40 Ways Bands Can Use Social Media to Increase Engagement at Shows
If you’re a musician, you’re probably using social media in some way to promote your music, invite people to shows, and stay in touch with your fans. We do this so often, we end up going through the motions of engagement without thinking about how the activity affects our SMARTER goals or how we can apply some more creativity to these tools.
Below is a list of 40 ideas that can:
- Help you increase the number of followers
- Sell more tickets for your shows
- Increase engagement before, during, and after your shows
- Build relationships with your fans as well as others in the music industry
You might be doing some of these things already but I’m guessing there are some new ideas that can help you grow in this area. It might even spark some more ideas for you. If you want some more creative ideas that you can apply to your career right away, check out my new daily podcast: Music Business Hacks.
1. Share your shows: Don’t just create an event on Facebook or list it on your ReverbNation page, but actively share across all of your channels at least once per day, everyday, for 20 days leading up to the event.
2. Re-share and tag: Ask everyone on your team – band members, manager, publicist, booking agent, etc. to also share your event. Be sure to tag all other bands/performers, the venue, and promoter as well.
3. Send personal invitations: Simply sending an invite on Facebook doesn’t cut it anymore – these often get lost with the many other notifications. Instead, send a personal message (do not send it as a group, that’s just annoying) to each person in the area. For more information on how to crush it using Facebook events, read my Music Think Tank article here.
4. Post polls: ask questions to find out what kinds of songs your fans want to hear, from classics in your set to new covers. Surveys and polls provide a different kind of engagement, which alters how your content is delivered in social media algorithims.
5. Use event hashtags: Start using an event hashtag before your show – maybe when you’re promoting it. If you’re on tour or have a series of events, then combine messages using it. Share it and ask others, including other acts you’re performing with to use it. You might even consider projecting live messages or offering a contest for users who post using the hashtag during the show.
6. Use a projector: Speaking of live social, consider getting a projector (or screen) that you can use during the show or at your merch booth. It can have a live feed of photos, tweets, and more. You can try a told like Social Board, Juicer, or others.
7. Create a Story: You can collect the best moments from your show and do a recap, then post it as a story on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Content that disappears does have certain benefits: higher engagement, it’s prioritized in feeds, and notifications are sent to your connections.
8. SlideShare: If you have some great content, fun ideas, or quotes, consider putting them into a PowerPoint and uploading it to SlideShare. It’s an underutilized tool that is dominating the SEO game, especially if you also use Linkedin.
9. Run an AMA campaign: Before, during, or after your show, consider hosting an AMA, or Ask Me Anything session. You can do this on any social platform, though it’s most popular through Reddit, where casual observers might stumble upon your music.
10. Livestream: Consider a livestream of your show. You can capture intimate moments before the show (getting ready, soundcheck, loading in, etc.) to build excitement for the event or provide a behind the scenes look, broadcast the performance itself, and even do a recap or Q&A session after the show. Of course, Facebook live is very popular and easy to use now, but you can also consider Livestreaming to YouTube, which is better for archival purposes or Periscope if you have an avid Twitter following.
11. Patreon/Crowdfunding: If you’re a touring artist, consider any of the content above to be a reward for backers.
12. Video Blog: Edit any collected footage to form a video blog that you can post across multiple platforms – the inherent video function in Facebook gets better engagement than a link to YouTube or Vimeo links so you should upload there. If you want to keep things really active, consider different cuts for different platforms, encouraging fans to discover the video in a different kind of way.
13. Audio/Video Commentary and Reaction Videos: Remember the days of DVDs when people would buy them to listen to the commentary? Consider filming a reaction or commentary by your band of the performance you just had or video you recently released. It’s another way to increase engagement on multiple pieces.
14. Caption Contest: Captured a funny moment before or during the show? Upload it with a caption contest to discover the wit – and engagement factor – of your fans.
15. Photos made for tagging: Take a photo of (or with) the crowd, let them know when/where you’ll be uploading it, and tell them to tag themselves and their friends. It’s quick, easy, and usually gets a few dozen people to follow you on your channels. Here’s an example of the angle my band uses at shows:
16. Twitter List: Create a Twitter list with fans, the other bands performing, and venues of your shows so you can start connecting with them early on. Don’t know their Twitter handle? Just ask them – people love sharing their account profiles.
17. Create a trailer: Use some compilation of video footage or a photo slideshow to create a simple video trailer to help promote your show. Videos get higher engagement on all social platforms and are much better than links or simple text updates. You can also film yourself announcing the upcoming show with a link to RSVP or buy tickets.
18. New to the city: If you’re on tour, post an announcement when you first get to the city. You can post thoughts about the place, ask for recommendations for tings to do, who you’re looking forward to seeing (bonus points for recognizing certain fans), and any interesting photos.
19. Check in: When you get to the venue, check in using Yelp and FourSquare. If you’ve created a Facebook event for the show, check into the event itself so it’s tagged when people see it on your feed.
