The 3 Pillars of Music Fan Engagement

In a previous post we discussed why it’s important that musicians interact with their fans. But how often should this be done? And for how long? Can managers, labels, or interns handle fan engagement for you? In this post, we’ll go over 3 important things to keep in mind when developing a strategy for fan engagement.

The 3 Pillars of Music Fan Engagement


1. Authenticity

First and foremost, communication with your fans must come from you, the artist, in your voice. Not your manager, label, or intern. People aren’t interested in hearing generic updates from your label or agent. They want to get to know your personality, hear about your experiences. Essentially, fans want to feel like they’re on the journey of your career along with you.

Now, can updates sometimes come from your manager/label/intern? Yes, but sparingly, and it should be made clear when the updates are not coming directly from you. For example, on Facebook and Twitter, any updates coming from your management/label could be tagged with “- Team Example Artist”. Nobody else should try to “sound” like you if they’re updating your social media profiles on your behalf.


2. Consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to engaging with your fans. You can’t post an update on Facebook one day, then disappear for several weeks to come back and find that a bunch of fans responded with questions that you never answered. People will likely stop paying attention if you don’t have a consistent presence. There are tons of distractions out there, so to truly break through the clutter, you have to be consistent. Take some time every day to check your social media profiles, respond to fans, ask questions, and start conversations.


3. Sustainability

And finally, when it comes to fan engagement, you have to sustain it over the long term. Don’t expect immediate results. It might take months of being consistent to start seeing more quality interactions with your fans, which in turn could lead to new fans, more people at your shows, and increased sales.

There are literally thousands of distractions out there for people. But if you show up every day ready to engage with your fans in some way; answering a few emails, responding on Twitter, asking questions on Facebook, and you sustain that over months, then years, you will no doubt develop a solid fan base to give yourself the best opportunity to build a sustainable career.

Never Leave Your Fans Hanging

One extremely important thing to keep in mind when it comes to fan engagement: never leave a fan hanging. If they email you, email back. If they leave a comment on Facebook, respond, or at least “Like” it. If they reply or ask a question on Twitter, respond back. A short answer or a quick thank you can go a long way in making that fan feel special, like they're an active part of your world.

As an artist, it really has become part of the job description to interact with your fans. And since fans now have access to an unlimited amount of music, if you leave them hanging, chances are, they can easily find an artist that won’t.

 

Posted by Dave Cool on 01/29/2013 | 7 comments

Musician Website Love: Steve Strongman

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.  Steve Strongman - Photo Courtesy Matthew Barnes

Who: Steve Strongman
What: Blues Guitarist / Singer-songwriter
Where: Hamilton, ON, Canada
Why his website rocks: We love a few things about Steve’s website. He uses some great professional photos to make several strong custom header images throughout his website, and makes those photos available to download in hi-resolution in his Press/Media section. But we also love that he keeps his News page up to date, including letting his fans know that he won 3 Maple Blues Awards this week in Toronto. Congrats Steve!

Check out his site at: www.stevestrongman.com



Posted by Dave Cool on 01/25/2013 | 3 comments

How to add a video playlist to your band website

If you use YouTube frequently to showcase your band, you may have accumulated a lot of content over time. Did you know that you can easily showcase a reel of your video content on your Bandzoogle website by adding a video playlist? This is pretty easy to do! Here's how:

To show a selection of videos that is easily editable, embed a playlist. When you update the playlist on YouTube, the playlist on your site will update as well. This is a good way of creating longer stories through a series of videos or simply giving your readers more pre-selected content to watch.
  • Login to YouTube.com
  • To create a playlist, go to the My Playlists page > Click Manage > click '+ New Playlist' and fill out Playlist Title and Information.

 
  • On the Edit Playlist screen, make sure to set the playlist to Public. Private playlists won't be shareable or embedable.
  • As you find videos you like on YouTube, click "Add to" and then 'Add to Playlist' under the player to add them to your list.

 
You can also add them by URL on the Edit Playlist screen. This means that when you a viewing a video you like, copy the link that appears in the address bar to paste into this field. You can change the order of the videos in your playlist by returning to the 'My Playlist' page.


  • While viewing your playlist, click 1) Share, 2) Embed, adjust the video size, and 3) copy the embed code provided


  • At Bandzoogle, copy and paste the code into an HTML feature (in Edit Pages click ADD FEATURE> HTML)
You may have noticed you can also compile lists of videos other YouTube members have posted. This is a great way to showcase your next opening act or headliner, share fan videos of your last show, or post videos from your bandmates' personal YouTube accounts.

