Conversations are our currency in the social media age. I know that sounds silly, but that is where we are at. In many ways conversations have always been the currency of our people. Think about it, even at shows decades ago how did you find out about bands? It wasn’t just through flyers or whoever had a street team distributing a record that day, it was through people talking about shit. It’s about getting a word of mouth going and you can’t just rely on your friends to be talking about your band all the time especially not in this day and age where there are so many bands to choose between. It’s overwhelming and to ask anyone other than you to be the organic conversation starter is a little arrogant. It’ll happen if you’re good, but you always need to be the person stating and driving, especially early on. I want to spend some time talking about strategies that you can use today to grow your band in an organic way.
The big thing that I have been experimenting with lately is to push your name on your top hashtags. That is to say if you are a heavy stoner band then go to the #stonermetal and #stonerock feeds on Instagram and comment on the top ten comments. Do that every day. Find eight other key hashtags for you, maybe #stonerdoom and keep growing it from there. It’s going to suck at first, but you get into a rhythm. I know I’m asking you to leave 100 comments a day. But it will boost your interaction. This is the currency of our age. You want people to see your name and while advertisements are effective this is free. So if you’re going to tell me you don’t have money for an advertisement then fucking suck it up and leave 100 comments. If you can type at all it should only take a dedicated half hour a day. You can do it and you can grow.
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This ties into another key strategy for anyone trying to boost engagement on their Instagram. Go and reply to every comment you get. Every. Single. One. Again, I know it sucks and I know it’s hard, but guess what, you’re not in this to be like the other bands. You are reading this article because you are trying to differentiate yourself. There is no magic key. What I can tell you though is that by replying to all of the comments people will notice that and they will feel like they are being spoken with and loved. Once they start to feel loved they get more of an incentive to come back. This is where a lot of the value of Instagram pods is derived from for example. It’s just from people who spend the time to grind it out and then keep replying. Note though that when I say you need to reply, don’t just comment with emojis or whatever. The same goes for when commenting on trending posts in your hashtags of choice. It has to be meaningful content for it to work.
The Facebook equivalent of going in and commenting on key hashtags is to hustle in groups. While I think there is something to be said for commenting on specific Facebook pages I don’t know if it’s practical to get enough traction there to really make a difference. That being said I see bands all the time who use Facebook groups as a way to get people to care. They aren’t promoting themselves though, they are just commenting. That’s the key for conversations in every aspect we discuss here. You can’t just be trying to sell. You need to have faith that if you, for example, comment on a strangers post on Instagram or Facebook, people will say “Who is this guy?” and click over to your profile and give you a like or a follow. This is key for growing your name in a tangible and organic way that develops real fans.
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Of course the platform that is entirely built on conversations is Twitter. This actually makes it really intimidating for people I think and I get it. It’s weird to have a social media platform that isn’t just about throwing your content out there the way that Facebook or Instagram are. It’s a real struggle and one that I don’t think a lot of people are going to get. However as I have written countless times before Twitter use can be an effective way to growth hack your way in any industry. It’s especially useful in music because that is where the journalists hang out and that makes it a lot easier for them to want to review you. If you are trying to DIY your own PR campaign maybe start with Twitter just because that’s a space where you are going to get attention foisted upon you and you will be able to start to get some real attention flowing towards you.
Long story short, on all the main social media platforms, engaging in conversation is how you are able to hack the algorithm to get your posts viewed more. Once your posts start to get viewed more you start to get more attention. Attention turns into money if you are a band. You want organic attention, attention generated by people who are in your scene and who are actively looking for new bands. This doesn’t always happen when you run ads, though running ads is important. You need to take the time to focus down, lock in and work on developing a plan of attack that involves you engaging with your community. We need to grow together and if you try to make yourself into an island and don’t reach out you will just end up getting stuck.