Linkedin is a social networking site that has a specific focus on careers, education, and industry networking. It also happens to be a site underutilized by musicians.
Here are some of the key benefits for using Linkedin as a professional musician:
The opportunity to network with people directly involved in the music industry
Access to contact information for booking agents, labels, A&R reps, managers, and more
Opportunity to engage with other musicians
Access to potential sponsorships and endorsements
Access to networking groups to get questions about the industry answered
Get advice from others directly in the industry
Find opportunities to showcase your music
Like anything else, the content on there should be taken with a grain of salt. You can also gain followers and influence in Linkedin Groups, which will ultimately be of use to you. Here are six proven ways to gain influence on Linkedin:
1) By creating real value: Actually participate in group discussions and add something meaningful, don’t just use Linkedin Groups as a megaphone to promote yourself. This is the foundation of everything else here.
2) Building up your brand: Your Linkedin profile is part of your “brand” or how people view you. Look at the tip above: do you want to be associated as someone who only promotes their own products/services or do you want to be viewed as someone who contributes to others?
3) Make it two ways: You can’t expect others to blindly follow you if you aren’t taking the time to follow them first.
4) Create a niche: Stand out from the crowd by offering unique insights, especially on something that you specialize in
5) Don’t add to the noise: Simply posting your twitter handle and expecting something to come from it isn’t going to help you – if anything, it’ll actually be counter productive.
6) Get to know the mavens: Follow and interact with the top influencers of each Linkedin Group. That will help build your credibility. See what kinds of posts they are making, how they are enriching the rest of the group. Learn from that.
Also, do not create a user account for your band – save that for creating a company page. Instead, you should create a profile for you as an individual. That’s how the site is designed. Like Facebook pages, the Linkedin company page can post updates, services, have some branding, and contact information. Band members can all be tied to the account as employees.
Linkedin Groups can be a great resource for professional networking. But the key is networking, as in working with others. Use it well and it will help open up doors for your music career.
Strategy 1: Create a Band “Company Page”
If you already have a personal account, you can create a company page by listing the band as your employer or company. The company page will allow you to use custom graphics (banner, logo, etc.), have an “About Us” section, and a “Products” section where you can list information about the services your band offers (live performance, licensing, etc.
Strategy 2: Create Projects on Your Profile
On your individual Linkedin profile, you have the ability to add special projects. While listing the band and its accomplishments is certainly useful, the “projects” section has certain advantageous when properly used. Each project allows for a short description, the ability to tag other Linked members/connections involved with the project, and a URL. The URL provides a live link to your website, EPK, or project profile. Connecting the project with other members allows it to be listed on multiple profiles, this strengthening the connection and raising the visibility of the project.
Here are some ideas for projects and the other people you can connect outside of your band members:
Album or EP: At the very minimum, you’ll want to list each major release and include information about album sales, press received, or any other notable accomplishments. Connect with the audio engineer, mastering technician, producer, session musicians, publicist, etc.
Major Tours: The description should cover major destinations, key venues or festivals, the amount of exposure/audience size, etc. Connect with promoters, booking agents, venue owners, publicists, festival staff, road crew, other bands/band members who shared the stage during the tour, press who covered the tour, etc.
Music Video: Music video are great addition to the profile because they are so visual. You can actually embed music videos into the profile’s summary or company information, but use the project section to highlight any key points of the video. The project should connect with the viideo director, actors, extras, producer, film and lighting crew, and people connected with the location.
Key Sponsorship or Partnership: If you launched a major campaign with a key sponsor or partner, this can be a great way to help pave the way for future sponsorships, especially for the Linkedin platform. You can include key staff that were directly involved with the sponsorship or partnership, vendors, press contacts that have covered the sponsorship, etc.
Strategy 3: Get Active in Linkedin Groups
Linkedin Groups are one of the best ways to get more attention on your profile, make connections with people in a specific industry or company, and gain influence/credibility for your field.
To join a Linkedin Group, simply use the search bar at the top and type in any key words. For example, you could type in “music industry,” “music sponsorships,” “independent music,” “music promoters,” etc. Some groups are open, allowing you to join and begin participating immediately, while others require approval for admission. Try joining several groups in areas that you are interested in.
If you are a member of a few Linkedin Groups, try and post something of interest on a regular basis – whether it is a thoughtful article of interest, a question to be answered or debated, or a response to others’ questions, being active gives your profile more visibility in the industry and within that group. The influence measurement is usually measured weekly, which means that you should try and post something at least once per week.
When you’re active in the group, you’ll notice a few members right away: those who post actual content of value and help answer others’ questions, and those who post large quantities of “filler” in order to get attention. Focus on networking with those who add value and follow their example and how to thoughtfully engage with others.
Strategy 4: Follow Thought Leaders
Linkedin allows you to follow thought leaders (called Influencers) who hold influence in their respective fields. Their posts, usually short blogs or articles, will show at the top of your dashboard’s stream. Many of these posts will have thoughtful content that is worth sharing to your own audiences; they’re often about leadership or inspirational and innovative content. It’s also a good way to get to know these leaders.