Here is an example of a YouTube Playlist I created titled "Bandzoogle Website Review Reel". WARNING: Listening to 5 website reviews narrated by Dave Cool may lull you into a total zen state.

Posted by Stacey on 01/24/2013 | 4 comments

Operazoogle - 3 Reasons Why Bandzoogle is the Perfect Website Platform for Opera Singers

As some of you may know, my background is in opera. I have trained as an operatic tenor for the past 10 years, and, believe it or not, am not the only member of the support staff who is a trained opera singer. Evening support technician extraordinaire David is also an opera singer, as well as original Bandzoogle programmer Eli (but both are of the lower voiced, bass-baritone variety).

Now, we have performers from all sorts of genres at Bandzoogle - bluegrass, rock, metal, hip hop...Well, I could go on for a long time. Aside from my own genre’s representation on the support team, we do have a few members from the opera scene, and today I want to talk about the three main reasons Bandzoogle is awesome for opera singers.

  1. Quick Updates

    Opera singing is a hugely time consuming vocation. Between vocal coachings, lessons, auditions, and learning roles in multiple languages, it is hard to find the time to spare for a website, and that is probably the reason many opera singers don’t have a website yet. But whether you have the time or not, you do need one. Bandzoogle has you covered there!

    You can easily get your bio updated on the fly in a text feature, add new images from your productions in a Gallery feature, add any video you procure in a Youtube feature, and show off your upcoming gigs in an Event feature. Having these updates easily available means you can spend more time at the piano practicing your German for that upcoming production of Götterdämmerung.

  2. Easy to upload music (and commission free sales!)

    Opera singers are often required to submit recordings for young artist programs, competitions, and bursaries. Since you already have that music recorded, why not upload it to your website? This is a great way to get you more exposure on the web, and it also means if a prospective employer looks you up on Google, they can find examples of you singing right away.

    Beyond that, you could actually consider selling those recordings, right on your site. Bandzoogle doesn’t take any commission of your sales, and it could net you some extra money while you pursue those hard to find gigs. Most opera singers chase down gigs and auditions as much as possible, but don’t approach the idea of making some money on their own. Selling your recordings on your site is a great start!

  3. Fan Connection

    Another aspect of the music business that opera singers tend to overlook is connecting personally with their fans. Indie musicians build their reputation and fame by making their fans an integral part of their business. Having a solid fan base means more people are coming out to your shows, talking about you, and doing promotion for you.

    Using Bandzoogle, you can start connecting with your audience on a more personal level. Using a Mailing List Sign Up feature, you can start collecting fans’ email addresses, and contacting them regularly with news and updates. You can also start blogging directly from your site to keep your fans coming back to read about what you’re up to. Indie musician survival guides are very popular, so why not get an Indie opera singer survival guide gaining momentum on your site?

These are just a few of the many reasons I think Bandzoogle is an awesome platform for opera singers. How about you, Zooglers? Any opera singers out there that have some advice to share for a classical music centric site? Or just want to discuss the MET’s controversial production of Tosca that premiered to all those boos a few years ago? Chime in below, and check out of some of the great opera singers that are already using Bandzoogle for their websites:

http://matiasmariani.com

http://erinwall.com

http://benoitpitre.com

Posted by Justin on 01/22/2013 | 1 comment

Band website love: The Archers

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

Who: The Archers
What: Whimsical folk-pop
Where: Victoria, BC
Why their website rocks: There are a few things you can learn from The Archers’ website. It’s a good example of a website that uses the custom style editor's preloaded library assets to create a unique website design. Choosing a page background and adding a content area colour with the opacity filter is simple, but effective. On the homepage, they add a welcome message that links to their Bio page (read more...). Adding an excerpt from the bio with a “read more” link is great for search engine optimization; using internal links helps Google webcrawlers index your pages more easily, and also tells search engines which pages you feel are important enough to link to from your most visited page, home!
Check it out at: http://thearchersband.com/


Posted by Stacey on 01/18/2013 | 3 comments

Musician Website Review: AnacronMusic.com [VIDEO]

This is the 5th of 5 website reviews as part of the Hypebot & Bandzoogle Video Website Review Contest. For this review, we look at the website for Anacron, a rapper based in Los Angeles: www.anacronmusic.com

We go over the Design, Organization & Navigation, and Content of Anacron's website. And although his site has some nice branding elements, the navigation and content need some improvement to make the website a better and more engaging experience for his fans.

