How Your Local/Unsigned Band Should Best Utilize Social Media
1. Facebook is the Enemy
Don’t ignore the platform entirely, but don’t waste your energy (and especially your money) trying to gain likes for your band page. The space is too crowded, and Facebook’s algorithm won’t show your “fans” most of what your band publishes anyway. You should create a Facebook page and absolutely keep it current — especially with tour dates — but don’t expect it to make or break your band.
2. YouTube is Your Friend
YouTube is, by and large, the place most people go for music discovery, so you better make the most of it: be sure your best songs are uploaded to the platform, and go out of your way to create engaging, funny content that people are going to want to come back to and share. YouTube offers by far the best opportunity for your band to catch on.
3. Twitter is Switzerland
Twitter is fantastic for disseminating news and for real-time conversation, but very few use it to keep track of bands. Make sure your band is on Twitter and that you’re servicing anyone who follows you there on a basic level, but don’t stress beyond that.
4. Bandcamp Should be Your Main Webstore
Music fans are very familiar with Bandcamp’s super-simple interface — which is just as easy to use for musicians — so there’s no reason it shouldn’t be your main webstore. Make the full album available for streaming, sell it as a name-your-own-price download (with a minimum, if you like) and set up bundles with t-shirts, hoodies, etc. As your band grows you may need help with order fulfillment from one of the bigger merch companies (Indie Merch, Merch Now, etc) but at this level if you can’t handle taking care of a few orders a week your problems are probably far greater.
5. Don’t Be Scared of Spotify
Yes, the per-stream payouts are shit, but no one complains about that with YouTube where they’re even less. The key is making your music available to be easily discovered or searched for. Don’t worry about revenue at this point; just having your music heard is way more important.
6. Instagram is for Brand-Building
Use Instagram as a direct conduit to fans for interesting content that isn’t appropriate for other social networks. Be forewarned: do not abuse this privilege. There’s nothing worse than an Instagram over-poster. General rule of thumb is no more than one post per day. Don’t post links to streams, videos, etc. — that’s not what Instagram is for, since the links aren’t even clickable (except in the bio, and even then there’s only one). Post something interesting and different that even non-fans / casual passers-by might stop and look at.
7. Soundcloud isn’t Really Relevant in Metal
It’s HUGE in the electronic world, but Soundcloud just doesn’t have much of a presence in metal. May as well post up your singles there — why not? — but there’s no need to post a full album, because it’s just a stream without all the benefits of Bandcamp.
8. Don’t Bother with Snapchat
Seems like it’s been on the decline ever since Instagram rolled out its identical “Stories” functionality. Posting the same content to both is a huge chore — as does keeping each one curated separately — so I say don’t bother.
9. Google Plus
No one uses it.
If you’re still on MySpace what are you even doing here?