In the previous post, we launched a discussion about creating a smart web presence for your music as an independent musician without allowing it to monopolize your time. We started by going over the three basic elements you need: a website, a social media presence, and a place to share your music. (Go back and read the previous post if you’re late to the party.)
In this follow-up, let’s now share a few tips on how to make these three elements work together effectively.
TIP 1: DO NOT USE A FACEBOOK OR MYSPACE PAGE AS YOUR “WEBSITE.”
On The DIY Musician, Chris Robley points out that the most common web mistake that DIY artists make is to point fans to a website other than their own artist page. I see this quite often, as well, where a musician uses a MySpace page or Facebook page as their calling card. Why is this a mistake? It gives off the impression that you are cutting corners, that you are unprofessional or amateur. Even if your Facebook page ultimately draws more traffic, you still need your own website to identify you as a professional musician. You need the social media presence, but don’t substitute it for your “home page.” Instead, send people to your website, and make sure there are links to your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other pages from there.
TIP 2: GET YOUR OWN DOMAIN NAME.
This ties in with Tip 1. In developing your own website, spend a few extra dollars and register your own domain name for it (e.g., [your band/stage name].com). Again, this sends a message both to your fans and to others in the industry that you are a professional.
TIP 3: HYPERLINKS, HYPERLINKS, HYPERLINKS.
The biggest way for you to draw traffic to your web presence is to have as many hyperlinks as possible, because this means people are always one computer click away from your web presence. On your website, Facebook, Bandcamp or whatever other sites you have, make sure there are links to all your other sites, so once a fan gets to one of your pages, he/she can find the others easily. Include hyperlinks in your email signature, so every time you send someone an email, they are invited to your web presence. If you are a blogger and comment on other blogs, put your website URL in the appropriate spot in the comment box; that puts a hyperlink under your name linking back to your website. Never miss out on an opportunity to (tastefully) place a hyperlink.
TIP 4: AVOID DUPLICATE SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATES.
There are many tools and apps available now that will automatically send duplicate messages to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Avoid these. They claim to be a time saver, but the problem is that most of your fans will probably follow you on both Facebook and Twitter (and possibly other sites), and plastering the same message across all networks will mean they receive multiple updates from you saying the same thing—and this can aggravate them. It’s better to take a little extra time to update each site individually, even if you have to stagger them (i.e., Facebook one day, Twitter the next). It’s just good social media protocol to stay personal and original with your fans and followers.
TIP 5: USE YOUR MUSIC SHARING SITE TO SPREAD YOUR MUSIC AROUND.
The great thing about having a Bandcamp and/or Soundcloud page (or some other sharing site) is that not only can fans access, buy/download and stream your music from there, but you can use hyperlinks and embed codes to share the music in other places, as well. Rather than having to upload your music to your website, Facebook page, and multiple other sites, your sharing site will have a function that has an “embed code” for one or multiple songs. When you copy and paste that embed code to other sites that can accept them (like your blog, for instance), it creates a widget that allows fans to stream your music directly and instantly on that site without having to go to your Bandcamp/Soundcloud page. (If they like what they hear, they can always click through and buy it, or listen to more.) These sharing sites also have easy sharing to Facebook and Twitter, so you can instantly share your music with fans on these outlets, also.
It takes a little time getting your web presence set up initially, but by following these tips, you can generally maintain a smart web presence, keeping your name and music in front of your fans without having to spend hours a day doing it. Devote a little bit of time each day to maintaining your web and social media presence, and spend the rest creating!