We hope that Anacron, and everyone who watches, finds the video review helpful:

Posted by Dave Cool on 01/14/2013 | 5 comments

Band Website Love: vogelJoy

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

Who: vogelJoy
What: Fun and animated music for the whole family!
Where: Smalltown Southwestern Ontario, Canada
Why their website rocks: We love the branding for vogelJoy’s website. The color choices, fonts, and images all make sense for a band that describes itself as “fun and animated music for the whole family”. We also love their header image, which features a great photo of the band, along with a description of what they do. They also have an excellent Homepage which features a great call-to-action to join their mailing list, a nice big video, a music player, their social links, and all of their latest news. Nicely done guys!

Check it out at: www.vogeljoy.com



Posted by Dave Cool on 01/11/2013 | 12 comments

Practicing What She Preaches: A Crowdfunding Discussion with Ariel Hyatt

For years Ariel Hyatt has been a thought leader helping musicians navigate the digital marketing world through countless videos, blog posts, and books.

Ariel has recently embarked on her very own crowdfunding campaign to help fund a new series of books, as well as an online course. She found herself in the same position as the artists that she advises, and is learning many important lessons about crowdfunding in the process. She took the time to share some of those experiences with us. Enjoy!


1. Now that you’ve embarked on your very own crowdfunding campaign, do you have a new appreciation for what artists go through when asking for money from their fans? Has anything surprised you about the process?

I can definitely say that I have a whole new appreciation for what my artists go through! This process definitely brings up any stories or insecurities you might have around money or making money from your heart but, I have always been a proponent of “practice what you preach.”

And I am very glad that I am trying this so that I can help artists in the future utilizing first-hand experience. The thing that has surprised me the most about this process is my own fear. I've been an entrepreneur for 17 years and I've done a lot of things however something about this campaign brought up a lot.


2. What should artists have prepared before starting a crowdfunding campaign?


Preparing for a campaign is intense. The 1st step is figuring out which platform to use. Next, you have to decide how much money you can feasibly get based on the audience that you have on both your mailing list and in social media and how long you'd like your campaign to be. From there, it takes a lot of work; it's not just make a video and go, although getting the video right is definitely part of it. You have to decide what 7 or 8 tiers you are going to offer and who you might be partnering with to fulfill the offerings.

These are two obvious pieces of content that you need for a crowdfunding campaign:
  • Campaign Video
  • 8 to 9 Levels of Rewards

But something that I completely overlooked was the truly overwhelming amount of OTHER content that I also needed in order to launch the campaign, including:

  • Reward Graphics
  • Webpages
  • Blog Posts
  • Newsletters
  • Expanded Campaign Videos
  • Video Testimonials
  • Ad Banners
  • Skins (Backgrounds) for Social Media Accounts
  • A schedule for updates - how often you're going to send them
  • New ways of talking about your campaign that don't stress out your community
  • And content that makes you not feel like a carnival barker is key


3. Do you think an artist needs to have a fanbase already before trying crowdfunding, or can crowdfunding act as a way to attract new fans?

Crowdfunding is definitely not the way to gain new fans. It is not a discovery tool it is something that you should only do when you are convinced that you know how to communicate well with fans. In talking to Brian Meece, the founder of RocketHub who helped me extensively in prepping for my own campaign, he told me that in order for a campaign to be successful he usually sees very close friends or family members of the campaign creators pitching in larger offerings so you also must ask yourself who of your dear friends and family might be willing to help you out aside from your fans.


4. What factors can help artists figure out the amount they should try and raise through a crowdfunding campaign?

Definitely think about your family and your closest friends and how generous they are, also an indication of your past sales will tell you some things. If you are working with PledgeMusic and RocketHub I know from first-hand experience they are very good at personally walking you through what their estimations are. One of the main reasons why I am using this campaign to write a crowdfunding guide is I would also like to help you determine just how to do the estimates so you don't fail at crowdfunding.


5. You’ve been focusing a lot lately on telling your personal story, how important would you say that is for artists to convey during a crowdfunding campaign?


The work of my agency Cyber PR is to help artists tell their personal stories as a way of bonding with fans. We like who we know and trust we want to communicate with people we feel an affinity for. This is key for any artist trying to not only sell their art but also convey their art, and the storytelling process should happen way before a crowdfunding campaign. So I decided I would tell more of my story that I have in the past because it is my intention to introduce myself to a new community of people with this campaign not just musicians. I also wanted to make this very personal and I felt telling my story was a great way of doing that.


