Contributed by Emma Mitchell
In an increasingly screen-driven world, it’s no secret that your online presence as a musician is crucial not only to your visibility but the actual viability of your career in today’s music industry. Unfortunately, the ins and outs of making your social media functional and professional while also communicating all the vibes that make you YOU, are not always intuitive.
Over the last four years, I’ve worked with artists, managers, agents, promoters, and venues to promote shows, and believe me when I say I’ve seen it all in the world of digital marketing – from the artist who still has MySpace, to the ones with meticulous imagery and a whole team coordinating their online presence. I’ve also seen a lot of the same mistakes, and they can usually be addressed with simple fixes! I’ve compiled a list of basic tips to help any artist managing their own social media, not only to create a more professional appearance, but – more importantly – to cut back on common mistakes that will quickly bury your posts in Facebook’s dreaded algorithms.
1. TEXT CONTENT. Always customize your text – also referred to as “copy.” Your fans want to hear from YOU. Keep it relevant: Less is more! If you’re promoting a show, hit the time, date, location, and a ticket link or Event Page and don’t let it get too frilly. 90 characters or less is a good rule of thumb, especially if you plan to boost your post.
2. VISUAL CONTENT. Every post should be accompanied by photo or video content. Music fans have proven time and again that they are more interested in you (your face or live performance) than they are in creative posters, lots of text, or that fancy logo you commissioned. Always use high resolution band photos or performance videos instead of graphics with too much text. If the text is a necessity, make sure it takes up less than 20% of your image or the algorithms will push it down.
3. VIDEOS. Upload your videos directly to Facebook! YouTube, Vimeo, and all other third party video links struggle against Facebook algorithms. If you want video views, upload your video file directly to Facebook. For best results, make promo videos one minute or less.
4. LINKS. When sharing a link on Facebook, the content will auto-populate. Once it does, delete the link! This makes your copy less cluttered, and followers can click on the auto-populated content to access the link.
5. TAG TAG TAG. Always tag the relevant venues, promoters, or collaborating bands in your copy when appropriate! Take 5 extra minutes to research their official handles on Facebook or Instagram and use them – it will save you frustration and help your post get across to those other audiences. Don’t use Instagram handles on Facebook and vice versa – if you push a post directly from Instagram to Facebook, go edit that Facebook post, remove the Instagram handles and delete all those hashtags. Let’s go ahead and say NO HASHTAGS on Facebook – they just don’t apply to the platform – unless you have something clever and extra relevant to the topic at hand.
6. FACEBOOK EVENT PAGES are where it’s at! If you’ve got a gig, make sure there is an Event Page – and make sure there is only one! Try to encourage the venue to create the Facebook Event Page, but if that fails make one yourself and send them a co-host request. For best results, make sure your Event Page is live 2 weeks out from day of show or more. Time, place, ticket info, and a good hi-res event photo are far more important than a detailed description (you can have a detailed description – just make sure these other components are attended to first!). Don’t trust imported Events from Songkick and Bandsintown, as the imported information is almost always wrong and causes confusion for artists, venues, and fans alike.
As we all know, rules are made to be broken. I recommend referencing these guidelines to see how they improve your presence in your most frequent posting, but doubtless there will come a time when you need to share a few paragraphs of text, or your label will insist on posting the YouTube link to your latest music video because that’s where they want to drive traffic. There are of course more ways than one to make these kinds of posts work for you. Get creative and see what works!
And, when in doubt – GOOGLE IT! If you’ve got a question about social media best practices, someone has either written an article or made a helpful video answering it. Mashable is a great resource for reliable information on social media marketing.
Emma Mitchell has worked in the Austin music industry for four years. In that time, she’s managed social media for over 12 artists, venues, festivals, and agencies, including Hayes Carll and Bob Schneider. She is currently the marketing manager at Antone’s Nightclub.