Social Networks

Starting with the obvious: Myspace. It’s an ugly, cumbersome brute of a website, very nearly swamped in photos of obnoxious people taken at arms length while they pout or flex, but it’s still the first port of call when people are searching for bands online. Sorry, I wish you could avoid it, but you can’t really afford to…

You don’t need to monkey around with your page too much. Keep your best tracks online and your gigs up to date, and you’re about done: the neater the changes you make to the page the better. Highly patterned or coloured backgrounds only make a page harder to read, and the point of having the information on your page up there is so people can read it… Don’t be afraid of a little modification though, just make sure it doesn’t obscure your page, and fits in with the image you’re presenting.

Make sure you’ve got links up to wherever you’re selling your music (we’ve got an iTunes linkmaker on our tools page) and merchandise (see the guide on being a paypal seller).

There is a swarm of other music social network sites out on the web, and you should probably have some presence on each of them. I wouldn’t recommend slavishly maintaining each of 20 profiles though – set up something simple on each one you feel like using, directing readers to your main profile on whatever-it-is.com and keep them updated using artistdata.com’s profile syndication service. It’s a bit like TubeMogul, but for gig dates and blog posts, put updates on artistdata and they’re forwarded to each of your accounts, once you’ve got it set up right.

It’s still worth checking in to all your accounts and making sure they’re all working properly, sifting through the inboxes. Just do it once a month and you’ll be fine.

Concentrating on one channel or site means people will know where to come to find your properly updated material, you won’t lose the opportunity to get fans from minority sites, search engines will have an easier time finding you, and you won’t bash your brains out keeping a hundred half-arsed profiles running.

A good shortcut when you’re trying to build a fanbase on social networking sites is to get your fans and peers to promote you. Offer other bands you like a mail-swap; write to your fans about them and ask them to write to theirs about you. If you write the mailout for them you’re more than likely to get a yes to the swap. You can also try the same with anyone in your fanbase who’s got a million friends – offer them a CD or a t-shirt if they mail their friends about you. It seems mercenary, and it is, but it will get your name out there, with a personal recommendation…

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