20. Yelp it: If you have a Yelp account, post your concert in the community boards of every city you’re playing.
21. Meet up: Consider creating a Meetup group in your city for fans of local music. Not only can you promote your own shows there as an activity, but you can ask about other local artists and build a community of mutual supporting acts.
22. Pre-show meet up: Throw a pre-show event, like meeting up for dinner with fans before the show. Use tools like Yelp to find places/connect with others and social media to document it. You might even work with the restaurant to promote the event on their websites/social too.
23. Live Tweet/Stream other acts: Build more community and reach across fan bases by using your channels to highlight other acts playing the show during the event. Tag them in all photos and videos. If multiple acts are using the hashtag, it’s a great cross-promotional tool.
24. Tag Sponsors: If you have a sponsorship or endorsing a product, tag the relevant organizations. Not only will that build more goodwill, but it also is a way to deliver proof of report. To learn more about maximizing sponsorships, check this podcast episode.
25. Instagram I-Spy: Play a game of “I Spy” with fans at your concert by describing something you see, then collect photos on Instagram using a hashtag. If they want additional clues, have them ask questions on your post to further boost engagement.
26. Pre-Schedule Content: If you’re too busy or don’t have capacity to live tweet the show or make announcements (like reminding folks of merch for sale), then pre-schedule social media posts using a tool like Tweetdeck, HootSuite, or Sprout Social.
27. Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook, etc.: When was the last time you relied on Facebook to remind you of an appointment? Like most people, probably never. Don’t rely on Facebook events to remind your fans either – when you send out show announcements, include an add to calendar link so people will actually be reminded by their sport phones.
28. Remind people to engage: On stage, quickly remind the audience how they can connect with you on social media. Be clear and direct about the channels you prefer to use and any hashtags, promotions, etc. that you’d like to highlight too.
29. Create “Tweet-worthy” moments: Create a story arc and build a memorable moment for your show that people can’t help but want to share. For bands like Peelander-Z, it might be human bowling. For Jay-Z, it night a moment to freestyle. You might even offer a giveaway or other incentive for fans to connect with you while you’re on stage. Just get creative!
30. Find every post: Search for your name and hashtags across social media channels with a tool like Social Searcher or Sprout Social.
31. Leave no post un-turned: Reply to every like, post, and tag personally to increase engagement (and add the hashtag onto the conversation if they didn’t use it).
32. Collect video of fans: If you’re interacting with fans after the show, ask if they’d be willing to do a 15 second shout out. Ask them what they thought of the show, capture it on video, and share it within 24 hours. Get their social media handles so you can tag them in any recaps or blogs.
33. Use Linkedin to follow up: Connect with promoters, venue owners, bartenders, sponsors, and anyone associated with the event via Linkedin to continue building relationships in a professional space. Not only does it show that you’re serious about how you use your platform, but it provides you with more connections in their network too (most likely other venues, booking agents, and sponsors).
34. Say thank you: Post a message of gratitude immediately following the stage. Be sure to tag other acts, the venue, the promoter, sponsors, and any fans you just met.
35. Cross-pollinate: Use your social media platforms to promote your other channels. For example, use Twitter to promote your Facebook and get more followers. Ask other acts who performed to do the same – help promote artists who you really get along with and help each other out, especially when one of you is on tour.
36. QR Code scavenger hunt: Make visiting your booth or watching your show more fun by having a hidden QR code somewhere. The codes should lead to something good, whether it’s a chance to download free music, see a hidden video, or win a prize pack.
37. Create promo codes: Offer a discount on tickets for every social share that fans make. That can be a promo code that will add up (50 cents off for every social media post about the show with a limit if you feel uncomfortable) or get guest list status for being the most active on promoting the show to their friends.
38. Check-in contest: I used to create show “punch cards” (like the kind you get for buying coffees) for fans who came to our shows, offering a special item after 5-10 shows. Now, you can easily do this by asking them to check in online, instantly promoting their presence at your show to their followers. Reward them for that.
39. Blog it: There’s a lot to be said of long tail marketing efforts – in a nutshell, blogging can be a really good way for you to generate content, make the SEO gods happy, and convey an intimate look at your music. So blog about each show. Be it a video blog (here’s an example of an old video blog from my band that also gained us multiple new sponsors)
40. Create a podcast: Launch a podcast series – either life on the road, commentary about the cities you visit, talk about the inspiration behind each song, or all of the above! You can record and upload episodes on the road. If you upload it via Tunecore or CDBaby, you can earn royalties for listens when it is connected with your artist profile.
There are so many ways you can utilize social media. Just dedicate some time to apply creativity to the process and think about how you can leverage these tools.
Case in point: I wrote the above 40 suggestions in a pure stream of consciousness fashion, just thinking of/writing ideas down as I went along. It took me about an hour to come up with the list, I didn’t plan it out or even research it – I just wanted to share the first 40 thoughts that came into my mind. I’m pretty sure you could do even more!
If you have some ideas, please share by leaving a comment below.