If you’re like a lot of businesses, you’re still contemplating how to become engaged with your customers via the various online and social media tools available today. It’s much cheaper than paying for print or other forms of media, i.e. radio, tv, etc. and can be just as effective if not more so. For others, they’re using online media but it tends to primarily be for self-promotion type communications.

Music venues are no different. So, what are you waiting for?

 

If you’re overwhelmed with the idea of spending too much time, or getting bogged down, with the world of online, don’t. Start by focusing a few minutes each week on 2-3 areas. For example, pick 2 days a week to spend 30 minutes on your website, Facebook, and Twitter. Then, add more time or tools as needed and as you become more comfortable. Stay focused and don’t let all of the available tools and information overload you and you won’t be overwhelmed.

So, as the Black Eyed Peas song goes..”Let’s get it started..”. Here’s a few ideas to get you thinking:

1.) Listen – Ask Your Customers Questions:

One of the first keys to social media is listening to your customers. How many of you are doing this? ( I don’t see many hands raised). Ask them a question to get there thoughts on what they’d like to see at your club, what they like about your place, things they’d like to see changed, new bands they’d like you to showcase, etc.

2.) Engage – Respond to Posts:

You don’t have to respond to every single person that posts but let a few know that you’re listening to them. They may be speaking for the majority. This is critical. I can tell you from experience that I tend to pay much less attention to businesses who don’t seem to care about their customers. Also, you’ll catch what I call blind spots, i.e. poor customer experiences that you’re not aware of.

3.) Create Community – Include Customers in your Business

How do I do this you say? Well, there are lots of ways. First, let me say, make sure your clients are aware of your online and social media presence. Publicize it on your menu’s, blackboards, website, etc.

Second, here’s a few thoughts. Create a contest for new additions to your menu or to come up with the name of a new dish, provide discount specials for customers that follow you on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, etc., ask your patrons to send in pictures from when they’re at your place, feature long-time customers on your webpage, ask them about up and coming bands they’d love to come see, and the list goes on.

4.) Provide Value/Content

This is key! If you’re not providing value you’re going to lose your connection to your community. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What might they like to hear about from you?

As a coffee shop, there is a lot that people don’t know about coffee, where it’s grown, how it’s harvested, it’s impact on local economies, etc. As a restaurant, there are probably some recipes or cooking techniques that you customers would love to know.

As a music venue, tell them about some of the behind the scenes activities that go on, some of your favorite memories of great bands that have appeared at your club, the issues your facing in your city as a music club, how your customers can help and support the club or bands, or provide some video interviews with bands that are appearing at your club, Tweet a “during the show” special after a show starts, and the list goes on.

 

WARNING: Too often, all I see on news feeds are self-promoting type announcements. Boring… It’s great to know about specials, etc. but after a while people tend to turn it off if all they see is another “come buy this..” announcement. Listen, Engage, and Develop Community.

What’s venues, clubs, restaurants do you follow that do a good job with developing their community? What fresh ideas have you seen them use?

 

Here are some other great articles to help you:

From legendary music venue to social media powerhouse: A case study of The Roxy Theatre

Social media changing the nightlife

Social Media Marketing: 5 Restaurants That Get It

Restaurants, Bars and Social Media: Match Made in Heaven

 

Let’s set the scenario.  You have a band.  You’re performing on a, hopefully, regular basis. You’ve decided you and the band are going to DIY’it for a while and handle the marketing activities yourselves. You’ve set up a website and created accounts for social media marketing tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc.  Ok, so far so good.

But, now you’re thinking, where do I go from here.  We’ll get into more details in future articles but for now I wanted to highlight several excellent resources to guide you in your music marketing.  These are by no means the only resources available (and I’m sure I’ve missed several good ones) but I can personally vouch for the books or blogs listed below.

 

1.) “How To’s” for using your Website and Social Media tools (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)

Ariel Hyatt and Carla Lynne Hall have written an excellent book, Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter, guiding musicians, or any business owner for that matter, through using the power of the web and the tools available for building awareness, connecting with your community, and creating “Calls to Action”.

 

 

2.) Engaging Marketing Ideas

Guerrilla Music Marketing HandbookSome of the best books on music marketing tactics have been written by Bob Baker. Two of his classics are Guerilla Music Marketing Handbook as well as Guerilla Music Marketing, Encore Edition.

