If you're dipping your toes into the social media waters as a band, I recommend starting with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you're using these tools with the goal of building your profile as a band, I would suggest being informative, positive, sincere and strategic in your use.
Don't be impossible to find.
- It's at least a good idea to claim your band name on these accounts, even if you don't think you'll be particularly active. When choosing your name, be sure to choose something people can find. If your band name is taken, adding "band" or "music" at the end will be easier for fans to find than resorting to a creative spelling.
- I recommend choosing a handle that can be the same across all platforms. That way, if someone posts about you on Instagram and it copies to Twitter, for example, you'll still be properly linked in the tweet.
Do keep it posi.
- There is a way to show wit and personality without wasting your time snarking and starting Internet beef. Lashing back at someone who didn't like your record doesn't seem conducive to any goals, unless your goal is trolling online.
- In addition to avoiding social media flame wars, I'd keep ranting and complaining to a minimum, unless you feel like it's truly constructive for greater issues musicians face (or at least throw in some humor!). It's better to thank the 10 people who came out to see you than complain that only 10 people came out. Will someone find your rant or complaint relatable, amusing or moving? If not, it might be better left unsaid. Even on my personal accounts, I try to ask myself if a handful of people would at least be amused by whatever I'm about to post. Social media doesn't need to be an unabridged stream of consciousness.
Don't be spammy.
- A quick way to lose Facebook support is to invite all of your friends to every show, in every city. Inviting people to events hundreds of miles away is a great way to find yourself unfriended or lose followers. Your Twitter followers probably don't appreciate the block of 20 consecutive auto-tweets announcing each tour date, either.
- Talk to other humans online like they are humans. If you wouldn't slap someone across the face with your CD on the street, you probably shouldn't copy and paste the same "CHECK OUT OUR NEW RECORD!" tweet indiscriminately at every music industry person you can find. Try to engage with people in a sincere manner.
- Every post does not need to be copied to every account. Some musings are better for Twitter. Some posts will lend themselves better to Facebook. Interesting photos, new music and big announcements should be posted across every platform.
Do respect boundaries.
- If you're using social media to network, be cognizant of boundaries. If there is a music industry person you've never met and want to connect with, and their email address can be found in a quick Google search, an email may yield a better response than a friend request and a Facebook message pitch. Perhaps if his or her Twitter profile is public and active, that's a better way to engage.
Do be informative and strategic.
- Include links to more information and contact info where applicable. Facebook band profiles allow room to include your website and contact info for management, publicity, booking and more. Your Twitter profile should include a link to your website or Facebook page.
- I recommend installing the BandPage app so that your shows stay up to date on your Facebook page. I can't stress enough that it should be easy to find information about your shows, especially on Facebook. I often know a band is on tour, but see no information on any of their sites or accounts.
- Create Facebook events for shows, and be sure they are labeled so that they come up easily in searches. I recommend having the band names, venue and city in the title, especially if your band name isn't a particularly unique search term. Try to coordinate with the other bands on the bill to share one event invite instead of having several floating around for the same show.
- I suggest installing the MailChimp for Facebook tool to allow people to sign up for a band mailing list.
Alyssa DeHayes is a national publicist for labels and independent artists at Riot Act Media, and runs a fledgling label of her own. Send her your burning music PR questions to get answers in a future "Ask a Publicist" column.