How I Learned to Love Marketing my Music, Part 2 of 4

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by Jan Seides
Tuesday 27th August, 2013, 10:36pm

 

Photo by J. Ryan Roberts, NYC

Photo by J. Ryan Roberts, NYC

Social Media

Facebook

When my youngest daughter was in elementary school, she used to play on an online site called Neopets.  She would create a character that was herself (her Avatar), and then she would approximate life inside the site.  There were stores and economical exchanges between herself and other players.  There was the opportunity to create new artworks. Within certain parameters, she could interact with other players, though I don’t think she had any direct communication with them. Her own little world lived in the computer’s hard-drive and her imagination. She would remain absorbed in this for hours on end…. in fact, it was difficult to get her to stop and do other things, like homework, for example.

I have seen a lot of articles about how to expand your fanbase on Facebook (and on Twitter, and several others), and at some point I decided that was a worthwhile effort.  Back in April, my “Like”s on my Facebook Page (as opposed to Profile, where I had over 2,000 “friends”) totalled 900, and as a result, Reverbnation, to which that Page is tethered, sent me a coupon to use against the cost of promoting a song or gig. Suitably impressed, I decided to use it to promote my CD Release Party for Siren Song, my new CD, in May.  Unfortunately, it had a deadline I didn’t notice, and it had expired before I got to use it, so I decided it would be a good thing to get my total “Like”s to 1,000.

Toward that end, I went to my Facebook Profile and offered a free song to any of my friends who would go over to my Page and click the “Like” button. When I began, I had 923.  77 people took me up on it, especially when I offered two songs for the last 10 clicks.  People were very kind, and it didn’t take long.  The standout was a couple that sat next to us at an event at the hotel where we were vacationing.  The conversation came around to what I was trying to do, and they “friend-ed” me and “Liked” my Page.

There were some notable results from reaching 1,000 fans.  One was that suddenly I was reaching a lot more people.  I don’t know how Facebook engineers these things, but there it was.  And my chart ranking on ReverbNation began to climb.  Again, I don’t know how that happens.

By August 2013, I had 1,117 fans on my Facebook page and I was #6 on the Austin (Texas) Singer/Songwriter charts.

But…. I had three gigs for the entire month of August.  I sold 10 CDs during August, all 10 of them at two of the three gigs (The 3rd one hasn’t happened yet.)  To be fair, I believe I sold one copy of the new CD in digital form from iTunes during the period when I was making all these efforts, and I’m pretty sure I know who bought it, but he has not confirmed that. All three of my Songwriter-In-The-Round shows had been put on hiatus, until I could find new homes for them.

You’ll understand, I’m sure, my confusion. And because of the disconnect between my online life and my other (the one I like to think of as “real”) life, i couldn’t help but notice the parallels between Facebook and Neopets.

Twitter

I have far less experience with Twitter than some of my friends.  For one thing, you may have already noticed  that I would undoubtedly have a problem saying things in 140 characters.

Nevertheless, I do have a Twitter presence, and I follow people and they follow me.  I am not moved to follow everyone who follows me, by the way. I follow the ones I know in “real” life or who know other people I know in that life, and the ones I think look interesting.  I do that in Facebook too. I often wonder what moves people to follow me, especially when it seems like their life-path is in a universe pretty remote from mine. In other words, I follow mostly other folks in the music business or the other fine arts.

When I tweet, it’s usually as an extension of my Facebook page, or my blog, or the email newsletters I send out to my fans who have signed up to be on my email list. (Which you can do too, dear reader. And if you do, I will send you not one but two songs from my new CD. Just click here to do the deed.) So the tweets have to do with where I’m performing, or new songs, or new recorded product, etc.

Again, although this occasionally results in fans coming to shows, I am not aware of anyone who bought any of my CDs as a result. Since I believe the purpose of marketing is to sell product, this is pretty far from the marketing realm, and a lot closer to Neopets.

YouTube

Although I have posted videos on YouTube, and although YouTube is now the number one way that people, myself included, find new music, I only knew of one way an independent musician or band could monetize their YouTube presence.  That was to have something go viral (in other words, shared by a LOT of people), so that YouTube could run an ad before your video starts, and thereby make money which they would then share with the person who uploaded the video. I’ve seen a double-rainbow , but never posted one to YouTube, nor have I ever danced on a treadmill and posted it to YouTube.  No, not even kittens have I posted. (Not even grumpy ones). So there’s no advertising on my videos. Actually, I’m kind of glad about that, as I find the ads pretty annoying whenever I encounter them. Certainly you can develop a fan base on YouTube, and get lots of hits on your various videos, but basically, it’s Neopets again.

Feeling a bit disillusioned here.

HOWEVER…..

While I know there are  lots of people out there with useful advice about being an independent musician in today’s market, there is one person from whom I’ve been learning much about how to handle music business as real business.   He has not only been successful himself, but he is responsible for a remarkable amount of success amongst others. He has developed methods for using social media, search engines, writing articles, and a whole lot more based on proven marketing techniques, used within and without the internet.  And he is a great teacher. I’m going to tell you all about him in my next post.  Stay tuned.

You’ll find it HERE

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Category: Music, Music Biz, This ‘n’ That, Uncategorized

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Comments

3 Comments

August 2013

Wednesday 28th, 11:58am

Thanks for sharing your journey. I have had similar challenges and look forward to spending some time with you at SWRFA. Peace, RpT

August 2013

Wednesday 28th, 12:21pm

Hey Jan --

I feel right at home reading this. Marketing is definitely not my forte and not something I want to do, but it is a necessary evil in my book. Looking forward to reading about your "guru" of marketing and having a change of attitude (hopefully)!

Thanks for writing about this.

September 2013

Monday 2nd, 7:07pm

[...] See you very soon with the first installment. You can find it HERE [...]

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