Social Media Presence Required

I know, long time no blog. Well, I’m promoting the new CD, trying to maintain my health and I’m still a mom, wife and responsible dog owner…a lot of bases to cover. Plus, I’m taking some time to catch up on some reading and participate in community events. So, micro-blogging from now on. Here’s the latest:

I recently attended the Austin Music Foundation‘s panel “How to Get Booked at a Festival”. Panelists included the booking powers that be at SXSW, ACL and Lollapalooza. I just wanted to share with you something that everyone on the panel agreed with when asked if there was one thing that would cause festival booking agents to immediately dismiss a band/performer: No social media presence.

Now, there were other things they agreed upon, obvious things like bad music or music not compatible with the festival theme. Rudeness was also mentioned. But, it was very clear that if you were not making a real effort to engage with your fans through social media, none were going to take you seriously. Here this:  festival booking agents are expecting you to promote yourself and their festivals if you want them to put you in front of their crowds. They will choose someone who is doing the work to engage fans over someone who does not.

But, please don’t think you can fake it. They are on to those who buy followers. If they don’t see real/organic engagement, they’re going to pass. And, I don’t believe you have to spend 24/7 on social media to have a presence. If you want, you can help build it with legitimate ad campaigns and promoting your pages at shows. Then, take a few minutes a day to engage with those who follow you. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself with it. If your goal is to break into music festivals, it’ll be worth your time. The more you know… ūüôā

Next up:¬†This Friday I discuss¬†royalties: How to Get Paid as an¬†Indie Artist¬†– w/ @cindypluggedin at 5PM EST: WVQC. ¬†Blog to follow…

Scam alert! Thanks Google image search! (Blog)

Alright, here we go again. I seriously can not imagine a mind that would go to such great lengths to attempt to scam someone. They dangled faith in God and money in front of my nose. Ridiculous. But, for the sake of teaching others how to check these things out using Google search tools, I decided to write this blog.

For those who don’t want the whole story, here’s the skinny:

Who: Mary0 on Soundcloud or Mary Swaggart on Facebook.

What: one of those “I’m sick/dying and I need help distributing my large sums of money to the poor” scams.

What to do: Ignore and dismiss their attempts to contact you

For those who want the dirty details and google search tips:

I was first contacted via soundcloud and asked for my email address (which is publicly available) so that she could send me an urgent message about a project.

Then, she contacted me on my Facebook fan page with a fake profile. We had a back and forth conversation. This is what she asked me to do if you care to read it.

marys

Yeah. Ridiculous. Just reading it will tell you it’s a scam. And, she had no info, uploads or identifying pics on her¬†Soundcloud page. But, her FB page had a picture of someone hospitalized which seemed consistent with her story. So, I checked out the pic using Google image search. How? Easy. I learned how to do it on the “What is one cool internet trick you’ve learned?” thread on Reddit.

1) Right click the profile picture of the scammer and save to your desktop

jade

2) Go to Google.com images and click on the little camera in the search box.

googleimages

3)Choose the picture from your desktop or drag and drop if you have that option (be sure not to change the name of the photo)

googleimages2

4) Bam! Yeah, fake profile pic.

jadegoody

I know people use other people’s images as their profile pics all the time but, the fact that this person contacted someone they don’t know to distribute millions of dollars, got defensive when I said “no” and had no traceable connections or identity other than a very recent entry on “Apostles International Seminars” website that repeated the same vague info, screams “scammy scam scammer!”!

Oh yeah, also did a search on the bond company. While several entries made it look as if it is a company that actually exists, the fact that it turned up in posts on meetup message boards in spammy ways gives you a hint that it is being used for non legit purposes.

Now, I’m not completely savvy on ways to scam people so, I’m sure there are other details I’m missing. Just hope I can give you an idea of some basics to look out for.

ūüôā

Peace out.

Facebook, what have you done? (nerd blog/FB groups)

A word to bands: avoid adding your Facebook friends to groups without their permission or risk annoying them permanently. 

I simply don’t understand it. They give people the option of creating groups and automatically adding their friends to these groups AND the default setting for is for friends to receive email on all postings to the group. NO!!!!

Now, you can go to “notifications” under your account settings and uncheck the box next to “adds you to a group”. BUT, then you won’t know when people add you to a group and that could be annoying down the road when you start receiving all the posts to the group or chat messages from the entire group. This has happened to me and it took me several minutes to figure out how to unsubscribe from the chat. 

Me: UNSUBSCRIBE!!!

Chat: DING! hey what’s up DING! nothing much, how you doin’ DING! What’s going on this weekend DING! Love the new pics on the group page. ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧ DING! DING!

Me: UNSUBSCRIBE!!!!

 

Here is how to UNSUBSCRIBE FROM GROUP CHATS: 

1) Go to the group page

2) Hit “edit settings” at the top of the page

3) Pick and choose what you want from here

Group

You can also unsubscribe from the group by hitting the “leave group” link on the right hand column. Oh, and you see that “add friends to group” link there too? Leave it alone unless you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that your friends don’t mind being a part of whatever group you are creating. I can say that there are only five groups I’ve been okay with people adding me to. Two were created by very close personal friends. Two are for organizations I fully support and the last was created by someone who asked my permission before adding me. 

