In an effort to help bands decipher the ever complex world of marketing themselves nowadays, we present a feature we hope to do every Wednesday called “Social Media Wednesdays.” We will help you better understand social media sites and how you can leverage them for your band, gaining you better reach to fans new and old.
See how donuts are the perfect teaching tool for learning about social media after the break…
See the above picture? While to some it might seem like someone has an obsession with donuts, the picture is actually a great depiction of how each of the listed social media sites work. Having a better understanding of social media will help your band reach more people, thus gaining more fans and more exposure. Consider this: 91% of Americans use social media. Nearly a quarter of a person’s time spent online is spent using social media networks. Facebook has over 900 million users currently registered and 40% of them log into Facebook every day.
Why should you care about this? Because in 2012, being in a band means you have a brand. And if you have any interest in furthering your band, then you have further interest in furthering your brand, you cannot ignore social media!
Here’s even more startling figures, 56% of consumers say they are more likely to recommend a brand as a fan. You read that right – half of your fans are waiting for you to reach them and they want to help you promote your band!
Now that I’ve dropped some of the hard figures on you, hopefully you better understand the importance of social media. But where to begin? There’s nine types of social media listed on that image and many more not even listed there! Not all social media will be in your best interest to utilize. However, picking the correct ones and maximizing their potential reach can mean the difference of eventually getting recognized by a major record label or playing to a crowd of your girlfriends and that one creepy stalker for the rest of your days.
Let’s look at each different social media network that I feel are best for bands to utilize and their purpose.
According to Wikipedia, Twitter is described as: “…an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets”.“
A “tweet” should answer the question: “What are you doing right now?” Granted, this isn’t always the case, but it a good motto to stick by. The best way I can explain it is to think of a text message, it should be short, simple, makes a point, and effectively describes what’s going on. Because of its 140 character limit, Twitter is very popular with mobile users who are on the go and want their information quickly.
Bands can utilize Twitter to send updates to their fans about upcoming shows, album updates, or just random facts about the band. The one thing to take away from all social media is content is king! Make it fun and engaging and your followers won’t be able to get enough!
We all use Facebook, with over 900 million users there’s a good chance almost everyone you know has one. Heck, there’s a good chance that the reason why you’re even reading this is thanks to Facebook. I’m not going to spend too much time describing how Facebook works because I’m almost positive you’re on Facebook and you use it… a lot.
But I will touch on the “Like” functionality of the site due to the fact that it is the core of how Facebook shows users their content. Facebook, like Google, delivers content based on relativity. Data centers buried deep in some underground bunker somewhere in the world are currently tracking each and every move each user makes while logged on Facebook. Facebook even tracks your movements on non-Facebook sites! (ever see that box on a website where it shows users who “Like” it?… congratulations, you just got tracked by Facebook! Here’s to hoping porn sites don’t start adding that box, right!?) They compile all this data and deliver content to your newsfeed based on sites, users, or fan pages you interact with the most. When you click the “Like” button, you’re interacting with whomever posted that particular update, thus increasing their relativity in your news feed.
Based on this, engaging content on Facebook can make or break you! You need to keep users coming back to your fan page constantly. Facebook offers tools like the “featured post” option to help with this. No, it’s not designed to take money away from artists, but it does help increase the relevance of your fan page on user’s newsfeeds. We’ll dig into this feature in it’s own Social Media Wednesday in the future.
“Foursquare, stylized as foursquare, is a location-based social networking website for mobile devices, such as smartphones. Users “check in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application by selecting from a list of venues the application locates nearby.”
You might think I’m a little crazy for including foursquare, but for a band it could immensely help get the word out about a show that you’re playing. Ever booked a show last minute? Check into the venue on foursquare and let people know you’re playing! Foursquare also integrates with Facebook and Twitter nicely so check-ins are posted on those social networks too. I also included foursquare because of a new feature they’ve launched which is events. Now when users “check in” during a special event, it is displayed along with the venue information, thus enhancing the content of the check in. Right now, events are limited to ones provided by ESPN, Movietickets.com, and Songkick but foursquare is looking into providing users with the ability to add their own events so this would be a good one to have on your radar.
This one is kinda self explanatory right? You film a video of your band playing a show, upload it and the whole world sees it. The implications are quite obvious… if your video isn’t posted, then it’s not going to be seen, and if it’s not seen, then people will never be exposed to your music and you’re back to playing to that empty room:
My point is, it can’t hurt to post a video of you playing your music. But there is a line of caution you must walk… Make sure the video is quality! Uploading a video you took on your Sprint VM-4500 (which by the record, was the first video phone for the U.S.) probably won’t get many views and won’t help your band’s brand. Treat your videos like a music submission, you want great audio that represents your band and you want it to look good too, crisp images! Like the old saying goes: ”You can polish a turd, but it’s still a turd.” (Or something like that)
“Google+ (pronounced and sometimes written as Google Plus, sometimes abbreviated as G+) is a multilingual social networking and identity service owned and operated by Google Inc. It was launched in June 28, 2011. As of June 2012, it has a total of 250 million registered users.”
If you thought I was insane for posting about foursquare, then you probably think I’m batshit crazy for this one. Yes, I’m sure that there are executives in Mountain View, CA who are right now pulling out their hair because their attempt at fixing Facebook is not doing as well as they’d like. However just bear in mind that Google + is run by Google, who has a boatload of cash. Google + is not going anywhere.
So with that said, Google + works pretty much like Facebook, except the “Like” feature has been replaced by “+1″ and Google gives you more control over who sees your posts with the “circles” feature. For example, you can make a circle of followers who you know attend your shows and post flyers to them for upcoming concerts. Or you can make a circle for followers you know buy merch and tell them about your new T-Shirts. There’s no real limit to how many circles you can have, and there’s no restrictions to who can be in what circles so you can put users in multiple circles. Google + gives you a lot of control over how you get your message out, thus enabling you to deliver relevant content to your followers.
There’s only one catch, there isn’t much “activity” on Google + right now. The reason why I suggest creating a “page” for your band is more of a squatting suggestion. While at the current moment you cannot create a custom URL for your Google + page (ex: www.plus.google.com/ontheradarshow), you can create the page and start posting content for it. When Google decides to roll out URLs, then you already have your stuff posted. No need to move content from one social site to another.
There’s also other benefits to having a Google + page which helps you gain momentum in Google’s search algorithm. We’ll also cover that in another Social Media Wednesday post.
So there are a few social media sites that I think would be relevant for bands to spend some time honing their brand. Can you use other sites? Absolutely! Like I said earlier, content is king – the more you have, the easier it is to engage your fan base. Granted, having good content is more important than having just content, but creating good content comes with practice. It also comes with trial and error, seeing what gets a response and what doesn’t. Thanks for reading the first Social Media Wednesday post, make sure to come back next week as we discuss Facebook fan pages and how to create a solid one!
- Twitter on Wikipedia
- Faceook on Wikipedia
- Foursquare on Wikipedia
- YouTube on Wikipedia
- Google + on Wikipedia
- Why Social Media Is Far More Important Than You Think
- Who Likes What: Social Media By Demographic
- 20 Stunning Social Media Statistics Plus Infographic
- Infographic: Social Media Statistics For 2012
- For when a place is more than just a place, we now have events
Damn… that room is STILL empty!