Self Promotion - How to Reach More Fans and Followers

Self Promotion - How to Reach More Fans and Followers

Before Promotion
The mere fact that you publish your music to music stores like iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and Rhapsody doesn't mean you will be discovered and sell a lot of songs.
Your music could just lie down on an internet server without anyone noticed, that's the reason why you need promotion.
To be in those stores you have to pay an aggregator like TuneCore, cdbaby, DistroKid or ReverbNation but you also need PROMOTION. These aggregators also offer different ways of promotion but let's dig for better ways.

Before you start to publish a single song or an entire album to those stores and promote your self, you'll need to make sure your release is up to commercial standards (well mixed and mastered) because you'll be on an even playing field to the major labels.

If you don't want to pay for your music to be on those stores, there are many free platforms that let you sell your work, allthough some of them are less attractive and potential buyers may feel afraid to give their credit cards details.
Or you may want to be in the big stores AND in any other ecommerce website as well.
Here you have a few:
BandCamp
ReverbNation
Broadjam
Tradebit
SoundClick
Orfium (you can also license your songs for commercial productions)

Some of them let you embed a widget/player in your website like the following, provided by ReverbNation:

As you can see each song has its own artwork or cover art.
Anyone can buy your song directly from this widget by clicking the shopping cart only if you have set on the ReverbNation ecommerce check box for each song instead of pasting another link into the "External Buy Link" field.
It doesn't display if you set i.e. an iTunes buy link at some song, so you may want to set on the ReverbNation ecommerce on each song regardless of it is published to other stores.
If you set the track to free download, a download icon is shown instead.

This could be a single click way to visitors to buy each of your songs. If buying your songs is too complicated or confusing you may lose buyers that feel frustrated.

Some paid aggregators like TuneCore also provide a widget for your website like this:



Give some freebies.
Some websites allow you to set a song as a free download for a user that start following you or add your song to a playlist, also know as follow to download/add to playlist.
The website www.orfium.com has this option under Monetization tab, instead of selling the song.

Promotion
Now that your songs sound great and you are in iTunes or elsewhere, let's do the promotion.

Sign up for accounts on Twitter and Instagram.
Choose professional nicknames, i.e. if you are "Paul Oakenfold" choose pauloakenfold so your Twitter and Instagram users will be @pauloakenfold, instead of being something like @paok1983 that sounds like nonsense.

Paid Facebook/Instagram and Twitter campaigns could give your Facebook page and Instagram posts some extra likes, but instead of wasting a lot of money in campaigns you can post to Instagram and Twitter an engaging image with a short description followed by a link to your songs and a LOT of hashtags (#keyword) RELATED to that image AND your work. You can also add your logo and some text to that image.

But what the heck is a hashtag?
The # symbol followed by a single word or many words without spaces is called a hashtag. It is used to mark keywords, tags or topics in a tweet, Instagram and other social networks posts.
People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces, i.e. #vocaltrance, #indiemusic, #newage) in their tweet to categorize those tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.
Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other tweets marked with that keyword, that's the way people dicover your tweets even when they don't follow you!
Then you'll be asking yourself how those many users have found you.
This way you will gain a lot of visitors and will spread the word about your existence.
You can read more about Twitter tips and tricks

Here you have an example of an Instagram post:



And almost the same with Twitter:

What can you post? You have a camera right in your pocket. Just shoot a short video or a photo of your band at the studio while recording the new song.
All of these material will also be useful in the near future as cover art, maybe with some effects applied.
You can also create an image using Photoshop or from whatever source, upload it to your smartphone and use the Instagram and Twitter apps to post it, maybe while you are traveling on a bus or just fooling around in a waiting room.

Go viral!
Submit your music to every website and platform, in every nook and cranny on the web:
Youtube (at least a still image and your song and lyrics)
SoundCloud (don't forget to link your buy button to your store)
Audiomack
Fanburst (you can import all tracks from SoundCloud, but they don't display any keyword)
Bandcamp
Vimeo (videos)
Myspace
Flickr

Some accounts can be connected with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and will post automatically for you each time you upload a new song, photo, video or a gig.
This way you don't have to post to each social network but sometimes you are not in control of what they post in your name.

