|TungXsten - in the finals of Battle of the Bands.|
It's been quite an experience working with TungXsten. Promoting a band really is something else. I think the modern equivalent of a demo tape these days is having a solid online presence. So it involves having a huge number of websites (and backlinks to those websites) working together to get your name and you sound out there.
So to cover a few basics, here are some great places to start:
Reverbnation.com is a website dedicated to helping bands get their sound out there - they have access to mailing lists and heaps of other cool tools that will help budding musicians. Make use of those tools. When you build a mailing list, make sure you keep in regular touch with fans - let them know where they can find you or that you have an empty schedule next Saturday if they want to book you.
YouTube: A few years ago, nobody over the age of 20 knew the name Beiber. This kid had been winning over tens of thousands of young fans via YouTube and adults just didn't know him. He was a nobody in the mainstream industry, but a god to teenagers everywhere.
The marketer in me would tell you to add as many tags as you can think of - as long as they are relevant. If you have a website, blog, a page at Reverbnation then make sure that you leave a link to it in the first sentence of your video's description. Don't forget about the option to make video replies. For example, if your band sounds like Kings of Leon, then upload your music video as a reply to one of their songs.
Some marketers will actually pay (per month!) to have their URL in the descriptions of high profile video's that see thousands of visits each day. You can ask friends & family to put your URL in their descriptions, even if it's down the bottom of the description; it will still count as a backlink and you just never know...
Facebook: Is not actually my strong point, but I've learned so much about my own fan Pages as I've been promoting the TungXsten fan Page. The trick is to think of your Fb Page as a secular website; that means regular content, music, video's and pictures, a landing page...and backlinks.
It took me a little longer than it should have done to realise that you should promote your Fb Page outside of Facebook (common sense really, we see the "Find us on Facebook" summons everywhere these days). That means that every web page you have access to, you need to link back to your Fb Page - your YouTube vid's, Twitter, mailing lists, etc. But this is something that you can also promote offline too; something that you can tell your workmates about, or mention between songs when your onstage.
Make regular status updates on Facebook. You don't have to bombard your followers but you do need to remind them that you're here, let them know when you've got a next gig or where they can find you how they can contact you.
Reverbnation, MySpace and CD Baby also have apps that are similar to the Facebook Music Player. Have a look around and familiarise yourself with the different options.
Twitter: The same principles that apply to Facebook also apply to Twitter. Twitter is a great tool to get your message straight into the pockets of your fans. Let them know where you're playing or how to get in touch with you, which sites they can visit for more details.
And that's just for starters...
These are just a few sites that will help you build a fan base and establish a presence online but ideally you'll want your band to have its own website too.
Think of each site like your business card - not a sales pitch, but a way of providing information about your comings and goings, your next gig, your entry into competitions or online contents.
Some things to watch out for...
One thing you want to think about is the way you present yourselves, how you want to be known. Your professional persona.
But more important than that, are some basic rules of internet marketing:
Backlinks - these are links that you leave around the internet that take people to your website (or Facebook, Reverbnation pages, etc) These are absolutely critical to getting your web pages found by Google. Build enough backlinks and when people search for bands in your area they will find you. Backlinks should be from as many different websites as possible, they should be one way links (which means you don't link back to that site) and ideally, they should come from high profile websites.
Keywords - these are the words that people type into the search engines. The name of your band is a keyword but you might also want to think about the type of people who would be searching for your music...and the way they would talk. What would they be searching for? Eg "rock bands in [the name of your city]" or "best rock bands from [the name of your state]"
A marketer will choose two or three keywords...and repeat them. A lot. You'll find those keywords in the names of articles and titles for webpages, in descriptions for YouTube video's. The marketer will associate their brand with these keywords. Your keywords tell the search engines like Google what your web page is all about so that when somebody searches for that keyword, the Google algorithm's will match your web page with their search.
Linking Your Sites - all of your sites need to be linked in some way to another. Each time you open an account somewhere on behalf on your band, you'll need to include your primary website in your bio or description along with any summons Find Us On Facebook to Follow us on Twitter. You will need to update you links and your descriptions from time to time.
Any questions?? I know I sure have some! One of the most difficult things to grasp about promoting your band online is that you will be entering the world of Internet Marketing - marketing is an ever changing world. There will always be new platforms to use. There will always be new opportunities to jump on. The good news is, that you have probably grown up in front of shopfronts, tv's and radios...you are already familiar with the concepts of marketing. Whether you are online or offline, the same principles apply, it's just a matter of having a go.
Good luck guys, I will be talking some more about promoting bands in the future, so stay tuned!