Todd Hansen is Co-Founder of Better Than The Van, music's home for hospitality.
It’s time for tour! Just getting to this point takes a ton of work and doesn’t happen for every band on the planet. You’ve got some shows booked (hopefully) and maybe more on the way. You’ve got your merch ready to sling and of course your band is crazy-tight and ready to kill it. Now it’s time to gas up the van, head out and let the cards fall where they may. Right? Wrong. You’ve got more work to do.
It’s time for a little social media 101. You’ve got Likers, Followers, Friends and Fans that you want to follow every happening on the road. While they do, they’ll help spread the word about you through their networks. Why? Well, they like your music and want everyone to know about it. Or it’s because you’re a band on tour and everyone wants to do that, or at least be a voyeur to your shenanigans. So here are a few tips to help you keep them up to date and possibly get more people out to shows.
If you don’t have a Page, make one. Maybe even swing by RootMusic and sign up for a free “band page” which ads some “band-centric” functions to Facebook Pages. Most importantly keep it updated and fresh. Talk to everyone who talks to you. Post photos and videos from tour on it constantly. Of course it helps if someone in the band has a iPhone, Blackberry or Android, but there’s a lot of down time on tour. Find yourself some internet and have at it with your laptop.
Another simple idea is to make Events for every show and invite all your Likers to every show. Even if they don’t live that city, they may have friends that do and suggest your show to them. It’s all about the personal referral.
If you don’t have a profile, get one. Then follow all of the people from your email list (you have one right?) and start tweeting and retweeting as much as you can. Try to stay consistently engaged. People want to know what you’re doing at all times. So much of touring is “hurry up and wait” so it’s a great time killer to just sit around, drink a beer and tweet away while waiting for sound check. Just make sure it’s some-what
- Tour Diary Blog
I used to think this made sense but with Facebook and Twitter not so much anymore. Bands usually keep at it for a few days and then fall off. You can try if you like, but I’d stick more short-form communication that’s closer to real-time.
It’s new. It’s fresh. It’s all about checking at places and getting fake prizes. Yes, it does sound kind of lame but it can work for you. Create a profile that’s the name of your band. Next, when you’re at the venue or cool spot check-in at that location to see what other users are there, and then send them a friend request. The same goes for your shows. If the venue is set up as a “Place” and other Foursquare users have checked-in, they’ll show up in the application and you can send them a friend request. All the while be sure to check in at every place you stop. It doesn’t hurt to leave a “Tip” about your band or show at every venue you play. It’s just another way for people to find out about your band.
- Keep at it!
One band that I see really on top of their social media is Freelance Whales. Personal tastes aside, they really do make an effort to update their fans on what’s happening, when/where they’re playing and creating good conversation. When they first started only a few people where paying attention, but they kept at it and it’s paid off. They’re able to really engage people on every stop on tour and get a lot of free publicity out of the deal.
I’m sure there are a ton of other ideas and if you have them, throw a comment on here. It’d be great to hear them. Don’t forget that a lot of this stuff you can do when you’re not on tour. You can even prime the pump pre-tour and hire someone like War Room PR to get things going. Remember, being in band is essentially a story you get to tell while it’s happening. Everyone loves a good story. Just keep pushing it out, keep it interesting and remember it’s all just one big conversation.