Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category
[The following is a guest post by my friends at Ditto Music. That's why the spelling is British Ditto Music is an online music record label services and digital distribution company servicing over 50,000 artists across the world. Services include chart eligibility, royalty collection and online promotion. I have guest posted on their site.
This post is particularly relevant for me this week. Being a DIY musician, I have done each of the things suggested below myself to promote either my current band, Solveig & Stevie, or my former band, Shades of Red. So I can personally attest to the fact that they are all important. I think #6 below is something that many bands and singer-songwriters wrestle with, myself included. I'd love to hear your feedback on this.
Stevie and I are planning a professional photo shoot and a band website redesign this month, and I'm pretty excited for that. You'll probably see a blog post or two from me about those experiences. Meanwhile, here are some great music marketing tips from Ditto Music.]
If you are embarking on a career in music, having talent and determination will only get you so far. In order to reach the heights of international stardom, you will also need to promote your music if you decide to go down the road of independent publishing. The internet and the wide range of digital outlets available will provide you with many opportunities to spread the reach of your music. By adopting these 10 simple strategies, you can maximise your chances of reaching the top of the charts.
A friend of mine recently asked me about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tips for his music industry and marketing website. Now, I’m by no means an SEO expert. However, I love when people ask me questions and I don’t know the answers, because it’s an excuse for me to do research. I knew I could improve the SEO on my own websites with what I learned, and also pass that information back to him, thereby placing him forever in my debt. Just kidding about the debt part. But I do enjoy building long term relationships based on openly sharing practical information that helps others.
When one person asks, it also means there are probably other people out there who would be interested in the answers.
I’ve posted links to the articles I found in the process of doing my reasearch at the end of the article. I want to give a special shout out to Stan Smith of Pushing Social, whose recent webinar on 7 Blog Marketing Tactics was especially useful in the section below on SEO for images.
What Is SEO For Musicians?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. All this means is that if someone searches (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) for either your personal name, your band name or perhaps even for the type of music you play (eg. “dubstep Celtic”or “ukelele classic rock cover band Seattle”), your website will appear at the top or close to the top of their search results.
Have you Googled yourself or your band name lately? Try it and see what comes up. You might try also your musical genre if it’s narrow enough. My results are shown above and to the right when I Google my name, and below left for when I Google the words in my band name, Solveig Stevie.
Just remember to go “Incognito” or “anonymous” before you search yourself, otherwise the search will take into account all of your own recent searches, and might be skewed. You want to see what the average person will get when they do a search, not your own “tailored-by-Google” search. There’s more in this CNET article on how to search anonymously in other browsers such as IE and Firefox as well as Chrome.
I began publishing on this website on June 28th, 2012, thanks to Brian Thompson (@thornybleeder). Brian has been a role model for me as both a popular music marketing and inspirational blogger and also as a social media maven. He consistently produces high quality content and shares it intelligently. He also has a great sense of visual design and branding, which permeates his online presence. What some of you may not know is that he also created this beautiful WordPress website for me (thank you, Brian).
After 18 months, I think it’s appropriate to reflect a bit. Of course, for me, that means “let’s look at the numbers!”
In the spirit of following my own advice on using Google analytics, I thought it would be interesting to create a list of my top blog posts. Note that not all of these posts were written in 2013, this is just my top ranked website page views from June 28, 2012 through December 26, 2013, according to my Google Analytics.
So here they are, in order of popularity:
You may have heard that content marketing is (or should be) the center of 21st century marketing for any business, large or small. But what does this mean in practical terms for a DIY musician?
The basic idea is that by creating original, useful and entertaining information and then using social media to share it far and wide, you attract potential fans who would not otherwise have been aware of your music. Plus, it costs you little or nothing to create the content and do the promotion, right? Free marketing! Well, not exactly free. It costs time and energy, and maybe even a little cash. Without some thought up front, content marketing can also quickly become overwhelming even for the most savvy. But don’t give up just yet. You can do this.
A few weeks ago I attended an inspiring CD release party for the Aury Moore Band‘s new CD, Here I Am. The AMB is a female-fronted indie Seattle rock band whose latest CD was produced by Stevie (full disclosure). I’ve been fortunate to be a part of Aury’s inner circle, and even to feed her a few music marketing tips. She’s an experienced and accomplished musician and marketer herself, and I wanted to share the story of this 12-song CD.
This article is the first of a two-part series. In the first post, I describe how Aury used Kickstarter to successfully raise over $20,000 to record, promote and pre-sell her CD. In Part II, I outline how Aury followed up with a highly successful CD release party and what might lie in store as she continutes the process of marketing her newest release.
The promotion of this CD began even before it was produced. A well-executed CD release, launch and promotion process is ideally 12-14 months, and a crowd funding campaign with Kickstarter (or via another crowd funding platofrm such as PledgeMusic, IndieGoGo or RocketHub) is an important and powerful marketing and pre-sales technique.
- Spring 2012: Aury and her band came to Stevie, wanting to record a new CD. Aury had recorded in the past, and had actually begun the process with another producer, but he was tragically killed. She didn’t have funds to continue making the CD at the time, and was talking to a few individual fans about the possiblity of them funding it. Aury and I talked about the idea of doing a Kickstarter campaign to raise money instead of relying on one or two individuals. I invited Seattle singer-songwriter Jean Mann over to my house to participate in a group discussion on music marketing for several of Stevie’s clients. Jean graciously detailed to the group how she had used Kickstarter to raise money for her CD. It was something Aury and her band had never done before, but Aury recognized the potential right away and started planning.
