5 Ways To Engage Fans On Social Media

When it comes to getting in front of your fans and making them feel valued, social media is the next best thing to face-to-face interactions. It’s your opportunity to connect with your fans in a way that is 100% real, raw, and candid. While that might seem scary at first, the reality is that the more vulnerability you show your fans, the more you’ll find they connect with you.

People just want to feel understood and they’re naturally attracted to those that express the same struggles, joys, and feelings they do—so the more you’re able to show that on your social media, the stronger the connection.

So how exactly do you go about that?

Kevin5 Ways To Engage Fans On Social Media
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How to Make Your Band Website Less Boring

In our fast-paced, competitive industry, there’s no room for a boring website. (Or worse—no website at all!) With the advent of social media, it can be easy to forget just how important having this central hub really is—a place to store your music, videos, bio, press photos, and tour dates, all in one neat little package for your fans and potential industry partners.

But neglect your website and you neglect your career. So here are some tips on how to make your band website less boring. 

DaveHow to Make Your Band Website Less Boring
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Attract More Fans with These FanReach Updates

We’ve made exciting changes to FanReach, our email and social marketing solution, to provide you with even more flexibility and customization options that reflect your individuality. Read on to learn about the new updates and how you can use them to connect with and grow your fanbase.

Email and social marketing are essential ways to connect with your fans and we’re making it as easy as possible for you take advantage of these tools. The recent changes to FanReach allow you to express your individuality and creativity so you can create impactful emails and social messages that attract more fans. More fans = more gigs. Simple as that.

So, what’s new?

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Email Marketing for Musicians: It Starts With Knowing Your Audience

In our post The Biggest Misconception Musicians Have About Email Marketing, we offered tips on how Artists can start an email marketing strategy. We continued the conversation with Ferol Vernon, SVP of Artist Services at ReverbNation, to learn more about how musicians can get the most value out of emailing fans.

Experiment to Find Out What Works for You

For musicians, the prospect of creating an email campaign may seem intimidating. However, Ferol says it’s likely that most Artists will already have all the information they need to get started. Knowing how to market to your audience, means that first, you need to know your audience.

“You can read all the websites and papers out there on good marketing tactics, but at the end of the day, what works for your fanbase works for your fanbase,” says Ferol.

Watch to learn more about how you can take what you know about your fans and refine your email campaigns through continued experimentation:

KevinEmail Marketing for Musicians: It Starts With Knowing Your Audience
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The Biggest Misconception Musicians Have About Email

A few months ago, ReverbNation surveyed artists and asked what digital tactics they use to promote their music.

Surprisingly, we found that Artists don’t think it’s important to use email marketing to communicate with fans. Why?

“I’m not a senior citizen, that’s why I don’t do email marketing.”

“Email is for old people.”

“Nobody cares about email anymore. They care more about social media.”

Ferol Vernon, SVP of Artist Services at ReverbNation (and our resident digital marketing expert) analyzed the survey results firsthand. I sat down with Ferol to learn where this perception of email came from and why he thinks it’s a dangerous view for artists to have.

KevinThe Biggest Misconception Musicians Have About Email
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Top 3 things musicians need in 2013

Hey musicians, what are your resolutions for 2013? Want to release a new album? Find new fans? Help others? Make it big or just pay the bills? If you’re like a lot of Reverb artists, it’s probably all of the above.

Well, listening to you (and a couple of million other musicians around the world) we’ve boiled it down to three things:

  1. Get more fans
  2. Sell more music
  3. Save money

Am I right? In that case, ReverbNation’s got you covered. Follow our advice below to start the new year off right:

1. GET MORE FANS

Think about it. You already spend money on instruments, on food and gas when you’re touring, on beer when you’re gigging. You should be thinking of promotion as just as important as putting gas in the van, just as rewarding as a cold one after a show.

I have a friend who spent almost $10,000 on his new album, but then he didn’t do anything to promote it. Does it sound familiar?

Maybe it’s not the investment that’s holding you back. A lot of bands just don’t know where to begin. That’s precisely why we developed Promote It. We’ve made it drop dead simple to create custom ads to promote your music on all the sites music fans flock to:  Pandora, YouTube, Facebook, Billboard, MTV and hundreds of others. Trust me when I say, you WANT to be where they are. Plus, it’s completely affordable — campaigns start at just $5/day. And if you’ve never tried Promote It, we’ll even let you run your first campaign absolutely FREE.

“With Promote It, I can get the same type of promotion as a major label and still be on an indie budget. Promote It is such an easy and effective way to get new fans for my music.” 

