Randy here, I spoke about some simple ways to promote your music in a previous blog, but here I’m going to go more in depth with sharing it on social media.
Today, social media is more important than it ever was before. From fan communities to political movements, social media is arguably the most prominent source for anything here in the 21st century. To promote your music, you have to engage people. Here I’ll list some tips on how you can do so.
Facebook, by far, is the easiest to use and customize for campaign ads. Advertising something like a video or an album is a lot easier than advertising for a retail store, or garage sale. The ad targeting in this case could be nationwide or even global, since you’re just trying to drive traffic to a website.
Creating a page for your act is the first step on Facebook. Invite as many friends as you can to “like” your page, but remember, the more you get others involved (i.e. band members) the greater the “likes” will be. Setting up other admins for your page will help too, as they may want to share or re-share content from their personal pages.
One of the biggest “don’ts” is tagging people you hardly know in your posts. This happens frequently on my personal Facebook page. Someone will be releasing an album and promoting it at the last minute and tag 50 people on repeated posts. Facebook is indeed a good marketing tool, but going about it that way will not get you sales or likes. You have to roll out the album’s promotion slowly, so the most people will see your multiple posts about it.
There is a thin line you have to walk while promoting on Facebook. If you promote one thing too much, followers will either unsubscribe, or tell Facebook they don’t want to see posts like that from you anymore. Scattering your promotional posts around others is your best bet.
Another key to Facebook is to interact with people. The more you do, the more your posts show up in their newsfeed, unless of course, they’ve customized their settings. Even just shooting someone a message via Facebook Messenger will raise the odds your stories will show up on their newsfeed.
The biggest help to me is tagging other band members in my posts. This doubles or triples the amount of likes.
In this video, I also included the venue I played in tagging as well as another band member on Facebook. Its views aren’t that impressive, but for something so specific, the likes and views are significant. By tagging the venue, those following it turned up and watched the video giving it more exposure than if I had only tagged the musicians.
I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of the Twitter platform at all. Mostly because you’re limited on characters and it’s not as diverse as Facebook, or let’s face it, even MySpace was. I still have it connected to all my other social accounts, including YouTube, so when somebody “likes” a video on YouTube and it’s posted on Twitter, I can retweet it.
My success on twitter has been in promoting others. There are various websites that follow a “list” of users that you make that will make a “newspaper” of what they shared that pertains to the subject of the “list”. Most RTs of my tweets have been pertaining to The GCleph Twitter Daily which basically fluffs up my account.
Of course, including as many hashtags as you can is always good, but again, to me that’s the drawback of Twitter– you may not be able to put in all the information you want. Admittedly, I left the Twitter game a few years ago because of my dislike for it, but I do have my other social accounts linked to it.
Twitter of course also offers ads, and there are other services that use Twitter, such as the popular but erratic “Tweet My Song”. All in all, I’ve found it helpful but limited.
Google has combined it’s YouTube accounts with Google Plus, allowing a much richer experience for fans and artists. Of course, YouTube will also allow you to advertise content on their site, but it gets a little complicated because you have to deal with AdSense.
If you do decide to run an ad on YouTube, be sure it represents you at your best. An infamous ad on YouTube was a guy singing like Frank Sinatra on an empty stage and a tux. The whole time you think, well the band will come in at some point, and it never does. Thus it became a video everybody loved to hate on. This is the biggest problem with the ads–even if you are targeting them there may be some people who simply dislike it because of the production. The Sinatra singer was a good singer, but the production of the video was little to nothing.
Before choosing a video you will want to pick one that has the most thumbs up. Your best bet is using a video that has way more thumbs up than down. That’s already an audience rating trying to tell you something.
I was very afraid to advertise my “Beauty and The Beast” jazz cover because, initially, the dislikes were about the same as the likes. Eventually that went to half and now less than a third. This means that overtime, this video got to the right audience.
Other tools on google include things like “collections”. You can group your videos (as well as videos from other channels) together by any criteria you’d like. Here is my Bossa Nova “collection” that currently has almost 500 followers.
In my opinion, Google Plus is being underused by the smaller artists. The best part about it is it’s the exact opposite of Facebook — it focuses on macro rather than micro. For example, Facebook groups tend to have members who are friends with each other or friends of friends, but on Google Plus Communities, people from literally all over the world go there and watch videos that musicians post. I’ve gotten a lot of views just by using these different aspects of Google Plus.
Instagram is very unique. It uses media to relay user’s thoughts, feelings, and art. You can of course add descriptive text, but the major concept is in the media you share on Instagram. This platform is really handy, especially when you sync it to your other social media accounts.
Users like myself were originally but back by the video uploading time restrictions. Now you can upload longer videos, which is really handy for giving people previews of your music. You can, of course, choose where the video starts and ends.
This was back when you were limited to about 15 seconds. I used this to promote the video on YouTube.
Instagram has hooked up with Facebook and uses their advertising services. Which makes it extra easy!
Non-Social Media Advertising
There are a myriad of services that will promote your music on websites directly. Some give you relatively little control on ad targeting, others give you a lot of options. Reverbnation.com offers banner ads for videos you upload there, or anywhere else. They will also promote your album via advertisement like their competition (i.e. CDBaby).