The Musician’s Guide To Affordable Effective Websites

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This article was originally posted in 2011, but we continue to have this critical discussion with our clients, so we’ve updated the information below.

A common complaint among independent musicians is that building a customized website is very expensive; a few artists showed me quotes of $5,000 for a website. It’s not 1997 anymore, and those quotes are not OK.

An effective website can be created for $20 or less a month with no upfront costs.

So for those of you who need a template for how to create an effective and affordable website, this is the article for you.

Many artists drive themselves crazy building a website for themselves or their band because they have trouble keeping it simple, and this is the key.

Your website exists to do two things:

    Number one: Help you engage with and make new fans.

    Number two: Make you money.

That’s it.

Here’s how to set yourself on the right path…

Step 1: You must have a domain name. 

To register a domain name go to godaddy.com (USA) crazydomains.com.au (AUS)

Register the domain that you would like to use.  I highly suggest a dot com (.com) with no slashes and underscores if possible.

TIP: You should also make sure that the YouTube, Twitter and Facebook page names match the URL that you purchased.

Step 2: Choose which payment option you would like.

Pay As You Go

A pay-as-you-go option with a web site builder can get you up and running very quickly and you won’t need a designer to build the site for you.

Here are my favorite 4 in alphabetical order. All 4 have excellent call-in customer service to help ease the confusion.

Bandzoogle – http://bandzoogle.com/

Their lite version starts at $9.95 per month easy to use and the first month is free!

Hostbaby – http://www.hostbaby.com/

Owned by CD Baby, you can store unlimited emails and send newsletters through your custom site. It costs $20 per month or $199 per year.

Reverbnation – http://www.reverbnation.com/band-promotion/sitebuilder

Reverbnation continues to te the one-stop shop for digital music marketing tools. Reverbnation’s Site Builder allows you to create a custom website that can utilize their full suite of tools, including Reverbnation’s Fan Reach (newsletter platform).

Spacecraft – http://gospacecraft.com

Spacecraft allows you to build a simple, highly customizable website with a responsive design that makes mobile browsing easy for your fans.

Working with a Web designer

I suggest crowdspring.com or LinkedIn for finding affordable WordPress designers. Make sure you read the designer’s reviews and see examples of his/her work before you hire him/her so you don’t get any unpleasant surprises.

TIP: Don’t pay more than $1,000 for a basic WordPress site.

TIP: Don’t work with an “artsy” web designer who does not build in WordPress because he will give you a flash movie intro or a complicated site. If you want artsy, buy a fabulous new outfit, or create a physical piece of merchandise using http://www.MerchLuv.com that’s really cool, and expresses who you are, but please don’t be “artsy” on your website. 

Your website must be clear and functional.

Step 3: Build Your Homepage

Your entire website should be easy to navigate with a navbar across the very top of each page so visitors can see it (not buried where they have to scroll down).

Kent Gustavson

  • Be branded with your look, your colors, and your logo (if you have a logo) and, of course, a stunning photo of you / your band.
  • TIP: your socials should all match your site colors.

  • You should feature your name, and your pitch, or specifically what you sound like in a few words.  If you feel weird creating a “pitch”, use one killer press quote or fan quote, which sums up the way you sound.
  • Features a FREE MP3 in exchange for an email address
  • USE: Reverbnation, Pledgemusic, Topspin or Noisetrade

    http://www.tinyurl.com/reverbfreebribe

    http://www.tinyurl.com/pledgefreebribe

    http://www.noisetrade.com

    http://www.topspinmedia.com

  • Link to your social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and anywhere else you maintain an active profile.
  • Include a Facebook “like” widget.
  • Include a Twitter stream updating in real time.
  • A blog feed / news feed, or new shows updating onto the page via widgets.
  • If you like sharing photos, a Flickr stream, which ports over to your blog!

  • Nav Bar elements / tabs:

    Annie Fitzgerald

    1. Bio/ press kit. For your press kits use Sonicbids, Reverbnation, or Presskit.to.

    TIP: Photos/ Images. Make sure your photos really capture who you are. Make sure they have clear instructions on how they can be downloaded.

