Here is the follow up of this article about how to achieve a successful digital music strategy, from social networks to SEO and viral marketing. Three more articles are soon to come !
By now, we are dealing with social networks and how to properly use them as a music band or artist.
2 - Social Networks
In regard of social media marketing, I don’t agree with many “gurus” who pretend that social networking is the only way to make it as an artist.
In my opinion, it shouldn’t because social media is a fan management extension. Social networking’s purpose is about building a bridge between you and your fans who will then use words of mouth to “promote” you: positively or not.
Therefore, it’s better to look for your fans and build up your online social presence. The main objective is to get your fans on your website. That way they can discover you, share, interact and buy (which is the point actually)…
A - About Myspace
To be straightforward, MySpace is not dead yet. An artist can still do many things on it. So MySpace remains the n°1 site for artists and evolving bands. I have to admit I am not a great fan of it, but an artist can and has to use it.
Looking into the statistics, MySpace keeps growing. It is not as significant as the previous years but its growth is still ongoing.
MySpace is still a vital element for people to find you and discover your music.Why? First, it is very well listed on Google. And also, it is very useful to have a profile when you have no time, nor the competences, nor the finances to build your website. However, a poor and not updated profile will make you lose contacts.
1 > You wish to customize your background. Why not. But you don’t have to. The simpler you keep your background, the faster it will open. Therefore fans or record companies will find what they want.
2 > If you are CSS/HTML competent, get rid of MySpace Player which is the most non-user friendly around. Better to register on Soundcloud and use it on MySpace, so you can use its Player and all its functions (I don’t work for Soundcloud).
3 > No more than 3 videos with Youtube links. I don’t need to see more. If I do, I’ll go to Youtube (that links to your website, doesn’t it?)
4 > Thank you for leaving the layout as it is. There is a good reason for its design. Looking for the mail box if I want to contact you, but you changed its design and its place… is quite nerve racking!
5 > Write a clear and visible email address on your profile. I prefer to contact you directly rather than MySpace email customer service. I am not even on MySpace anymore and I have no intention to create a profile if I feel like speaking to you. Like many of us.
6 > Try to avoid Flickr slideshows. MySpace photo album is better. Again, simplify, simplify!
7 > Ping.fm or Artistdata are good sites to synchronize your updating.
8 > Say “Hello”, answer questions and communicate!
Using MySpace as a contact centre is a good idea. Don’t forget to indicate clearly your email address on your profile as well as your manager/tour organiser contact if you have one. Also, don’t forget to write your website URL and/or your Bandcamp page (even though you might not have a website, be visible on Bandcamp). That way, people will discover you and if they need to know more about you, they will link to your webpage or Bandcamp page.
B - About Facebook
If you still haven’t got a Facebook fan page, here are some stats that might make you change your mind:
1 > More than 400 millions active users
2 > 50% of active users log in once a day
3 > 55 minutes per day is the average time spent on FB
4 > Over 1,6 millions FB fan pages have been created
5 > In terms of traffic, FB is ahead of Google
Looking at those figures and knowing that Google uses social networks (social content) in order to fix web pages ratings in its result pages, your FB absence should be hard to justify! You have to build your fan page wondering why people would want to join you.
a - Update your content on a regular basis. Give your fans a good reason to come back on your page.
1 > Do not hesitate to post new articles/reviews from your blog onto your FB wall.
2 > You can use a service like ping.fm in order to update your network in one go, FB as well as Twitter.
3 > You can install a widget on your Youtube and Flickr channel. That will synchronize automatically your videos and images on your FB fan page.
b - Get in touch with your new visitors
For the new ones, a wall can be intimidating. It’s like entering a new room in which everyone knows one another and talks about issues that you know nothing about.
So, before sending your new visitors on your fan page wall, send them to a landing page (a kind of Welcome) on which you can explain who you are and what you do… the “Like” button will be highly visible of course! You can use the Tigerlily application to build your landing page.
c - Launching a contest
If you want more fans, you have to give them a pretext to become one. How to do so? A competition! Competition for the best T. shirt graphics, best album cover, photo, etc = job opportunities, commitment and loyalty.
Watch out: since November 2009, FB guidelines have changed. You will need to follow a process and obtain consent before launching a contest.
d - Give your fans something they won’t find anywhere else
> Box sets
> Live gigs on your page
> Exclusive discounts (i.e.: Fanfarlo offering his album @ $1 for a few days…)
e - Do encourage interaction
> Straightforwardly, if your communication is not interactive and if you don’t exchange anything, your fan page won’t be a success.
