I Like to Like It Like It (How to Engage with Musicians' Social Media for the Best Impact)
You think social media is ruining our lives. You think social media is changing the world. You think both; it’s part of the water in which we swim. Musicians, there are plenty of great resources for how to optimize your own social media. (Feel free to see a running list of my particular favorites on my facebook page.) This jot isn’t that. No, I’d like to offer some suggestions as to how you, Hero For Independent Music, can interact with musicians’ social media to support them and spread the music. Small-time-big-impact things you might not even know matter, but that can make a big difference to the artists you love.
Why it matters that you, audience-member-listener-music-lover, engage with a musician’s social media: When booking a musician, venue owners, booking agents, talent agents, other artists, mailcarriers and zookeepers alike will all look at the musician’s social media presence. Not just the musician’s CONTENT (though certainly that, yes, but also) the ENGAGEMENT with their content. Do posts have thumbs? Hearts? Comments? Are the comments relevant, positive, yearning? Are other people posting about this artist (or is the artist shouting into a void)? Essentially: “Does anyone care?” (And YOU DO CARE, or you wouldn’t be reading this.)
What’s a body to do? Funny you should ask…
I LIKE TO LIKE IT, LIKE IT
Like people’s posts. Like them when you see them. Post staying (high) in the feed - and therefore getting more visibility - depend not just on the number of likes, but the alacrity with which they get liked. So, if you see something, like something. Immediately.
If someone invites you to like their page, unless you HATE it, “like” it. It’s no skin off your nose and it buoys them.
If it’s some music you actually love, invite people who would also love it to like the page. Help the musician spread their reach and help new folks hear this great music. You’re a hero, everyone wins, the music grows. Cost to you: second of your time.
Once you like a post, leave a comment. Again, this shows that people care enough to interact with the musician. It also gives us, the musician, a chance to respond, creating dialogue and furthering community. Or, at the very least, answering your questions. We get to feel like there’s someone out there, which gives us juice to go on.
PLEASE Do not write “great content”. I will cut you new bangs in your sleep if I find out you’ve done this. #independentmusicdelila. Seriously. You are a person with more than goosedown between your ears; if you’re going to comment, please say something relevant. This is really not difficult. Please do not put trash on the internet. It’s already the equivalent of that island of plastic in the Pacific. Do your part by adding meaningful content.
TWO WAYS TO SPEND A RADICALLY-KIND, MUSIC-LOVING TEN MINUTES
You’ve got a sliver of time in the car, in the endless grocery line, while waiting for x, y, or zebra. And, unbeknownst to the people around you, you’re wearing your Independent Music hero cape underneath your whatevers, indicating you’re ready to swoop into action. Here’s what you can do in those minutes:
Pick a musician you love and hunt down all their social media. Subscribe to their YouTube channel. Follow them on Instagram. Like their music facebook page. See if they’ve got a SoundCloud, Bandsintown, Songkick, Bandcamp, Twitter, etc. account and sign up for those, too. Like a post or video. Comment on something. Leave a review. Extra credit for sharing something on your own page or inviting others to enjoy the music.
Make a list of your ten favorite smallish-time musicians. Pick a platform (IE: YouTube). Hunt each musician down and subscribe, like, follow. Extra credit for liking a post or seven. Gold stars for leaving a comment or nine...ty two.
NOTE: If you want to help, but don’t want to hear about stuff, just turn off “notifications” when you subscribe, follow, like, etc. You can support without feeling barraged.
You go to a show and you take photos. Now what? POST THEM. And then….TAG THEM all up. Make sure to make inroads to the artists’ social media and website, use their handle and use whatever hashtags they use. That might just be their name or band name, but it also might be, as in the case of yours truly: #femaleisntagenre, #dykewithamic, #speakupchimeinsingout. You posting about how much you loved the show shows that the band does not employ bots and has draw and interest in the world. Plus, it feels really good (as a musician) to know that someone cared enough to take a picture and shout about it. Hello: this is why we make music: so that we might bring you joy!
ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING
To repeat myself from “How To Be A Hero For Independent Music”: Go to shows. Buy tickets to said shows. If you know you’re going, buy your tickets in advance. (I can’t overstate how helpful this last piece is.) IInvite friends to shows - as in, physically bring them with you. Maybe buy more than your ticket (if you can) and then have your friends reimburse you. A concert ticket makes a great gift; I do not remember anything anyone gave me for my thirteenth birthday, but I certainly remember seeing Dar Williams open for Joan Baez at the Wiltern that year.
BUY YOUR TICKETS. BUY THEM IN ADVANCE. This lets venues and bookers know that people care about the musician/act and that there’s hot demand. They will, in turn, be more likely to book that person again. So by simply doing something you knew you were going to do anyway, you help that show run smoothly and potentially run again. (You also take a huge stress off the musician, who may still be pounding the pavement to help get asses in the seats, stressing about attendance, wondering if they should just go back to Ohio and work in their Auntie’s dental office.) If you’re the kind of person who hates-that-you-like-to-wait-til-the-last-minute-and-can’t-ever-bite-the-bullet-but-you-wish-you-could-do-better, well, consider this as a way to cultivate yourself on behalf of others. Does that sound unkind? I don’t mean it to. Personally speaking, I’ll often get off my ass to help a friend before I’ll offer a kindness to myself. Maybe you’re like that, too. In which case, take this counsel to heart and know that when you buy your tickets (and teach yourself not to fear commitment), you’re also helping independent music to thrive. Strong work.
Got other ways to use social media to support the music we love? Leave ‘em here!