    2. Buy music – iTunes or a storefront

    3. Your tour shows or performances

    4. Your Blog

    5. Your Contact Info

    Make sure that you have your contact information with an e-mail address or a contact form there so people can contact you for online publicity, booking, or just to tell you they like your music. Don’t make it hard for anyone to connect with you online.

    After your site is done, make sure to keep your social media sites updated!  That means daily.  This way your whole site remains interesting and dynamic and fully updated.

    For how to do that please read my Musician’s Social Media Food Pyramid.

    31 Comments

    8 Ways to Make Your Next YouTube Video Better Than The Last

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    This post was written by Corie Kellman (@Coralman808), Director of New Artist Relations for Cyber PR®

    So you’ve made a video… Now what? Take into consideration these 8 tips to optimizing your video’s potential on YouTube.

    1. Your TITLE is important!

    Believe it or not, your title can make or break your video– when people are searching for things to watch, you want your video to come up for them to view!

    Keep it focused! Try this format (as applicable):
    [Song Title] [Short Description] [Original Artist Name] [Your Band Name]

    For example, if you have done a cover song of “We Are Never Getting Back Together”, a great title would be:

    We Are Never Getting Back Together Taylor Swift Cover by Corie

    Think of what people might ask when searching for something. Questions begin with Who, What, When, Where and Why – so when applicable, answer these questions right in the title!

    On August 28th, when I YouTubed We Are Never Getting Back Together in the search bar this is what I saw:

    Taylor Swift

    First you see Taylor Swift’s official video, followed by two other videos before her official lyric video!

    FUN FACT: There are times when official artist videos are not licensed to view in other countries. Where the official video is not available for viewing, yours may be the first (or only) option for a fan in that area to listen to the song!

    2. Write a description to your video with RELEVANT INFORMATION!

    You want your description to have keywords that improve your ability to show up in fan (and potential fan) searches and it should be thorough– but you don’t need to include the entire kitchen sink! Make a description that describes the video and who you are.

    FUN FACT: There’s a tool that helps you come up with relevant keywords; available straigh from the source! CLICK HERE TO USE YOUTUBE’S KEYWORD SUGGESTION TOOL

    Only a portion of the description shows to your audience before requiring them to use the drop down to continue reading so keep the important items at the top, like your website url, for example.

    3. Tag and Categorize your video!

    Choose a category that best fits your video for most of you. I’d imagine this will end up being Music, but MAYBE you have a niche-focused video that fits into a different category like Comedy, just make sure whatever you choose what BEST fits the videos content.

    Tags further support your search rank and are a part of the equation to better visibility. Use short phrases and descriptive keywords here– YouTube will auto-generate some from the way you titled your video. Add and remove as you feel necessary. Make sure your brand or artist name is a tag, also.

    4. Choose a good thumbnail for your video!

    YouTube is a visual network, so the way your video looks as it is sitting there in the search results matters. Don’t let your video have the moment in between a word with your mouth wide open, eyes closed be what is default as your thumbnail.

    YouTube will present you with a few options from your video to choose from OR you can upload a custom thumbnail to further support your brand.

    5. Use the Annotations to promote a Call to Action!

    You have probably seen these if you have watched a handful of videos– these are the speech bubbles, text boxes and spotlights that show up on top of the video; sometimes hyperlinked to something else. This is a great place to ask your fans to do something, like Subscribe to your Channel, Follow you on Twitter, Like you on Facebook, or Sign up for your Newsletter, just to name a few. If your video is a cover, consider a link to your original songs.

    Brandon and Leah

    Here is an example, where Brandon and Leah place a thumbnail of their EP cover in the upper right-hand corner and when you hover over it, it prompts you to subscribe to their channel.

    6. Monetize your video!

    If you own the rights to the music used in your video OR have licensed the song you have covered, you can MONETIZE your video. That’s right, you can use YouTube to make a little dough while you expand your digital presence. Just be careful to make sure you are legally allowed to collect money for your content. There are guidelines, so be careful to follow them. Not sure what you can monetize, Click here for YouTube’s Guide.

