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« What Kinds of Images Best Represent Your Band? | Main | One Rocket I Hope Never Takes Off »
Tuesday
Feb082011

10 Things Every Musician Should Do Online Every Day

Do you or your band have a daily online routine? You better. At the speed this world moves you can’t afford to miss even one day of what is happening. Your competition is not sitting still, so you better be out there. But as a band you have to find a balance that is not going to hinder your ability to be a band. You need to write, rehearse, record, perform… if you don’t do any of those things, being online won’t mean much.

So I thought I would take a look at my daily online routine and maybe you can apply to it your routine.

10 Things Every Musician Should Do Online Every Day

1. Quick Email Scan. – When you wakeup, you’re a band, so whatever time of the day this might be is fine. Grab your iPhone or smartphone and do a quick scan of your email for anything important or urgent. Respond to those very urgent emails right away. You will know what they are when you see them.

2. Clean out garbage email. – Get out of bed, get yourself some coffee, breakfast, whatever you need to get going. Sit down and open your laptop, clean out all the garbage email you received overnight. Even with spam control all our inboxes get filled with crap. Get rid of it now so you only have real messages to deal with.

3. Review all new Twitter followers. – Twitter will send you a email for every new follower you receive. Do a five second scan of those new followers. No profile picture, no website link, no profile description, nobody follows them; delete the email and go on to the next one. If they have these items go check their profile in Twitter. Do a quick three second scan of their tweets, if it interests you follow them back. If they are clearly a music fan, a fan of your band, a fan of your style of music, a fan of similar bands… follow them back and send them a quick Direct Message thanking them for following you. Do this for everyone who is following you.

4. Do a Twitter brand review. – While in Twitter check for new Mentions of your Twitter ID. Check for any of your tweets that have been retweeted. Review your saved searches. Basically you are doing a review on who is talking about you on Twitter. Personally reply to everyone who mentions or retweets you. The searches could be for your real name, maybe your site URL, album title, anything. The key here is to get involved in the conversation!

5. Facebook initial review. – Review any friend requests. Check Notifications. Check Facebook Messages. See what is happening in your Facebook world. Just as you reviewed Twitter followers, do the same for Friend Requests. Do you have any friends in common? Are they clearly a music fan, a fan of your band or a similar band? If you accept their request, send them a quick message, or leave a wall post thanking them for the request. Check all your notifications. Who Likes your posts, left you comments, etc. Respond to comments that have been left. Check your Facebook messages. Same sort of review you give to your email can be applied to Facebook. Delete the garbage and respond to those that are important.

6. Facebook News Feed Review. – Do a quick review of your News Feed’s Top News. This will let you see what stories have the most activity. Leave comments and Likes on anything you like or anything that could help promote your band. Then switch over to your News Feed’s Recent News. This is a full list of everything all your friends have posted. Again, leave comments and Likes as you see best. Review everything since you last logged in. The key here is to get involved in the conversation!

7. Facebook Page Review. – Same drill, review all posts by fans. Review all comments. Respond to EVERYONE who left you a post or a comment. The key here is to get involved in the conversation! See a trend here? You have to talk with your fans on Twitter and Facebook.

8. Back to email. – Respond to any important emails. If using Gmail which I highly recommend… Star important emails you need to follow up on later.

9. Review your RSS feeds. – Switchover to Google Reader or your RSS reader and do a initial review of important feeds. Look for new, interesting and important stories. You can Star them in Google Reader to come back later for a full read. RSS feeds are the fastest way to keep up with new content added to your favorite websites, without having to visit every single one of them. You only visit the site when you find a new story that interests you. Be sure to review RSS feeds from other bands, see what they are doing.

10. Check your web or blog stats. – I bet most people never do this. This is so important, do not ignore it! Stats will tell you what your fans like and don’t like. Where they are coming from and where they are going. Be sure to look at these few numbers daily: Total traffic, Top stories, Referring sites, Top searches inside your site and searches that delivered you traffic and top exiting links (what links to external sites are being clicked). Google Analytics is a great free web stats tool to use on your website. WordPress.com Stats is a great plugin for a WordPress site that delivers great stats. Numbers don’t lie, so pay attention to them.

Now go write a song!

At some point during the day as the saying goes… rinse and repeat this entire process.

Do you have anything else that you feel needs to be done every day?



Reader Comments (27)

Good list.

One tip I'd like to share is that it's very easy to get lost and distracted on the net if you log in first thing with your morning coffee. Well, for me it is anyway.

