Where are your fans from?

Have you ever wondered where your Facebook fans are from and how it can help your online marketing?

Aside from being generally curious, there are added benefits to knowing where your fans are from if you plan to advertise online.

Switch accounts to your band page and click on ‘Insights’, on the left hand menu click ‘People’.

Here you can learn how many of your fans are male vs. female and what age brackets they are in.

Also you can see what countries your fans are from, which cities they live in and what language they speak.

How can you use this information?

Age groups

If you plan to advertise online, this can give you an indication of which age bracket you should target to, if most of your fans fit in a certain range, you may want to exclude younger/older audiences to get the most out of your money.

Gender

Which gender should you advertise to, the one you have the most or least of? It depends really, if you want more similar fans to what you currently have it would be safe to advertise to the higher gender split. But if you think the opposite gender would really like your music, you could create a specific campaign to target them online.

Location

Also when it comes to planning gigs, you can see which cities your fans live in, you might have a huge following in a city you’ve never considered touring to, or no fans in a city you’re thinking about playing at.

Have a look at your data and see what you can learn about your fans.

Here’s the demographics for Metal Marketing on Facebook.

As you can see, most of my fans are Male, aged 25-34, living in NSW Australia.

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Merchandise Q&A with Andy Dowling of LORD

In the past I have been a merch girl and I have also been responsible for ordering merchandise for a tour, but I thought it would be good to speak with one of Australia’s leading metal bands to see how they run their merch.

I spoke with Andy Dowling, bass player for LORD and host of The Andy Social Podcast.

MMM: Who handles the merchandise for Lord? Who designs it and do you print your shirts locally?

Andy: I handle the majority of the ordering, stocking, and selling of our merchandise. The merchandise is designed by a multitude of people from within the band as well as Australian and international artists, depending on the product itself. T-shirts are printed both locally and internationally, depending on the number of colours, style and exchange rate.

MMM: I loved the Mork and Andee shirts, do you find that the funnier designs sell better or is it just a case of printing something you guys think is hilarious and hope fans also like them?11079630_10152774556880098_6058299584402224245_n

Andy: It’s a combination of both. We find that firstly a variety of merchandise works quite well from an online perspective (not as much at live shows) and having some more humorous simple t-shirts helps balance out the range and attract more people to the store. We find that a lot of people come to the store to buy a ‘mork & andee’ or ‘Do You Even Riff’ shirt and also pick up a CD while they are there. I almost look at them as baits to get people to the store. Of course, they also make us laugh so even if a particular design doesn’t do well, we still get a kick out of printing a few for our own enjoyment. 

MMM: You can buy the shirt here if you like it! There are only 9 left!

MMM: Over the years, what merchandise items have been best sellers?

12243139_10153234899110098_4430723386051199859_nAndy: CDs are our biggest seller, by far. We’re lucky that we have a large number of releases and have various bundle discount deals. People either come back multiple times to slowly buy each title or come in and buy one of the bigger bundles to grab them all in one hit. After CDs, our t-shirts sell quite well also with the variety that we have. All of the other more niche items (hip flasks, drink holders, posters, patches, etc) sell alright but they work more as complimentary items to our main CD/T-shirt stock. 

MMM: Do you find that your presentation of merchandise at gigs and in online shops affect sales?

Andy: Absolutely. Presentation is everything. You need to attract people first visually before you can feed them any information on the product itself and convince them that it’s a good idea to purchase. At shows, we try and sell our own merch if possible as it attracts people to the table to talk and historically we have turned over far more than having a merchandise person work the table for us. Online we have invested money upfront to make our webstore as user friendly and intergraded into social media (Ie: logging in) as much as possible. This alone has made retention so much easier. 

With that being said, however, it’s far from perfect. There’s still a lot of improvements to the webstore that we would like to make and a number of interactive features to help attract new buyers to the store. Lots of ideas, but it’s more finding the appropriate time to do it. The positive to this is that we already have a lot of success with what we’re doing now, so any improvements we do make in the future will make things even better.  

MMM: Do you have any tips for new bands printing their first run of merchandise?

Andy: Two pieces of advice to new bands.

1) It’s natural to be excited, however don’t go and print large runs up front thinking that you’ll sell them all out. The cost per unit might be a bit higher, but always start out with a small run. Besides, it will sound better if your small run sells out quickly, rather than you desperately trying to sell the remaining stock.