    7. Publish and start promoting your video!

    You have spent all this time optimizing the metadata (yeah you have created metadata– bet you didn’t even know that is what you were doing!) to make sure it can be found, now it is time to publish your video and start sharing it with your fans. Share your video with communities who share similar interests, as well, to find new fans. Is your video similar or inspired by another YouTube video? Add a positive comment in that video and ask viewers to check out yours, too!

    8. Analyze and adjust!

    Is what you have uploaded not meeting your goals or expectations? Take a look at your title, tags, and description and make edits, if needed– you can edit these items any time you want! Maybe try a different type of video for your next upload.

    FUN FACT: We have a list of ideas to help you brainstorm on new content to try: 8 Killer, Cost Effective Videos to Add To Your YouTube Strategy

    It may take time for you to find your rhythm on YouTube, and if you are only interested in your video ‘going viral’, it may be time to adjust those expectations.

    How Did YOU Optimize The First Video on Your New Youtube Channel?

    Let us know what worked (or didn’t work!) for you in the form on a comment below!

    12 Comments

    6 Critical Ways For You To Manage Your Expectations of Digital PR & Social Media Marketing

    keep it real


    This article was co-written by Ariel Hyatt and Jon Ostrow.


    “80% of marketers begin with tactics instead of goals” – eMarketer Report.

    One of the most difficult things that we, and really any digital marketer faces is the ability to effectively manage the expectations of our clients.

    We primarily consider clients who pay us to represent them in the realm of new media and social media. For us, it means properly identifying your goals as a client (be it an artist, author, entrepreneur or well-established brand) and often times, educating you as to why certain expectations and goals may need to be re-considered.
    (more…)

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    Digital Media Deconstructed: Clyde Smith of Hypebot

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    Last month, I began a new series called Digital Media Deconstructed where we will be interviewing digital media makers who are thought-leaders or trend-setters (or both!) about their own experience with creating a consistent compelling content strategy, establishing their own signature story and developing a stronger online brand.

    Clyde Smith - HypebotWe’ll pick up the series today with Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch), senior contributor to Hypebot.

    Hypebot has long-been established as a thought-leading music industry news and insights blog and for the last few years, Clyde has done an fantastic job shaping the content strategy and direction of Hypebot (along with founder Bruce Houghton, of course), picking up where former senior contributor Kyle Bylin left off.

    Let’s dive in to our interview with Clyde to find out how he came to be one of the driving voices behind one of the biggest and most influential blogs in the music industry.

    How/ why did you get started as a blogger?

    In 2001 I was writing about the local hip hop scene in Greensboro, NC. One of my pieces didn’t get published in a magazine and I decided to put it online using Geocities. That static self-publishing experience led me into blogging about hip hop using Blogger later that year.

    How long did it take you to establish your writing voice?

    To some degree every blog requires a different style. Since I’ve gone from arts and culture blogging into business blogging, all related to music, I’ve shifted writing styles.

    It depends on what I’m doing but if it’s writing focused it’s taken me anywhere from a number of months to a year to really settle into a specific blogging role.

    How important do you feel guest posting is to an effective content strategy?

    I’ve seen musicians, music companies, consultants and bloggers raise their profiles from guest posting. It can be a great basic awareness and branding tool especially if it draws people into your own media space whether your own site or social media account.

    For Hypebot, you often publish several articles per day. How often do you suggest a new / emerging blogger publish new content?

    I think most such decisions should be based on your goals. I write for a news-focused blog that provides daily news briefs and commentary so I write daily. A solo blogger focused on in-depth pieces might blog once a week and have a big impact.

    Every now and then a musician breaks their Tumblr flow of pics and quick updates to share something deeply meaningful that catches people’s attention and so their biggest impact might be once a year.

    But I think once a week is a good minimum and once a day is a good maximum unless you’re trying to build a daily news site.