I've found that I make more efficient use of my online time if I get up and do some productive offline task first before even looking at the computer.

It doesn't matter what it is - morning workout, water the garden, change your guitar strings, repair some equipment - just something you can cross off your to do list so the day is underway and you're active and rolling.

Then when you get to the computer you get the important jobs done quickly and spend a lot less time looking at cat videos.

February 8 | Unregistered Commenterfelix

This was a Top 5 list, tops: email, twitter, facebook, RSS, analytics. Lots of filler in here to make it a 10.

February 8 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

What a great list! One of the main things I've found is that bands need to work at staying connected with their fans. So many of them post once or twice a day and that's it. They also need to avoid syncing all of their social networks together. It makes it so impersonal when the same message appears over three different sites. It's not too hard to post an original thought.

February 8 | Unregistered CommenterGreg - likeZEBRA

Clean out garbage mail? Really?

February 8 | Unregistered CommenterBob

What ? No fan site with music samples and up dated calendar of band rel. events ?
Neither twitter nor facebook really do much for SOUND artists.

The 1st three are all checking e-mail ? Designate someone to do it. All of it.

focus on the music and making sure your fans can find what and where you play.

Try again, this is 3 weak things, and doesn't quite relate to a band.

February 8 | Unregistered CommenterUva_Be

A great list and a must read for all serious bands. However I do agree it could be condensed down to 5 main points for bands who may not have that time every day. Certainly highlights the key aspects of gaining and maintaining your fan base

February 8 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Chang

A couple of other important ones:

Accounts reconciliation - boring but necessary for your band as a business.
Check for merch orders. Send immediately, email customers letting them know you've shipped their order.

February 8 | Unregistered CommenterCory Blight

I agree with the rest of the commenters on this being a 5 point list, but also, if a band or solo artist is having to spend so much personal time checking and rechecking email / Facebook / Twitter / Analytics, they are in obvious need of reading the 4 Hour Work Week.

Automate. Template. Find patterns. Hire an Intern and have them flag things that NEED your attention.

Then keep making better music. Watching your FB and Analytic stats on a daily basis will only depress you, and you'll need inspiration to keep going. Try a longer approach, or only check inline with major launches, announcements, or things that actually make a difference.

February 8 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Shoup

I would not recommend #10 as a daily ritual. The reason I say this is because you won't get a sense of how things are trending or why. I review my blog traffic and Google analytics monthly and compare those numbers to previous months to get a better sense of a trend. I'd say the most someone should do this is weekly.

I would add to this list posting something on your social media from you. It can be a picture, video, or just a note or even a promotional thing. I try to post something everyday, even if it's just sharing a piece of information I think my fans or fellow musicians or people in the industry would find interesting.

Brian Franke, Singer/Songwriter
www.brianfranke.com
@bfrankemusic
www.brianfranke.com/thinkingaloud (blog)

February 9 | Registered CommenterBrian Franke

There's a lot of negativity in these comments. The article's not perfect, but it makes some really good points, and I think a lot of musicians could learn from it.

Thanks, Michael.

February 9 | Unregistered CommenterElliott Clarke

Good list. I am glad that you included "go write a song". Too much input, and no output doesn't get you anywhere. As Brian Franke pointed out, it is not only important to be "part of the conversation", but to also regularly post new content.

February 9 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

wow, it's nice to know that I am not the only crazy self-employed musician. My roomate saw me doing this yesterday and made a snide remark: "You look like you've been working hard today." It was totally sarcastic. What he did not realize is that I treat my band like a business and this is exactly what marketing people are doing for their clients. Keep this in mind and it won't feel so brainless. And don't allow other people who hate their jobs to make you feel bad:)

February 9 | Unregistered CommenterChristina Horn

Maybe the list COULD have been narrowed down to just 5 things but think of it like Google maps. It gives you explicit directions on how to get from one location to the next but if you know which steps can be eliminated it's fine-you'll still make it to your destination which is all the REALLY matters.

February 9 | Registered CommenterL Hill

Most important takeaway - *engage* with your fans. Thanking them for online friendship is one thing, figuring out what they're into and engaging with them over a topic of *their* interest (whether it be via Facebook, Twitter, email or out in the blogosphere) is another entirely. Albeit much more time consuming and tedious, also a much more personal way to engage with your fan base and start a meaningful conversation that can turn an 'online' fan into an active fan & personal advocate for the band.

