from his songs until it trended to reveal the album cover.
Jolyssa Tedrow @jolyssamarie24 Everybody tweet #OffTheBeatenPath because I want the cover to be revealed sooo just do it!
The “Point At You” singer ended up also awarding a signed guitar after the cover was revealed.
10) Learn from other artists
You know what they say: Imitation is the best form of flattery! Find artists you admire and those who “get” social media and pick up some of their best practices. Follow and “like” their pages and profiles, and pick up on what they do well.
For more tips and tricks, or to share some of your own, tweet @stephbrooks_!