    What mistake(s) have you made that have turned into valuable lessons for how you now approach blogging?

    In previous years I tended to get wrapped up in negative comments and blogging disputes. Learning to let certain things go and focus my energy in more productive ways has been a key longevity tool.

    Which blogs do you read on a regular basis?

    I find most of my news through Twitter and similar headline streams so I read blog posts more than blogs. I see content from music, business, tech and marketing blogs on a daily basis from a wide range of writers.

    Top Twitter feed: Adrian Fusiarski
    https://twitter.com/Buzzsonic
    Top Blog: Both Sides of the Table
    http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/

    What is one thing you wish someone told you about blogging when you started?

    Not to get wrapped up in the negative aspects. Of course, I would have ignored that advice!

    Where can people find you online?

    I post daily about the music biz at Hypebot: http://www.hypebot.com

    I’m currently most active on two Twitter accounts that link to related blogs.
    Flux Research
    https://twitter.com/fluxresearch
    Crowdfunding Music
    https://twitter.com/crowdfundingm

    Best point of contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com

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    Darius Lux: How To Develop and Dominate in a Targeted Niche – A Cyber PR Niche Marketing Case Study

    Darius LuxBy: Ariel Hyatt & Darius Lux

    I love the story of Darius Lux because it epitomizes what we do here at Cyber PR®. We help our clients identify key niches and connect authentically to passionate fans. Passionate fans turn into paying customers, which is one of the hardest things to attain as an artist. How does one create those close connections? Let them into your life, and share something that people can relate to. Give people the opportunity to rally behind something that really hits home.

    I asked Darius to co-create his case study with me and he graciously shared his thoughts and experiences.

    Darius is an artist who is not unlike many other talented artists.

    “Darius grew up bouncing between London and New York and that mix of cultures clearly influences how he approaches songwriting. His music is a melting pot of styles, 70s soul, 80s EuroPop, and 90s hip-hop with strong roots in traditional singer/songwriter fundamentals. Contemporary influences include Maroon 5, John Mayer and Spearhead with elements of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and even James Brown.”

    ~ Description from Epitunes


    “Darius Lux has an incredibly captivating voice, and from his first syllable, the listener is caught…even better is the fact that he can span and mesh a number of genres in a way that seems natural. Rock, pop, and soul swirl in each track. The singer/songwriter creatively uses his music and lyrics to be uplifting with his songs, and it works.”

    ~The Celebrity Café


    Identifying The Niche

    When Darius came to us he had a video that we hoped would gain some viral traction. After several weeks of promotion it didn’t get the lift we wanted. This happens often in campaigns: We start off in one direction and then we find it is necessary to correct and continue.

    We started with a focus group with Darius on the telephone, and on that day he sounded different, and somehow more energetic. I asked him what had changed, and he confided in us that because of a recent diagnosis, he had begun a gluten-free lifestyle. He was feeling better than he had in a long time, physically and mentally. For my team a light bulb went on. I proposed pitching him to some gluten free, health, and wellness blogs.

    At first Darius was resistant.

    ‘What does being gluten-free have to do with his music?’ he asked. He pointed out that his music is not exactly about nutrition; after all, he is a pop artist.

    
“I had no idea that connecting to a targeted niche would be such a great way to establish common ground with people rather than just through focusing on my music. What we later realized was this laser-focused niche was wide open for me. No one else was in this lane.”


    We placed Darius on dozens of websites…

    Who were intrigued by his story and wanted to interview him about what it was like to be a touring musician on the road living gluten free. They wanted recipes, stories, and the BEST part was, Darius was the only musician being featured amidst nutrition and lifestyle posts. In my book, I refer to this as being a shark in a sea of tuna. It’s an effective tactic because now, instead of just being one of hundreds of artists on a site cluttered with other albums, reviews, songs and musicians, Darius was the only artist on these blogs who were featuring and highlighting him among fabulous relevant posts that already had audiences of established passionate readers and built in communities. Darius created original content and was the subject of lengthy feature interviews. One of the blogs dubbed him the gluten-free rock star and from there many more followed suit.