Whatever you’ve got going on — a new album release, a new song or a new video (coming soon) — we know that Promote It is the best and easiest way to get the word out there, get heard and gather in new fans. If you can think of any better way, let us know in the comments!

Try Promote It now. Free trial available for first time Promote It customers >>

2. SELL MORE MUSIC… WHILE HELPING OTHERS

Have you heard? We’ve just launched a new program called Music for Good and we couldn’t be more excited! For the first time ever, you can now choose to sell your songs directly from your Reverb profile.

Artists choosing to participate select a charity they’d like to support and for every $1.29 song they sell, half the proceeds go to their new non-profit partner.

Music For Good is the new way to sell music.

We’ve never done anything like this before, but it’s really a natural. We know that musicians like to support good causes — whether it’s an indie band playing a local fundraiser or a major celebrity effort for disaster relief. Musicians have influence, they have power. Can you imagine what 2.5 million ReverbNation musicians can do?? Together we know you can have a huge impact fighting disease, hunger, poverty and more — all while spreading beautiful music.

PLUS — and this is very important — we believe this partnership will help every artist sell more music. It gives people a reason to pull out the credit card on music again. It kicks piracy in the butt!

The way we see it (and we think you’ll see it too), the Music For Good program accomplishes two things: it supports charities AND it gets fans to spend money on music again. It’s good for charities and it’s good for your wallet. As a bonus, it’s good for your soul.

Are you an artist, but not on Reverb?

Already on Reverb?

Music fans: Want to buy some music and help a charity?

3. SAVE MONEY

This one’s a no brainer. If you already use one of ReverbNation’s premium services (press kits, digital distributions, newsletters, etc), or even paid services from another site, the smart thing is to switch to the Pro Bundle.

For less than $20 a month, you get ALL of the core marketing services you need to manage your career and more. Yes — digital press kit, email templates, a mobile app, widgets, plus digital distribution that expands every year — while the price stays the same. Holy smokes. That’s less than topping off your gas tank, buying Starbucks lattes for your friends, or getting a large 3-topping pizza in New York!

The Pro Bundle costs less per month than a large 3-topping pizza from Domino’s in NYC.

You’ll save mega bucks AND because it’s all in one spot, you’ll save time. I mean, if you prefer, you could go to Sonicbids for your press kit, Tunecore for your digital distribution, and FanBridge for your newsletter, Mobile Roadie for your mobile app, etc etc… but why go through the trouble of logging in at eight sites different sites when you can use just one? Plus you’ll get the added bonus of having just one super great support team to answer any questions. Like I said, it’s a no brainer.

Start marketing your music now >>

That’s it, folks. We truly believe the tools mentioned above will help you achieve your marketing goals in 2013. Our mission is — and always has been — ARTISTS FIRST. Now go out and make some awesome music!

And let us know what your 2013 resolutions are in the comments below.

KevinTop 3 things musicians need in 2013
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3 things musicians can learn from brands about Customer Relationship Management

This guest post from Mark Knight explores ‘Customer Relationship Management’ (CRM) to show how the principles can help independent artists promote their music more effectively. As founder of Right Chord Music, a management and consultancy business, Mark calls upon his 12 years of experience working as a music marketing consultant to brands like Coca-Cola, Nokia & T-Mobile, plus his seven years as an artist manager for independent artists.

In the business world, a whole industry has been established around ‘customer relationship management’ or CRM. Fancy acronym, but what’s it really mean and how does it apply to you and your music career? In basic terms, CRM is a plan to understand and manage a brand’s relationship with customers. Using technology, this can get pretty complex, but really CRM efforts all stem from three goals:

  • Identify, attract and win new customers
  • Retain existing customers
  • Re-invigorate relationships with former customers

It doesn’t take a genius to realise there are clear parallels between the value of CRM for a brand or business and CRM for a band or artist. In order to have a successful music career (“business”) you need to have fans (“customers”). And those fans won’t come unless you work hard for it. Below are some details on just what I mean, but first I want you to keep in mind two widely accepted business principles:

  1. Pareto’s 80:20 rule suggests 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.
  2. Winning new business from existing customers is cheaper than winning new business from new customers.

Okay, that said, here is how a musician or a band can apply the 3 CRM goals to their music career to develop better relationships with their fans:

1.  Identify, attract and win new fans and supporters

Most independent artists don’t have money to spend on ‘push’ advertising or PR to reach a mass audience. Your best chance of success lies in ‘pull’ marketing where you supply your fans with compelling content and they promote you to their networks. Your ultimate audience is not your ‘Friends;’ it’s the ‘Friends of your friends.’ If you can burst out of your network into each of theirs, your potential audience will suddenly rocket. So encourage and incentivise them to share your posts. Reverb Tip: Online tools like Band Profile on Facebook and Promote It have built-in abilities for social expansion.

