Many musicians undervalue the concept of self-promotion and how much artists can do on their own to get their name out there and their music heard by others. With labels not having large budgets to financially support musicians, A&R reps not scouting venues as they once did and the internet becoming the new medium to take artists in a new direction, where does a musician start when you are all on your own and want to get your music out there for the world to hear?
There are many basic yet time-consuming and energy driving tasks that musicians can do to market, advertise and promote themselves and their music. Please keep in mind that all musicians have their own way of promoting their music and there is no right or wrong way to do it. The use of the internet and social networking sites are one of the most efficient, easiest and cheapest ways to get your music not only heard by the locals in your town, but also across the globe. There will be mixed reviews from all artists about which sites are better than others, but one of the major sites which have made a strong and significant impact is the use of Facebook.
Facebook can be a highly valuable and effective tool for promoting oneself as an artist along with one’s music. For instance, look at all of the major signed artists who regularly use this social media website. An artist can create a personal page, musician page among other types of pages, depending how many areas they are involved in within the entertainment industry. They don’t only use their music page as a supplementary page to their formal website, but those who do not have a website, often use it as their primary means of getting their music out to the world and connecting with their fans by joining Reverbnation and attaching it to their musician page so that their music can be heard. An essential and valuable aspect about Facebook for musicians is it is a One-Stop Shop! This means fans can access pretty much anything they would want to know about the band, such as a biography, photos, tour dates, videos, blogs and most importantly music! And please keep in mind that it is crucial for musicians to keep information on their pages relevant, consistent and up-to-date to in order to maintain your fans interest.
Although it seems simple enough to develop a Facebook page by registering with the site, to effectively construct one, it will take some dedication, time and effort on behalf of the artist. There are numerous tips and recommendations for creating Facebook page(s) to promote yourself as an artist. The first place to start with is to create a personal Facebook page. The personal Facebook page will serve as the foreground for the development of other pages such as a musician’s page.
Create a Professional Personal Page
It is important to treat your personal page as though it is analogous to a website or resume. Your personal page is the one page that your friends and fans can access information about you including your biography, contact information, your education, current employment and photos of you. It is essential to have your information outlined in a professional manner as how you present yourself to others will set the initial impression and perception of how others perceive you. For instance, an information section that is consistent with spelling errors and run on sentences to describe who you are will be perceived with less enthusiasm and interest than one that is characterized by a thorough biography that is grammatically correct and describes the artist in a professional manner. It is also up to the artist if he wants to keep his profile public or private along with how much personal information one wants to reveal. It is probably not the best idea to put your phone number out in public for all to see and would be safer to use an email address as the primary means for someone to contact you. After you establish a relationship with someone, then you can gauge how comfortable you feel with sending them your phone number in a private message.
Develop Your Friends, Fans & Networks
Once your page is professionally developed, start requesting and accepting ‘friends.’ As we all know, many of these ‘friends’ will be people we truly are friends with, some may be professional people in the industry we may be trying to connect with and others will be fans who are sending us requests. Please keep in mind that Facebook is different from other sites such as MySpace as you cannot request numerous ‘friends’ at once. It is recommended that you request a few at a time as if you go all out sending tons of friend requests, Facebook will starting asking if you really know the people and put a cap on your ability to request ‘friends’ for a specific period of time. Thus, please use your discretion when you send out friend requests.
Interact with Friends & Fans
It is imperative that everyone an artist interacts with is treated in a professional and respectful manner. Remember the world is very small and, well, so is Facebook, in some ways. We’ve all heard of the concept of ‘six degrees of separation’ and you never know who someone you are ‘friends’ with may know that could be of assistance to you one day. For instance, there are so many things that artists post on their walls, which range from acceptable things such as promoting their song or an upcoming show to more sensitive topics such as politics and religion. Politics and religion are being used as an example of a ‘sensitive topic’ as everyone has their own beliefs and is entitled to them, but Facebook is not the forum to be ranting and raving in comments, especially in a way that may be perceived as derogatory or demeaning if others don’t have the same view; as that may by all means negatively impact someone. And the last person you want to have a bad impression on is the person who may be the one which can provide support and assistance to your music or band.
