compiled from profile photos of Hear Nebraska's latest Facebook fans
by Michael Todd, with help from bands
No one wants to be known as a know-it-all, but it surely doesn't hurt to be one. To be fair to Nebraska's finest musical social media managers, Hear Nebraska is curating a few columns with advice for bands and musicians on Facebook, Twitter and the like, and we're keeping our helpers' names hidden.
For this first installment, follow along as one of Lincoln's bands details a handful of bullet points. If you're also on the lookout for ways to follow Nebraska music online, we've compiled four lists to subscribe to:
First off, here's a Facebook list of venues, promoters, music journalism sources and other scene-cultivating organizations. Secondly, here's a Google Reader bundle of bands and musicians on Facebook. Thirdly, here's a Pinterest board with various bands' and musicians' websites. And lastly, here's a Twitter list of bands, venues, promoters and organizations promoting and performing in the good life.
As this first piece of advice suggests, use the links above as examples for what you might also try:
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
See what other bands are doing online with their websites, social media and other online services. If bands are selling merchandise on their site, look into what services they are using to do so. If you like the way a particular band lets you download music, paid or free, dig deeper to see if it’s something your band can afford.
Cake Eater uses SoundCloud to premiere new work, open a conversation about his tracks and preview something on the way.
Most of the time these services are pretty cheap or have a “free” package that can fit your budget. And be sure to check out the bands you love, whether they have 50,000 fans or 50. Learn from the best.
BLOG IT UP
At the very least, create a blog for your band. Blogs like Tumblr are free and easy to use if you don’t have the resources to create a band website. They even make it easy for you to push out to Twitter and Facebook, if you’re the lazy type.
BRAND YOUR BAND
Think of what makes your band unique to give your band an identity online. What’s a brand? It’s everything. It's your entire look online AND offline. It’s not just your music. It’s everything from your Facebook profile image to your Timeline cover photo to the 140 characters in your Twitter bio. Don’t skip an opportunity to build your brand and show who you are.
This video from Good Show Great Show illustrates how to easily promote a show with compelling, shareable media that costs little to nothing to produce.
MAKE LOVE TO YOUR FANS
The No. 1 thing about social media that can work in your favor is developing that relationship with your fan base. Add and follow people you think might like your style of music. Develop a conversation with them. Reward them for helping you out — promoting your show, sharing your videos, etc. At the end of the day, your fans are your biggest marketing tool through word-of-mouth. And if all else fails, just post a Lionel Ritchie video with a “<3.”
USE IT, DON’T ABUSE IT
Use online tools (social media) to give fans a glimpse of your band’s personality (could be a specific person from the band, could be the voice of your band). So if you’re working on a new EP, snap photos on your phone, upload them to Instagram or Twitter and give your fans the “inside” on what your band is up to.
Big Harp posted this photo on Monday of day three of their recording process.
Be careful not to overload your fans with too much. De-friending and un-following seems to be a trend that’s picking up momentum in 2012, so don’t cross someone who’s on a “delete binge.”
KEEP IT FRESH
Keep content on your social media and blog fresh. No one likes going to a band’s blog or Facebook page and find that they haven’t done anything for a year. Something as simple as posting Instagram photos every once in awhile can go a long way in keeping your content fresh.
just choreographing a dance in the backyard. no big deal.instagr.am/p/I2P4kLHNJz/
— The Mynabirds (@themynabirds) March 31, 2012
Sidenote: Don’t post just to post, though. Make the content interesting enough so that fans always look forward to your band's posts.
GROW WITH YOUR FANS
You are always growing as a band. New sounds. New directions. New inspiration. Via a good social media plan, your fans can watch you grow and evolve. You're on, as cliche as it sounds, a journey together. Take it.
Michael Todd is Hear Nebraska's managing editor. He'd like to remind bands and musicians that asking Hear Nebraska for some love is also a good way to gain fans. We can't guarantee coverage of your shows, albums and all else, but we'll do our very best. Reach Michael at email@example.com.