> You can ask questions to your fans and seek their opinions
> Draw a survey
> Incorporate applications, games, quizzes
> Share! Do not hesitate to post info from other FB users that are the most relevant
Here are some interesting applications to use on FB:
C - About Twitter
Over 80% of the public would rather follow their “friends” recommendations if they wanted to see a film or buy an album than trust publicity or mags reviews. Twitter has become the first advisor in relation to the cinema box office. It’s becoming similar in relation to music…
Twitter shouldn’t be seen as a simple promotional tool for single talk. When creating your profile, mind your bio. People will decide to follow you according to what you wrote on your bio. Make sure you mention your website on your links (I do mean your website!).
On Twitter, you also have to make offers when building your community. Follow people who are likely to have an interest in what you do. Participate to debates. Keep doing it even though few people might join at first. You can post your comments, your photos (twittpic). Answer your fans. Do not hesitate to talk about other issues than music and gigs. If you don’t post your gigs dates, your time as an artist might be shortened.
Have a look on Amanda Palmer Twitter (@amandapalmer), the Dresden Dolls singer. This is an excellent use of Twitter. She talks to her fans, sells her merchandising ($19 000 in a month time)
Have a look as well on what does Charly de Charly et sa Drôle de Dame (@charly_sddd), a rising and DIY artist. Little by little he is taming Twitter and is creating his small community, sharing info that is not always about him.
So, what to do on Twitter:
1. Share what you are doing: post links, take photos
2. Tell us what’s happening
3. Share your info and other people info
4. You can ask questions and seek advice
5. Look for those who talk about you via the Twitter research function, follow them and answer their questions
6. If you also use a private Twitter, you can send special offers to your followers
7. Update in case of problems (site not working, gigs problems, etc.)
8. Launch a contest
Have a look on @noushskaugen Twitter (1,2 millions of followers!!). She is a DIY unsigned artist. In her article, she talks about Twitter, social media and connecting with fans.
D - About Flickr
Flickr is the first photo community in the world, used by over 300 million people. When creating your Flickr album, you are exhibiting yourself to a very wide audience. You might want to create thematic, allow your photos to be found by the community via keywords.
Do create a Flickr profile with your name and integrate a link to your website. Flickr is very well listed on Google. So you will come up first or nearly first on the research engine.
E - About Youtube
9 out of 10 videos researched on Youtube are music videos. That shows a real public interest for those kinds of videos. Also, 60% of Youtube traffic comes from a Player Embed.
Try to create a channel and upload videos frequently. Not necessarily video clips, but videos like you in a studio recording, touring, rehearsing, etc. Talk to your fans and get someone to shoot a video of you backstage or even at home. Not necessarily you, singing on and on…
1. Use the most relevant key words with the video name. DO NOT FORGET to write “video”. The most important info you will give is lodged into your title because the research engine word used by people includes “video”. The result will come up faster.
2. Coming next is the video description which is as relevant for the research engine as the title. Key words are the key! And of course you will use your website URL or FB fan page right at the beginning.
3. Take advantage of writing directly on the video: notes, subtitles, descriptions and links. At present, you can only click on links that will send you towards another Youtube link. However you are very welcome to try something different. Of course, you have incorporated a link at the beginning of your description…
4. Install a call to action button on your video that shows: “click here to become a fan on our FB page”, and the viewer goes to your site…
5. Tag your video with key words. I mean significant key words.
6. Invite people to join. Activate the option diffuse and share on each video.
7. Do not hesitate to post your videos as an answer to the most popular videos.
8. Watermark your videos (place a tiny translucent logo in the corner of the video). Very easy with the help of a video soft editing. Why? Because it’s your video. It’s your symbol, your brand. So show it!
9. Youtube Insights is the Youtube analysis data, so use it. It will give access to demo info, time spent, number of views, or when your video viewing was left.
Make sure you don’t prevent your videos from being shared. Big mistake if you do! It’s crucial to let your viewers interacting and embedding your videos. Shall I remind you the huge mistake EMI made by blocking OK Go latest video?
Also, Youtube has just launched a new program “We Want You”, aimed at independent artists. The intention is to give them the opportunity to make a living from their music. Here is a good analysis: http://bit.ly/aGO8Tg. To be continued…
F - About Wikipédia
Internet users prefer to log first on Wikipedia rather than MySpace if they want to know about a band (2 to 1 ratio). So, obviously, be on Wikipedia.
> Create your profile
> Incorporate your website link, photos
> Update it on a regular basis
> Also, Wikipedia is very well listed on Google. You will come up on the top 3 if someone was to look for you on internet.
G - About Spotify
You have to be on Spotify and Deezer in order to maximize your online presence (of course, not for the royalties). Your music will be more visible that way. Zimbalam will help you to be present on those sites.
Also, thanks to the playlists sharing, especially on Spotify, your music will be broadcast a lot faster than any other social network. If you get broadcast via a playlist and your track gets noticed, you might find yourself between the likes of Kings Of Leon or Black Keys… and get sent to a friend… Share as well your own playlists.
Stay tuned ! The three following parts of the article are to be published soon !
Email : virberg at gmail.com
Twitter : @virberg