The Value of Supporting Others
The value of supporting others is paramount and cannot be stressed enough! This is probably one of the most important, if not most important concept. Artists need to be mindful that comments should not just be used in a self-serving manner such as only caring about one’s own music or band by solely posting and promoting their product. And please do not spam others pages by posting your product as a way to get you name out there unless you are also including something positive and meaningful about the person’s page you are posting it on. Facebook is described as a social networking site and should be used as such. For an artist to continue moving forward and establishing himself, it is so essential that the artist demonstrates support and assistance to others. This can range from promoting others music and upcoming events on their page, going to another artist’s page and providing them with positive and encouraging feedback and establishing ways to develop relationships with other artists so that support and assistance can be given to each other (e.g., going out to another artist’s show). Artists should show support and provide assistance to other artists because they truly care and want to see their counterparts succeed. Remember, as artists, we are all in this together. It should not solely be used as a means to manipulate and exploit another artist in attempt to get something in return as this will be short-lived and eventually back fire not in your favor. When you establish yourself as a professional artist and give to others, it will build a reputation for the artist and portray the artist as a professional. It is through this professional reputation that will lead others to gravitate towards you and may be even want to assist or work with you.
Social Perception, Statistics & Number of ‘Friends’
As the artist builds a professional reputation, it is important to keep in mind that statistically the number of ‘friends’ or ‘fans’ you have does impact the impression others will have about you. However, keep in mind that Facebook puts a cap on how many people you can request at a time. Requesting too many people at once, leads Facebook to question if you really know them and often results in the site putting a hold on your ability to request people for several days. Let’s get back to the original topic which started this paragraph. For examples, if an artist has 3,000 ‘friends’ or ‘fans’ it does relay a different message than an artist who has 500 ‘friends’ or ‘fans.’ As artists know, statistics do communicate information about your ‘likeability’ to other people who may be fans, managers, agents, etc. For example, compare your number of ‘friends’ or ‘fans’ to your number of downloads, how many persons have listened to your song on YouTube, etc. If you have a lot of ‘friends’ or ‘fans,’ managers and agents will see this as how popular you possibly are (or can be) and that is one piece of hard data for them to hold onto, of course, coupled with looking at your other statistics. And don’t forget to interact with your ‘friends’ or ‘fans!’ Make any of your fans become friends and show them that you care by sending personal messages and posting positive comments on their page to express your appreciation. There is nothing more meaningful to a fan, then to see an artist show that he is authentic and real as well as communicate his appreciation for their support.
Create an Artist/Musician Page
Now that you have your personal page developed, it is recommended that the artist also creates a musician/band page. The great aspect of creating a musician/band page is that it can serve as a website where the artist has all of the necessary information available for their fans including a bio, upcoming show dates, photos of the band and music. This is not meant to deter the artist, but creating a musician page is time consuming as the artist will also be required to join Reverbnation. Reverbnation is another site that is used for artists to promote their music and it has the option to be linked to one’s Facebook music page. It is recommended that an artist does this as it is important to keep in mind that social media sites are the primary way to go right now for an artist to get his name out there. Similar to the number of ‘friends’ and fans that you have, the more places that people can find out about you as an artist, the more likely you are to be remembered. And isn’t the goal to spread your name as an artist to the masses?! Remember that success is relative to that of the artist and what he wishes to accomplish. Putting in the hard work, time and devotion by incorporating these tips in this article may assist in paying off in a positive way for the artist.
Kerri Edelman, Psy.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Magazine Writer, Singer-Songwriter and Radio Talk Show Host of The Kerri Edelman Show. For more information on Kerri Edelman and her music, please visit www.kerriedelman.com and to listen to her radio show or become considered as a guest, visit www.blogtalkradio.com/kerriedelman