Now there’s a lot to be said for long term planning for social media. Obviously your social media needs to all be coordinated with a release plan and if you don’t have a release plan you should know that you are only hurting yourself. I just wanted to take a moment to look at the sorts of timelines that you need to be considering if you want to get somewhere with your social media plans. This is obviously all based off of the notion that if you are building a release plan you are doing it with three or four months of advance notice and that from there you are going to have some core notions of how to present yourself on social media, hopefully with useful ideas that you have gleaned from both this blog, personal experience and your general research on the internet.
Four months out is when you work on ‘announcing announcements’ and start to introduce your brand hashtag in a vague context. If your hashtag is #Wartorn for a record ostensibly called War Torn, maybe post a picture showcasing a fraction of the album art with the hashtag so that your fans start to see that something is happening. There are some pretty typical ways to hint at upcoming announcements in this day and age and if you look at a lot of your peers then you are going to find content that makes sense for that. I’m usually a big fan of hinting at phrases that are going to be key or perhaps even just putting a vague picture, or a rehearsal shot with a caption like “April” for a record coming out in April, or perhaps even “Soon”. You’re so far out that specific details don’t need to be nailed down but you do need to be realistic about what you are working towards.
So three months out is when things start to get clearer. This is where you release your album art and where you start to make it glaringly obvious that a record is coming out. You want your social media to be pointing towards everything for three months and you want people to start getting excited. The odds are at this point you haven’t started to send stuff out for reviews or anything but a press release should be out and if you’re big enough that people care about simply that then I think that it makes sense to really hammer it home with those folks. This is where you market to your core fanbase and make them excited so that they spread via word of mouth that you are about to unleash a potent new piece of content that is going to blow a ton of people away. It’s an exciting time and it’s only going to get more hectic. If you haven’t already solidified the demographics you are trying to market to and target with your ads do that now.
With two months to go we are starting to be seeing some content getting out there. Maybe you’ve debuted a music video which is a great way to bring in new fans. If someone sees a music video from a band who have a new album coming out in just a few weeks and that band happens to be right in their tastes then they are going to follow through on the ad campaign. Toss in the fact that a lot of these people will at this point probably be hearing about the record from their friends (The ‘targeting friends of fans’ feature on Facebook ads is a helluva thing!) and you’re starting to see a very cool forward path. I also especially dig that in this period of promotion you are starting to see the first reviews come in which means that people are going to be praising you (hopefully) and you should be able to access new fans simply by crossing over with the target demographics of some of the key publications who are writing about your work. This is often a smart time to start trying to get your friends bands to share your materials and also use your relevant hashtags.
A mere month out is when the really exciting stuff is happening. At this point you should be having streams and premiers dropping every week or almost every week and people are going to be really stoked on what you have to offer. In some ways this is the easiest month because your advertising campaigns are all cooking – all you need to do is bring new focus on premiers and streams and making sure that you’re sharing all of this cool content being created about you. Simultaneously you need to be pushing your hashtags as hard as possible and working to get some of these lead singles placed on key playlists. That all being said – by this point things are so deeply in motion that it’s hard to really change course, you’re hurtling towards the release date and sometimes it hits faster than you could even expect.
And so we’re here – you put out your release and roadmapped your way to it. It’s not an especially technically difficult process but it’s one that certainly takes a fair degree of dedication. As long as you stay on top of your emails though and follow a reasonable calendar then you are going to see that nothing is impossible with planning and you should be on your way to a lot of exciting growth. The music industry is a place that rewards patience so sitting back and letting this slowly develop is going to always be the way that you start to find systems that are exciting and powerful and which continue to grow your brand.