6. Part of your campaign is to help fund the publishing of a new book called “Cyber PR® For Musicians: Tools Tricks & Tactics For Building Your Social Media House”. How does social media fit into an artist’s crowdfunding campaign strategy?


Obviously social media is a quick way of communicating what you're up to two-year fans and friends as we all know it's very hard to prove “ROI” which means return on investment on social platforms however I find it very helpful for keeping your story alive as you progress to your campaign the matter which platform you decide to work with.



For more information about Ariel’s “Cyber PR: Fuel Your Fans & Feed Your Career” crowdfunding campaign and how you can get involved, visit:
http://www.rockethub.com/projects/11964-cyber-pr-fuel-your-fans-feed-your-career



Posted by Dave Cool on 01/10/2013 | 5 comments

5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Band Website

Well, it’s a new year filled with opportunities for your music and your career. It’s also a good opportunity to give your website a fresh new look. Here are just some of the ways you can make your website feel new and exciting again in the new year:

1. Change the Music

If you’ve had the same music on your site for a while, why not change it up a little for the new year? You don’t have to remove your most popular songs of course, you should always have those on there, but you can add some new songs, or other songs on your album that didn’t get any attention on your website before.

If you’re a Bandzoogle member, you can use our detailed music data to measure which songs are working better than others. If certain songs are being skipped over, change them out for new ones and keep testing to see what works.


2. Add New Photos

You can also think about changing up the photos you’ve been using on your site. You still have that old photo of the band in front of a brick wall? Time to change it! If you already did a professional photo shoot, maybe you can use some different photos from that same series to freshen up the look of your site. Or, you can go back for another photoshoot to completely change things up.

We cannot overstate the importance of using professional photos on your website. It brings the look of a site up to a whole new level. So if you don’t have professional photos on your site, you should make one of your goals in the new year to plan a photoshoot with a professional photographer. Not your friend/uncle/cousin who owns a digital camera, but someone who makes their living at it.

If you have a tight budget, you can try contacting your local college/university to see if they have a photography program. You might be able to find a student to do a photoshoot for cheap to add to their portfolio. Or, you can always try bartering with a photographer. Maybe you play ukulele and there’s a photographer out there that really wants to learn. You can trade ukulele lessons for some pro photos. Everybody wins.

Bonus: Another idea is to add Interactive Photos to your website. By using ThingLink, you can make those personal and stock photos interactive with audio and video players, social links and social sharing. Here’s a blog post explaining how: Add Interactive Photos to your Bandzoogle Website with ThingLink


3. Add New Videos


You do have videos on your website, right? You should at least have your best video featured on your Homepage, and preferably a full video gallery on your site as well. So you could change out your featured video on your Homepage to drive up views on a different video, or add some new videos to your gallery.

And remember, you don’t need expensive editing software to make videos for your website. Check out our blog post: How to edit videos for your website without fancy software (for free!)


4. Change the Background Image

Another way to freshen up the look of your website is to change the background image. You can use a photo from your photo shoot, album artwork, stock images, or simply a repeating texture. If you want to be really fancy, you can even create different background images for each page of your site.

Melanie from support has written several blog posts outlining how to make great background images for your website:

Behind the Scenes – Make a great background for your website!

Make a great music website background part 2: The Seamless Texture

Make a great music website background part 3: Creating different backgrounds

Band Website Design Tip: Make a repeating background for any screen size


5. Change the Template

One sure way to freshen up your website is to change the look completely by switching to a different template. You can choose from the hundreds of different templates available, or you can choose to create your own custom template using our Custom Style Editor.

If you want to try creating your own template, the previously mentioned blog posts about Background Images will be very helpful, as well as these posts that go over custom designs, header images, color schemes, and fonts:

A Crash Course in Custom Designs

Website Design tip #97: Selecting Colour Schemes

Musicians: Learn How to Properly use Fonts on Your Blog (and Website)



Have you changed the look of your website recently? If so, post the link in the comments and tell us what’s new about it!

Posted by Dave Cool on 01/08/2013 | 7 comments

Musician Website Love: Whistle for Swift

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

Who: Whistle for Swift
What: Instrumental loop-rock
Where: Fort Worth, Texas
Why their website rocks: We love the simplicity of Whistle for Swift’s website. With a custom designed header image on a white background, along with nice font and color choices, this is a great looking site. Plus the simple, well-organized navigation menu and a great Homepage with latest news, mailing list sign-up, and a featured video, just gives us more reasons to love this site!

Check it out at: www.whistleforswift.com



Posted by Dave Cool on 01/04/2013 | 5 comments