I often get asked: what’s the best social media site for bands? My business clients ask the same thing using different words: what is the best marketing channel to promote my brand? The idea that there is a magic formula or single solution to take care of all your needs is a misnomer. Where you should be promoting and the tools that you should be using should revolve around one main concept: where your target audience is. It’s as simple as that.
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Entries in branding (10)
Without doubt, the biggest challenge any new band or artist faces is getting their music heard. So it’s important you give yourself the very best chance of cutting through. Sadly, just having great music is not enough. Bands frequently spend months writing and recording new material and then rush it out before considering the importance of presentation or brand.
Posted By: Michael Brandvold (Michael is a 20 year music marketing veteran who has worked with unsigned indie bands and international superstars. Michael owns Michael Brandvold Marketing a site dedicated to providing tips and advice for musicians.)
This is a guest post by Anne Leighton.
The best, savviest musicians listen to their publicist’s expertise. Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson and Tower of Power’s Emilio Castillo pay attention to what I tell them when I disagree, find a wrong fact in their bio, or if they NEED to do an interview during a vacation. They also tell me when something needs to be fixed. We’ve never had an argument. Sure, we’ve all made mistakes that were based in misunderstood e-mails or my faulty research for an address. All my artists have missed interviews, but we rebound and reschedule. We’re human.
Your publicist interfaces with you: the media, other world and industry tastemakers, or gatekeepers to get you more known in your career.
We work together. Whether it’s you or Ian, artists have to realize the type of coverage (radio, print, TV, internet) they will receive in conjunction with where they are at the time of their album’s release. If you’re at Lady Gaga’s level, most everyone will devote space and time to you. If you had hits more than three to 40 years ago, selected national outlets might be interested, but chances lie more in local print and radio. If you’re still determined to wake up early in the morning, you could get some local TV coverage.
Artists sometimes have trouble making friends with regular people. Especially if they’re eccentric artists. This can hurt their potential success, given that a large fan base consists mostly of regular type people. The good news is, artists can usually do well at befriending other artists–of greater or lesser eccentricity. When artists become friends with each other and start forming communities, scenes, etc., their momentum often leads to artistic movements. What began as local movements ultimately end up influencing global trends and styles in music, fashion, film, and the list goes on.
Some indie bands are purposely obscuring their names, hiding their faces, and refusing interviews as a means of image-management. Is this a good idea for your band?
Search engine optimization (SEO) often gets passed off as a sort of snake oil — some gimmicky trick that people do to manipulate search results in their favor.
SEO is really about one thing: making what your website is about clear to people and bots alike. There’s no tricks or gimmicks, and if you can make a website or manage a wordpress installation, you can do some very simple things to make your website more search engine and people friendly.
How People Search
When someone enters a query into Google, the google algorithm returns results that it thinks are relevant. Many factors contribute, and we’re really not exactly sure what they are — Google, and other search engines, are pretty hush-hush about this. So SEO is a lot of educated guesstimation combined with a bit of common sense.
To get someone to visit your band’s website, they need to have the intent to do so – put in other words, they need to get something out of it for it to be worth their time, which is why “check out our website” is about as effective as saying “we don’t have a website” as there really is no incentive offered for them to do so.
However, assuming you’ve got that one covered (ie. you have some free downloads, or some awesome photos of your crowd from last nights gig, or maybe even some exclusive videos etc.) here are some techniques to get them to view that content from offline.
Here I’ve suggested five effective methods to take your fans from the real world to the virtual world of the net. Please chip in with your best tips on driving fans online from offline in the comments beneath this article!
Make it easy for your fans to find you online.
Choosing a band or artist name that is search engine optimized (also known as SEO) can help your career down the road.
Yes, many bands have managed to achieve success in spite of unsearchable band names (the band Girls come to mind), but why not make it easy on your fans and choose a name that is easy to search for and find?
A brand is a promise of quality and consistency. No matter where in the world you go for a McDonald’s hamburger, you know what to expect. No matter what product you purchase from Apple, you can expect sleek high-tech design and an easy to understand user interface. Brand management is protecting the image of the brand and carefully selecting how to best exploit it.
For an artist, that means a consistency of persona, and usually a consistency of sound. Regardless of what genre of music the artist delves into, the feel is the same and you can tell it’s the artist at first listen. Madonna has changed directions many times during her career but her brand has been consistent. Her persona remained the same even as she changed to and from the “Material Girl.” The Beatles tried a wide variety of directions but you never once questioned who you were listening to. It was always fresh and exciting, but distinctly them.
Networking sites are great promotional tools. Everyone from the indie artist to the artist who has a massive advertising and marketing budget has one. But when is it time for house cleaning? When is it time for certain things to go away? A good deal of what is posted is unimportant, boring and, let’s face it, stupid. Now, if you’re just another face on Facebook or Twitter, it doesn’t really matter. However, if you are an artist, a band or someone who is trying to promote and market, those little stupid updates can harm you more than help you.
So what is the answer?
Simple. Do some housecleaning now and then and make sure you are providing the information, the image and the promotional materials that will reach the most people in the best way. Be smart in a world of social networking. Twittering, face booking and whatever other term you can come up with where people are putting out the dumbest information that might only apply to the fewest people and end up causing the most problems and over all disinterest possible.
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(Updated May 3)