5 Social Networks Every Musician Should Master

The deluge of social networks and websites for musicians is starting to get out of control. With a lack of services to filter through these networks, the life of the working musician can quickly become filled with updating and not with practicing and improving.

Keep in mind that not all networks will apply to all types of music and all types of fans.

Work on building your presence on a few key networks. Once you have your presence established you can move on to the more niche oriented sites. Doing it all at once will only waste time and leave you exhausted.

The important thing to remember about social networks is to choose the ones that are right for you and your music.

With that in mind here are 5 social networks that every musician should consider using and mastering before branching on to other niche networks.

5) Myspace: Though a profile here is becoming increasingly irrelevant, Myspace still has a network of millions who can discover your music through the site. Tip: Keep your profile simple and clean. Excessive scrolling and long load times are a no-no. Think of Myspace as a way to capture new fans, those who just want a quick sample of what you’re about. If they find your music interesting and want to learn more, they can move on to your website or other networks.

4) Facebook: A Facebook Fan Page is great tool to communicate with fans and spread awareness through the Facebook community of 400 million users. Fan pages are an easy way to interact with fans and they provide you with visitor statistics and demographics of your followers. Events are also a fantastic tool to promote individual shows in certain areas. While not easily customizable, fan pages are still a great way to get information about your shows or events to spread virally to a large group of people.

3) YouTube: Have your own youtube channel dedicated to releasing your videos. Everything from interviews, music videos, live performances, clips in the studio and anything else you can think of should be uploaded here. Remember, the more unique the video the better chance of it being noticed and going viral. Tip: Keep your videos as short as possible. Use the statistical tools provided to see when people are getting tired of your previous videos and use this knowledge to improve future uploads.

2) Twitter: This is the easiest way for fans to communicate with you and vice versa. Use this as a tool for fun facts, setting up contests, pictures of you recording a song as it happens, or promoting new songs. Be careful not to constantly promote shows and music as this can drive people away. Instead, use the 12 to 1 rule, by promoting others over yourself the majority of the time. Keep your posts interesting and avoid the mundane. Let your personality shine through.

1) Your Website: This is the most important place on the web. Think of your website as the Hub where all fans should eventually end up. Use your site to socialize with fans, provide news and information, sell directly to your audience, collect email addresses, and build a community of like-minded people around your music.

Remember to take the time to build your networks.

You may want to have a very basic profile on many other popular networks, but only update a few key sites and build your fan base through those. Once you’ve established yourself on these networks expand and think of other social sites where your fans might hang out.

If you sing about boats, try to find a social network for boaters and sailors and establish a presence. Same goes if your music depicts a certain lifestyle or attitude. The goal here is not to spend your time adding friends and followers, it is to connect with fans and maintain relationships with the ones you have.…

Tweeting When You’re All Out Of Ideas

Social networking comes naturally for some, and it can be a painful process for others.

Sometimes, it can feel draining, or like your time could be better spent elsewhere.

Like anything, you get what you put into it in the first place.

If you’re afraid or hesitant to communicate with your fans on Twitter because you just don’t think you have enough to say, here are a few ideas which can be used repeatedly in order to keep your Twitter feed interesting.

Tour Stories

Life on the road is an irresistible tale full of wonder and mystique to people who aren’t musicians (of course we the musicians know that this isn’t usually the case).

Yet, exciting things do happen occasionally. So keep your fans interested by regaling them with stories of your past and present tours and anything noteworthy that happens along the way.

Inside the Studio

The sheer notion that music is made here makes the recording studio awe inspiring for those who never get to step foot in one. When you’re in the studio share pictures, videos, and updates of what’s going on whenever you’re recording new tracks.

Introduce all the characters (producers, engineers, interns, other musicians, etc.) and make your audience feel like they are right there with you.

When Inspiration Hits…

If inspiration has hit for a new song, tweet about the experience after you finish writing it. Remember, tweet when it’s comfortable to you. Don’t drop everything and send a tweet during the middle of writing a song if it’s going to hinder your creative process.

Always follow your own path and do what feels right.

What works for others won’t necessarily work for you. Experiment with different methods and share what you feel comfortable with.

Backstage

Tweet from backstage before the show starts. Make your content more interesting by snapping pictures of the dressing room or rider if you have one.

Similarly, send a tweet after the show is over letting your tweeps know how it all went down.

Were there any memorable moments that happened on stage that night?

What’s on your iPod?

Sometimes, it’s great to share what it is that you’re listening to.

You’ll have the double effect of tweeting good content and sending some traffic over to other artists that you enjoy. Promoting other musicians is never a bad thing!

Try a few of these ideas, and see how it goes. Along the way you can always tweet about your new music, upcoming shows, and whatever else you have coming up. Just make sure that it’s not all about you.

Always, remember that the mere fact that you are a musician, is interesting to a lot of people.

You’re already interesting, just convince yourself of it now.

These are just a few of the ideas to get your started. I’d love to hear in your comments below, other ways to keep your fans engaged through Twitter.

What do you tweet about?…

It’s Not Always About The Music

There’s that figure of speech, I’m sure you’ve heard it, ”Jack of all trades, master of none”. It often gets repeated in a tone that conveys this as being a bad thing.

However, that’s not always the case.

In fact, that saying used to be repeated as “Jack of all trades, master of none, though oftentimes better than master of one“.

Now that, I think, is more like it.

While, you want to be a master at your music, obviously, there are many other areas of expertise which you can learn about that will help your music career progress.

Whenever you find yourself with some free time, pick a few of the following skills to become proficient at. You don’t need to master them, but having a working knowledge of many of these can help your music career in many different ways.

Web Coding

This is a big one. Your website is your hub. The place where you broadcast your music and brand to the world, and where your fans should come to congregate.

Learning intermediate levels of web design layout, HTML and CSS coding will be a great benefit to you, and a huge money saver.

Getting professionally designed websites can be expensive, if you can customize a WordPress layout on your own, while still making it look one of a kind, you are already on your way.

Photography

Take a photography class and learn the basics.

While you might want to splurge on a professional photographer for your main press photos, this is still a great skill to have for everything from taking great pictures on tour, to constant content for you website.

Graphic Design

Get a copy of Photoshop, or similar design software, and learn the basics. This will help you with everything from general design sense, to poster layouts, cd artwork, and more.
An understanding of the different file types is also a great advantage when you are dealing with print houses and trying to get artwork printed at a certain quality.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t hire professionals. However, you can’t afford professionals all the time, so buy their services when it really counts, and do what you can on your own the other times.

Writing

Learn to write. This is an important one. Improved writing skills will help you with everything from biography writing and blogger email requests to song lyrics and engaging tour stories for your fans.

Video Editing

With the dominance of YouTube and the rise of videosongs as an art-form, it would be a good idea to get your hands on some video editing software, and learn how to use it.

This can help you with everything from editing together your own videos to creating tour stories and live videos of you on the road.

This is just a small portion of the skills that will help out your music career. It goes on much longer than this.

But, don’t be overwhelmed by this list. Pick one skill that vaguely interests you and take it from there.

Grab a book from the library, or read a blog on the subject and get started. It’s always my philosophy to learn as much as you can, while you can. You can watch TV later.

What other areas of expertise do you think would help your music career?…