Specializing in online PR, you may think I’d tell you that you have to be everywhere and using everything when it comes to using social media to promote your music. You’d be wrong if you thought that.
Social Media Tools for Musicians
Before I get into why you shouldn’t worry about trying to use every social media tool you can get your hands on, let’s start by giving you some examples of social media tools for musicians:
- General Social Networks – You would be hard-pressed to say any general social network is better for independent musicians than Myspace. Still, others do exist, and may be worth checking out – anything from Facebook to even LinkedIn (for those looking to connect with industry professionals, or for those working behind-the-scenes in indie music).
- Music Networks – In addition to general social networks, music networks exist specializing entirely in building the band-fan relationship. Examples would be Purevolume or Unsigned.com.
- Microblogging – I’m not a big fan of relying on microblogging services like Twitter when it really counts (their reliability is atrocious, and it’s quite noise-filled), but microblogging platforms can work for the touring musician. You can keep fans up-to-date on what city you’re in, what you’re doing on the road, etc.
- Blogs – Keeping a band blog can be a great way to keep in touch with fans in a semi-controlled environment. You can have conversations with fans in the blog comments, post more to your entries than with microblogging (like a more detailed tour journal, photo and video posts, etc.). If you do launch a blog, I suggest using WordPress. You can have them host it for free (you’ll have less control) or you can host it yourself (I recommend hosting with HostGator).
- YouTube – Social Video Sites like YouTube are great for indie artists. You can create your own music videos and make them available for fans. YouTube gives you a shot at viral marketing on the cheap (a music video doesn’t have to cost you much, if anything – you can even just have a friend record a live performance for you instead of a staged music video).
Why Being “Social” Doesn’t Mean Being “Everywhere”
You can’t expect to do everything, while doing everything well. The reality is that you only have a set number of hours in a day. You only have so much time in there that you can spend promoting your music (especially if you’re also in school, working, etc.).
The key to using social media effectively is to do what’s best for you. A popular Myspace page may require a big time investment to keep on top of comments (keep in mind, it’s only “social” networking if you’re actually interacting with your fans, rather than just letting them leave you comments). Many blogs don’t have the time to invest in a blog. Others may not be great with videos, or they don’t have someone who can help them record one (and no budget to hire a professional).
By all means, use as many of these social media tools for musicians as you can, as long as they’re helping you reach specific goals that you’ve set for yourself and your music. Like with any other time of marketing, social media marketing takes planning. Think about what you can do, but also think about what you can’t. For instance, don’t launch a blog if you’re going to neglect it – you’re only going to disappoint your fans, which is counter-productive. Make sense?