Don't upload or post all of your songs at once or in just one day. Do it on a regular basis so that your name and songs are out there from time to time to remind your fans about you.
You will potentially reach a bigger audience if you spread your songs out throughout the entire year instead of just 15 tracks on one day.

Embed Soundcloud instances of your songs onto your Facebook wall, Google+, Twitter (users can listen to your track right in your tweet without having to leave Twitter, just paste the link) and don't forget to add hashtags.

Radio Airplay
If you feel that your songs are ready for radio, I mean they have been mastered and sounds very pro, you can suggest it to some online radios like
Digitally Imported (www.di.fm) Submissions
RadioTunes (former sky.fm)(www.radiotunes.com) Submissions via FTP or DropBox
More Indie Radios
You can also purchase credits to get exposure in some online radios like Jango which inserts your songs in channels that play similar famous artists.
This service is provided by Radio Airplay. This way you can also collect more fans, send messages to them, see reports and stats and more.
You have to add similar artist for each song, i.e. Tiësto, Daft Punk, Swedish House Mafia, Kaskade, Deniz Koyu, David Guetta, Bob Sinclar, iiO, Nadia Ali, etc.

Your Internet Presence
Set a decent profile in each website or social network.
Create your own website and include all your info such as social networks, contact info, manager's email, merchandising stores, gigs, photo gallery, links to all your music stores and websites where you are in, etc.
Create a professional logo and one cover art or artwork per song, be sure that they don't look amateur, make it look as professional as possible.
If you don't have skills in Photoshop or drawing, find some artists on graphic design websites to help you work on your brand. There are many websites that can help you with your graphics and artwork like:
www.behance.net/
www.dribbble.com
You also can use a pre-designed template for your new blog or website, for example if you choose Wordpress to build your website, you can find a lot of templates and instructions at http://themeforest.net/category/wordpress?ref=yio

Here you have a Wordpress tutorial:
http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/courses/a-beginners-guide-to-using-wordpress?ref=yio

There are plenty of free and easy-to-use website creators (website builders) like:
www.wix.com, www.bravenet.com, etc.

Buy your own domain name, i.e. www.yourbandname.com and link it to your website hosting (ask your hosting service about your DNSs and IPs).
This also gives you a personalized email addresss like info@yourbandname.com
Many free hosting allows you to connect that website url with its servers (domain name DNS/ips). Some ad banners could be displayed on the header unless you set up a paid account.
You can also create a paid website or buy a domain name (if available) at many websites like www.godaddy.com, www.wix.com/domain/names, www.bravenet.com, www.cdmon.com, etc.
As you can see, some website builders also sell domain names and ads free pages.

Most of the visitors of your webpage will use their cellphones to access to it so try to build a mobile version of your website so your web page looks good there as well.
A simple way to do this is by pasting some code that check the screen resolution of the visitor's smartphone and if it is below 800 pixels wide the code will redirect the page to a mobile version of your website, i.e. www.yourbandname.com/mobile or to a subdomain like http://m.yourbandname.com that points to a subfolder named /mobile.
Here you have a simple code provided by www.inmotionhosting.com :

<!-- Mobile Redirect - if resolution <= 800 pixels -> redirect.
Place this code in the head section of your main website code (between <head> and </head>). 
That way when your site is visited, the javascript will see the browser width and redirect to the appropriate site:
http://m.yourbandname.com or http://www.yourbandname.com/mobile -->
<script type="text/javascript">
  <!--
  if (screen.width <= 800) {
    window.location = "http://www.yourbandname.com/mobile"; 
  }
  //-->
</script>
<!-- End Mobile Redirect -->



Add more content to your website
Avoiding your website to become a mess, it's nice to have a lot of content but you need to build it with sense and clarity.
There are many widgets that you can embed into your website but maintain the design within your style by editing any parameter they allow you to change (i.e. color scheme).
Another engaging widget is the Twitter's full widget that allows your visitors to read your tweets right in your website and also displays the images you have tweeted.