    Defining Your Voice

    Over a short period of time, he had to come up with a lot of unique content. This is where we initially get resistance from clients and this is also where what we do truly differs from other marketing firms’ strategies.

    Accomplishing this effectively and with authenticity took some effort on Darius’s behalf.

    We are happy to hire professional writers to write on behalf of our clients. However in the end this is our clients story and that story is always better told when it is in their own voice. Also the long-term benefit is seeding the Internet for future growth and development. These blog posts that took time, thought, and energy 12 months ago, are just now germinating and they will continue to bear fruit for Darius for years to come.

    

“At first it was tough to wrap my head around what to write. It seemed that there was almost no opportunity to talk about my music, however, I realized that if someone is drawn to me because of a common cause, chances are they’ll check my music out and with more depth than the average passive music fan does. What I also realized about this community in particular is that there is a lot of passion surrounding it. (It’s a new frontier in health awareness and so you are dealing with early adopters who are already using alternative/guerilla tactics to reach people). It helps to have aligned with this force rather than the typical music blog where it’s business as usual. As I connected with different leaders in the community I bonded with a force to be reckoned with in the community. Her name is Chandice Probst and she runs Glutenfreefrenzy.com. She is also the Founder and President of the Celiac Disease Foundation (AZ East Valley Chapter). Candice organizes gluten/celiac-awareness events all over the country tied in with major sports events. She invited me to play at the Los Angeles Expo where I performed before a Dodgers game, which was great. That was received so well I was invited to play the Phoenix event, and I now have a growing tour-base in Arizona and this market is becoming a new priority for me and has opened me up to a completely new market. This was all the result of niche-based target blogging. The lesson here is: All things are connected if we allow them to follow their course.”


    Watch Darius Being Featured at the first LA Expo on Gluten Free with Marie

    Managing Your Dedication To Your Niche

    Does this mean when you go to Darius Lux’s website that it says hello I’m the gluten-free rock star! No absolutely not. In fact, his website barely mentions this. Just because you decide to lean into a niche and you commit time and energy to become known in the community does not mean your entire identity gets given over to that specific niche. It’s meant be a supplemental and fertile place to connect with a tribe of people who are like-minded. The result is new appreciative audiences in less crowded marketplaces (being the shark). The end result is: Darius can now tour in a couple of markets where he had no fans and no exposure in the past, and he has a community of new fans he would never have met previously.

    Ariel: What has opened up for you since you started exploring this new niche angle?

    Darius: I felt so connected to my new community; I decided to create a gluten-free anthem for Chandice’s organization. She brilliantly helped me make this a crowd sourced participatory event by sending an online invitation her entire tribe asking for potential lyrics that relate to being gluten-free. I am now in the process of recording it. I am also talking to a few gluten-free brands about potential sponsorship and/or tour support as well as introducing gluten free beer options to venues that I play to support my fans and help the venues serve their potential new clients better as well – so it’s a win-win.

    Ariel: Do you believe having a niche-based tribe is something everyone should try to achieve?

    Darius: Yes, understand that timing is important and genuine engagement is crucial. Otherwise, people will sniff you out as disingenuous pretty quickly. I have been an indie artist for the last 7 years so a lot of what I capitalized on as far as building new communities was ingrained already. Lastly, I didn’t have any expectations when we started experimenting with connecting to this niche. This was extremely helpful.

    Ariel: How many Gluten Free Expos have you played since you have become known in the Gluten Free circles?

    I’ve played 3 this year with another 2 coming up, all in different cities. Currently, since it’s such a new frontier, there aren’t a huge number of performance opportunities but the ones I’ve played so far have allowed me to explore new live avenues and pick up new fans.

    Ariel: Have you met other “super fans” aside from the amazing Chandice who has really helped spread the word and evangelize your brand and your music?

    Darius: Yes, several, though I see them as a friends first and foremost (the rest just flows). It makes a HUGE difference having someone in your corner who is motivated by what you’re doing rather than just what can be “made” off of you.

