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Ari's Take

10 Social Media Mistakes Bands Make


I originally wrote this for Digital Music News.

1) Your Call To Actions Are Too Frequent

Don't enter every contest you stumble upon that could win you $100 in recording gear. Pick and choose the best contests that can advance your career the most. Nearly every band driven contest is based on votes. Some, however, CAN be extremely valuable – like getting festival slots or opportunities to perform with huge artists.

When you have a new album out or are going on tour, yes, it's completely acceptable (and encouraged) to encourage your fans to purchase. Make sure you spread out your requests for action. Because if you don't, your fans will eventually tune you out.

2) You Are TOO Humble

There's a fine line between being humble and annoying. Being humble is promoting other acts you love. Being annoying is thanking your fans for all their love and support ALL THE TIME. Blech!

3) You Say What You Think People Want To Hear

Fans don't want to follow bands who are safe. They want to know that they are badasses who speak their minds and stand for what they believe in. Sure, you may piss a few people off, but you will dramatically increase your loyalists who will stand by every word you say.

4) You Aren't Asking Questions

Make sure to ask questions regularly. These can be band related "where should we tour? Where are you?" Or they can be questions that showcase your personality: "Will and I are having it out over whiskey choices. He stands by Jack and I need my Jameson. What's your whiskey of choice? -Ari"

This encourages engagement, debate, interaction between fans and an opportunity for you to get to know some of your fans a little better. You'll start to see the regular commenters. Those are your super fans. Make sure to contact them to help you promote your show or sell your merch when you pass through town.

5) You Don't Post Content People Want To Share

You should post a healthy balance of content about your band and about stuff that interests you. Chances are if it interests you it will interest your fans and they will share it. It will then say "via Your Band" on Facebook or your tweet will be retweeted – encouraging others to Like/follow you.

6) You Don't Post Enough Photos (or Videos)

Instagram is the clear winner of the photo sharing apps. Make sure you're posting photos and videos all the time. Encourage your fans to tag friends on your photos. If you can, make them funny. Make the location for some of them "tag 2 friends" and people will (thanks King Bach!). Ask questions in videos and ask for responses in the comments. Post a 15 second guitar solo and tell people to tag guitar players.

You can connect your Instagram to your Facebook Page. I recommend it, but make sure that if you post Instagram-speak, like "with @ariherstand," that you edit that post on Facebook to say "with Ari Herstand" with the Page tagged.

And don't forget about Twitter. Any photo or YouTube video you post on Twitter (via the app – not sent from Instagram) will be displayed in the photos section of your Twitter profile.

7) You Aren't Posting Photos Of Your Fans

The only thing people love more than photos of their favorite band is photos of themselves.

Encourage your street team to send you photos of them putting up your posters around town. Then post them to your Facebook Page and ask them to tag themselves. You can create a Street Team album which will encourage more people to sign up.

When you're on tour you could take a photo of the crowd from the stage (with you in it) – if there's a decent crowd. Make it a big moment of the show and say you're going to post it on your Facebook Page and everyone should go on and tag themselves. Hell, you could even have your merch person do it right there and then after the next song encourage everyone to tag themselves RIGHT NOW.

By having fans constantly tagging themselves on your photos of them having a great time, their friends from other towns will see this and hopefully will encourage them to buy tickets to your show when you pass through.

**But first, go on your Facebook Page and enable tagging:
At the top of your Page select Settings -> Tagging Ability -> Check the box "Allow others to tag photos by [Page Name]" -> Save changes

8) You Post "Coming Soon" or "Stay Tuned"

No one is waiting for your next album. Even the biggest stars in the world aren't "depriving their fans" by waiting 3 years to release another album. They are losing them if they don't stay engaged. People need content now. They won't wait. They will move on.

If you want to post about your upcoming album or tour make sure you accompany it with some kind of quality content: a video, a blog post, a demo, a photo. Something. Yes, tweet from the studio. Yes, tweet from the road. Yes, Instagram soundcheck. Don't post "Our new album is coming soon! Stay tuned!" or "We're going on tour! Stay tuned for dates!" Post dates when you have them. Or post the tour poster. Or a tour promo video. Or post "We're going on tour, where do you want us to visit?" That encourages interaction and engagement.

9) You Have No Idea How To Use YouTube

YouTube is not meant to be used as a video hosting website. It is interactive. The most successful YouTubers (yes that's a term) build up channels of subscribers – not just hopes for a viral video. If you just use YouTube to post shaky, iPhone-shot live video every 3 months you won't gain any subscribers. You have to post high quality and engaging videos regularly. The top YouTubers post a new video every week. If you can't put out that much content regularly, then make sure whatever you post on YouTube is deliberate and high quality. Always add annotations linking people to Subscribe to your channel.

YouTube is meant to get a deeper glimpse into who you are. You can post covers (that is an easy way to get others to find you), but you don't have to. You can post music videos or high quality live videos. You can post vlogs on the road, in the rehearsal space or at a ball game. Get creative, but be consistent with the personality behind the content you post. You want your YouTube subscriber base to feel familiar with your channel. And you.

10) You Only Talk About Your Band

You don't need to always post content directly relating to your band and band activities. On the contrary, fans want to get to know you on an intimate level. They want to live vicariously through you. So, bring them along for the ride. Post when you're at the beach. Or post something witty about the DMV trip. Highlight some fans who are going above and beyond. Blog about topics that excite (or enrage) you.

If you're no good at being funny, then be interesting!

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