Web 2.0, with all its new social networks, social media, applications and mobile technologies, has radically changed the way people socialize, play, think, communicate and work. For independent music artists, it’s become a vital tool for attracting new listeners and building a fan base.
And just like any other marketer, you have to learn to grow along with these trends if you want to take advantage of them. Truth is, if you’re not making the most of social media outlets, you’re probably wasting big opportunities to be heard, reach new fans and grow your career.
OK, but how do you do that? It’s not easy, as an independent music artist, to have enough time to figure all this stuff out. You already have your hands full creating art – developing your passion – while building a business of sorts, your own personal brand. To stay competitive we have to adjust to evolving technologies and participate fully in social communities all over the Internet…and still make time for music.
It is challenging. And when you’re first getting started in social media, the learning curve can be pretty steep. Your vocabulary’s going to grow by leaps and bounds as you figure out new things like SEO, SMO, MySQL, Adwords, Adsense, ROI, VC, CSS, RSS, CPC, Ajax, coding, widget, Twitter, Mashable, TechCrunch, Digg, Facebook, Myspace…
…and all the news ones popping up week after week. It’s hard to keep up.
But you can, and it’s worth your while. My advice to independent music artists who are just familiarizing themselves with social media is simple: take things slowly and have fun. Don’t approach it as a new job or school assignment; you’ll probably just get discouraged and start ignoring it altogether.
To get started:
* Research the types of network you might be interested in. There are an overwhelming number of social media outlets you can join online, with a dizzying array of features and widgets to keep you connected.
* Once you choose the type, find the community that best fits your style, hobby or occupation.
* Find out where your friends and colleagues are networking, and then sign up.
Most networks are free to join and only require a valid email account. Once you sign up:
* Connect with friends. Make new friends. Find old ones.
* Get involved. Join a group. Attend an event. Comment on a blog or user profile.
* Ask a lot of questions. You’ll find people are more than willing to help or answer any questions you might have.
* Learn the lingo. Most of these sites are evolving into mini communities, with brand new terms and site-specific conduct guidelines.
* Update your profile regularly.
* Build quality relationships.
Remember what I said: have fun. Social media, luckily, doesn’t really feel like work. Yes, you’re building your brand and marketing your music, but you’re also meeting people, making connections and playing (!) with all the fun little toys and gadgets that Web 2.0 is famous for.