In a world that is massively dominated by the internet and digital technology, in order to make your presence known as a music artist, it is essential that you go online; everybody from your audience to your peers and label managers to promoters will all use the internet to seek out both new and established artists.
Getting an online presence isn’t as simple as logging onto Facebook and setting up an account; it takes time, effort and has to be properly executed in order for your presence to be prominent and meaningful. To develop a worthy online presence, there are basics that need to be followed in regards to what information you put out there and what social media profiles you opt to use.
Establishing yourself online is a balance act of ensuring that you’re in the thick of it, without bombarding people so much so that they are sick of seeing you.
Having a website is a core fundamental of developing an online presence; social media can only take you so far and you need to have somewhere to feed people back to that gives them the extra information that social media doesn’t. Your website should be core of your online strategy, with everything else acting as a channel to reach it.
You don’t need to shell out a shed load of money to a designer in order to create a site that’s half decent, although you will have to invest a little bit of time to learn the ropes if you want to create something yourself that still looks professional.
WordPress is probably the best platform to use as it is completely free and can be customised to look how you want it to; the plugins are literally endless, with more being developed everyday. Most importantly, it allows you to showcase and sell your tracks to visitors.
Don’t forget to link your social media profiles from your website and add your contact details; avoid digital forms and just put your email out there, a lot of people don’t trust that a form will reach the right person.
Buying a domain and getting webhosting is relatively inexpensive and a quick search of all the main companies will allow you to find the most affordable option.
One of the most important things that you can have on your website is a blog and if you decide not to optimise the use of a blog, you’re losing a great outlet that can help to establish you as an artist; a blog is a way of practicing what you preach.
Once you have a blog set up, creating great content is essential. Think about what you’re going to put into your posts and make them something that people would genuinely want to read.
Update your blog at least twice a week and share it via your social media channels; by doing this, you are making your social media have a point – you aren’t just emitting random statuses– you have something to show people, which in turn boosts your credibility and inches you away from becoming a dreaded internet spammer.
Quite possibly the most well known social media site out there, Facebook allows you to reach audiences on a worldwide scale. Create a fan page as opposed to a standard profile page and use it to share all information that you publish on your site. Most importantly – use it to engage with your fans and allow them to see you as a real person; being relatable sells.
Facebook pages flag up on the newsfeed of all fans who have liked your page, meaning that you have a greater potential for interaction with your fans. Every status that you put out there should have a purpose and shouldn’t just be garbled nonsensical rubbish that you have published just for the sake of it, always think about what you would want to see on your newsfeed.
Ensure that you fill out all necessary tabs on your Facebook page and make it as information rich as possible – many people these days do a Facebook search as opposed to a google search,
so make the information that they are looking for readily available to them.
Facebook is powerful because every post that is put on there has the real potential to go viral, which is why it is important that you ensure all of your posts are worthwhile – you wouldn’t want to become notorious for all the wrong reasons.
You can also inform people of your up and coming gigs by using Facebook, however, don’t bombard your fans who have liked your page as constant notifications can become off putting and annoying.
Twitter is quickly becoming one of the most powerful social media tools out there as you can literally tweet anybody in a matter of seconds – from Brandon Flowers to Avicii and Kylie Minogue to Calvin Harris. As well as the superstars of the industry, you can also directly contact the most important people you will come across in your career – your fans.
With millions of users, Twitter is a great way of reaching out to current fans, as well as find potential new fans who may like your music. Using the hashtag trending system allows you to identify trends that people are talking about in your niche, making it easy to discover likeminded people, as well as keep up with topics that are interesting to fellow tweeters.
Make a conscious effort to build up positive relationships with your followers and even send them a message if they choose to follow you. You should always endeavour to make their experience of following and discovering you as memorable as possible.
Don’t spam timelines with junk and if somebody tweets you, tweet them back! If somebody said hello in the street, you’d say hello back; the same principles apply here.
With an instant publication system, you can use Twitter to inform followers of new blog posts, gigs and other worthwhile news that may be of interest. Maximise the use of every element of your Twitter page and carefully choose the wording for your bio – you want to show people who you are in an interesting couple of sentences. Use good, strong images for your profile picture and background image, as well as your banner image.
Internet users today aren’t just content with reading and listening, they are also looking for a visual experience that doesn’t take much effort on their behalf. YouTube peaks at over 2 billion views a day, with the figure constantly rising; it is not a platform to be sniffed at and any musician who is serious about making it to the big time would be mad not to tap into this free resource, which even has the potential to make money.
YouTube is a fantastic way of sharing what you can really do and after publishing links to your social media, you are enabling people to share your talent. Whilst blogging is extremely important, YouTube, or vlogging, is also a way of creating a powerful message.
Videos that are live on YouTube can be analysed so that you can see data about the people who are watching your video, as well as give those users a soapbox to offer you feedback.
One of the most important functions of YouTube is
the ability that it gives you to create your own music videos and advertisements.
When you are starting off, money is a luxury, so being able to make and publish music videos that would normally cost thousands works well in the cogs of the marketing machine. Making advertisements via YouTube is a great way of making an announcement that you are up to something and sharing a video as opposed to a status update makes you more appealing to fans and followers; make yourself 3 dimensional.
The holy grail of sharing your music online, Soundcloud is a must for any artist who wants to build up their online presence and share their music easily.
Soundcloud is a community that is completely geared towards music, so it brings people to the site who want to listen to tracks and know what they are looking for, meaning that you have a good chance of reaching out to new fans who are visiting Soundcloud looking for something specific.
There are many groups on the site that are specifically sorted into music types, so join as many as you can that are relevant to your genre. Location groups are also available, so if you are a band or artist based in Liverpool, reach out to your local audience; you aren’t going to go national straight away, but your local fans will give you a step up on the ladder.
Initially, it is wise to keep your music free, as few people will want to pay to listen to music from somebody that they have never heard of. Once you have developed a good fan base, then you can look at potentially earning some money from your tracks, but until then, share your music freely so that they can share it further.
If you have people follow you, follow them back! Don’t just wait to get followers, get out there and follow other users; this in turn could generate another person looking at your profile to understand a little more about their new follower, thus generating even more people learning about who you are.
Offer people who visit your website and social media sites the opportunity to stay up to date with what you have going on; generate newsletters and mailing lists that go out once a week and consist of information on your latest videos, tracks, blogs and upcoming gigs.
Many companies offer a free service to people, with the service only becoming liable for a subscription fee once you hit a certain amount of subscribers. Have a look around to see what offers are currently on the market.
The initial process of getting yourself an online presence is laborious and will take some time and effort to ensure that you get it right; however, once you are all set up, it’s just a case of keeping your outlets updated and well maintained.
If you are too pressed for time to update everyday, try setting up scheduled posts via a medium such as HootSuite in order to ensure that you are still getting your information out there. Set aside around 2–3 hours a week to create blogs, videos and posts for the following week, allowing yourself to go through the week without worrying that your online presence isn’t as strong as it should be.
Creating an online presence that is effective and strong is not something that can be achieved quickly and to make it work you need to be committed to carry out even the most boring of tasks that are required; the rewards of an online presence pay tenfold what the effort was setting it up.