Bob has been in the music business for several years and teaches a Music Marketing class through Berklee Music online program, which I highly recommend.

 

3.) Developing “eye popping” Content and Engaging your Fans

Content Rules Book CoverContent Rules, by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman is one of my favorite books that I’ve read dealing with online marketing.  It gives several great examples of how to create content, what not to do, and examples of what businesses have done to  to engage and inspire their customers or followers.

You may also want to subscribe to their newsletter at Marketing Profs for other marketing ideas or information.

 

4.) The Ultimate Tour Handbook

Tour: Smart by Martin Atkins is considered by many to be the “bible” of music touring.  It has tons of advice from industry leaders who have “been there, done that” giving advice on how to prepare for a tour and what pitfalls to avoid.  Don’t leave home without it !

 

 

5.) Great DIY Tool and Advice

The Topspin platform has been much discussed as soon as it was launched.  They now feature a Berklee Music Online course to help guide you through concepts surrounding DIY music marketing and use of the Topspin platform.

Whether you use the platform or not I would highly recommend you follow Topspin’s blog and read some of their case studies.  They are very willing to share the information they’ve learned over the years concerning music marketing and connecting to your fan base.

 

6.) Learning from Industry Leader

Artists House MusicHomepageArtists House Music is an awesome site that has loads of industry interviews across a wide variety of topics.  This should be a frequent stop for you to learn from industry experts and those that have many years of music business experience.

 

7.) Awesome Music Business Blogs

Here’s a few other blogs that feature a lot of different articles about music marketing or the business side.  You’ll learn a lot from staying in touch with these sites:

                             Hypebot

                            Music Think Tank

                            Miccontrol

                            Musician Coaching

What other resources have you found extremely valuable in marketing your music business?  Let us know and share with others.

>

 

Here is an awesome infographic that I thought I’d pass along that highlights some of the current tools available to help you in marketing your music.  This roadmap was created by Brendan Moore (@webmusicguy), Founder of Receptive Music, a digital music marketing company. 

The infographic lays out a pretty clear picture of the various areas you need to consider in your marketing strategy and some of the tools that are currently available. 

 

                               ArtistRoadMaptoSocialMedia1

 

As Brendan highlights, you should focus your time and energy on those tools that are the most effective and applicable to your situation.  You don’t need to be using all of them, but you should be using some of them. 

Don’t take on more than you can handle.  Start small then build over time as you see fit to add a new piece to your strategy, i.e. Selling Your Music, then try out 2 or 3 of the tools listed, and pick the one that you like the best and/or has the most recommendations from fellow musicians.

The music industry is an ever evolving world so some of these tools may change over time.  So my word of advice is to be focused on your overall marketing strategy.  These applications are merely tools enabling you to execute your strategy.

Thanks Brendan for sharing!

 

Help? 9 Ways to….Help Another Band

Were you ever helped along in your musical career? 

 

Street_Musicians

 

More than likely you were.  We all need help along the way.  Our success in life depends upon our family, friends, and, most of all in the music world, our fans.

So, let’s stop thinking about what we need for a minute, and think what can we do to help out a fellow band.  The list of things you could do is numerous but here’s a few ideas:

 

    1. Tell Your Fans.  Send a Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ message. What better way to spread the word. 
    2. Post a newsflash or blog post on your website letting your fans and followers know about an up and coming band and their next show, new CD release, etc.
    3. Invite the band members to join you for a song or two during one of your shows.
    4. Be a Mentor to the band.  We all appreciate advice, especially from those who are where we want to be.
    5. Tell Venue booking agents about the band.
    6. Let them have one of your show times, particularly if you have a residency slot.
    7. Take them on tour with you.
    8. Tell other bands about them.
    9. Buy them lunch.  A new band is almost guaranteed to be low on cash and hungry.
 

Customer Service and the Fan Experience

I came across this post yesterday and thought I would pass it on to those of you who are not followers of the music blog Hypebot.

Ingrid_Michaelson

It’s a nice article about an approach that Ingrid Michaelson tried out to help improve the fan experience at some of her shows. Essentially, she spent some focused time with her fans that were interested in paying for a more intimate experience. Not only did they spend more time with a small group of fans but they also went above and beyond in the experience before and after the shows.

I think it’s a great idea what Ingrid did. Relationships and making people feel valued and important will always win new fans or turn some into super fans.

