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Essential Marketing Tools To Begin Building A Fanbase—Part Two: Using Social Networks

This post is part two in a series about marketing your music online, and building a fanbase starting from scratch. If you missed part one, click here to read about which networks you should begin posting your music on and how to get your first few listeners. This post covers the other standard social media networks and how to start driving fans to your music.

Once you have your music online, it’s time to start growing your fanbase on other networks. Traditional social media is helpful for keeping your fans interested in what you do. No band can release new music or videos all the time, but only connecting with your fans every few months makes it difficult to keep in touch. The idea behind these networks is to engage your fans frequently, and have another way of reaching people to send them to your music.

Facebook: Home Base for Marketing

Facebook is by far the easiest network for bands to use, and usually the best place to start your marketing efforts. The reason is simple—almost every person you know has a Facebook account, and you can use your personal friends and family to start out, and let your network grow from there. As soon as you start a page for your band, begin inviting people to like it.

There are a few key things to understand about running a Facebook “like” page that are different from your personal account. First, not everything you post will be seen by the people who like your page (unless you buy ads – more on that later). Your reach is based on how your previous posts do with your fans. So if your posts get a lot of likes and clicks, it will be shown to more people, as will the next thing you post. If it’s not well received, your next posts will be shown to fewer people. This means you need to focus on everything you write, include lots of images, and try to really connect with your fans. In general, Facebook video (not YouTube links) get a lot more reach than anything else; image posts, links, and shares from other pages also do a lot better than regular text posts. Also be careful not to post too often, or Facebook will limit the reach of each post, even if they are getting more clicks and likes.

Your best bet is to write content that encourages fans to share your post, then you don’t need to rely on Facebook’s algorithm to get your post in front of more people.

Although it may be out of reach for some bands, buying ads on Facebook really works. If you have any marketing budget, Facebook ads are a worthy investment. You don’t need a lot, a few bucks a day is enough to make sure your fans are engaged with the things you post, or to gain a few fans a day. These ads can also allow your post to be seen by the people who already like your page.

The most important thing about getting the benefit you want from your ads is to target them, or specify the location and demographics you are looking to reach. For instance, if your band is from Texas, you can choose to target the entire United States, just the state of Texas, or even individual cities, like Austin, Dallas, or San Antonio. You can also target people by genre, other likes, and countless other things.

Event pages should be made for every public show that you do. Organize this with the bands sharing the bill or the venue, you don’t want multiple listings for one event. Facebook allows you to individually invite all of your friends or the people who like your page, which easily allows you to connect with a good crowd. If you are running an ad, targeting is especially important, and can help limit the amount you spend while maximizing the number of people who are likely to come to your show.

Insights are the analytics of your Facebook page, and are accessible to page managers and owners. Here, it’s easy to see what the age range, sex, and interests of your fans are for future marketing, and to see a list of all your posts and how many likes, comments, and shares you got. Check in on this every few weeks to shape what you are going to post about next.

Twitter: Expand Your Network

While most bands start a Facebook to engage their local fans and personal friends, Twitter is a great platform for connecting with people you don’t normally come into contact with. It’s easy to find other bands and musicians of any genre, and stay on top of what they are posting about. That said, it requires a little more work than Facebook, and it’s easy to get lost in the mess.

Extending your network on Twitter is actually relatively easy. Following someone else gives them a notification, people check their followers often and follow back if people seem interesting. Don’t do this by the thousands, but adding a handful of people a day to naturally grow your network is a great idea. Growing your own following will come slowly at first, but the more often you post and the more people you follow, the more will follow back.

What scares bands about Twitter is finding content to post about all the time. It’s not as hard as it seems. Focus less energy on what you are doing as a band, and more about what others in your network or genre do. You can post other band’s music, shows that are in your area, and interesting news from around the web. Retweet others and reply to their posts. Twitter is all about conversation—the more you talk to everyone, the more attention your page will get. Of course, post your own music and videos also, but doing it too often will make your followers disinterested.

