This week kicks off with a guest post from Nick Lewis of Zimbalam, a European digital distribution company, giving solid tips around leveraging social media to build effective relationships with fans and influencers. Take it away, Nick…
A lot of bands make the mistake of treating their online and offline presence as completely separate entities, but actually, they should be used to complement each other. Bands that gig a lot tend to have the most Facebook fans, and also tend to sell the most music online.
Online marketing is at its best when it’s used as part of a wider strategy, especially when used to maintain relationships that would otherwise have been lost.
Promoting Your Online Presence Offline
The biggest part of social media marketing is building relationships with your fans. Of course you can build notoriety and establish a fanbase purely online by virtue of blog mentions and online PR, but your most readily available source of fans is gigs.
But think for a second, how many times have you seen a band at a gig that you really liked, but forgot about a few weeks later? That’s where your online presence kicks in, and why it’s essential to make sure people at your shows know where to find you on the internet. So:
- Put your Facebook/Twitter/website URL on all flyers and other promotional material where possible.
- Provide a clear incentive for people to look you up and subscribe (e.g. ‘Free download forall Facebook fans’.)
- Tell people about it over the mic. (No, it doesn’t damage your credibility, everyone’s doing it).
Building Relationships with Fans
Once your new, “biggest fans” have found you online, naturally you want to keep them interested so they pay attention to your future blatant attempts to haul them down to gigs and help you pay back your digital distribution fees.
- The day after every gig, post photos and/or videos from the night before. At the very least, post a status update thanking everyone for coming down.
- When doing these posts, make use of tagging to ensure maximum visibility amongst people who saw you play – tag the venue, the other bands on the bill, anyone you know was there.
- If you have a guest list or cheap list, offer it to Facebook fans/Twitter followers.
Following these simple steps will make new fans feel like part of the ‘gang’, and also make them more likely to attend future shows, along with some of their friends who may sign up to your mailing list for a free download – you see where this is going.
Building Relationships with Influencers
The last tri in the pod is about achieving greater exposure by combining your online and offline strands. The biggest exposure comes from influencers talking about you. In the music industry those influencers are, by and large, the same as they always were: radio DJs, journalists, other musicians. Nearly all of them will have some sort of online presence (or will operate exclusively online).
Twitter opens up the easiest way to keep up a relationship with the DJs, journalists and other musicians you meet, although the new Facebook pages shouldn’t be ignored either. Simply put, once you’ve been on someone’s radio show, or played on the same bill as someone else, talk to them using Facebook and/or Twitter.
- Whenever you meet someone who could help you get exposure, follow up using Twitter and/or Facebook.
- Keep a spreadsheet of all the influencers you’ve met (no, seriously) and see what they’re up to from time to time. Any exchanges you have will reinforce your relationship.
- Promote their radio show/blog/gigs every now and again (but make sure they see you’re doing it) to your fans/followers. It will help build an atmosphere of mutual support.
Just as with your direct-to-fan relationships, it’s an easy, no-cost way to maintain a relationship with someone that pre-social media may have been lost. Doing this may give you more exposure to their fanbases by being seen talking to them, and it will certainly make them more pre-disposed to give you airplay/feature you/invite you the next time they’re doing a tour.
Crossing the divide
Social media marketing used to be known more as ‘social networking’, which I think is a more accurate description. It offers an easy, free way to build on the relationships you make with people out in the ‘real world’ that can just as easily spill back over into it.