Using a tour, album release, and other creative endeavors can help you stay engaged with your fans and followers in your social media marketing efforts.
Here’s a scenario to avoid.
You spend months cooped up at home writing new material for your latest album and slogging back and forth from your day job. All throughout this time, you’ve been posting to your social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with consistency and you’ve seen nice growth in the engagement from your fan base community.
Then you release your new album and it’s time to hit the road to go out on tour. Now those daily Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram photos/videos seem like a nuisance to keep up with while you’re traveling, performing, and engaging with fans who actually paid to see you. So you take a little break from posting, thinking your online fan base will understand. But when you return, your find yourself back where you were at the beginning, with diminished engagement and excitement from your fans.
Far too often you can find an excuse to take a vacation from an otherwise consistent social media presence. In reality, events like a tour or a new album release present unique opportunities to make you even better at social media marketing. In fact, there are several principles of social media marketing that can be found rather naturally from your tour schedule, which if applied to your existing strategy, may help to give your presence, engagement and overall growth a nice boost.
1. Focus on themed content
A key element of all well-established brands (in this case, your band) is consistency. How does one establish consistency through social media? Use a theme! For example, while you are touring, there are several easy opportunities to create themed content.
Think about what excites you as you enter every new city, and find a way to turn that into a content theme that can be shared with your fans online.
Portugal. The Man has done a great job with this on their most recent tour. One of the band member’s fathers wrote him a message about each location, reflecting on his own connection to that city and how amazing it was they were performing there.
They turned this into a series of themed updates on Facebook and the response was fantastic as it became a platform for many of their fans to share their own facts and experiences about that city. Even if you’re not on tour, finding a theme you can develop over a period of time will give you subject matter to work with, a launching pad for creativity, and an opportunity for engagement.
2. Keep content varied and engaging
Something that is critical to a strong content strategy, but can be incredibly difficult to pull off when you are in a groove of your regular day-to-day life, is finding ways to create varied and engaging content.
This is another situation where the touring life – the new surroundings, experiences, and people – presents plenty of opportunities to add welcome variation to your content.
The Foo Fighters have done an amazing job of establishing a varied and personal social media presence, and when they go out on tour, they take advantage of their surroundings to add even more variety, making each event the new focal point without losing their brand of light-hearted humor.
3. Utilize real-time marketing
A huge benefit of social media is its real-time nature. Having the opportunity to connect with your fans on the spot allows you to bring your fans with you, wherever you are. If you go on vacation, you can let your fans in on your adventures. If you go into the recording studio, your followers can get a glimpse into what that process is like. If you go out on tour, your fans can experience your life on the road.
But how about using real-time marketing to share the events themselves, rather than just the before and after experiences?
Phish has always been on the forefront of turning every live show into a unique experience, and because of that, their fans have developed a rabid thirst for knowledge about their set lists. So when Phish goes out on tour, they turn to Twitter to give their fans what they want, sharing their set list updates directly from the show, as it is happening.
4. Take advantage of native content marketing opportunities
Social media marketing is not just about engagement. When you have something like a tour, there are important goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) that need to be considered, such as ticket sales.
An important and current trend in digital marketing is the concept of “native” content for marketing and advertising purposes. In essence, the idea is that the type of content you use for content marketing and advertising should reflect what is native to whatever platform you are using (e.g. advertorials in magazines that look like an article but are really advertisements).
Machine Gun Kelly has utilized this concept on his current No Class tour by creating a video series on Facebook, utilizing the short auto-play videos now native to Facebook to advertise each show the day of. While this makes for compelling content for his fans, it acts as a native content marketing opportunity to boost last minute awareness and ticket sales for each of his concerts.
Often times, we think of marketing as something we need to do to build up to something, like an album release, or a tour date. But what happens after that event is over?
Remarketing is the concept of continuing to market to those who have already engaged with you, and touring gives you a huge opportunity to re-market to the hundreds or thousands of people who have experienced your shows or purchased your album.
Hoodie Allen has been focusing on this concept for years as a part of his tour-marketing strategy by taking a photo with the audience at every show, uploading it online and asking his fans to tag themselves in the crowd. This gives those who are at the event the opportunity to continue to engage with him and feel a sense of belonging, which is the first step in creating a genuine community.
And even beyond the engagement opportunity is the data collection opportunity: every person who tags him or herself in a photo can be called back upon the next time he visits that location again.
How have your tours, album releases, and themed content made your social media presence even better? Share your stories, examples and feedback below!
Jon Ostrow is a regular contributor to Disc Makers Echoes blog. Follow him on Twitter @jon_ostrow.
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