- Summer 2012: Aury researched Kickstarter, and then began work on the video and premiums for her campaign.
- August – October 2012: The AMB Kickstarter campaign ran for 60 days, ultimately raising $2000 above the original goal.
- October 2012 – May 2013: Stevie, Aury and the band recorded and mixed the CD.
- June 2013: Aury Moore Band CD release party happens with over 400 people attending.
- July 2013: As of this writing, the new CD is available on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, etc. and they have sold about 600 physical CDs.
Professional social media marketers know that Twitter is a great way to reach out to fans and influencers, to interact and build a network of professional acquaintances, to gain exposure and, ultimately, to help sell products to a customer or fan base. The logic is, of course, that the more followers you have on Twitter, the larger your marketing reach. There is a lot of debate about whether it’s better to have more followers (“quantity”), or a small group of egaged followers (“quality”). This depends to some extent on one’s business goals, but as one blogging social media expert points out:
As much as you’d like to say that quantity doesn’t matter, well it does. – Jeff Bullas
Follow Others To Increase Your Twitter Following
If you have a Twitter account, you may already know that the best way to grow your followers is to actively follow others, and some percentage will follow you back. The more things you have in common with a user, the more likely they are to follow you back, so it’s a good idea to follow others based on a keyword to search of their profiles or tweets. The problem is that this is a time-consuming process when done manually – one can spend hours a day doing it.
Twitter used to have a feature called automated following, but they recently disabled it. They have done this largely because of the proliferation of fake Twitter accounts which have been used by unscrupulous marketers to inflate Twitter accounts. Along with this change by Twitter, automated Twitter follow tool TweetAdder has settled their lawsuit with Twitter and changed their product, requiring all users to upgrade. Because of the changes Twitter has made to try and address its fake follower problems, TweetAdder and other tools based on Twitter’s automated follow feature are no longer as effective as they used to be.
The truth is that building a large Twitter following has never been “organic.” As far as I can tell from the last 18 months of research and observation, unless you become a YouTube sensation overnight, growing a significant Twitter following quickly requires one of the following four practices:
Vlogging is an increasingly popular communication medium, and I think it’s a largely underutilized way for indie musicians to communicate with fans, perform live, do interviews, build their YouTube subscribers, and share information about themselves and their lives. Musicians might even find it an unexpected source of additional income.
What is vlogging, you may ask? Vlogging is a contraction of the phrase “video blogging.” Vlogging is what happens when you publish regular, serialized video episodes on YouTube and people “tune in,” or subscribe, to your YouTube channel to watch. Vloggers, some of them quite young, but many of every age, are making a living doing this. If they offer interesting content, and can build a good subscriber base, it can be a very good living for some of the superstars of vlogging. Vloggers provide the content, people subscribe to watch it, and advertisers sell ads on their YouTube channels through the partner program.
Chris Pirillo’s VloggerFair 2013 In Seattle
I just attended VloggerFair here in sunny Seattle. VloggerFair is a combination trade show and giant fan club convention conceived and organized by the fast-talking and very creative Chris Pirillo. Chris is the star of the YouTube channel LockerGnome, a “Geek Lifestyle” channel with 288,000 subscribers. In addition to his fast-paced LockerGnome tech gadget reviews, Chris and his wife, Diana, also vlog about their day to day lives in what amounts, more or less, to a reality TV show on YouTube.
“We know that there’s no economical value in non-scarce things. Then how do musicians expect to make money out of digital music, especially now that’s it’s becoming more and more commodified and easy to have access to? Something abundant eventually becomes free at some point…You create market value by selling scarce things. Get it right asap.” – Tommy Darker
“[Big Tech] have to keep commodifying things to keep the share price up, but in doing so they have made all content, including music and newspapers, worthless, in order to make their billions.” – Thom Yorke [Radiohead] as quoted by Music Tech Policy
- Ubiquity drives the commoditization of music and other intellectual property, lowering value and decreasing discovery
- Giving credit, or attribution, counteracts this effect and creates value
I read two posts this week which got me thinking about how these two ideas related in the worlds of both social media and independent music. One post was from Tommy Darker on Music Think Tank called ”Premiumization 101 For Musicians” (from whence came the quote above) and the other was by Bob Dunn, my favorite WordPress guru, called “Make Sure Your Shared Tweets Display Your Twitter Handle“. These seem like disparate posts, but bear with me for a minute or two.
[An interview with Kevin McCarthy, CEO of the Seattle-based Facebook analytics company, Likester]
S: Kevin, thanks for talking with me today. In addition to the fact that you’re my stepson (full disclosure), you’re a succesful serial entrepreneur. You’ve started a new company called Likester (definitely not to be confused with Friendster). You and I were talking about Likester, and I had a few questions about how it might be useful for musicians or labels. I understand a little about Likester – it’s basically a giant database of Facebook “Like” data and some software that helps you visualize correlations between Facebook brand “Likes”, is that correct? And the idea is that this information can be used by marketers, presumably to better target their Facebook advertising to those Facebook users who are more likely to “Like”, and thus buy, their products? Tell me more about Likester – what is the basic idea behind the tool?
K: That is correct. Likester has tracked and organized over a billion Facebook “Likes” from millions of people. The basic idea behind Likester Pro is that you can learn a lot about your customers, the customers of your competition, or the fans of any Facebook Page out there.