I wrote a blog post recently in which i talked about how a band is actually a brand:
I mentioned in that post that I’d be returning to aspects of what I’d written there and here we are with the first related post.
We all use Social Media these days, in its many forms and the chances are that you may well have come across this blog post via a Social Media outlet of some kind.
But, as a band or an artist, are you using Social Media as well as you could? And could the way that you are currently using it actually be having an adverse effect on your band’s image/brand/business or effectiveness?
I can’t pretend to have all the answers and not all of what I’m about to write may be relevant to you. After all, every artist is different and different factors come into play for each of you.
But, over my 6+ years of using Social Media, i have come to realise that there are some things you should do and some things that you just shouldn’t do, if you want to be taken seriously and increase your chances as a band, or musician. Some of this is equally as relevant to an individual as well for that matter.
Here are few pointers/guidelines that i would give to anyone when it comes to Social Media use. After all, you may well only get one chance to grab the attention of that A & R person, promoter, record label etc etc. So, make sure you grab their attention for all the right reasons and get them to come back for more.
As someone once said to me – “First impressions last”.
So, in no particular order:
1 – Engage and Interact: Social Media is all about interaction, the clue is in its name. Why bother to have a Social Media site in the first place if you don’t intend to engage and interact with your followers, friends and subscribers? These people are there because they are fans, or at least have an interest in your band. So, make the effort and reply to their comments. I realise that this can be time consuming, but a reply or even a ‘Like’ can go a long way.
2 – Don’t Post When Drunk: We’ve probably all done it haven’t we? But, if you’re trying to sell yourself as a band, it really isn’t a good idea to post anything when you’ve had a few drinks. It might seem like a great idea at the time and even very funny, to you at least. But, it could very well come back to haunt you in the cold light of the next morning.
3 – Think Before You Post: A follow up to the last suggestion really. Remember that what sounds good when spoken can look completely different when written down in text form. Text shows no emotion or emphasis and can look very different on the page. Read back what you’ve written before hitting ‘send’.
4 – DON’T SHOUT!: One of the unwritten ‘rules’ of using text, in any form, is not to use capital letters all the time. By all means use them for the odd word to try and emphasise something, but using capital letters all the time is the text equivalent of shouting and nobody likes to be shouted at do they? You’d be amazed at how many people do this. Stand away from the ‘Caps Lock’ key people.
5 – Grammar and Spelling: Nobody is perfect, least of all me. But, try and make sure that your spelling and grammar are as good as they can be. We’ve probably all seen the ‘Grammar Nazis’ that seem to patrol the Internet, so why give them any more ammunition if you can avoid it? They like nothing more than picking people up on the old favourites of Your/You’re, There/Their/They’re, It’s/Its and Where/Wear etc etc. As i said before, read back what you’ve written before you post it.
6 – Don’t Spam Others: Of course you want to try and promote what you’re doing, but don’t spam other people’s pages, or sites. Make what you post on other people’s sites relevant. On the flipside of this, don’t allow others to spam your own site either, as they inevitably will attempt to do. Try and keep on top of this and delete/block offenders. Nobody likes seeing spam on sites.
7 – Make Posts Relevant: Whatever you post, make sure that it’s actually relevant, even on your own band site. Save the personal stuff for your personal site. People come to your band site to read about the band, not about how many pints you had last night, or that you’ve had an argument with your partner.
8 – Tell The Truth: We all exaggerate things at times and bands are no exception to that. Most of the time that’s fine, but don’t promise things that you can’t deliver, or that you know just aren’t true. You will get found out and just remember what happened to the boy who cried wolf too many times.
9 – Review Your Content: Be in control of what others see on your site. This may mean having to review and delete old photos, videos and songs that don’t really have any relevance anymore. You’d be amazed how many bands still have, rather embarrassing, photos, videos and old demo’s still lurking around on their Facebook page. Is that what you really want visitor’s to see? Remember, you’re trying to create a good impression here, so delete them and just keep up the good stuff. On this same point, you might also want to ask your friends to do the same with photos etc of your band that they may have posted on their own sites. If they’re good friends and want your band to succeed, I’m sure they’d be happy to delete them as well.
10 – Don’t Engage In Slanging Matches: I know it can be tempting, but try not to engage in any slanging matches, or mudslinging with any Internet trolls and haters that may well turn up on your site. They really aren’t worth it and arguing with them will only make you look bad yourself. If in doubt, block them and delete their comments. Positive criticism is one thing, abuse is something quite different.
11 – Think Like A Brand/Business: Going back to this topic again I’m afraid. But, think of your site as a kind of shop window for your band and try and treat it that way. After all, that’s pretty much what it is. It is there to help promote and sell your band, just like that shop window in the high street is.
12 – Don’t Give Away Too Much: Social Media sites are very useful, but they should really only be there to supplement your main website. I spoke about the need for a ‘proper’ website in another blog post: http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/blog-posts/andy-gunton-2/time-to-get-serious/ Use your Social Media sites to push people towards your personal website, where possible. Post a brief outline on Facebook, Twitter etc and then include a link to the full item on your website. Your website will be far more important to you in the long run.
13 – Prioritise: Don’t get so tied up sorting out all your Social Media sites that you don’t have time for the basics. This is another one of those things that you see some bands doing. Social Media means absolutely nothing if you haven’t got the songs, don’t rehearse, or don’t do the gigs to back it all up.
14 – Help!: All of the above can be very time consuming and is probably the reason why so many bands don’t follow these guidelines. So, why not enlist the help of a trusted friend, fan of the band, or your Manager to do it all, or at least some of it, for you? That then leaves you to get on with the far more important tasks of writing new songs, gigging and planning your future career.
15 – Check Your Other Sites: I have no doubt that you’ve all signed up to many different Social Media sites, or services over time. So, now that you’ve read these guidelines and providing that you agree with at least some of them, go and check ALL of your Social Media/Band sites and make sure that you have a consistent policy on them all. You might be surprised at how many sites you’ve signed up to and what you’ve got posted on them.
Hopefully, some of what I’ve written here has been of use? And if not, maybe it’s at least given you something to think about when it comes to Social Media use?
In my opinion, all bands should agree a Social Media policy amongst themselves and then consistently act upon it. It’s something that is becoming far more important as time goes on and could well end up being the difference between your band being a success, or not.
I have no doubt that there are things that I’ve missed here and if I think of any, I’ll add them to this post over time.
If you have any comments about what I’ve written, or suggestions for additions to my list, please add a comment below.
And if you need any help with your own Social Media policy, you know where we are.