Now PR doesn’t have to stop at a PR campaign, and this is where we see what separates the boys from the men. A lot of bands just shell out a thousand dollars for a solid PR campaign but never bother to evolve it beyond that. The bands who really start to see that turning into mileage are the ones who are able to turn the people who click on their page due to PR into real fans. The way to do this is to keep providing meaningful and engaging comment over an extended period of time. It’s not just about posting things like ‘Watch out for our new song dropping next week!’ and instead more about going live on Facebook, engaging directly with your fans on social media, having fun social media posts and generally just producing the sort of content that people are interested in seeing and becoming a part of. You are constructing a narrative with your band and you want your fans to be an active part of what it represents.
So I realize that sounds sort of vague and ambiguous, so I want to give you some more concrete ideas as per how to do it. First and foremost – I’m not sure the folks at Facebook realize how big a boon Facebook Live is. If you go live it sends a notification to a ton of your fans and makes it easy for them to go and watch you, ask you questions and generally interact with you and your band. It’s an awesome way to promote an evenings show and answer fans questions directly. Beyond that – it’s really fun. You get to show the people who care about you what life is like for a band traveling to Tupalo and to let fans in on inside jokes. As is stands Facebook Live is the best free way to promote your band right now. Of course this might change any day now. I’m sure that even as I type this Facebook’s marketing team is trying to figure out the best way to monetize it – but frankly, unless they charge an outrageous price it will still probably be worth it.
As per your social media posts I honestly think that in 201 the best way to communicate with a fanbase under the age of 35 is memes. I’ve added a section on memes into this book but I want to emphasize their importance. They get people looking at what you have to offer and show that your band – no matter how serious others might think they are are just fun loving guys who enjoy a good rock and roll time. Other than that – talk to fans at shows and figure out what they are interested in and give them that. At least on Facebook – while other social media sites are better for more personal things I’ve always felt that Facebook is meant to be a reflection of the fans. So if your fans are into animal rights share articles on that. If your fans are into fighting the police post from anti-cop sites. These things shouldn’t be hard to figure out – after all, odds are your fans are into the same sort of stuff that you are.
It can be hard to determine what kind of content you should be posting on each social media site. As a general rule it seems that the breakdown is as follows: Facebook is more for your general stuff and should have a ton of information about your band. Twitter is for your day to day silly thoughts and direct conversations with fans. Instagram is to showcase where you are touring through or give a visual guide as to what you are up to. It’s a great place to debut album art etc. Snapchat is for personal videos of your day to day experience and silly photos taken with the band. I’m sure there’s some new one you kids are using that I’m not even aware of yet, but those seem to be the main ones that will directly impact the future of your band right now. I know this seems like a lot, but remember, most bands you view as social media savvy only really have a mastery of one or two of these. So if you are really willing to put in the time to showcase the power of your band through all of them you have an immediate leg up.
This all ties into the much more nebulous concept of ‘constructing a narrative’ though I think you might be starting to see where this comes in. Constructing a narrative means to look at the overall brand of you band and see where it is now and where you want to take it. That is to say if, for example, you see yourself as a band of serious hard working animal rights activists then you are going to post articles on Facebook and Twitter (With your reactions) involving animal rights. You are going to upload photos to Instagram of yourselves hard at work in the studio and on the road and you are going to post videos on Snapchat showing your work ethic and sharing your thoughts about animal rights. Once you have your brand established you want to work on the narrative, that is to say – your band is trying to use music as an outlet for their political activism and people should support you because your efforts are for the animals and with their support you can tour more and share your message. It’s obviously not always that straightforward but I hope I was able to provide something of a jumping off point.
Marketing your band is a full time job and the odds are you can’t afford someone to help you market it non stop like that. However it’s really not as hard as it sounds. I know that a lot of bands whine about this sort of thing, but once you get into the habit of figuring out what your fans want to see and what kind of image you want to represent, broadcasting that to the world at large isn’t going to be that hard. Like any other skill it’s something that you can learn with a little bit of hard work and dedication. In all likelihood you probably already have someone in your band who knows how to do this kind of thing! Look at how other brands outside of music market themselves, outside of PR campaigns and try to learn from them. We all need to grow together, so why not borrow ideas from those on top?