As a musician, do you NEED to be on Facebook? And if so, how often?
A couple months ago we posted an article written by singer-songwriter Eric Eckhart called “Time to STOP marketing your music on social media?”
In it, he talks about his frustrations with online music marketing and how it can easily become a distraction from the things that matter most: improving your craft, writing better songs, etc.
Plenty of people agreed with Eric, while many others thought the article ignored the fact that social media marketing, when done right, can be a great way (and is sometimes the only way) to build an audience in a world where everyone is online all the time.
Well, all of this reminded me of something that Courtney Gallagher, marketing coordinator for Club Passim, said during our panel discussion at Folk Alliance International in February.
A talent buyer’s opinion on why bands should be on Facebook
If you read this blog regularly you might remember another post where I quoted Courtney’s advice to bands. That article was called “If you don’t have a website that makes it easy for me, I am going to have to move on to the next artist” and in it she suggests that bands NEED to have their own website (not just a Facebook page, or Bandcamp page, or ReverbNation profile, etc.) if they want to get booked at live music venues.
But she wasn’t suggesting you use your website to the exclusion of social media. In fact, she talked about how she’s less likely to promote shows by bands that don’t have a Facebook page.
For many people, especially people in their 30’s and older, Facebook IS social media. In a way, choosing to not have a presence there as a musician means you’re cutting yourself off from a huge group of potential listeners who could otherwise have found you either by searching on Facebook or seeing their friends sharing your music on that platform.
But as Courtney mentions, having a Facebook presence also allows bloggers and talent buyers to more easily share your music and promote your events to their readers and patrons.
If I remember correctly, she suggested that bands should at the very least have:
1. a website
2. a YouTube channel
3. a Facebook page
4. … and for extra credit, a Twitter account
That puts you back on the hook for marketing your music on social media, doesn’t it?
“Active” is a relative term when it comes to social media
And “marketing” and “presence” are somewhat relative terms too.
To my mind, you don’t necessarily have to be super active on all of those platforms (if you are starting to feel like they’re becoming a distraction).
I have plenty of friends who use Facebook almost exclusively for Facebook events. Other bands I know only tweet once a week. Yet other bands have YouTube channels where they only upload a few videos a year.
If that’s what works for you, great. The point here is that you are SEARCHABLE and LINKABLE on these platforms, and that the content people find in those places, even if its scarce, is compelling. (And hopefully you’re linking everyone back to your website.)
On the other hand…
Then again, a good friend of mine absolutely refuses to have anything to do with Facebook at this point because he feels like they pulled one of the greatest swindles of the 21st century: corralling a billion of us into a fun party where we happily exchanged information about our habits and friends for free drinks. Then suddenly the tab ran out at the open bar; we got locked in our own rooms; and we could only rejoin the party for a few minutes at a time, and at a price.
Or that’s how he puts it, at least.
So yeah, I get the resistance to marketing your music on social media. But these days, is it just… reality? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
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