Don’t get off on the wrong foot with your social media marketing. Do your research, make a plan, and connect with your target audience from the start.
Marketing your band and your music on the digital landscape, it’s easy to get lost focusing your time and efforts on the wrong sites and connecting with the wrong people. Ideally, you’d take the time and have an opportunity to think through the who, how, what, where, and why so that all of your efforts are connecting you to potential fans and influencers within your niche from the get go.
Unfortunately for most, the excitement (or dread) of diving in takes precedence, and this focus on getting started overshadows the process of thinking things through.
And even if you do take the time, social media is an ever-changing environment, which means that no single strategy will work forever. So whether you are just getting started, or want to audit your existing efforts, using the checklist below can help ensure that your efforts propel you toward your goals, because ultimately, your goals as a musician are what really matter and will direct you to the tasks and metrics that make the most sense for you.
Do you know who your fans are?
Consider who is most likely to connect with your style of music. Be realistic, and put some serious thought into how old your fans are, where they live, what income bracket they likely fit into, what other interests or passions they have, and what other musicians they are likely listening to.
Where do your fans spend most of their time online?
Knowing where your fan base spends most of its time is critical to your being successful. You may like Facebook, but if your fans are in their teens, you may want to look at integrating Instagram and/or Snapchat as a part of your strategy.
What kind of content is most likely to connect with your fans?
Take a look at other musicians who are likely to share a similar fan demographic and see what works: Do videos or photos often get the most shares? Are they receptive to direct calls to action to join newsletters, buy tickets, albums, etc.? Does humor work well as a tool to engage fans consistently? Do they express an emotional connection and/or loyalty to personal entries, be it through blog posts, Facebook posts, videos, Instagram photos, or tweets?
Do you have goals (short-, medium-, and long-term) and proper KPIs (key performance indicators) in place to monitor your progress?
Plan your promotions
Social media can be a great way to engage your fans when you don’t have much going on between album cycles and tours, but you should always have a focus on what’s coming next in your pipeline so the rest of your digital strategy can effectively work towards this.
Break your bigger goals into smaller steps
It’s likely that your medium- and/ or long-term goals may reflect what project (be it an album, mixtape, show, or tour) is coming down the pipeline, but it’s important to think through your goals at all levels to ensure that your social media strategy helps to move you closer on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis.
Build your list
Do you ask for contact info, or at least an email address, from fans at least once per week via social media?
Know what you are measuring
Social media is a great conversation and engagement tool, but it’s not always a great a direct marketing tool. To this day, the best way to directly market (and sell) to your fans is via email. So while you are focusing on connecting to fans, peers, and influencers on a daily basis, ask for email addresses so that when the time comes to put up a pre-sale for your album or announce ticket sales for your next tour, you can reach out directly to your fans via email where your message and call to action is guaranteed to reach them.
Are you paying attention to the analytics that matter?
With the advent of social media came the obsession with analytics. This has led to such an abundance of statistics and metrics that it can be difficult to know what you should be paying attention to. Think through your strategy and look at only the metrics that matter, and put everything else aside.
• Do Facebook likes really matter as a metric when you are focused on your album pre-sale?
• Do number of favorites on a Tweet really matter when building your newsletter is your primary focus?
• Does traffic to your website matter when you are focused on ticket sales?
The answer to these may be yes, but not necessarily. It’s really important to understand how each effort you make (or your fans make) reflects your goals, and to focus in on the analytics that show growth and progress towards those goals.
How big is your promo budget?
Social media gives you the opportunity to post content for free anywhere you want, but this doesn’t mean that paying for increased exposure is wrong, or should even be off the table. A part of creating an effective strategy is understanding how much of a budget you have for things like advertising.
Are your socials all consistent in look, feel, and message?
With the strategy nailed down, you need to make sure that your digital presences work together, and that each digital property (i.e. your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) all reflect the same vision so that your fans can follow you and comfortably interact with you across these multiple channels.
Do you link to your website in all social profile bios?
If social media is a conversation tool, your website should be the conversion tool. Your website must always be up to date with your latest focus, be it a newsletter sign-up form, a way to purchase your new album or buy tickets to your tour, etc. With that said, the bio you use on any of your social channels must have a link back to your website so you increase your chances for these conversions to happen anywhere that your fans find you.
Is contact information up to date and available on all social profiles?
You never know when someone is going to come across your music and want to book your band, help to fund your next project, or simply connect you to someone who can open doors for you down the line. Making sure your contact information is obvious and available is the most basic thing you can do – in fact it’s so easy that it’s often an afterthought. In addition, nothing will turn people off more than a website link that doesn’t work, or an email that gets bounced back.
Does all your social content maintain the voice you feel best represents you as an artist?
It is important that the look and feel of your cumulative digital presence be consistent. It is equally important that the content you are posting consistently reflects your voice within your own fan community or within your niche/genre community at large.
Do you offer ample opportunity for your fans to get involved? Are the calls to action strong enough that you actually seen results? Asking for email addresses is one thing, but you also want to focus on creating opportunities for your fans to get involved with you as often as possible. This gives your fans a way of feeling a sense of belonging and an emotional tie to you and your music, which will help down the line to create super fans – those fans who are most willing to buy your music, merch, and tickets, and who are most likely to evangelize you to others.
Be consistently present via your social channels
Not only is it important to create consistency in the frequency of your posts, so that fans become accustomed and ultimately expect to hear from you, but it’s also critical that you actually be present. Posting content but never following up with comments is a big no-no as it doesn’t reward your fans’ engagement with the proper sense of community and belonging.
Social media the smart way
By using the checklist above, you’ll be able to determine your audience, find them, and create a winning content strategy that engages while moves the dial towards achieving your goals. Keep this checklist handy as you may find yourself wanting to revisit your direction and strategy as time goes on.
Of course, this checklist could be added to as well. Let us know what you would add to this checklist to make it as comprehensive as possible in the form of a comment below.
Jon Ostrow is a regular contributor to Disc Makers Echoes blog. Follow him on Twitter @jon_ostrow.