Why Your Band Needs To Tweet
I think we can all agree that in today’s digital age it’s more important than ever to remain connected. For better or worse, this is the world that we live in.
When you think about connecting with an audience, many times bands (especially young bands) will automatically assume that connecting with an audience means projecting good music and talent during a live performance, or offering an album or song that listeners can make an emotional connection with. Both of these things are essential to establishing yourself in the music industry, however, there’s a trick that gets over looked or blown off simply because the band is afraid, or confused.
So what’s the trick?
Some of the biggest criticisms of social networks is that it’s saturated with stuff you don’t care to see or hear about, or that it’s filled with drama. This is especially true on Facebook.
When you log in to your Facebook account chances are you will see hundreds of status updates pertaining to absolutely nothing you care about. Your neighbor vacuumed the cat. Your aunt made a pie, which is great, but she lives in New York and you’re in California. Or that one girl from high school that had the baby and likes to drink beer on Saturday’s is talking yet again about how drama free she is, when in all actuality, she probably brings on the drama herself.
So knowing that, why would your band want to contribute to the over-saturated play place of social networking?
There are a few reasons. Some are obvious, others, well, aren’t. I offer you three. There are more, so take some time and explore the online wonder world for your favorite artists. Ask yourself, what are they doing? Why are they doing it? Can I do the same? Do I feel connected to them?
1. Easy Access
Fans and potential fans want to access you and your music right now. They don’t want to wait for you to put the finishing touches up on the album, then have it mastered, then packaged, and then finally made available for purchase. They want it right now.
However, if they were to get the music before it’s finished, they may not be a fan. Why? Because it’s not finished and isn’t what you intended for them to hear. You don’t need me to tell you that.
By making your band available on social networks, you give your fans an opportunity to connect in down times. You give them something to look forward to on a day to day basis. Whether or not you tweet, or post or whatever on a day to day basis is up to you, but by occasionally popping up on their feed you ensure that your name and your brand is not soon forgotten.
2. Personal Connection
In the days before Twitter, Facebook, and even the neglected Myspace when you wanted to connect to an artist you would go to a record store (or a CD store if you’re a ’90s kid) and peruse the aisles in search of something that looked cool. And when you took that album home you would throw it on and get lost in the music and the liner notes. In those notes you’d find the typical things like Thank Yous and song lyrics and even pictures. Some artists went beyond that and included a story of how the band came to be or a story from the road. When you read those stories, or read the song writing credits you felt like you were on the inside, like you knew a little more about your favorite artists than the typical listener. Why? Because you took the time to get know them, you wanted to know them. Some people would take that farther and follow the bands via music videos, or documentaries. If you got your hands on a box set of your favorite artist you felt like you were holding gold. All that info, all those songs, all of it was yours. You had access to it whenever you wanted. It was as tangible as gold.
Today, the average music consumer doesn’t go to the local record shop. Hell, the average music consumer doesn’t even purchase a full album, let a lone a measly little single. Unless, of course, that listener has a vested interest in the band.
So how do you ensure that listeners become invested and retain interest?
By offering little bits of the band through a short message, you could make a lasting impact.
Say you are working on your next big album but it’s eight months away from being even close to released. In those eight months your mind is flooded with writing, production, shows to promote the new work and so on and so forth.
By adding in a tweet here or there showing what you are working on, not only do you offer your fans a chance to see what goes on when you’re not on the road or in the studio, you make a connection. You give the fan a reason to become a life long fan.
Let me throw it at you like this:
Your favorite band has a new album coming out next month and you can not wait. Ecstatic would be a mild word for your condition. What would be better than sitting at lunch, peeking at your social media accounts and seeing a post from that band that was offering a sneak peak into the studio via a short video shot last night while recording. Or glimpsing a picture of the singer belting out what must be the most powerful song on the record. You don’t know if it’s a powerful song, you don’t even know if he was singing or goofing around, but seeing the singer really getting into the moment builds anticipation for the release the following month. That anticipation just can’t be held in, so you say to your friend, “HEY! Guess what I saw today?’ and before they can answer with a guess you shout out “MotherF@%$ing Jack White working on a new song for the next album!”
Instantly you are the coolest kid at the lunch table, and now your friend is both jealous and just as anxious as you about the new album.
What happened was a personal connection. You were able to get inside the “making of” with out a pass, with out dropping a dime, and at your own leisure. You were both welcomed and encouraged to be apart of the recording process by Jack White, the only thing missing was White saying your name. Chances are you are going to go look for more pictures of the recording process. If you should come across a really cool one you might share it with another friend who then explores the bands website, or twitter, or facebook and is now just as excited as you are.
3. Extending your Brand into a person, from a person to a trusted voice.
Whether you want to admit it or not, you and your band is brand. You are a brand of the singer/songwriter genre, the punk rock scene, the dance crowd, the underground. You stand for something, if you didn’t you wouldn’t be heard.
Take some time to think about your brand, and what your music stands for. Chances are it falls in line with what you as a person stand for. So it stands to reason that fans of your music also support the same things as you.
So when you’re reading the news or browsing videos, or uploading pictures from your ipad, computer or on the vanishing but yet wonderfully real and tangible traditional paper think about the articles, columns and websites that you frequent. What is it that draws you there? Is it controversial? Perhaps it’s something that makes you smile, or frustrates you. Maybe it gives you hope, or leaves you feeling despair. Perhaps you feel inspired by what you are reading or seeing. Take the time to share that article, column or video with your fans. Encourage them to voice their opinions, and share yours.
Stay true to yourself, your music and your fans by taking a stance on things you care about. By doing so you establish a reputation as more than just a singer, or just a guitar player or drummer or bass player. You become a person, just like the people that listen to your music. But you also become a source of information. Be it a tutorial on how to play music, or a political article, or any other thing, your fans (assuming you are consistent in your posts) will begin to see you in a different light. You become more than just a brand that represents a band, you become a voice. If you show intelligence in your post, you can establish yourself as a trusted voice in a community. Which doesn’t hurt sales, unless of course you post crazy conspiracy theories on the existence of the boogie man. That may hurt your credibility, so be wise in what you post, but also, be real, be personal, and stand for something. If you can make that translate from your music, to your person, to your social connections you can establish a strong brand to back your band.
In Conclusion: The Name Says It All
There are plenty of other reasons to jump on the band wagon (no pun intended).
The name should say it all. Social Network. Use your social networking skills to do just that. Build a network of loyal fans who not only like your music, but like you and what you stand for. Those are the fans that will opt to buy your next single or album verse just streaming it on Youtube or Pandora.
You can take that a little farther as well. Many of your favorite bands and musicians are already on social media sites. This makes connecting with them SUPER easy. If your brand is strong, your music is good, and your fans loyal, you may be able to reach out to other artists who are also on those sites to create on line conversation that could help you approach your next release, or your next show, or even create a collaboration that you may not have otherwise been able to do.
Keep an open mind, create some dialogue, and most importantly open yourself to opportunity using a new media. Learn, Grow, Repeat.