Twitter's widgets can be created at this link twitter.com/settings/widgets

Remember to also add the "Follow" button provided by Twitter and other social networks (just copy/paste the code where your website builder allows you to insert full html code lines):

This button was created at about.twitter.com/resources/buttons#follow (a very hard to find tool).
More buttons are available at about.twitter.com/resources/buttons

Who are you?
Tell people about yourself, your artistic career, your story and skills.
A short bio (people don't like large texts).
Ask common questions like Where are you from? Where do you live? Who have influenced you?
Engage those potential fans/buyers with your experiences, your good taste, your thoughts and passions.

Edit your email signature settings in your mail service to automatic embed all your main info in the footer:
Band's name / Website / Twitter, Instagram, SoundCloud and Facebook accounts, etc.

Build your Fans Base
Creat or sign up for some newsletter service to collect fans emails (also collect their emails at your shows).
Embed a subcribe widget in your website. Send regular newsletters e-mails to inform them about your releases and to remind them about your band.
Don't flood their mail inboxes, don't spam! Maybe once per week or month.

There are many free and paid services like:




YIO's Newsletter For Indie Musicians:


Powered by MailChimp

Some website builders may have this feature included in their packs and ready to use.

As I stated before, you can also collect more fans by purchasing credits to get exposure in some online radios like Jango which inserts your songs in channels that play similar famous artists.
This service is provided by Radio Airplay. They allow you to send massive messages to your fans.
Don't forget to add similar artist for each song, i.e. Tiësto, Daft Punk, Swedish House Mafia, Kaskade, Deniz Koyu, David Guetta, Bob Sinclar, iiO, Nadia Ali, etc.

Try also to get your fans' celphone numbers in any web form or at your shows so you can also send direct SMS to keep them up with your new songs and gigs and other stuff they may want to hear about.

Search for hashtags in Instagram and Twitter (type #yourkeyword) looking for words related to your genre or style, for example if you are in a synthpop band enter #synthpop in the search box.
Then like and comment or tweet to people and images that you like.
Someone will see your nice comment and maybe will go to your profile to know who you are and will follow you.

There are plenty of websites that offer promotion services but the most of them are useless and a waste of money. Be careful. Investigate them before you pay.
Automated fake likes, comments and repost on SoundCloud are useless.

There are also plenty of blogs that post songs from SoundCloud, Audiomack, YouTube, Fanburst, etc. with a litle review about the song and the artist.
You have to find out which indie musicians blogs are the more visited and if your music fits to them.

Some paid subscriptions like www.submithub.com let you send your song to blogs of your choice and pay the bloggers to at least review your music and give you some feedback.
In case they don't do that in the time lapse they have agreed, your credits back to you so you can choose another blog.
You have to be sure that the blog you choose is related to your music, otherwise it is likely your song will be rejected and you will waste your money.

More Advices from Experts
"...You need to build an AWARENESS of your music through Radio Airplay, Reviews, Interviews and Features...
EVERY artist ... from the singer-songwriter performing at the local tavern to the most famous rock band in the world CANNOT survive as an artist without proper exposure...
There are a lot of radio stations, music blogs and magazines who want to hear your story and showcase your music to the world...
Music lovers are impulsive. If they hear something they like, they want to buy it right away...
That's why you want to have your music in as many online stores as possible!..."
www.indiebible.com | Online free version: indiebible.lwcr.com

"... Submit to major blogs like Jack Thriller, XXL MAG, The Source, 16orBetter, They Got Skills, etc. These are blogs that are frequented by music and art lovers..."
www.RealFanBase.com

"BRAND IDENTITY... It’s the logotype, name, color scheme, message, personality and quirks that the public associates with you... shape your brand...
A good website... looking sleek... converts visitors into fans, and fans into buyers...
An artist without a story that resonates with a niche audience is lost in an ocean of noise...
Your fanbase is your greatest and most valuable asset... diehard fans, who spread the word just for a piece of your attention...
After acquisition and engagement comes monetisation... how to make ecommerce work without the ‘sell out’ reaction of your audience. Let fans support you directly.
A catchy line, a neat piece of prose, or a little personal video can make a world of difference..."
www.dottedmusic.com | @dottedmusic

You may also be interested in one of these related articles:
Twitter tips and tricks



Music Industry Survival Guides by TuneCore

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