Somewhere in your childhood someone told you to put others before yourself. It’s a practice that is considered to be good manners, but it has to be taught to us because, well, by nature humans don’t tend to be other-centered. This stems from our survival instinct but in the business world and specifically in the music business world, putting others first is not only good manners, its good business practice.
Being in a band is different in some ways from being in a traditional business. Promotions is a huge part of any band’s work load and as such, often keeps you in a mind-set of constantly promoting you, you, you. It’s true you have to get word out about your gigs. No doubt about that. But I am continually amazed by the sheer volume of bands who limit their social media presence to simply talking about THEM.
Social media by nature is SOCIAL. It’s a conversation. It’s about engagement. You want to draw your fans in to you, make them feel a part of your entourage and help them to get to know you. You want to HEAR what they have to say because you can deeply benefit from that knowledge.
I’ve said it before and I swear it will be written on my grave: Twitter is THE most effective social media platform, (at this time), for the music industry. Yeah, I know, everyone’s on Facebook. BUT the people on Twitter want to hear news, want to engage and want to interact. Facebook is finicky. If you have to make a choice, choose Twitter. If you don’t have to choose one or the other then do both but recognize that they are vastly different platforms and target the messages for each individually. That lazy automated crap where your Facebook posts to your Twitter page is non-sense. Knock it off. You have to have an active presence on both, accept that, and then make a plan of action.
My challenge to you is to get really good at promoting others.
Think about everyone around you. Your fans, venues, promoters, blog writers, radio stations and a myriad of other businesses and individuals have helped your band along the way. Think about bands you have shared the stage with. These wonderful people give you a jumping off point. Mention THEM in your Facebook, Twitter and blog posts. Promote other bands shows. Give shout outs to your fans, tagging them. Make sure to publicly show appreciation for the venues who offer you stage time. Also, post funny or interesting material that people will benefit from.
You know what that will do for you? It will get you recognized. Do you know what people see when you post about yourself continually? NOTHING. Nobody reads those posts. However, when you have something good to say about others, when you post information that is useful to those who follow you, it puts you on the map and people become interested in what you have to say. You look good in the eyes of those following you. Your clout and status grows.
So often bands only post about upcoming shows. BORING.
Reach out and talk to your followers. Ask them questions. Give them special shout outs. Putting others first always puts you at the top of the charts. Trust me, this works. But you’re not doing this as a ploy to get people to like or follow or retweet you. Do it sincerely for the right reasons – putting others first. Yes, you will benefit from it, but so will they and that is key. All that good energy you create will surely show up in attendance at shows and the number of people who share your information with their friends.
The key to social media is ENGAGEMENT. You don’t want a one-sided conversation where you blast news about yourself to your audience. You want to get your fans talking to you. I will warn you that it takes time and consistency to get folks talking. Creativity is essential here. Find your own style and run with it. Your fans will love discussing all sorts of things with you. What a great way to find out what city folks want you to play, what songs are their favorite.
This is a time-consuming effort. It’s good if each member of the band will accept certain responsibilities. Just remember, that as time consuming as it surely is, this is a huge part of making it in the music business. You need talent and a great live show; you also need an ever-growing, positive social media presence.
Get used to living on social media. Your star will only shine brighter. Be personal with your entourage. Connect in every way possible. Your fans will love you for it and music professionals you work with will respect you. Win, win.