There are a few no-no’s on Twitter that are unfortunately very commonplace. In general, don’t direct message people unless you have something personal to share with them. Messaging or mentioning people and asking them to listen to your music can seem desperate or spammy, and while it may send a few people to you in the short term, it can get tiring pretty quickly. The key is simply to provide value to your followers or fans. Post things that interest people, hopefully your music, videos, and shows are part of that information.

Because there are so many people and so much content posted on Twitter, you can make more than one tweet for a big announcement. For instance, if you have a new single coming out, you can do a post a few weeks in advance during the recording or mixing process, another announcing the release the day before, and then one the day of. Again, your posts shouldn’t all be all about you, but it’s okay to highlight the things you do well.

Setting up Twitter to automatically share from other networks is okay if you don’t have enough time to post constantly, but it’s not really engaging for fans. The so called “set it and forget it” doesn’t do much to encourage conversation or expand your network. As mentioned before, the most successful people on Twitter are commenting and sharing other’s posts, not just releasing a feed from another network.

Instagram: Promoting Your Image

Marketing professionals in recent years have been hailing the newer networks like Instagram and Snapchat as the way of the future. Indeed, these networks have very high engagement. They are incredibly popular right now, and have a lot of active users. While they are great for staying connected with people, they are more difficult to use, and even more difficult to get fans to your other networks.

The focus here should be posting beautiful and interesting content that shows your band’s image in a great way. Instagram is a great place for behind-the-scenes shots from rehearsal or recording sessions, quick clips from live shows, and teaser videos from your other releases. Make sure you look professional! Don’t post ugly or blurry photos, pictures of empty rooms at your shows, or video that sounds bad.

The reason Instagram is so tough to use is that it doesn’t allow links within posts. So no matter how many fans like or comment on your pictures, very few are going to visit your other pages or music sites. One workaround is to change the link in your bio often, and mention in each post that it has changed.

Don’t be afraid to use longer text with lots of hashtags along with your posts. Tell a story along with your image, explain to your fans what is going on in the photo or some information behind it. It’s okay to use a lot of hashtags, up to 10-15 per post. They are hidden by default, but make it much easier to find your account online.

Conclusions

In all, make sure you are using each network for a purpose, and you have a strategy for each social page. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have very different user bases, and different types of fans will be on each one. If a network is not working for you, drop it and focus your efforts elsewhere. It’s better to run one or two networks well than all of them without much activity.

Remember, marketing is a long process. It takes time and effort, but you will get out of it what you put in.

Does your band use any of these networks? What strategies do you use to find fans? Comment below with your thoughts!

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When Should My Band Handle Legal Contracts?

Having “The Talk”

Getting a band together is a lot like starting a relationship. You meet, start hanging out, decide you like each other, and start dating (rehearsing). Things are going well, and you start telling your friends and family you are together, and go out in public as a couple (start playing shows).

Eventually, before things can get really serious, you need to have “the talk”. While a couple may start discussing finances, moving in together, getting married, having kids, etc., a band starts having serious conversations of its own, often on the same topics. Maybe not having kids, but some of the same topics.

What is a Band Agreement?

Bands will at some point have to sign what’s called a “band agreement”, which is a simple contract that is just a written guide of how things work in the band. There are many things you need discuss before you can write one out, but the basics are who does what, who is going to get paid for what, and what happens if things don’t go quite as planned. Take a look below at the full list.

The format of the agreement is not as important as the fact that it happens. Don’t let the word contract scare you, it doesn’t need to be formal. But it should be a written document that is signed by all members.

When Should We Sign a Band Agreement?

The best time to discuss and sign an agreement is as soon as the band has something that could be worth money, like an original song, copyright, recording, gear or anything else. You should definitely have one before any members get involved financially, and before the band starts making any serious money. The contract will protect what people have invested, financially or creatively, and plan for the things that will come, good and bad.

What’s in the Contract?

Who writes the songs?