If you have a different opinion of groups, please share it with me. I am clearly speaking from my own perspective here. What do you think of groups and/or people adding you to them? 

 

 

 

FB Page Design How-tos (Nerd Blog)

I love having other techie-nerds as friends… especially, when I don’t have the time to navigate the ins and outs of the every-changing social networking system. After all, just when you have it all figured out, something will be updated, redesigned, reconfigured or done away with. All it takes is one trip out of town or a week with 4 or 5 gigs in a row and I’m lost. So, TGFM! Thank goodness for Madalyn!

If you don’t already follow Madalyn Sklar, founder of the GoGirls organization (a worldwide network of female musicians) and both  SN4M.com (Social Networks 4 Musicians) and socialnetworksforbiz.com, what are you waiting for? If you go to any of the major music conferences, you may have already seen her on a panel giving out a wealth of info on how to promote your music online. She knows all the social networking tips and tricks and she stays on top up the trends. I’m telling you from experience, you can’t have a conversation with her without learning something.

Madalyn recently invited me to view an e-class she gave on how to work with the new Facebook page design. I had already been working with it and thought I knew everything I needed to know. Wrong. Madalyn has adopted the motto “work smarter not harder” and, she helps you do just that. The following video gives us a sneak peek and explains some of the FB page changes and how to use them to our advantage. The e-class, which consists of 3 videos, is available here and includes a Q&A segment with her class attendees: http://www.socialnetworksforbiz.com/biz/video0311.htm

Madalyn is also available here:

 

 – Laura Marie

Next up: I build my new website using Bandzoogle.com. Let’s see what happens…

Bands: Social Networking No-No’s #2-5

The ridiculousness of adding a bunch of people on Myspace and then treating them like your loyal fans is what has made Myspace a joke. Of all the emails you received from bands on Myspace, how many of them are from bands or musicians that you actually know and like? Chances are, if you’re a band, you’re probably treating all of them like your loyal fans too. If I didn’t know better, I know I would. Why? Because I don’t add people on Myspace. Haven’t in a long time. After I reached so many 1000 friends, Myspace automatically removed my right to approve friend requests and just adds them to my list. The only exception, I believe, is for those who are running paid ‘add’ campaigns. I have to manually approve those and, for the most part, I don’t. Initially, I did this so that I could safely assume that people adding me were fans. But, I can’t assume that at all. They add me and, in the backasswardsness of it all, I’m considered their  fan. 

Can’t we all agree that this is stupid? This was the reason Facebook created fan pages. And, now, bands are trying to bypass that by doing several things that are proving to be HUGE turn-offs to fans and fellow-musicians:

2) Adding you as a personal friend and then bombarding you with excessive event invites and personal email invites to shows. 

That’s a sure fire way to get deleted as a friend or have your events added to the “ignored” list as in “ignore all future invites from this friend?” Um, yes. Do send out invites but, be mindful of how many you send out to the same people or people who aren’t even in your area. You can filter friends by hometown and create lists for different cities. I’ll work on a how-to for that. 

Side note: If someone replies “no” to your event, don’t send them emails telling them it’s their “Last chance…” or “Change your mind….”. Or worse,  if they haven’t replied, don’t send them an email saying “Why haven’t you replied?” . Ugh!  I repeat, people are being bombarded with this stuff. Don’t add to it with your need to have everyone acknowledge you. 

3) Posting their events on your page or tagging you in their videos, pics, wall photos of band flyers so they’ll show up on your wall. 

Oh, no you didn’t! Don’t try and figure out how to make Facebook as “useful” as Myspace was for spreading the word about yourself. That’s not the way it works in other social networks. It’s just obnoxious for bands to post their stuff all over everyone else’s “walls”. Personal pages are for making personal connections! That’s what is important on Facebook. And, don’t get me started on people who post their gigs on other bands fan pages. Unless the musician your tagging is involved in the show: tacky. I even had one person comment on an event link and say “Hey, if you can’t make it to her show, you can go to mine over here…”. Really?!

4) Becoming a fan on any social network and then saying something along the lines of “I’m your fan, now be mine” or “I follow you, now follow me” (which always reminds me of Phil Collins ‚̧ but, that’s beside the point)

The definition of “fan”: an ardent admirer or devotee. Short for “fanatic”. Call me crazy but, I think, if you want fans, you want people who really like your stuff instead of people who feel obligated to like your stuff because you liked theirs. You can’t make people like your music but, if you are nice, they might support your music even if it’s not their favorite thing in the world. It’s fine to politely invite people to check out your music but, don’t take it personally if they don’t. Let it go and remind yourself that they’ll see what you are doing in their home feeds. If they are going to get interested in your music, they’ll do it as they get to know you. Post a link here or there (not everywhere and not all the time). Suggest your page to them (don’t post it on their wall). 

