Promoting a band is a lot like promoting any other kind of enterprise. It is a mistake to think that just because you are good at what you do, you will automatically develop a following or be heard by people who can help you advance. Yes, you need to sound great and bring something interesting to the table for sure, but all that counts for nothing if nobody knows about it. The more socially orientated “Web 2.0” world gives you plenty of opportunities to share your songs and connect with people who’ve enjoyed your gigs, and is a cheap (mostly free) way to get the message out about what you are doing. Here are some tips:
Create a Facebook Fan Page
Facebook fan pages are pretty much essential for bands now. Free, and quick to set up, all you need are some pictures and some profile blurb to create your page. Get people to “Like” it by first spreading the word to all of your own friends to get a decent base of followers (so it doesn’t look too lonely when your new fans start to show up), and then promote on any posters, flyers or promotional merchandise you give out at gigs.
Use your page wisely – keep a decent repository of links to anywhere people can hear your music or watch videos of your performances (such as any YouTube clips) and to reviews in local press, as well as posting messages on the page (which your fans will see in their news feeds) about upcoming dates or anything else you want to share.
There is no harm in being personal, posting jokes and links to other things you think are cool and related to the band, that aren’t directly relating to your own activities – this can make your page more fun and useful to your fans – but don’t overdo it. Most social media marketing consultants recommend to businesses that you should post no more than three times a day on Facebook to avoid looking annoying or “spammy” – this is a good rule of thumb for bands too.
As well as Facebook, give your fans a chance to follow you on Twitter, too. Unlike Facebook, there isn’t really a limit to how many tweets per day are acceptable, and it is a great way to get people to interact with you and tell you what they thought of your last gig or whether they like your new idea. It can also be used to start networking with people who can help you – other bands in cities you’d like to play in, venues, promoters – anybody you would benefit from getting in with in fact. By following them and replying to their tweets, you can build up a rapport and develop that into a useful relationship.
YouTube is a great place to keep any footage of your performances or any other promo videos you have, so create a channel for your band and make sure you promote it and any new videos as you add them on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you see someone filming you at one of your gigs on their phone or camera, try and catch up with them later and ask if they’d mind posting it on YouTube and sending you a link, so you can also get some actual fan generated video content out there too.
There are many good groups I’ve seen, including wedding bands and party bands playing all around Hampshire, Somerset, Dorset and Oxfordshire, so go check them out.