    Ariel: You mentioned that a lot of Gluten Free companies have been sending you products to test and blog about – why?

    Darius: My guess is these companies are now seeing that they have a potential consumer base that is wider than they thought, and I have access to that fan base. Plus being dubbed a “gluten free rock star” can only make their product look cooler, so it’s beneficial to all involved.

    Ariel: What is your favorite Social site to communicate to your tribe and why?

    Darius: I flip-flop between Twitter and Facebook because I still find them to be the best and most connected way to reach people. It’s as simple as: If I’m feeling introverted I’ll use Twitter and extroverted I’ll use Facebook.

    Ariel: How important do you think your overall online presence is to feeding and staying in touch with your fans?

    Darius: It’s the only way to stay in touch with a certain kind of (connected) fan. Just as some fans only go out to see live music and don’t spend time online, I’ll play live shows for those fans. Hopefully, at some point these two groups of fans overlap. What I’m beginning to really appreciate is that all the online self-branding and marketing is actually a great way of defining and honing who you are and what you stand for in a way that was previously difficult if you didn’t have these tools and resources.

    Niche Based Articles

    Gluten Free Twin Mom
    Interview with a Gluten Free Rockstar- Darius Lux

    The Celebrity Cafe
    10 Ways for Musicians to Live Gluten-Free On the Road …

    Gracefully Gluten Free
    “Gluten Free Rockin’ on the Road” Guest Blog by Darius Lux

    Gluten-Free Pancakes
    (Cook Bliss Podcast) Episode 6: Gluten-Free Pancakes, Darius Lux, and a Chat with the Crispy Cook.

    Free Form
    Free From Gluten Free on the Open Road: A musicians perspective …

    Conclusion

    The 1st time I started working with Ariel & Cyber PR was back in 2008. The Internet was kind of happening and MySpace and a few other sites were gaining momentum. The old model of the industry that I had known (at the major labels) in my past was crumbling I wasn’t sure what to do next… Ariel was a light in the dark and looking back she was clearly very cutting –edge.

    Everything she has been doing has not only proven effective but has become the new way of doing things; only she’s one step ahead, all the time ;)

    The success here for my team is that we help an artist identify a tiny area where there were fans and appreciative new connections waiting.

    Please Visit Darius Online:

    Darius Lux
    www.DariusLux.com

    https://www.facebook.com/Dariusluxmusic

    http://www.youtube.com/dariuslux

    http://www.twitter.com/dariuslux

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    Are You Guilty? – 4 Ways Indie Musicians Are Killing Social Media

    Guilty As Charged...

    This guest post was written by Joshua Smotherman (@midtnmusic), co-founder of the Middle Tennessee Music blog.

    In an ideal world I would wake up in the morning to a fresh cup of hot coffee. I would enjoy it as I check my e-mail and skim social networks to check up on friends and my favorite bands.

    I would immerse myself in an online community of music lovers, songwriters, and musicians sharing, caring, and building with each other… NOT blasting commands to “check out my new hottest thing”.

    I see enough billboards on the interstate.

    In this world:

    • Bands would stop acting like rock stars and start acting like leaders
    • They would build self-sustaining tribes
    • They would listen to their fans
    • They would understand that growing organically will always win over view counts

    As a music blogger, my inbox would NOT be full of one-liners and YouTube links I only see as distractions. Whatever happened to “connecting” with someone?

    Unfortunately, this world does not exist. From where I’m sitting, the average indie band sucks at using social media and its ruining it for everyone else. Most importantly, your potential fans.

    What are we doing wrong, you say?

    Oh boy…where do I begin?

    Me, Me, Me Marketing

    You might have been raised in a world of billboards and commercials, but using social media as a one way street is killing your promo game.

    It seems too many people are missing the social half of the phrase, social media.

    You need to engage with fans and listeners instead of blasting them with links, videos, and nonsense about buying your album.

    Sadly, most bands qualify [as what the marketing world refers to] as spammers.