5) Taking it one ginourmous step further and asking you to do the advertising for them.

I’m not talking about bands asking their fans to help spread the word, I’m talking  about bands saying. “Hello, I like your stuff. Here’s my stuff. Tell all your friends about me.”

Can you imagine this in any other business? “Hey, Wendy’s? This is Billy Bob’s Burgers. Love the  value menu you have going on. We liked you on Facebook and/or follow you on Twitter. Could you tell all your customers to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, come to our restaurant and buy our stuff.”   Huh? I have so many of these…it’s like someone wrote a blog suggesting that musicians should do this. If so, please tell me who. I really want to know. 

And, it’s not even about competition…it’s about honesty. 
I don’t mind promoting other bands and musicians at all! I love doing it. I cross promote with several musicians I work with and some I don’t work with but, just because I love them.  I think it should be this way. We should be helping each other out in ways that make sense. It makes no sense for me to promote people I don’t even know or whose music I don’t like. I don’t expect anyone who doesn’t like my music to support or promote it. That would be silly. And,if you are only promoting someone because they guilted you into it (or, even paid you to do it), you lose credibility. No thanks. 
Now, on Twitter, it’s often customary for people to “follow back” when someone follows you. Musicians, please, don’t take this as an opportunity to address everyone on Twitter as your biggest fan. Big, huge, famous people can do this. You know, those that only follow 10 people but have thousands of followers. In that case, it’s safe to say that most of the people following them are fans. Also, on that note, don’t just follow people to have them follow back and then, stop following to drive your “followed” numbers up. That’s just silly and annoying. Again, social networking is about building relationships not making yourself out to be something you aren’t. 
All that said, go on… THINK BIG!
Be EVERYWHERE.  You should be making it stupid easy for people to find you. 
You are awesome, you are amazing, you are all that and a can of confetti! That in itself will draw people to you.  So, put yourself out there in a big way, just not on top of everyone else. That’s the old way. The playing field is different now. You have to find creative ways of standing out while being part of the music community instead of just trying to step over everyone else in it.  
 – Laura Marie
Next Up: SXSW stuff, the low down on apps used

 

For the Indie Do-It-Yourself-er

The following are helpful tools I presented to Elite members of the GoGirls in one of our “secret” meetings at Folk Alliance in Memphis this year. This is a list. It is only a list. If you need further help or have questions about any of these, please post in the comments below. I’ll share my experience as best I can.

These are just some great places to start if you don’t have a team around you and are working on a limited budget. And, yes, you should have your own “.com”. A Facebook fan page will not suffice. And, if you are a band and have a Facebook profile and are using it as a fan page…stop it. Now. Please. 

 

Helpful Tools for Indie Artist

 

Easy and affordable DIY websites: Hostbaby.com and Bandzoogle.com

Both sites now have customizable templates that are affordable and allow you to update your pages and sell your music with very little hassle.

 

Most affordable iPhone app (and Droid to come…): getsoundaround.com

Now owned and also available through Reverbnation.com. Price cannot be beat!

 

Update all your social networks at once: Hootsuite and Ping 

Both of these services allow you to update your social networking sites and FACEBOOK FAN PAGES from your computer and both have iPhone apps for your convenience.

 

Landing pages for your Facebook fan page: Rootmusic.com and FanBridge.com 

Social Networks 4 Musicians has a sweet deal for custom pages but, if you have some DIY skills check out Rootmusic. And, if you are already using FanBridge, they’ve made it easy for you. 

 

DIY CD Sales: Bandcamp.com, Tunecore.com and CDBaby.com 

There are benefits to each. If you haven’t checked them out, do it now.

 

Credit Card sales at your shows: CdBaby.com and Square iPhone app 

Securely swipe credit cards on your iPhone and get direct deposits or get the affordable swiper through your CDBaby.com account.

 

Get your music on the radio: Airplaydirect.com

Get professional and beautiful download cards: Dropcards.com

Get royalties: Soundexchange.com (lengthy application but, do it. If your music is streaming anywhere online, you could have money waiting for you)

Get songs licensed: Pumpaudio.com (They are pretty selective about the music they choose so, be prepared with professional quality recordings of songs as well as instrumental versions. Some people hate the terms so be sure to read them over carefully. All I know is that I’ve received some pretty nice checks without having to shop my songs on my own.)

 J

 

  -Laura Marie

 

Up Next:

Bands: Social Networking No-No’s #2

FB iPhone app blues (nerd blog)

P161

It’s not just you. The app is exhibiting all sorts of random issues. As of today (though, for the last couple of days), I can’t upload pics from my app or check email. Ah well, this too shall pass.

Meanwhile, happy Valentine’s day or not. Either way: be love.

I’m on the road to Memphis to attend International Folk Alliance and we will be broadcasting live from the GoGirls room starting Wednesday. Live webcasts are a great tool for indie musicians. I’ll let you know how it works or you can check it out here:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/gogirlsmusic

And the schedule:

http://www.gogirlsmusic.com/fa11/

All my best,

Laura Marie
(sent via mobile)