How to be a Rockstar at Social Media: What Every Band Should Be Doing
March 18, 2013
Simon Tam in Google, Social Media, social media

Are you listening?

Are you really listening?

I’ve mentioned it a few times before: treat social media more like a telephone and less like a megaphone. I’ve written about it when talking about the best social media sites for bands too. However, after talking to a few artists, I realize that some might not know how or where  to listen. This is important because like any business or organization, you want to know what’s being said about you and where are they saying it. You’ll also want to know how to respond.

Free Social Media Listening Tools

First, let’s talk about some of the free tools available to you. Here are some that I use everyday:

None of the tools are all-inclusive. They catch bits and pieces of what is out there but don’t always get it all. If you run a search every day, it will only takes a few minutes to scan through anything new. Make a habit of searching and listening. In addition to the above, I also run searches on Google, Bing, and Duck Duck Go twice per day.

What You Should Search For

Aside from the obvious of searching for your own band name, here’s what I recommend to put in the automated alerts (for Google Alerts, TweetDeck and/or Hootsuite, and Topsy):

You might want to do yourself a favor and learn some Boolean search best practices. Not only will this make your personal searching more effective, it will help your listening systems too. While I don’t recommend doing every variation of the above terms in your daily search activities, you might want to consider doing it for the things you’re concerned about most. For example, if you are running a press campaign about your album, you might search for your band name + album on different search engines each day. Whatever you do, do not rely solely on Google or Google Alerts. Google will not catch everything.

When Something Comes Up

Listening tools aren’t just for vanity. When appropriate, it’s good to jump into conversations, post blogs, read articles, and so on. Find ways to interact with people talking about your music, thank them. If someone is posting something negative, don’t be overly sensitive or deal with it using some humor. Follow up, interact. People appreciate the transparency (and fans love the fact that you’re paying attention).

For sites that do review your music, collect the quotes/sayings/reviews/interviews in some kind of database so you can use it for your press kit or personal archives.

Make it a Habit

Have you noticed that it’s easier to keep your house clean if you work on it a little each day rather than waiting until it gets really bad and needs an overhaul? It’s the same with social media and any kind of listening tool. Take time each day to check what is being said about you online, just as you would check your email or test messages. In the world of social media, any response that isn’t immediate is too late.

Google and Google Alerts used to be the peak of the search experience. Now, it is just the baseline. You don’t have to go for a full enterprise listening system like Radian6, there are a number of great, free tools available to help you.


Simon Tam is the President and Founder of Last Stop Booking, author of How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements, and performs in dance rock band The Slants. Simon’s writing on music and marketing can be found at He is on Twitter @SimonTheTam 

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (
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