Promotion Online: An Industry Perspective | HN DIY

compiled from profile photos of Hear Nebraska's latest Facebook fans

[Editor's note: This story is part three of our HN DIY series. Also read Promotion Online: A Band's Perspective and The Art of Postering.]

Kevin Fuller isn't in a band, but he knows how to play one online. As a brand manager at Archrival, his main objective is to promote brands to young people, "to bring the funk on every nasty dunk." A little bird told us young people like music.

Drawing on nearly seven years of experience in advertising, Fuller answered a few of our questions to reveal an industry perspective. After all, we showed you how a band thinks social media channels and websites should be used to earn fans. Here are even more insights, so get out there: Click and type your way to success.

As with part two of this series, we'll share with you a number of resources to see how bands, media organizations and other music lovers are using social media and websites to promote themselves.

(ink portrait of Kevin Fuller by Ian Eckert)

Here's our 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.

Note: With tears no doubt still welling in his eyes, Fuller is recovering from a loss. Read through this Q&A with that understanding.


Hear Nebraska: What are some of the ways bands should promote themselves online?

Kevin Fuller: I think there are some keys that bands need to take advantage of. First, I think for bands it’s important to take fans backstage. By that I mean bands should create content people wouldn’t see anywhere else. For one, they can use Instagram to take photos and share via Facebook or Twitter.

On top of that, I think showing personality that drives the music is important. Good Show Great Show has a lot of personality in their Facebook and Twitter posts. It shows where the music is coming from, and it makes people feel part of the band. Engaging with fans is important, too. It does a lot for them. They appreciate being a part of the journey.

Bands can also offer exclusive content. Maybe there is a video only available on Facebook if you like the page. There are also a lot of tools out there bands can use to integrate with social media channels like Facebook. Things like BandPage share music, and Bandsintown show upcoming shows.

HN: OK, how do creating a brand for a company and a brand for a musician or band compare?

KF: For brands, the main thing we’re trying to do is engage fans and create advocates. Advocates are the people who will talk about the brand and promote that brand. We do that by keeping things fresh on those pages, having the different social channels talk to each other, making a connected social experience. 

With bands, it’s kind of the same. The nice thing is that the people who like your page are probably already advocates. They’ll want to tell other people how great this band is they know that you might not know of. Bands post fresh content: videos, photos of their tour. Universe Contest went on tour recently and posted photos of their tour. When you post things like that, fans will want to share them. That’s the key, and it’s very similar to how we work with brands actually.

HN: OK, tell me what you do at work.

KF: I’m the brand manager here at Archrival. We’re a youth marketing agency, so we work to bring brands to young consumers. We do that through social media channels, websites, events, community management. My job specifically as brand manager involves working directly with brands to see projects through completion and help with strategy, copywriting and things like that when needed.

HN: Do you think bands should aim for a particular target audience, or does the music they make sort of develop a target audience on its own?

KF: I think the music they make does, plus if they’re using their social channels to show off a personality, that’s going to drive to a certain target audience. I think their music is going to bring in a certain audience, though, and they know who they play to, so it kind of develops itself.

foam_FORM uses SoundCloud here to preview a forthcoming track.

HN: Do you think it’s a good idea for bands to pay for advertising on Facebook, or should they stick primarily to free services?

KF: I haven’t seen bands do (paid advertising), but it’s not a bad idea. It’s walking that line of whether you want to grow organically or put yourself out there. The nice part about Facebook ads is that you can target a very certain demographic by zip code or by interest. If you’re someone like Good Show Great Show, and you think the same people who like Trampled by Turtles will like your band, you can pinpoint and find those people and advertise directly to them.

HN: All right, could you give your opinion of how MySpace factors in to the social media realm, if at all?

KF: Sure, MySpace has been dead to me for about five years (laughs). Where I worked, MySpace was a main competitor, so I just shied away from it. I know they just rebranded to focus more on the music, but quite honestly I don’t think hardly anyone’s on MySpace anymore.

HN: Now finally, as for Facebook’s switch to the Timeline format, how does that change promotion?

KF: It’s interesting. What it does is promotes your story, and it promotes the band’s story. It gives accountability for your whole life. It’s like looking back in your baby book almost. You can watch bands grow from day one of when they joined Facebook to where they are now.

Michael Todd is Hear Nebraska's managing editor. He knows from his baby book that his best friend from newborn to now had great toys, which are what pulled him in initially. Find his best friend in the main photo, third row, fifth column on left. His BFF — yes, there's a difference — is in there somewhere, too. Reach Michael at