Managing an online presence doesn't come easily to everyone. As a DIY musician, though, you don't have much choice in the matter. Keeping your pages active and updated is hugely important to the maintenance and growth of your fanbase, as well as key in getting press and booking gigs. That said, you don't have to use every single platform out there.
Unless you're a natural social media expert, consider streamlining your online presence by focusing only on the profiles that matter most. We believe these four are at the top of the totem pole of potential. We're not saying the ones we've left out aren't useful; they certainly can be. But spreading yourself too thin in your online efforts isn't hard to do, so zoning in on mastering this lot will likely do you the most good.
The latest reports continue to show that, in terms of popularity, Facebook remains the top-ranking social media platform. Not only do your fans rely on your page for updates, but potential listeners often seek it out (or stumble upon it) in the process of checking you out. Through your page, you can engage with both groups, which further cultivates the relationship they have with your music. Additionally, journalists and booking agents still count it as a central resource to learn more about your band and how to contact you – so it's also a tool for gaining exposure.
Really, it's probably no shocker to you that Facebook is still the go-to. But keep in mind also that the platform isn't static; it's kept that number-one spot in part because it continues to add upgrades and new features for users. Some of those tweaks aren't necessarily to the benefit of DIY bands (ahem, the newsfeed algorithm updates), which means it's even more important for you to stay up-to-date on whatever improvements (or hurdles) it's added. Either way, the reality that it's absolutely crucial to maintain an active, up-to-date Facebook fan page as a band or artist is unwavering.
(Note: instead of addressing Bandsintown on its own, we'll remind you here. If you haven't already, get a Bandsintown account going, keep it updated, and integrate it with Facebook. Having all your tour dates on your primary social media page where they're easy to find can be incredibly beneficial to your show attendance.)
Snapchat polled as the most popular site among teens last April, according to a Piper Jaffray report shared by Mashable. The platform got 28 percent of the favor in the group of 6,500. Instagram, though, was only one percent behind at 27 – and that was well before it rolled out the slideshow stories feature that's pretty much the same as Snapchat's. Now that Instagram is co-opting the features it lacked in comparison, one can only assume it could reclaim the edge over Snapchat. Even so, Instagram feels more suited for bands and artists who are growing their fanbases.
An established act will surely benefit from the exclusive, more personal feel of Snapchat's temporary clips and photos. When you're still building, though, content that's always accessible, that never expires, is probably a better help. With Instagram, you can now do both.
The thing about the Bandcamp versus SoundCloud is that, at this point, it's basically apples to oranges. SoundCloud is an audio platform, and while the option to follow users is an added bonus, beyond that there aren't many other options useful to DIY acts and artists. Bandcamp, on the other hand, encourages users to actually buy music with its name-your-price and minimum price options.
Digital purchases mean unlimited streaming on their app. You can offer the album for totally free if you want, or in exchange for contact info you can use for your email newsletter. (Plus, there's also that broken heart that pops up if you've listened too many times without paying anything – and that may guilt someone into buying. Not exactly the way you want to gain fans, but hey, we're guessing it works.)
Other features include a merch store, and though Bandcamp retains 10 percent of sales, the access to your T-shirts and buttons alongside digital tracks makes it loads easier (read: likelier) for fans to buy. Also, there's always a chance your goods or your tunes will get highlighted in the site's new editorial content, the efforts and quality (and ultimately, the following) of which have been amped up significantly this year.
Tracks uploaded to the two platforms are as equally easy to embed or post on your other pages, but if you're going to choose just one, Bandcamp is clearly the choice most stacked with extras and benefits. (And pro accounts offer even more.)
The EPK creator with incorporated social media stats, loads of gig listings, and exclusive performance opportunities are all part of the musician toolkit that is Sonicbids. It's not a fan-oriented online profile like the rest, but rather the industry-leading platform to connect with promoters and talent buyers looking to book talent, as well as other musicians looking for bandmates and tourmates.
In general, Sonicbids is a mighty platform for building and boosting your career, which makes it a must-have online profile for independent and DIY musicians.
Get more social media tips:
- Set It and Forget It: 5 Tools That Help You Automate Your Band's Social Media Posts
- 5 Key Elements of a Comprehensive Social Media Strategy
- A 3-Step Guide to Fixing Social Media Posts You Regret
- How to Deal With Haters on Social Media
- 4 Social Media Mistakes Your Band Can't Afford to Make
Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.