The 5 BARE Basics of Social Media for Bands & Musicians

Thanks to the People of Internet for the image.

Sure, you hate social media. Even for a grrrl who grew up obsessed with Penny’s know-everything notebook in Inspector Gadget, I’ve had my fill of constant contact. But, for most of us, social media is a necessary component of modern living. That statement can be double-plus true for musicians and artists and small business owners.

For many in this group, they chuck social media on the “necessary evil” pile and grumble through the hours of scrolling. Seriously, thirty minutes a day for your band or your side gig or whatever hustle you got going, that’s all you need.

1. Set times limits.

Okay, this one might make you feel like a bit of a child when you hit your social media “time limit” for the day, but I’m going to even go a step further a suggest you set an actual timer. Srsly. Everybody needs to develop their own social media involvement level, but personally, I’m of the thought that nixing it entirely has its problems, just as too much online engagement does.

Set a timer. Maybe an actual timer. To help you limit your online time and remind you that a three-dimensional world exists a well. I’m not making any judgments here. My social media time is basically 7:00 am until 7:00pm with assorted hours on weekends and evenings. But even during my “active hours” I close out the windows to Facebook and Twitter so I can focus on other tasks while keeping my alerts active in case something requires an immediate response.

TBH, I need to work on limiting my online time during the off-hours. I’m not ashamed to say I enjoy a little idle scrolling now and again. But the key for me is confining this activity to a set amount of time and not losing hours to the k-hole of the internet.

2. Use that time wisely.

Don’t idly scroll through endless memes or watch videos about baby animals. I mean, sure, you can sandwich in a few minutes at the start and end of your daily social media time for the fodder that makes the World Wide Web fun. But, really, make sure you’re only allotting yourself a set amount of time (like five or ten minutes) in addition to your set social media time.

Wasting time is awesome and it’s our right as Americans to whittle away the hours however we damn well please. That being said, if you’re trying to reduce your overall time spent on social media budget your time wisely. Like 10 minutes of fodder to close out an hour spent online attending to social media matters. Once again, just a suggestion on the timeline, but budgeting your online time is essential for making the most out of the least amount of interneting.

Make a list of tasks and tackle them top to bottom with focus and determination. I usually start with posting new content and then replying to previous messages sent through social media before scheduling any additional posts for the day. At least, that’s my in-and-out approach when my day is full of meetings and articles and general busyness.

3. Cultivate a Cross-Platform Approach

Maybe you hate Facebook. Maybe you’re betting on that Myspace comeback. Whatever your personal preferences, it’s important to cultivate a cross-platform approach to social media because fans and friends might have their own weird particulars on the social media front as well.

So you hate Facebook. Go with an Instagram/Twitter/Bandcamp approach. I’m of the mindset that you should secure handles across all platforms, even if you don’t plan on posting regularly (or at all) on every platform.

4. Choose a preferred platform.

Okay, so maybe you prefer Facebook to Instagram or Twitter to everything. Whatever. If you feel sassy, you can experiment and see what sends the most traffic or drives the most online engagement with your creative content. Or maybe you skip all that and just go with Facebook. Maybe you really love filter possibilities of Instagram for all your band selfies or the snapback of Twitter. You do you.

But then, once you have chosen your team, run with it. Check it regularly. Refer people to it from those lesser locations. Meaning you use the band bio space on your less-than-lively Twitter account to maybe link to your popppin’ Instagram. Or vice versa. Let folx know where you are most likely to engage.

And, once you’ve chosen your platform, be consistent. You can decide what that means for you. For us, we’re posting new content daily, but some people only post updates on a weekly (or monthly) basis. Other folx go hard with several posts a day and sometimes I am one of those people.

5. Follow New People, Make New Friends, Like the Things that People Make

This is both the easiest and the hardest part, but if you set a little bit of your online time into seeking out new connections, you might be surprised at who winds up in your network. Read about a cool SoCal band on a music blog? Follow them. Like their shit. Maybe even drop them a line. Depending on the band, it should be no big deal to say “hey” and maybe even suggest your band joining forces with them for a Phoenix stop on their next tour. Hey, maybe follow a music blog and send them your new single.

People are busy. Bands and blogs don’t always respond, but tenacity is made of a million tired, tiny steps and it eventually pays off. Setting goals determines the course and then you just have to keep baby stepping your way to victory whether that’s increased followers or out-of-town band connections.