I already shared this article on Facebook and Twitter, but felt it was just too damn important to not add a quick blog.
Sometimes I think artists begin to overlook the basics as they get all caught up in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Google +, and all the others. You still need to have a great website, great songs and a great live show. Actually the songs and show should come before the website. Without songs or show you have nothing to talk about, nothing to promote. 10,000 Twitter followers and 100,000 Facebook likes really mean little if you don’t have a website along with great songs and a great stage presence. Give your fans something to talk about. Give them a reason to spend their money.
Dave Cool from Bandzoogle really nailed it with his article.
1. You still need your own website
Any work you do through your social media networks needs to bring people back to your own website. Bandzoogle founder Chris Vinson just wrote a blog post about why this is so important:
But essentially, it’s because you own it, you control it, and you can give your fans a focused experience of your band through your own site. By bringing fans back to your own website you can deepen your relationship with them, encourage them to sign-up to your mailing list, and shop at your own online store.
2. You still need to collect email addresses
Email addresses are gold for an artist’s career. It is still the most reliable way to stay in touch with your fans. Regardless of what happens to the social media sites that are popular at the moment (remember all the fans you had on MySpace?), you can stay in touch with your fans through email.
Just recently, Facebook changed the way pages worked, removing the “Update Your Fans” feature, which sent a message to all of your fans. Ember Swift brought this up during the panel discussion, as she had been using that feature’s geo-location option to target fans by region while on her current North American tour. Well, halfway through her tour, because Facebook decided to make the change, she could no longer send those updates, let alone target fans geographically. Luckily Ember had always kept her mailing list going, organized by region, so she could still send out newsletters and email fans individually before she came to their city. But had she relied solely on Facebook Pages, that could have potentially been disastrous for her promotional efforts on tour.
Statistics from TopSpin, one of the top direct-to-fan marketing platforms, show that email is still the best way to convert fans to paying customers. With all of the fancy Facebook stores, and sales links being sent out through social media, sending a newsletter with a call-to-action to purchase through your own website (preferably) or through services that people recognize (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) still seems to work best.
3. Your music and live show must be GREAT
Nothing, I repeat NOTHING will be better for the promotion of your music than having other people talking about it. New fans are often created because they hear about a band through a trusted source. So if your music or live show is so good that it gets people talking about it, it’s going to spread naturally.
Tom Power’s last words during the panel talked about how social media marketing can’t make up for bad music. It reminded me of a great quote by Bob Lefsetz:
“No amount of Tweeting and Facebooking and online dunning will make up for lame music.”
Should you be active on social media? Yes. It is an important tool in your career and a great way to connect with your fans. But it should never come at the expense of your art. I actually wrote a blog post recently asking if social media was hurting creativity, and in the responses, Bandzoogle member D. Anson Brody mentioned another great quote from comedian/actor/musician Steve Martin:
“Be so good, they can’t ignore you”
And that is what will make you stand out more than any amount of tweeting or Facebook updates. Being so good, people have no choice but to pay attention to you and talk about you to their friends.