2) Listen to your fans, but take their feedback with a grain of salt and don’t rely solely on their feedback when it comes to printing different types of merch. There’s been a few instances where fans of ours were screaming out for a particular merch item, we printed them and then no one bothered to buy them! Always weigh up the pro’s and con’s to everything new you’re looking to get printed. Take fan feedback but also feedback from peers (ie: other bands), your band mates and close friends. Only then will you have a balanced opinion and clarity to make a call!

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How to write different content for each platform

How do you cross promote one piece of content to various channels?

I am a firm believer of not sharing the same content to each platform. When I say this i specifically mean word for word. You can share one piece of content to each platform by changing it up a little for each social account.

How do you do this?lightbulb_icon

Here are some thoughts around how you could release an announcement for tour dates for each platform. It may take some time and effort to do it this way, rather than writing something once and publishing it to every single platform, but that’s boring and lazy. You can still be efficient by using a program like buffer to schedule posts, and by doing it in advance you can save yourself some time.

How to cross promote your tour:

Website: Update your home page with a new banner or call to action to get people to click on your tour announcement. Your website is the place where you can keep the announcement simple and informative. Include the dates, cities and where fans can buy tickets. In the announcement link a call to action to your blog.

Blog post: Don’t just announce the dates and cities and leave it at that, make it a piece of engaging content for your fans to read about, make it an actual blog. Have you been to these cities before, have you played at these venues, are there any tourist attractions the band is looking forward to seeing. Ask you fans if they have any recommendations for restaurants or sights to see in the areas.

press-releases

Press release for websites: Check out this article on how to write a press release for an event and give it a go! Send this out to various online websites and music magazines with a professional photo and ask if they can write about your shows.

Facebook: There are so many possibilities for Facebook so get creative! The first thing is to create an awesome cover photo with your tour dates and updating your call to action to ‘book now’ with a link to your website to buy tickets. Facebook is a perfect place to share visual content so it would be good to share your youtube video here (see below). Another great use of Facebook could be to create polls to ask fans what songs they want to hear – maybe the winning song will be the song you close your sets with. You could also share your blog on Facebook and ask fans to give you tips about the cities you’re visiting. Fans like to feel involved with the band, so let them get involved. Ask them questions, give them reasons to comment on your posts. Share your live photos and thank you’s for attending the shows.

Twitter: This is also a good place to share thank you’s to fans attending the shows. It’s also a great place to post live reviews or retweet any photos that were taken by fans. If you retweet fan comments and photos from your shows you might just encourage more fans to do this. Anthrax are great at retweeting fan photos and tweets. They even retweeted my photos I took on my phone at a show in Amsterdam. A retweet from the band makes fans feel important and will encourage them to promote the band to their friends and followers.

YouTube: If you have the skills, create a short 20-30 teaser on Youtube. This could feature one of your songs, some live footage from previous shows and the dates you will be playing. This teaser would also be great to share on other social platforms. If you aren’t skilled at editing videos consider asking someone to record you band announcing the tour, or even doing something like a stop-motion video. You can do both of these on your phone if you don’t have access to expensive equipment.

Instagram: Use Instagram for tour merchandise teasers. Share hints of what your merch is going to look like, ramp up some hype and excitement in your fans. Ask them to tag photos of them selves wearing merch that they own. You could even give them an incentive to win something or even receive a free sticker when they show their tagged photo at the merchandise stand.

Consider using Instagram as your only photo platform during the tour for behind the scenes shots. Make sure you tell your fans on Facebook and twitter that if they want to see exclusive tour photos that they should follow you on Instagram. You can share the live shots and on stage photos on Facebook.

 

My top ten Instagram photos in music marketing

In my last post I mentioned that Instagram is a great way to share behind the scenes, live, candid or promotional photos and short videos with your fans. You don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment to use this channel, just a good quality phone, a nice filter and good use of hashtags.

I thought I would share ten of my personal favourite Instagram images with you. It was really hard to choose just one photo from each band and I love each image for very different reasons. Some are professionally shot and some are just raw and fun photos.

Check out their captions, tags, credit to photographers and use of hashtags as well as comments from the fans.
P.s. they are in no specific order.

1. Killswitch Engage

Killswitch Engage

2. Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper1

3. Tesseract

Tesseract

4. Shining

Shining

5. Hardcore Superstar

Hardcore Superstar

6. Stam1na

Stam1na

7. Apocalyptica

Apocalyptica

8. King Parrot

King Parrot

9. Devin Townsend

Devin Townsend1

10. Satyricon

Satyricon

YouTube and Instagram tips for bands

There’s a good chance that you’re already be using these platforms, but I hope some of my thoughts below will still be useful.

social@2x_19Youtube

An estimated 300 hours of new videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute and there are over 1 billion users watching videos.