Remember the second principle: It’s cheaper to win new business from existing customers, than win new business from new customers. So use your existing ‘Friends’ as advocates.

2.  Successfully retain existing fans and supporters

On social media: Sometimes it’s important to remind yourself why you are growing a fanbase on Facebook or Twitter. Many bands seem to spend all their waking hours collecting new ‘Likes’ and ‘Followers’ but never interact with any of them.

Facebook uses a system called Edgerank to prioritise the news in your feed. If you don’t interact with you fans you’ll become invisible very quickly. So when a new ‘Like’ or ‘Follower’ arrives, you have work to do. This is important: social media quantity should always go hand in hand with quality. Without engagement those ‘Likes’ quickly become meaningless.

With mailing lists: Mailing lists are another key tool for retaining fans, but only if you use them in a smart way. Lazy mail-outs containing a summary of old news are pointless. Set rules for your mail-outs: “I will only ever contact fans when I can reward them, or offer them something exclusive.” “I will never just repeat news I’ve posted on Facebook.” Reverb Tip: The tool FanReach has made it very easy for emerging artists to grow their fanbase through newsletters. Check it out >>

Always be critical of the communication you send. If it doesn’t genuinely interest or excite you, why would anyone else care? You don’t build relationships by spamming people.

Finally, don’t forget to ‘Surprise’ & ‘Delight’ your fans; it’s a proven brand tactic to retain interest. How about you surprise the next three fans that contact you on Twitter with a free t-shirt or free remix?

Also, you should be able to personally name your biggest fans. Who are the people that engage with you the most on Facebook? Who are the people that come to all of your shows? Who buys your music? By identifying these advocates you can start to create tailored rewards to encourage continued support. You could offer exclusive previews for a select group of top fans.

3.  Reinvigorate relationships with former fans and supporters

Make full use of the analytics provided to you by Facebook and YouTube. If you don’t already know, take time to find out (learn more about Facebook Insights and YouTube Analytics):

Picard engage meme

Do like Capt. Picard: engage.

Find out which 10 Facebook posts had:

  • The greatest ‘Reach’ in the past three months
  • The most ‘Engaged Users’
  • Were the ‘Most talked about’
  • The highest levels of ‘Virality’

What are your most engaging (based on % of video watched) videos on YouTube?

Next, note down the commonalities to identify what an engaging post looks like. E.g.,

  • Posted on a Monday morning
  • Personal, warm friendly style
  • Contain a question
  • Include a good quality photo
  • Contains a video

Once you understand the rules of engagement you can repeat the trick, and hopefully win back some of the people who have switched off in response to your less engaging posts.

Bonus tip: Get organised.

Create a basic Excel database, to collect and manage your relationships. Start with a separate tab for:

  • Artists
  • Blogs
  • Labels
  • Promoters
  • Publishers
  • Radio stations

Then whenever you come across a new contact, add their key details: Name, Company, Job Title, Email, Phone.

These 3 additional details take this from being a flat database into an active, useful CRM tool:

  • When: Date last contacted
  • Why: Reason for last contact
  • What: Outcome of last contact

Keeping a track of when, why and what ensures you can tailor your response and follow up in the most appropriate way, only sharing information which is relevant to them.

Don’t be afraid to follow up. If someone really has no interest they will tell you so. Don’t assume a non-reply is a no; it is often just a sign they are busy or disorganized. As a blogger I welcome reminders “Have you had a chance to check out our track yet?” Often a reminder will be enough to guarantee you a review (if the music is great).

A little thought and planning can really help improve the effectiveness of your fan communication, so don’t be in a rush to promote until you are ready. How about you? Have you tried any of these goals before? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

Mark Knight can be reached at his Twitter account @RightChordMusic.

Kevin3 things musicians can learn from brands about Customer Relationship Management
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Crowdfunding campaign fail? 5 key tips to get the money flowing fast

This guest post is written by Jo-Ná A. Williams, Esq., a former vocalist and songwriter and a solo practitioner with her own firm in New York, J.A. Williams Law – The Artist Empowerment Firm.

You’ve finally decided to finish your album. Congratulations! This is a monumental step in your career. Only problem, you’ve got more creativity than money. Solution? Crowdfund your music! Sites like Kickstarter, PledgeMusic and IndieGoGo are popular amongst musicians.

