Nowadays, anyone can have a website and a Facebook profile. Everyone can post music online for the world to hear. Everyone has been given a voice. So how do you rise above the crowded sea of artists on the internet to have YOUR voice ring clearest?
It is what you DO with these technological tools that will make all the difference.
1. Document Everything
Cameras, camcorders, and hand-held audio recorders are more affordable then they’ve ever been.
Tape your practices, film your shows and studio sessions, and photograph your band members. Upload and share your experiences on your favorite social networks. Always post everything on your website. It doesn’t have to be polished or perfect.
The point of sharing content is to engage and make real connections. If somebody comments that they think your video is corny, that’s perfect! Nothing stirs interest online like a strong opinion. Chances are, somebody else will jump in and say the exact opposite.
The point is—they’re paying attention and you’re making yourself real to them, which means they’ll remember you.
2. Give them something they can’t get elsewhere
People like to feel that they’re in on a secret. Make sure your website has a welcoming feel and clearly displays compelling content. Then offer your fans and the people on your email list exclusive MP3s, videos, essays, etc.
Update often! Keep them coming back for more and make sure you’ve made it easy for fans to share your content with others.
3. Don’t spam, communicate
It is vital that every interaction you have with your online fans offers a genuine sense of connection.
Be authentic. Don’t just seem like you want them to buy something. There is no quicker way to make people hit the un-friend or unsubscribe button.
4. Analyze your web hits
Your CD Baby member account dashboard gives detailed info about HOW your fans are linking through to view your CD Baby album page.
Look at the traffic sources. What do the numbers tell you? Is your current online marketing campaign working? Should you be shifting your tactics? Perhaps you’ll find that people are stumbling upon your music from a blog or chat room that you didn’t even know about. Go to those places and interact with these new fans directly.
5. Bring your fans in
Use your live performances and day-to-day interactions to bring people into your online community. Print your website address on everything and let your fans know at concerts what social networks they can find you on. Tell your audience that if they tweet about your band or friend you on Facebook you’ll send them a personal link to an exclusive free track.
Conversely, encourage your online connections to come out to your events and engage with you in the real world. An online buddy is no substitute for one in the flesh.
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ARTIST ADVICE: “The key to using social media and the web effectively is to treat it like it’s as important as your real life interactions, because it is! Your Internet presence might be the only side of you that some of your fans ever see. Be honest, real, and entertaining, and you’ll be able to build long-lasting relationships with people all over the world.” —Allison Weiss: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/AllisonWeiss
ARTIST ADVICE: “Respond to anyone who reaches out to you. They perceive you as something special. In turn, it makes them feel special when you reach back. That connection creates a fan and advocate for life. The web and social networks are perfect for this type of connection!” — Josh Rosenthal: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/JoshRosenthal
What web techniques work for you? Let us know in the comments section below.
[Picture of steampunk accordion guy from Shutterstock.]