Corona has struck. Promoting your music offline, such as at gigs, is currently not possible. What you can do online to build your fan base? You can always try Reddit where you use online services to see removed Reddit posts. Mirjam Sieben of Onlightning shares in April in collaboration with. Popunie four blogs with tips and insights for promoting your music through online marketing.
Become visible on social media
No matter what ‘season’ you are in, you have to remain visible on social media. But then what?
Are you messing around? Do you – at the moment you have come up with something – post something online and then get less response than you would actually like? And do you have no idea what you should post to make an impact?
In this article, here are the six complete ‘content formats’ that ensure that you will communicate in a varied way on social media.
Ask yourself: what culture belongs around my music? Which lifestyle elements belong to the genre/niche to which my music belongs? Or are there perhaps themes that often come up with in my music, that do not necessarily have to do with the music itself?
Culture is all that can be taken for granted. If you were to ask a fish what it sees, it would mention anything but water. That’s too normal to observe. Only on the counter of the fishmonger does that fish realize how important water was. Culture or civilization is the set of customs and (behavioral) rules that belong to a people or tribe.
You can also see this within certain music movements. This includes the set of norms and values, nutrition, body decorations, eating habits, clothing, religion, traditions, and music and dance. Body language also plays a role, behavior and nonverbal communication may differ. Culture is in fact a sum of these characteristics.
Some examples of my own band The Dirty Denims, with which we make ‘happy hard rock’:
- Norms and values: don’t be too difficult, why do it hard when it can be easy, don’t worry be happy, don’t whine, be flexible, etc.
- Food: beer, meat, BBQ, hamburgers.
- Body decoration: pick necklaces, festival bands, and beards.
- Eating habits: in between, tasty, so as not to be hungry, Burgundian.
- Clothing: band shirts, jeans, sneakers, boxes, Converse Allstars, leather jackets.
- Religion: atheist.
- Traditions: heavy metal hand gestures.
- Music and dance: moshen, airguitar, clenched fists in the air
- Hobbies: visiting concerts/festivals, tinkering with cars/motorcycles, collecting CDs/vinyl, playing instruments.
You want to make this culture visible in your expressions, so that people feel addressed, feel related to you and to the other fans of your music. Think of a magazine. You have bought a magazine based on the subject (certain niche for example, such as a computer magazine, or a magazine about classic rock), the title (you already know it, or you have heard of it and it makes you curious), the design (house style/artwork) and the texts that are on it. You come home, plop down on the couch and you start browsing. And that should feel like a warm bath of recognisability. You find it difficult to put it away and before you know it you have it out.
You also want your social media channels to feel like your followers. That’s why ‘culture’ is the most important type of content for musicians. Because you bought the magazine for the editorial pieces. Not for the ads. But if those ads pass by, you don’t mind.
Assuming that you are an artist/band who wants to perform regularly, one of the important content formats is posts about performances. If you haven’t planned any gigs for a long time, or are even an artist/band that doesn’t focus on that at all, you can let it lapse.
This type of content includes:
- Announcements of upcoming performances (incl. any ticket links)
- Photos and videos of past performances
- Live broadcast during a performance
- Throwback Thursday-like posts about performances in the past
Photos/videos of ‘behind the scenes’ at a performance, for example, backstage or at a soundcheck, are more part of the ‘Behind The Scenes’ content type. This is mainly about the ‘public’ part of the performance.
3) BEHIND THE SCENES
Shows what is not normally visible to your followers. These can be two things:
Music related behind the scenes, such as ‘making offs’ of studio, video or photos of rehearsals, packages from sales from the webshop, preparations shows, backstage, band meetings, and so on. These are often ‘on the moment’ posts that you are not going to schedule but that you do take into account in your planning. But they can also be scheduled messages of course, for example, if they are ‘retrospective’ posts. It can also be live broadcasts from the studio or rehearsal room for example.
Personal behind the scenes, such as pets, family, holidays, hobbies, dinner/lunch. It can also just be the simple things in life so that your followers see that you are also just a human being in addition to your role as an artist.
This also includes band-related things, such as questions that band members answer about their own lives but also about their role in the band. I sent a list of questions to the band members. If you then post all these questions and answers separately, with a different photo of the band member in question, then you already have dozens of posts on the shelf.
ALSO READ: Can You Take Advantage of Music Sheet Apps?
With ‘promo posts’ you ensure that your fan takes the next step in supporting your music.
- An invitation to follow you on another social media channel
- An invitation to join your Facebook group
- An invitation to join your newsletter
- An invitation to post a review on your Facebook Page
- An invitation to buy merchandise
- A special sale
- A good review from the press (this ‘proves’ to the follower that he has good taste)
These are the ‘look at me!’ and ‘Me! Me! Me!’ posts, but because you also share other things, your followers will not find this annoying. The more other posts, the more often you can post promo. This is about the right proportions compared to the other types of posts.
5) STORY / VISION
With personal stories, you make a real connection with your followers. It tells something about you and/or your band, your/your music, and your/your background.
Each genre lends itself to personal stories, only the approach will differ per genre. The level of ’emotional content’ is best felt by you. What suits your music and what are lovers of it waiting for?
For example, a singer/songwriter with in-depth lyrics is also more likely to seek an emotional connection with his/her audience than a happy hard rock band (to name just one example, haha). And a political punk band will write more in-depth stories than a fun punk band with lighthearted lyrics.
Emotional or not: with stories you make a real connection. It puts you and your music in a larger context.
A post with a personal vision or inspiration attracts like-minded people who share the same mission, vision, or values as you. Think of:
- What your lyrics are about. For example, post (a piece of) a song lyrics and explain it. Or just get inspired by what your songs are generally about and write a post about it.
- Vision on music (e.g.: music must be renewed. Or rather: you have to take music back to times gone by).
- Vision of the world (e.g. how you think about politics, nature, economics, spiritual topics, or faith).
- Vision on personal things (e.g. about hobbies or things that have to do with the culture around your music).
They can be long stories, but also shorter quotes (from yourself or others) or positive vibes.
By asking questions you get an engaged audience. It could be anything. As a musician, you want to know everything about your followers, because you get a better picture of them and what their interests are. So you can divide the questions into:
Substantive questions: for example, you can let them decide on certain things. Such as artwork for albums or merchandise or the songs you put on your setlist. Or let them give their opinion on which album or song of yours they like best. Or ask them which bands or words they should think of when they hear your music. Or… well, you get the idea.
Personal questions: a chance to get your ideal fan even sharper. Ask them more personal questions, such as their favorite website(s), magazine(s), band(s), movie(s), etc. Chances are that it will still give you ideas for culture posts (I have that regularly). And people also just like to answer such questions, so your ‘engagement’ goes up.
Create polls on Facebook or in stories on Instagram, or ask an open-ended question and ask for an answer in a comment. You can’t think of it as crazy or there is always a question to ask your followers. Make sure you ask concrete questions so that the step to action to answer is small for people.