Christian

When I'm not being a rock star (har har) I work in social media, so I can tell you from authority that this is the tip of the iceberg. Running a band and doing a day job (which many upstart acts have to do to pay their bills) is a lot of work, and while you've covered some of the main bases here, perhaps the most important thing omitted was research.

The internet isn't static and neither, therefore, is social media. I know I just listed a Myspace link in my info so it's going to sound hypocritical, but at this stage in the game you should really have your own URL (even if it means linking it to an existing page hosted by somebody else). That said, Myspace is going the way of the dinosaur rapidly, and Facebook was never of much utility for bands. The things you want to be looking at in 2011 are sites like BandCamp and Tumblr (which is very shortly going to overshadow existing blog platforms). BandCamp is designed *specifically* for musicians, so it's an extremely important resource, and Tumblr allows rapid dispensation of all kinds of media to as many followers as you can garner for yourself.

The point here is to get out into the social media community and find out what works. Hell, even a Twitter account has led my partner and I to a lot of great networking opportunities and even paid shows. It's time consuming, yes, but it's also something you can spread out throughout your day, and with the prevalence of smartphones and other wireless connections, it shouldn't be too hard to find a few minutes now and again to keep up.

That's my two cents.

Alex James

February 9 | Unregistered CommenterAlex James

Great post Michael. I think that #9 and the point about the RSS feed is really important. RSS feeds are the best way to streamline online content. Subscribing to Google Alerts, Twitter Search, and blogs through an RSS feed will keep you up to date with what is going on in your industry in real time.

This will help artists listen to what folks are saying about them online, good or bad. By listening, artists can take information away and apply it to their marketing strategy to help grow the brand online.

February 9 | Unregistered CommenterJim Grobecker

how about practice??!

February 10 | Unregistered CommenterNick

Thanks for all the feedback.

I am not going to worry about is it 5 or 10 tips.

The main takeaway is every band needs to create a list that works for them. A larger band with a larger following and more business is going to have different needs than a young, just starting out band.

I also left how much time you should spend out on purpose. You should spend the time required to get that task done.... 1 minute or 1 hour.

I have many friends who are writers and they always bitch about how a band was all excited to do a interview or review and when the final article is presented to them, or the link is delivered they never hear anything from the band. And the link is never added, the interview is never posted. Repeated follow ups go answered. Very poor business.

The challenge is how to balance the music and the business. Without songs and performances, non of this matters.

February 10 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Brandvold

@Greg -likeZEBRA, but then you're singling out people who only follow you on one platform.

February 12 | Unregistered CommenterSam Christie

11) - Go to Hypebot to catch up on all relevent and up to date music info! :)

Free album download at http://www.facebook.com/chancius

February 12 | Unregistered CommenterChancius

I wouldn't scratch Number 10 but I would be wary of checking my stats every day. Yes without a doubt, some of the most important information you will site/social visitors will be creating for your band are in the form of stats/analytics, but if you are ever going to get carried away with anything, waste your time on, feel depressed and just basically do too much, its checking your stats!

Great task list though!

February 13 | Unregistered CommenterMartinT

Great Article..Thanks for this another thing that might help is finding blogs to write about you so just spend like 10 mins a day searching for blogs..cuz there is so many out there

February 14 | Unregistered CommenterTM101 Radio

@Sam Christie, I think artists should still update all of their networks. I just hate seeing the same message two or three times. It feels less genuine. I recommend updating each of them individually. Even if the message is fairly similar, it's still varied enough to prove that they are actually updating the sites themselves.

February 14 | Unregistered CommenterGreg - likeZEBRA

practice should be on here. Planning should be on here. Some good internet advice, but not for all 10. I agree. Could be 5, and the rest should have been non-computer pointers! I do all of the above, and that's exactly my problem! No time left in the day to do other things like.. oh say.. write music, practice, work out, etc.

March 3 | Unregistered CommenterSinem

I agree. Musicians like indie ones should capitalize on the social media like myspace, twitter and facebook.

google business

July 7 | Unregistered CommenterKyle

Another one of those "ten things you gotta do" and its just shit everyone already knows.

March 3 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

More and more stuff to get in the way of your true craft-music.
Start your day writing or practising. Finish your day writing or practising.
Your spirit will be happier for it.
In between- find/ask someone to champion your music and do the things that get in the way of you and your music.
If you can't then you're not good enough so keep practising writing etc...(It could take years)
Music is the only true social media so it has to be really really good.
Twitter, Facebook etc. are for people like me sitting at my office hoping to be entertained.
Now get someone to believe in you,( but only if you've practised.)

May 24 | Unregistered CommenterDerek

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