How you market your band is constantly changing. In the old days, you would hand out mixtapes (cassettes), and in the modern era it’s a digital streaming link or a SoundCloud link. Case in point: Music is always changing, and so are the ways you gain new fans. While some of these tactics might be familiar to you, for others it’s something new. Please review these five social media tricks to help you gain more fans.
The one thing I consistently remind people is social media has “social” in it for a reason. In our ruthless attempts to market to fans, we often lose that personal connection with them as a result. “Buy our new album” mechanically posted back-to-back on your social networks often turns your networks into a spammy place, which is not a fun experience for fans. While you should definitely be pushing your fans to purchase your album, you should also balance it out with fun content that engages them. A perfect example is traditional TV: You get to watch your favorite show and then sit through three commercials and it’s back. Anything more than that and you want to change to a different channel (in your case, a different band). So engage your fans, talk to them, respond to comments. While it seems like a small thing to you, that one fan interaction might earn you a fan for life (and through proxy, their friends as well).
With livestreaming now available on Facebook for all bands, a new door has opened for artists to promote their music. While a traditional Facebook picture post reaches just a small fraction of your fans, livestreaming and native video have a much larger reach. Why, you ask? In an attempt to become competitive with YouTube, Facebook is giving preferential treatment to native Facebook videos over YouTube links. What that means for your band is videos uploaded directly or streamed to Facebook will get a bump in exposure compared to traditional YouTube links (at least for now). With that being said, creating a unique livestream can be an exceptional tool to help grow your band. Don’t just think “we’ll answer questions” or “we’ll play them a new song”—get creative with it. I once discovered a band because they played a never-ending Facebook live set with lyrics that they would sing based on fan comments. The crazier, the better—they would sing all of them. After only an hour, the livestream blew up to 25,000 viewers on a Facebook page that only had 1,000 likes. Needless to say, gaining 24,000 new fans in an hour is a great achievement.
Every time you upload a video to YouTube or Facebook, you see a small text block at the bottom called “keywords.” Most might skip it, or not even know what it’s for. This section was created to help your fans find your content more easily. Let’s say your catchy chorus goes, “I miss books”—put that in the keywords as well! You would be surprised how many people like the chorus “I miss books,” but if the song is actually called “Library,” they won’t be able to find it without keywords. Another great trick is to include the bands you are similar to in the keywords—or include the original artist, if you’re uploading a cover. “Taylor Swift” and “Bad Blood” might actually help a Taylor Swift fan stumble upon you and become a fan of your band, as well.
Calls to action
To get more fans, sometimes all you have to do is ask! Instead of just posting standalone images directly to your social media accounts, ask fans to get involved or create a “call to action.” You would be surprised how far a simple “Tag someone that would like this” or “If this gets past 100 shares, we’ll release a new song” will get you. Create a fan-based contest, or simply ask your fans to bring a friend to the next show. Statistically, the most effective advertisement your band can receive is what I call “social equity.” This means if a friend tells you to check out a band, you are much more inclined to do it than if you see the same message in an ad.
One of the most important tricks for gaining new fans is understanding who your fans actually are. Are they old, young, male, female? Where are they from? We all have an image of who our fans are, but at the end of the day, it is always the fans’ choice. However, the great thing with social networks is the massive amount of tools that exist to help you understand your fanbase. Insights (on Facebook) is an excellent tool that effectively breaks down your band into cold, hard statistics. Why did your one post about video games get such a huge response? Did it have to do with your fans being primarily 16-to-21-year-old males? Why do you have so many fans in Phoenix (maybe play a show there or find out why)? I once worked with a band that had been posting sappy, romantic inspirational quote pictures. You know the ones. You see them on shirts at Forever 21 or on your ex-girlfriend’s Facebook when she gets dumped again. Turns out their fans were 85 percent men over the age of 30. We shifted their social posts to be more brutal and talk about MMA a bunch, and presto—we saw a 300 percent gain in fans over the next few months. Obviously, this is generalized, but you get the picture. Once you understand your core demographic, it will save you a lot of money on ads (by targeting properly), and let you pinpoint who your music is working for. Once you figure out what you are doing right, amp it up as much as possible.