Connecting with audiences while being disconnected from social media for the DIY musician
Isn’t social media great? I mean, how did people ever spend the four hours a day that they use to look at their phones?
As prevalent as it may be now, there is actually life outside of the Facebook machine, and artists can be using this space more effectively to promote themselves.
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Below we’ve listed some good old fashioned ways of self-promotion that have fallen by the wayside. However, it is 2022, and it has to be acknowledged that pretty much everything links in with social media in some way, but perhaps the best course of action for a band would be to supplement their social media use with these tips.
Tour diaries and videos
People love behind the scenes stuff. While the goings-on of your band on tour might seem pretty mundane, for those who have never toured or who are big fans, the ability to live vicariously through tour diaries and videos would be greatly appreciated.
If you bring fans on tour with you, this way then the engagement might be better, and it also doubles as advertising for upcoming shows on the tour. The best way for getting people to read the diaries or see the videos would probably be through social media, but the fans would much rather this kind of content than just another status saying where you’re playing that night.
Go to other gigs
If you’re in a band you probably already go to a fair few gigs, but they can actually be a great way to spread the word about your music and to make some new connections (read; friends) in the industry.
It is probably best not to go into a show with an agenda, but if you get talking to people with similar interests, they’ll probably sooner rather than later ask what you do or if you’re in a band. Make friends at the bar, in the mosh pit, or at the kebab place down the road. Even if you don’t get any promotion out of it, you probably saw a good show.
Give away free stuff
A great way to get your new friends that you made out at a gig to your show is to put them on the door at your next show. Use your guest list for people who aren’t your old mates, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to actually pay for once.
People might not be buying CDs anymore, but if you mail one to a local publication then they’re probably more likely to listen to that than clicking on a link, which could lead to them writing a review, getting out to a show, or even just liking your music.
Good old fashion gig posters
You still see them lining Alexandra Parade in Melbourne, but physical gig posters are mainly the domain of the larger artists these days. Pretty much all Facebook events for gigs have great posters drawn up for them by great local artists, but they often are confined to Facebook.
Go to your parents’ house, use their printer and stick your posters up in venues, record stores (with their permission obviously) and around the streets of your town. Don’t worry about the old folks’ printer toner; I’m sure they’ll be happy to see you.
Did you know there are tens of thousands of copies of music street press like Mixdown distributed around the country every month? Pick a copy up and read one for yourself!
We (as well as Beat and Forte) support many talented local acts, so don’t hesitate to send an email, a Facebook message or give us a call to let us know any news you have coming up! Even enquire about getting your poster published into the mag… You’ll most likely get a write up to use for your bio and share with your followers.
People still listen to radio, I promise. In fact, commercial radio statistics indicate the audience is bigger than ever with a cumulative weekly audience of 12 million. Try and get your song heard on the radio, or have your gig read out in a gig guide on your local community radio station.
If you sign up to a station and support a show, your band name will probably be read out each week, and the radio host might even want to get you on air some time to have a chat.
This might be one for the slightly bigger bands, but getting endorsements is a great way to grow your name. The old ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ adage rings true here, as you’ll get some free gear and the brand will get free publicity. Conversely, you’ll get some free publicity too as the endorser uses you as advertising to sell more gear… It can get muddy, but, ideologically, endorsement is a good way to promote yourself.
Be good, practise
Nothing will turn away a potential new fan faster than a bad set. You could do all the things above perfectly, but if you still play poorly, it is unlikely that all the new people who you’ve got down to your gig or have started following you are going to come next time. Having said that, there’s no need to be a robot on stage – unless you’re in a Daft Punk cover band, in which case it’s absolutely necessary – so have fun with it, enjoy your gigs with your newfound friends and oldest mates.
This article was originally published October 4, 2016.