Getting the word out about your product, which is your voice, your songs, your band is tough we admit it, but it's not impossible.
In Spreading the Word - Part 1, we talked about using MySpace as an interim website, and to help get some contacts. We discussed some of the pros and cons of setting up your own personal website, and suggested that the MySpace solution can be a good entry level approach. In Part 2 we will talk about Facebook and Reverbnation.
Facebook is not particularly useful as a personal/band website for you - but, it can be used to add more contacts, and get your name out there. It is primarily a Social Networking site.
You can locate contacts from your past, sometimes it's useful to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances, and you can generate the start of a fan base.
Just setting up an account in your name, looking for some friends/acquaintances on Facebook is a great start. Do be careful about what personal information you make public - like not your home address and phone number, or even your email address. And do try to avoid adding any of their annoying Applications - most of these cutesy looking apps are just mining your personal info, and do you REALLY need to be sending fake "presents" to your contacts, or "naming your tune"?
Use Facebook as another contact base.
You can search your own email address book for folks you might like to invite to join you on Facebook.
I'll make a point here about what you do with email addresses. Do NOT randomly add EVERYONE in your address book.
Yes, it will take longer, but you really need to go through those addresses one at a time and select only those people who might actually be interested in joining you on Facebook. It's a courtesy thing. People get bombarded by so much electronic communication these days that they get very frustrated and jaded when they get yet another annoying request to do something in which they are not interested. So not the bank manager, not your pharmacist not unless you have first spoken to them and asked them if they would be interested in giving you some support.
Facebook will pop up lists of people it thinks you might know or wish to add based on your location, or some of your existing contacts. Many of these will be totally useless, but a few may be helpful - check the profile of any potential contact before adding them. Make sure you send them a nice little note with the friend request, explaining who you are and why you would love for them to join your friend list on FaceBook. Something like: "Hi, I see you're a music buff so I thought you might like to help support my band, please allow me to add you as a friend". This shows them that you actually took time to see who they are and what their areas of interest might be.
Once you have built up a reasonable list of connections, you then have the additional option of starting a "group", or having an "event". Check the available groups on Facebook, and start a group that is different, interesting and relevant. You will find plenty of existing groups on Facebook, and some of them may be helpful to join.
If you DO join a group that is relevant to your "product", don't just join and remain passive - get on there and post comments, join discussions and interact, or if there are no discussions ongoing, start one. Just make sure your name keeps showing up.
Facebook "Events" are useful also - say you have a new CD - create a Facebook event to publicize it. Invite all your contacts on Facebook as well as other contacts you have at other sites.
The event function on Facebook has limitations - it only allows you to enter a start and end date up to 30 days - so if you are hoping to publicize an ongoing event, you will need to add a new event each month.
Facebook allows you to post your "status". Use this to post useful information about what you are doing, rather than "I'm Hungover" or "Taking a coffee break". Good things to post would be "Just completed the chorus on my new song - one more verse and we're done!" or "Going into the studio tomorrow!" It wont be a deal breaker if you occasionally post something non-serious, just keep the noise to a minimum.
You can also add information on the "Wall". These are places for you to spread the word about things that you are doing in your professional life, and it's good to keep the page constantly changing. It's nice to post greetings to everyone at Christmas, New Years, Easter, St. Valentines' Day and other special days. When you post information to the "Wall" you can add a picture, a link or a video - add something which points to something "you".
The user interface on Facebook can be annoying - they like to re-arrange the site periodically and move things around, and even remove things that were there in the past - making it tricky to find things that were there before. Even so, it is a useful tool and one which needs to be included in your promotional toolkit.
It's useful add a profile picture - if you are a single artist, then post a promo photo of yourself - if you are a band, then post a nice band poster or photo. By all means add other photos to the Facebook page, but add ones that are useful in promoting your professional image - so stay away from photos of you at a wild party getting hammered, and ones of you were wearing Grannys' bloomers over your jeans and a potty on your head for a dare.
So where does Reverbnation come in? Well, you have your account on Facebook, but now you want to have something there that shows your music - so people can listen.Facebook did at one point have a horrible app to add music, but fortunately that appears to have died - so, what you do is start an account (free) at Reverbnation.
Once you have an account at Reverbnation, and have your various songs uploaded, now you can "add" your "band" page at Reverbnation to Facebook.
This is far the easiest and best way to get your music onto your Facebook page. Reverbnation puts a player on your Facebook Band page which allows people to hear your music - PLUS..Reverbnation lets you add "fans" which you get from your Facebook (and Myspace) page.
The really annoying thing with Facebook is that it seems to treat just about everything you try to do as potentially spamming people - so you can only invite a limited number of friends per day to be your "Fans". But in the end, you will be able to add them all, a laborious few at a time.
Reverbnation is another useful place to set up an artist interim website - it is good to be able to point people to it. It is extremely complete and provides you with as many tools as you are able and willing to make use of. I copied in their list of Profile tools and their checklist of how the profile is doing to give you an idea of what you can do there.
Its all part of the wonderful experience that is self-promotion.
Reverbnation site excerpt
- Artist Info
- Update band info and bio.
- Customize the modules displayed on your Profile.
- Update your status on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and RN.
- Songs & Videos
- Upload songs and add YouTube videos to your profile.
- Manage Shows (under Shows)
- Add new shows and manage your show schedule.
- Sync with MySpace
- Sync your MySpace profile with your ReverbNation profile.
- Sync with Facebook
- Sync your Facebook Musician Page with ReverbNation.
- Upload band photos, cover art, and/or pics from your gigs.
- Let the Nation know when your band gets press.
- Publish a blog here, or import your current one.
- Buzz Tracker
- Find out who is talking about your band on the web.
- Create Store Items (under Reverb Store)
- Sell merch and music right away without upfront costs.
- StoreLinks (under Earn Money)
- Add links to the online stores that sell your stuff.
- View/Manage your Fans.
- Become a fan of other ReverbNation Artists.
- Have your fans post comments on your ReverbNation Profile.
- My Links (under Promote)
- Link fans directly to parts of your ReverbNation profile.
- Profile Checklist
Your Profile is 42% complete. After you Pull in Facebook Fans you will be 47% complete.
- Verify Your Account
- Upload Profile Picture
- Upload A Song
- Add Band Members
- Add Artist Bio
- Add/Link to Blog
- Pull in MySpace Fans
- Pull in Facebook Fans
- Sync Status Updates
- Update Status
- Promote on Facebook
- Enter Show Schedule
- Activate FanReach
- Add Press Items
- Activate FairShare
- Create a Reverb Store
- Add StoreLinks
- Make Recommendations
- Activate Referrals