So then you make a video, come up with prizes, send it out and sit anxiously at the computer waiting for donations from your fans to pour in. Problem is, they don’t. Day after day, you promote on your social media and even send a few messages to your email list (since they haven’t heard from you in a while, they are sure to support, right?), but nothing. What happened? Why didn’t your fans help you out? Why didn’t yours make it when you’ve heard people making thousands of dollars in their campaigns? Truth be told, it takes time and dedication, but more importantly, strategic planning. To get you started, here are 5 key tips to get the money flowing in your crowdfunding campaign:

1. Build a dedicated fanbase beforehand

I want you to be real with me: every time you speak to your fans via social media or your newsletter, is your dialogue consistently, “Retweet this,” “Buy this,” “Come to my show,” “Support me here,”? Me, me, me.

Think about it, are you motivated to support anyone that constantly talks this way? No one likes a selfish person.

However, if you’ve built an awesome, nurturing relationship with your fans even when you don’t have something to promote, they will be thrilled to support you when you do. The key ingredient to a successful crowdfunding campaign is having a dedicated crop of fans that will truly promote anything you’re doing — we’ve seen that happen in Amanda Palmer’s and Murder By Death’s projects. But if you think you can start building your mailing list the day before you launch your project, you’re wrong.

You need to build your list months or even YEARS before your campaign can really take off! With a dedicated fanbase, you can create a buzz about your upcoming project and have a better chance of making it go viral. It’s what you would do before releasing an album, isn’t it? 

Tip: Your email sign-up should be front and center on your website, “above the fold”  — meaning, at the top of the site so someone doesn’t have to scroll down to see it. Add your website and sign-up links to all social media and make sure you always have your mailing-list at every show. Reverb Tip: Place your customized fan collector widgets on your site and blog.

2. Explain with your heart

This is your life, your art, your passion, your everything! Do your fans know this? Have you explained how much this means to you and the greater mission you have for your music? Do people know what your message is behind this new material?

People are more motivated to support causes that have a greater mission. It’s important to connect with your fans because they will get behind your project when they see the REAL you.

Tip: Listen to your music and start to ask yourself why. Why do I want this? What does this music mean to me? Why do people need to hear this music? What is my message? Connect to your passion and others will do the same. Bonus Tip: Explain this point in a stellar high-quality video.

Amanda Palmer reached 1,192% of her Kickstarter campaign goal earlier this year. In her video she said that this project is proof that “major-label refugees” can go outside of the label system to fund their work.

3. Arm your tribe

Did you make it easy for your backers to share your campaign? Did you compose easy social media posts for them or provide shortened links to your campaign?

Your fans get a million bits of info thrown at them a day — as much as they love your stuff, I hate to break it to you, they love other people’s stuff too.

Tip: Make your campaign easily shareable by creating tweets, Facebook posts, links, etc. and attach them to your campaign and all your auto responders. Not only will your fan base grow, but so will your contributions.

4. Partner with a pro

Have you looked at the successful campaigns of other artists to see what THEY did? Have you reached out to anyone with successful campaigns for feedback on yours, asked them to be a part of your video or help spread the word?

Just like you offer gifts to your fans, approach a successful campaigner and exchange something valuable.

Tip: Do a collab, feature others in your video, or have them promote your campaign to their list in exchange to promote THEIR music to your audience. When you partner, everyone wins!

5. Connect with media mavens or product pushers

Let’s talk about promotion. Did you offer influential bloggers or websites the exclusive to cover your campaign? Did you try to get major sponsors to feature their products in your campaign rewards in exchange for promotion? You’re a creative person right?

Take that good right-brained resource and get to work on seeing what YOU can offer influencers for their support!

Tip: Start by taking a look at what’s unique about your campaign, how can you position it as something that would be attractive to an influencer? Who are your fans? What’s your demographic? Think what’s juicy about your goods and promote it!

Although creating a campaign can be a lot of work, if you get creative, do a little research, and  have a plan, it will be worth it in the end when you have the money for your project and more to invest in your career! Anything worth having is worth working for. Dont forget this: there is a human behind every donation. Treat your audience with value and you’ll get even more in return. Ok, get out there and start planning. 

Do you have extra tips on crowdfunding? We’d love to hear it! Please share them in the comments below!

Jo-Ná A. Williams, Esq. can be reached at jo-na@jawilliamslaw.com and on Twitter. For a FREE copy of her guide “Blueprint: The Insider’s Guide to Empowering Your Career as an Artist and Ditching your 9-5 for Good” Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/iOqe1.

(Legal stuff: this article is for information purposes only. It does NOT replace the advice administered by a licensed attorney in YOUR state based on your specific situation. I know you wouldn’t assume I was your lawyer cause your mama “didn’t raise no fool.” But mine didn’t either, hence the disclaimer!)

KevinCrowdfunding campaign fail? 5 key tips to get the money flowing fast
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