Many of us here at Kobayashi Online have friends in bands, or have been involved in the music industry in one way or another.
One of the common things we’ve found is that many of our peers have trouble figuring out their online presence. This is really something many bands and musicians can benefit from because it will allow them to be more easily found online, get heard by new people, and be at least a little accountable to fans.
We put together this post on what online marketing tools bands and practices we’d recommend for most bands trying to make a name for themselves.
1. Get on BandCamp or SoundCloud
Built around the idea of directly supporting those who make music, the Bandcamp website is an online platform for artist promotion that allows artists to sell their music and merch directly to fans, and helps fans discover new music. SoundCloud is a website that boasts the largest community of artists, bands, podcasters and creators of music and audio. A free account allows you to upload as many tracks as you like. Not only do BandCamp and SoundCloud bring your music to a broader community of music fans, but they also get around file upload limits typically imposed by bargain hosting plans. You can embed code on your site, and even in some social media posts so that people can listen to your music.
Pick a strategy for your online music.
Bandcamp is great for handling all e-commerce elements of selling music, and also allows you to have free downloads. The downside is that the number of free downloads are limited based on how much you sell, so big bands that sell lots of downloads will be able to provide more free downloads through their service. If not, or if you don’t specifically want to sell music, then you might be better off putting up free stuff on SoundCloud.
2. Make the Most of Video
Don’t overlook the power of video. In many ways, YouTube is the new radio. It’s a place where many where many people go to discover new music. Also, people generally don’t expect big budget videos on YouTube. If you can afford something creative, that’s great, but if you can’t, you can still put somethingup on YouTube, even if it’s just a video of a live gig recorded on a camera phone. People are likely to embed Videos on their blogs and Facebook feeds, which helps you promote shows. People will click on it just to see what you have to offer, and if they like the song, they won’t care that there’s not much there in terms of Hollywood film style.
3. Have a Website
Having even a simple website will help people know about your band. For ideas on what you need to build a brand with a website, see our posts on deciding your website requirements, and how to find a great domain.
4. Register for Social Media Accounts
Give yourself a profile on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to fill out your profiles with a description of your band, and post news, photos and media to give life to your profile.
To determine which social networks to be on, think about where your fans are mostly likely to be, and which networks are most conducive to you as an artist. For instance, you may find that Twitter is the perfect way to post quick tour photos and observations, or you might find it too onerous to post several times a day, so thought-out Facebook posts a few times a week are something you’d rather do.
5. Show Tour Dates
Display tour dates on your website as an easy way for people to know where and when you’re playing. Also, you might want to try registering for services like Songkick, which lets music fans playing know about your gig when you come to their city.
6. Let Local Media Know About Your Gig
Most large cities have at least one local alternative weekly (in Toronto, for instance, we have NOW Magazine, Exclaim, and The Grid). And even if you can’t score an interview with them, there are oftentimes forms where you can submit your gig to a “What’s On” page that lists events – almost like a free, events classified section. Someone who wouldn’t otherwise know about your show might find your listing, and go to your show for something to do.
7. Offer Band Updates on your Blog and Social Media
So much of music is about the personality of a musician. Many people look for honesty in lyrics, and decry the “selling out” of their favourite bands when they make questionable decisions.
A blog or social media presence can help you give fans an inside look at your band – what you’re working on, what you’re listening to, and what you’re interested in outside of music.
Furthermore, a Facebook page gives something that people can easily join for updates.
Facebook is great for getting the word out about local shows. Update it with unique event pages so that members of your page can invite their friends to your event. Before a show, post links, videos, anything about the show to your bands Facebook page, and the event page – this helps remind people that your event is coming up. And people might hear about your gig from a friend rather hear from you yourself.
This can get people excited about your event. However, don’t spam people about your gig because your updates go to those who signed up, and people might not want people to tune you out.
When your show is over, post something about it on your band page, add photos if you can. Remind those who didn’t go that they missed something special. They’ll be more likely to come to the next one!
By having systems setup to promote your band and its music, you can concentrate more on making great music without worrying that you’re doing nothing to build your audience and nurture your fan base.
We hope some of these online marketing tactics we’ve shared with you help you and your band rise above the noise.