This is pretty straightforward, but needs to be discussed for every single original song the band has. Let’s say your band writes a great song, and it gets used in a movie. Who will be collecting the royalties as the songwriter? According to the law, only MELODY and LYRICS can have a copyright. The bass part? Nope. Drum patterns? No. Chord changes? No again. Just the melody and lyrics. If songs are co-written, that’s fine, but who wrote what percentage of each song? Did one write the melody and one write the lyrics? Paul McCartney and John Lennon split songwriting credits for every song they did with The Beatles, regardless of who wrote which song. A bit unusual, but it was decided beforehand and written in a contract.

Who is investing money?

If anyone in the band is paying money out for gear, recording time, rehearsal time, copyrights, or anything else, it needs to be accounted for. Will the person investing be paid back, or is it going towards the band? Who pays for CD and T-shirts to get printed, artwork or equipment rentals?

Who owns band property?

Let’s lay out another scenario. All band members bring their own equipment to a gig that pays money, and the bass amp is broken during the show. Does the gig payment buy a new bass amp, or is that the bassist’s responsibility? What if it was the bassist who broke it? Bands can also have digital property, like the name, website, images, and more.

What do you do with money the band earns?

Okay, enough with the negatives. Let’s say the band gets offered a big show or tour, how will you spend the money? Will everyone get paid the same, or will it go into a band fund? Plans should also be made for any recordings that are going to be sold. This is, although different from the songwriter conversation, is as important. Royalty payments may seem too insignificant to consider at the beginning, but you never know when a song or album is going to take off or get licensed for a good amount of money.

Who Can Make Decisions?

In some bands, the lead singer is the person who started the band, wrote all the songs, invested all the money, and decides everything. Sometimes it’s four friends who used to live together and all have equal say. What about new additions to the group? Voting power is important when considering new opportunities like record deals, tours, or branding opportunities.

Members Leaving and Band Breakup Strategies

Okay, this is the one that nobody wants to talk about, but is crucial for the band agreement. First of all, what do you do with the name in this situation? This could have been discussed during the band property conversation at point #2, but it holds different meaning in a break-up or if members are leaving. The members of the famous band Sublime were not allowed to use the name after their singer Bradley Nowell died, they reformed in 2009 but eventually had to change their name to Sublime With Rome to avoid legal troubles. Add the break-up scenario to the discussion all of the points above, including future royalties, band owned gear and assets, and money invested that hasn’t been paid back yet.

Wrapping It Up

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into a band agreement, but none of it is too difficult to understand or plan for. And while it may present some awkward situations, the sooner you can lay all this out the better. To cover all your basis, have a lawyer look over the agreement after it’s signed. In any situation, having talked about and written down all these important points is a great thing for the group, and can avoid tough situations as the band grows.

Has your band signed a band agreement? When did you do it? Share your story below in a comment.

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Booking Gigs 101 -­ Finding Opening Slots, Booking Your Own Shows, and Hiring an Agent

Every band, big or small, had to start somewhere. Since the beginning of music, artists have been climbing the ladder to popularity, and using live shows to express themselves, gain new fans, and make some money. In today’s industry, it is near impossible for bands to make a living solely based on record sales and streams. Artists big and small are relying more and more on live shows and touring to support the music they make. This article breaks down the process of booking gigs, no matter what stage in your career you are at.

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How Can I Get My Music Into TV/Movies? Sync & Publishing Explained

Why It’s Important

Making money from your music is all about diversifying your income streams. While this may sound like a word reserved for Wall Street and New York executives, it’s equally important to musicians of any status. Diversity means you make money in more than one place. While musicians used to make the bulk of their money on record sales, today’s artists need to make a little here, a little there, and try to get all these different things to add up to something livable. These different income streams include streaming services, live shows, merchandise, licensing, and today’s topic, publishing. The most valuable aspect of publishing is getting placement in movies and TV shows.

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How to Build a Fanbase for Your Band – Part One: Where to Share Your Music

How to build a fanbase for your band

These days, musicians have a wealth of tools available to promote their music, shows, and merchandise. Social networks have given us many forms of communication and almost unlimited options for getting media out to the world. This article will help you navigate the world of self-promotion, and give you what you need to build a fanbase for your band, starting from scratch. This is part one in the series, and will focus on how you share your music. Check back soon for part two, which will cover how to get more users to these sites.

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