If you’re starting out or don’t have much of a budget to record video clips get creative! Ask around and see if a friend has a good quality digital camera that you could borrow. It could be also worthwhile to approach local or community film schools to find budding talent at an affordable rate.

Spend some time in the rehearsal studio and see if you can capture a great sounding song in the studio or even live to share with your fans. Don’t upload crappy quality videos just because it’s all you’ve got.

If you have a mate who’s willing to help out, always offer to put them on the door for your show if they are capturing live footage and make sure you give them credit and compensation for their time.

Also, make sure your YouTube page is branded. Upload a quality profile photo and cover image. Read the quick spec sheet for more information. You can also add links to your online channels, so add your website, Facebook page and any other social channels you’re using.

Surprisingly, not many bands have uploaded images or links to their profiles. Not even Devin Townsend, and you know how much I praise his online branding…

Here is Iron Maiden’s channel. You can see they have uploaded their profile photo, cover image and links to their website, Facebook, Twitter and Google + pages.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 10.31.19 PM

Check your comments regularly and ignore the internet trolls. If people don’t like your band, don’t worry. You cant please everyone so don’t get into a disagreement with the trolls. Your fans will stick up for you.

social@2x_04.pngInstagram

If you’re on the road a lot, Instagram is a great way to share interesting photos that capture both the good and bad sides of being on tour. Photos can help your fans to feel more engaged with the band.

Make sure you show both sides of the story. It’s just as meaningful to share a photo of a sold out venue as it is to show the realities of being on tour like awful takeaway food, sleeping in airports and smelly tour buses. Just keep things genuine and your fans will appreciate it.

You can also upload short videos to your Instagram account. So if you don’t have access to a professional camera consider using your phone camera to upload videos. Users of this channel may expect a much more raw feel to the videos, so it’s okay if they’re not professionally recorded.

Don’t forget that these snippets can also be fun videos; at the studio, on tour, teasers for new merch, albums or videos. 

Here are a few cool behind the scenes images from Karnivool’s Instagram account. The screenshots show how many likes and comments each image received.

 

Should your band use Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn?

Today I’ll be looking at Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn to discuss how you could use them to promote your band.

Twittersocial@2x_02

Twitter hasn’t quite taken off in Australia as it has in America, but you should still give it a go. Start off by following bands who have influenced you and follow back anyone relevant that follows you.

Twitter can give you a different way to engage with your fans via direct replies, likes and retweets. It gives you an opportunity to connect with your fans on a one on one level, which could help you to build fans for life.

Twitter is best for short to the point messages, often with an image or a link to another page. Think set times for your show, links to reviews or general thoughts or updates that will fit in 140 characters or less.

Write content specifically for Twitter. Don’t always auto-share the exact same post from every other social platform you use. Why would fans follow you on multiple platforms if you don’t offer different content for each? Give them a reason to follow you.

Here’s a good example of a tweet from Devin Townsend. Check out Devin’s Twitter and Facebook pages to see how he writes different content for each platform.

Devin Townsend tweet

Here’s an example of a generic tweet from Opeth – You can tell by the URL that this has been posted on Facebook and auto-shared to Twitter.

Opeth tweet

Keep in mind that you don’t want to be spamming people with tweets, two to three a day is ok if they are relevant. If you can’t get your point across in one tweet, maybe you should share your thought somewhere like Facebook or a blog post instead.

Check out these 10 twitter tips for bands via mashable. You can also read about these 20 things bands do wrong on twitter via DIY Music Promotion.

social@2x_05Google+

This is another platform that didn’t quite seem to take off in Australia (or at all?), but it does have some unique benefits for small to medium sized brands.

Sharing content and links on Google+ could actually help you rank in search results in cases where your website may not.

People are now searching hashtags on Google (who would have thought! I’ve certainly never tried). So Google is starting to integrate tags that you have used on your Google+ page into their search engines.

If you want to learn more about Google+ and its benefits check out Beyond Social: The benefits to Google+ for business by Alison Zeringue.

social@2x_06 LinkedIn 

LinkedIn is used by individuals and companies alike. However, there might be a few good reasons to connect.

It could be worth setting up a profile as an individual to follow record companies, promoters, tour managers and band managers. It could be a fresh way to connect with people in the music industry.

Added bonus – these companies might also be hiring if you’re looking for a new job!

Have you used any of these social channels?

Leave a reply and share your thoughts. Remember to obey the community guidelines and contact me if you would like me to work with your band.