    Engaging is easier than you think and should come naturally (assuming you are not a recluse).

    • Share albums, videos, and news about other music you enjoy or local bands you play with. Ask others what they think.
    • Share news related to the music industry or issues that reflect the personality of your band and use them to engage in conversation.
    • Instead of posting links to the same videos and songs repeatedly, post clips of the band working in the studio or upload a demo mix and allow fans to share their opinions so you can take the art to another level. Involve fans in your process(es).
    • Network with bands in other areas to create an atmosphere for gig swapping and collaboration as well as cross promotion of content.

    This list goes on but the takeaway here is engage in a way that results in feedback and interaction.

    Build a community.

    Focusing on the wrong metrics

    Your follower count means nothing unless you see conversions.

    Huh?!

    More important than a follower, view, or like:

    • How many fans have signed up for your mailing list?
    • Do you pass around a mailing list signup sheet at your show?
    • How many people have you met at shows? (You do hang out with the audience after the show…right?)
    • How many people have bought a CD or t-shirt?

    Stop putting all your energy into increasing numbers on social sites and focus on converting the followers you have into loyal fans.

    Use social media to funnel music listeners to your website where you attempt to convert them into a mailing list signup, song download, or merchandise sale.

    Would you rather have 1,000 likes or 100 fans spending $1,000 on music, merch, show tickets and crowd funding campaigns?

    Show me the money!

    Repeating yourself on every social network

    Sending your Twitter feed to Facebook then copying and pasting it to Google+ so the same message appears on every site is a horrible idea.

    So is auto play on audio embeds but that’s for a different time.

    You are not expected to know marketing, you make music! Allow me to guide you on this train of thinking…

    People who use Twitter are different than people who use Facebook and the people who use Google+ are not like the others.

    It is imperative you consider these facts when developing a social media strategy and act accordingly.

    Make sure you actually use social media as a music fan before deciding how to market your music using these tools. Follow bands who are in a position you would like to be in and see how they use each network. Notice what works, what doesn’t work, and then perfect your plan of action.

    Posting several updates to Twitter every hour (depending on the nature of the updates) is more acceptable than posting to Facebook every 15 minutes.

    When you over saturate a person’s FB News Feed, they hide you from their feed. Or worse…unlike your page or mark your posts as spam.

    A general guideline is try to retweet, reply, comment, and share relevant content from others more than you broadcast and peddle your own wares.

    Sell Without Selling

    If you focus on building a community around your band instead of acting as a bulletin board, you will start noticing the true power of social media.

    You will not see overnight results.

    The key is to stay consistent, focus on creating great music, and communicate directly with your audience.

    If you create a community of loyal fans, they will want to support you.

    Your community will become your sales force and all you need to do is be yourself and continue giving fans a band worth loving.

    Consistency allows you to reach a tipping point where fans begin promoting your music for you by wearing t-shirts, playing CDs at parties, and recommending you to their friends.

    It is hard to conceive this when you are starting at zero, but 6 to 12 months down the road you will notice things happening simply because you remained persistent.

    While fans are busy promoting your music, you need to seek out gig opportunities, blog reviews or interviews, and other chances to put yourself in the presence of tastemakers who can expose you to their audience.

    Bloggers, journalists, booking agents, and other industry personnel will not give you their attention unless you have proof of a loyal, engaged following.

    Buying followers or views might help you manipulate chart rankings and other metrics, but they will never replace the power of community. If you have 5,000 page likes but no one is liking, sharing, or commenting on your updates; we all see right through you.

    So can the people who can expose you to bigger audiences of music fans.

    In closing:

    • Build your tribe
    • Nurture your community
    • Stop acting like a corporate sales machine

    You might also be interested in this panel discussion concerning Marketing, PR, and Promotion on a Budget hosted by Indie Connect NYC which discusses mores things indie musicians are doing wrong online.

    How Have You Avoided Killing Social Media?

    Let us know below what you have done to overcome these four social media killers above (or any others that you’ve experienced) in the form of a comment below!


    image credit: bigstockphoto

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