Technical Difficulties: Raising Profile on the Digital Social Scene
There’s a lot more to being a musician than playing music these days. If you’re looking to expand your fan base, the internet supplies ample routes to reach new ears. Developing a social media presence is essential, but it takes a lot of time and work to build up those numbers. And if you’re trying to book shows in unfamiliar locales, you can bet venue owners expect to see at least a decent looking website and evidence of effective promotional efforts plastered all over your social network pages.
That’s why I go beyond music to cover all the other little tasks artists often have to tackle. I don’t claim to be an expert, but if I share what works for me and others benefit from that info, that’s why I’m here.
Website Inner Workings
This site is a WordPress blog built using the Construct theme from MySiteMyWay. The MySiteMyWay theme framework has made most everything I’ve needed to do thus far as easy as copy and paste. The only exception is the social media buttons, which happens to be an important feature to have working properly when launching a new site.
If you’re trying to spread an idea, you need to provide people with as many ways to share it as possible. That’s why I wanted to make sure my social buttons were functional and ready to spread the word before my big blast off.
After tinkering around with a few different social bookmarking plugins, I decided to go with Social Media Feather. It’s super light weight and you don’t have to sign up on any external sites – it’s just plug and play. It has a boat load of customization options, but it also looks good right out of the box, and works like a charm with all the most popular sites following a quick and painless install. Oh yeah, and it’s free.
The email subscriber form in the sidebar is a widget linked to MailChimp (email marketing service), but everything else you see, as well as a ton of features I’ve yet to employ, are all bells and whistles of the theme. That includes the Google Analytics and Fonts configurations, and all the Search Engine Optimization.
In reality, I’m not too concerned with analytics, bulk emailing and SEO capabilities at this juncture. Those are tools that will gain more importance as web traffic increases. But it’s nice to have them in place early on, and without much fuss. A good theme is worth the money, just in time saved alone. The trial and error of testing plugins for every needed function can be daunting. And the more third-party hands you have on your site, the more potential security flaws hackers have to exploit.
Social Media Maintenance
After getting my sharing buttons set up, I went through and made sure all my social profile pages were on point. I then put up links to all my past blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr. I also added buttons to the Musicianing YouTube channel, a newly opened Instagram account, an old Flickr page that I’m having trouble logging back into, my personal LinkedIn profile, and an RSS feed for the blog.
The first four will be updated regularly, as will YouTube once I get a solid video setup in the works. The other buttons may change depending on how things progress. At this point, I’m just testing out options.
Of course, everything mentioned above only covers the digital footprint of Musicianing. I have a completely separate bundle of domains that I use for promoting my music and gigs.
There’s TimSukits.net, also built on the Construct theme, which is more of a writing portfolio at the moment. Then there’s my musician profile pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, ReverbNation and Soundcloud. I’m aware that all of these properties are in serious need of updating, which I’ll get to soon. But frankly, I’m not spending any time on them until I have a few listener-friendly, promotion-worthy recordings to share with the world.
This launch of Musicianing into the social media stratosphere marks the completion of phase one. In the next phase, my focus shifts squarely on music production. If all goes well, I hope to have an assortment of freshly minted audio and video files to unveil in my upcoming posts.
Spring time means rebirth, and I’m looking forward to falling in love with music all over again this season. Cheers to new beginnings. Now let’s go play some tunes.