Here’s the link to the article, HOW TO: Optimize the Individual Fan Experience.

What have you tried lately in this same respect?

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Building Fans & Loyalty

Well I was reading through my RSS blog feeds this morning and an interesting article showed up concerning Lady Gaga. Well, I never really thought I’d ever reference Lady Gaga in a write-up, but I must say she has some creative ideas for building a loyal fan base. I’ve listed the link at the bottom of the post.

But that begs the question, what are you doing to connect and increase your fan base? From a music fan perspective I would love to connect to my favorite bands whether it be in person, online through Facebook, Twitter, etc., or reading an interesting and informative article on their blog about their tour, some facet of the music industry, how they approach songwriting, learning to play one of their songs, etc.

So, let’s list some easy things you could do each week to connect with your fans:

1.) Connect with 2-3 new folks in your audience each show.

As your show progresses locate some folks in the audience that really seem to be enjoying the show. Actually spend a minute with them vs. just a “Thanks” and you move on. While you’re at it give them something inexpensive, i.e. a sticker, bumper sticker, poster, etc. and thank them for coming to the show.

Please…Please, avoid the temptation to only talk to your friends, family, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. You’re missing a prime opportunity to make new fans.
I see this way too often. Who knows, you might even make a life long friend along the way.

2.) Get to know the Venue Staff.

The people that work at the clubs can be your greatest fans, best sources of information, and good communicators for your band. Who do you think the first people are that I talk to when wanting to find out about new bands…… Also, they are usually musicians as well and can give you great ideas or tips on your show, other musicians, etc.

3.) Communicate via Facebook, Twitter, News/Blogs….on a Consistent basis !

Ok, so I know life is busy and it’s hard to find time to do everything you need to do. However, connecting via social media sites or your web site is a very important way to get news out about your band. Also, it’s a great way to get to know your fans. You usually have some fans that comment on your wall or on Twitter. Respond back and let them know you appreciate their comments and having them as a fan. I’ll bet the fan will feel a stronger bond to you and probably become more of an evangelist for your music !

My suggestion is to make a specific time each week to update your sites. My friend Walt Wilkins uses Monday as an office day. He goes through communications, updates his sites, etc. Walt then does it another time or two through the week on shorter communications.

4.) Use an E-mail database tool to gather e-mails and send out communications 1-2 times per month.>

So while there are all these great social media tools out there, not everyone happens to be using them. Some use Facebook but not Twitter……Some focus on Twitter and less on Facebook…..Some don’t have either. You get the idea.

This is where e-mail comes in to play. If you’re not capturing e-mails at shows, when folks come to your website, etc., you’re missing out on a whole crew of folks that would come to your shows if they knew more about what’s going on with your band.

Pick a time each month, or before an important show, to send a note to everyone with upcoming dates, and some news about your band. Also, and this is important. Give them some news, a new track, chords to a song, etc. that they wouldn’t benefit from and not find somewhere else. That way they will be less likely to skip the e-mail since they’ve seen the same news on your website, Facebook or MySpace page, etc.

5.) Find a Fun and Creative way to attract, retain and connect

Ok, so you say what should this be? Well, just try some things. If they don’t work out then no problem. These could be a band picnic with a show, a Tweetup at a local club, post a tweet about where you’ll be for lunch and have your fans join you, have a post show meet and greet…..the list goes on. Make it fun and creative. Check out what Lady Gaga does and then let your creative juices flow.

Overall, the key thoughts here are Consistency, Creativity, and being Genuine in building these relationships. You need to do this on a routine basis. If you can’t get to these due to a busy week, that’s fine. But, pick it up the next week. Do it in small chunks of time and be focused. Spending time on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace can be a time drain if you’re not watching out. Have fun and be creative. Lastly, I’m not saying you have to get everyone to be your best friend, but be genuine when you talk to folks, in your communications, and when acknowledging your appreciation for them being a fan.

Here’s a link to the article to the article about Lady Gaga from our friends at the Music Power Network: 5 Lessons for Building Brand Loyalty

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Here’s a great information resource that I highly recommend, Artists House Music. It has a wealth of articles and video interviews with lots of great information about many different facets of the music business. They also have a weekly music business wrap-up feature that I think you’ll enjoy.

http://www.artistshousemusic.org/

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