Written for the Cloud Empire Creative Blog

So. You’re a band. You have girls and/or guys who will sit in a shitty bar buying overpriced drinks to hear you play. You practice 3 times a week, and you’re starting to get put on bigger bills. You’re at the tipping point – the next step could be management, maybe even a development deal. What’s holding you back?

I can almost guarantee it doesn’t have anything to do with the way your hair is cut, or if your drummer still wears gym shorts behind the kit. It may not even have anything to do with the quality of your music or how good you are live. It comes down to your social media presence and how strong your band’s brand is.

As a former Universal Intern, I can 1000% guarantee that any music executive is going to look at the strength of your online brand, and that it will be a major factor in deciding whether or not to work with you.

Do you have a lot of followers? Are they engaged with your page? Does your YouTube style have the potential to go viral the way that Walk Off the Earth or Birdy has? Are your tweets witty or do you just retweet Questlove? Chances are, you haven’t really thought about that and are still just posting pictures of upcoming event posters on the band’s Instagram. Never fear – here are 5 simple ways to supercharge your social media. I call them the Five Rules To Authentic Social Media.

 

1. 70% – 20% – 10% Rule

Nobody likes the arrogant jock in high school who only talks about how many shots he had on net at his last Junior B Game. Well, people like him I guess, but do they really pay attention when the conversation points never change? The same goes for social media. 70% of the content you post should not be about your band’s shows or record. I get that this is counter-intuitive to using social media as a free marketing tool, but the truth is it’s not – it’s a way to communicate. Post stuff about the fun things you do, videos you like, jokes that you have – post things that will encourage your followers to like, comment or share your post. 20% can be promotional, and the other 10% should be somewhat informative – post about the music business, or even help promote the last band you shared a bill with.

2. Consistent Branding

All of your content – across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, MySpace if you use it – should be consistently branded. You have one shot at making sure you stick out in a lot of “noise” across all of these channels, and the best way of doing that is making sure you provide visual cues for your followers to recognize – that way, they’ll pay attention when you’ve got something to say.

3. Stop Mass Inviting

It annoys the shit out of people. Especially when you invite people who live 4 hours away from where the show is, and there’s no chance they’ll go. Take a little more time, and invite your fans depending on geography (Facebook has this option when you’re doing the invites). If you stop bombarding everyone who likes your page with invites, you’ll get more real responses from people who may actually be inclined to show up.

4. Post Consistently

Have you ever been talking to someone who always lets the conversation fade away? Remember how hard it is to start it back up again once you’ve hit that couple seconds of awkward silence? Think of communicating with your audience in the same way. The more you post, the more engaged they’ll be. Keep the conversation going – don’t let it fade out.

5. Be Authentic

None of the above tips matter if you’re not being yourself. Don’t try to mimic some other band you like in the things you post – introduce your fans and followers and potential audience to who YOU are as a band, as a musician, as a citizen of this crazy world. You have something to say – you prove that every time you write a song or step on that stage. Don’t stop saying it.

Got any more tips? Have questions or comments? Leave them below!

-Katey Gatta*