Social media marketing for indie musicians: Getting started

August 22nd, 2011 by | 1 Comment

social media for indie musicians

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The ’90s was an era when the world was starting to realize there was so much to listen to outside the ’80s’ post-punk/New Wave dreck MTV was puking out. It’s when bands like Green Day, 311, Rage Against the Machine, and Deftones were beginning to scrape the global mass consciousness, and have become seminal in defining the new generation of listeners. And then there are the serious rivalries between Nirvana and Pearl Jam in the grunge arena, and the battle between Blur and Oasis across the pond.

Back then, almost everything was handled by these bands’ management companies and recording labels. These days, however, while the premise is practically the same, today’s musicians have taken it upon themselves to do most of the fan engagements, and news distribution work from marketers. Indie bands, especially, have learned to be quite adept in social media marketing themselves, establishing their presence online and finding ways to bring their music to the masses.

And there are a lot of new bands and performers finding success on the online trails, receiving a much larger audience than traditional marketing can possibly provide. So if you’re an independent musician or band, better take your behind out of obscurity (or your dad’s garage) and get online, here are a three tips to get you started.

Your Stage: Establish your online presence

Setting the Stage for social media marketing for indie musicians
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Starting point in your musical career on the social Web: establish your band’s online presence. Nothing can quite tell the world that you’re dedicating your time to your craft quite like a professional Web site or a blog, and perhaps multiple social media profiles to make you and your music a lot more accessible.

Fill them with important details like a bio, pictures (during a performance or just a few group shots would do), links to your other social networking accounts, and of course list down ways to contact you. And while you’re at it, you can also put in performance/tour schedules, perhaps videos recorded during gigs, and maybe playable/downloadable samples of your songs. For those on the go, you can create a rather simplified mobile site so people can read up on what you have to offer even when they’re on the road.

Your Axe: Get on the Right Social Networks

Choosing social media network for indie musicians
Image byDoctor Noe

Like all bigger brands doing online marketing, the best way to reach out to your audience is by actually getting down and dirty on the social Web—sign up for social networks and communicate with your targeted audience. You can create pages on Facebook, a channel on Youtube, your own Tumblr, Twitter or Formspring profiles—the platform choices are aplenty, each with their own features, capabilities, and user base.

Previous contender and champion of the performing communities online, Myspace, is currently out of the picture (perhaps we’ll have to see how new owners Specific Media will shape it into. And as today’s most common online tools, bands will immediately gravitate towards Facebook and Twitter. Others may have the gumption to heavily invest in expansive engagements via blogs or audio/videos content. Truth is: the best thing you can do is find the right mix of social networking and real-world marketing that will work for you.

Your Setlist: Produce Valuable Content

Producing Content for social media marketing for indie musicians
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True, fans will immediately latch onto their favorite musicians’ online profile, but at the end of the day, it’s still the value that they get from these connections that will keep them hanging on. While “valuable” in terms of content can be too general a term, it should be easier to determine what people will actually like given that you’re gathering and fostering potential followers that share their interest in music. Particularly: your music. So set up a blog where you post about band-related news, performance details, your personal thoughts, and other things you would like to share with your readers.

However, every other brand is also doing this so you may want to aim to get better mileage by doing something else—exclusive material and premium content they won’t be able to get anywhere else while surfing the Web. This may include new Web-exclusive tracks, pictures of backstage preparations before gigs, and features on your members’ favorite instruments. You can go the extra mile and put up downloadable tracks they can freely download, set up promotions to win tickets to your next series of gigs, signed posters, and shirts.

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