1.2 Online Tactics



1. Export Strategies

1.1  Marketing Primer

1.2   Online Tactics

1.3   Image Consultation

1.4   Networking

1.5   Tricks of the Trade

2. Digital rights
3. Support and Funding
4. International 101
5. Conclusion


1.2 Online Tactics

Whilst each composer is different in terms of who their target audience is at any one time (other composers, performers, promoters, students, the general public), we believe that there is a set of basic structures that you must get to grips with in order to support your content - including basic web presence, availability of content, Google Analytics and social media strategies.

Chances are, you probably already have a website or a blog that you created a while ago and fail to update regularly. The first thing you need to ask yourself is, 'will visitors be able to find all the relevant information in my website?' You must make sure that all of the important information is there and is easy to find. For your websiet, think of a menu that includes 'news,' 'music downloads,' 'biography,' 'videos,' 'photos,' 'performances,' with social media links and VERY IMPORTANTLYyour contact details. Then, you need to make sure that all of this information is updated regularly. If you feel as though you have time to write regularly you can complement your website with a newsletter or blog, however, they must be maintained and include interesting topics for your readers. If you don’t have a website yet, look at setting one up. You can do this easily yourself or hire someone to do it for you (see the Composer’s Toolkit for more information). We recommend a simple Tumblr blog or using a pre-structured Wordpress template.

The key reason for having a website is to make it easier for people to find you, and have all your information concentrated in one place. In order to increase your web presence, and make it easier for potential partners, collaborators and fans to find you, you need to make sure your SEO is correct.  SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and provides a way in which you can make it easier for search engines to index and understand your content. By having a good SEO, your website will rank higher in searches.

This is how you do it... 

First, make a list of the words people will look for in Google when searching for you and your compositions. For example, you might include composition titles, your name, names of contemporaries, album or sets of composition titles, names of any partners you have (like your publishing company or agency) and words detailing the mood that your music evokes, i.e. ‘surreal’, ‘ethereal’ or ‘ambient’, for example.

Having completed this, here are the next steps (according to the Google SEO Manual):

●      Inform users, and Google, of the page’s content by using descriptive, accurate titles that use target words. This is done in the 'back end' of Google Analytics, which you sign-up to for free by visiting their site here.

●      Use description meta tags for each page that include target words and summarise its content.  Meta tags are bits of code embedded in HTML that tell people what’s on your website.  Here’s a Wikipedia entry about what they are. Google Analytics will prompt you to edit their descriptions once you give the registered link of  your site (i.e. myname.com).

●      Make URL slugs that describe the page content using target words.  Slugs are highlighted here in italics: myname.com/tour; myname.com/bio; etc.  This is very helpful and will help your content to be captured by Google and other search engines.

●      Create useful and compelling content. Make it unique, focused on a topic, easy to read and containing the keywords that you use in the analytics of your posts, headings and other content. This will ensure that your Google rating (when people Google you) is high and you will be on the front page.

●      Edit your anchor text. This is the short blurb that is featured on the search engine's results and in the top bar when someone clicks on your website.  If you have a friend designing your site, ensure they do this. 'Your name - Composer - City You’re Based In,' for example. 

●      Always label all of your images, regardless of where you upload them (Facebook, Tumblr, your site, etc.)

Most 'content management services' have SEO plugins that you can use. You must make sure that you create and update content regularly, and support your website through your social media pages in order to achieve more visits. It is also important to have profiles in Google’s social media networks such as Google+ or YouTube, else Google penalises you in its search listings.

To learn more, this is one of the best and most user-friendly guides to developing your SEO profile: Beginners Guide to SEO

Once you have a functioning website and social media properties with SEO, it can be useful to monitor your visitor’s interaction with it. Google Analytics allows you to know exactly how visitors find your page (whether it was via Google, a link from another website, or through typing your URL) and what users do from the moment they find your page until the moment they leave. Therefore, Google Analytics is a very useful tool to create online marketing strategies. It tells you a lot about your visitors: their cities and languages, which web pages they come from, how long they visit your website, what pages they visit more, or how they find you in the search engines (which can help you to improve your SEO positioning). This is the beginning of how you geo-target your pitches, export strategies and activities. Geotargeting is to pick and choose where to do stuff based on specific data, rather than going here, there and everywhere.  You can now geo-target to a post-code and assess the consumer via age group and sex. Yes, Big Brother is watching but in this case, it can be to your benefit.

Your Social Media Presence

Social media plays a key role in your online presence. It is the easiest way to inform people about what you are doing and to receive feedback from your connections. It can be an important tool for networking and meeting presenters, performers, journalists, and other composers or kindred spirits. You must create a connection between your social media platforms and your website, as this is where the majority of your music and information is.  Remember, social media is about the conversation with your followers, not selling to them. Selling comes through relationship development, which is strengthened by creating an engaging conversation with each person that ‘likes’ or ‘follows’ you.

First, you need to decide which online platforms you are going to use. There are many different options and being active in all of them can be very time consuming - time that may be better spent composing!  However, never sign up to a social media property and not update it; it looks unprofessional, and you never know when or where your next potential partner will search for you and stumble upon a site updated 2 years ago.  That is anathema to business (and artistic) development.  Choose to focus on a couple of platforms (no more than 3) that are the best for your music and your target market. Maintain continuity across the platforms by using similar or identical images and text, but don’t post exactly the same things in all of them; you want people to have reasons to follow all your different profiles, especially as people consume the properties differently. This gets even more complicated outside of the UK, as we will discuss in relation to some of the export countries later in this toolkit.

Having done this, here are some tips to make the most of them:

●      Bear in mind the 'social' aspect of social media. It is about socialising - so do it!  Write about your interests as well as about your music and your career. Be genuine - don’t continuously market. The majority of your posts should be interesting, personal or informative.

●      Post regularly, but not too much. You need to keep your social media profiles updated and active, but you don’t want to over-post and cause people to unfollow you.  Once per day, per platform, is enough.

●      Use a social media dashboard (like Hootsuite or Buffer, for example) to help you schedule and target your posts by language, time, area, etc.  This will save you time and help you maintain your profiles.

●     Write the posts yourself.  Even Lady Gaga does it (we think...).

●      Interact with other composers, sound artists, performers and musicians. Follow them, and mention them in your posts. If there’s a piece of work you admire, write about it and tag the composer.

●      Read your followers' messages, tweets and comments and reply to them; you want to be accessible and their opinions can be very useful.

●      Listen to your audience - look at what posts performed best or earned the most retweets or replies. Learn what they like.

●      Create conversations with your audience, ask questions to them and respond to their communication, either via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or otherwise.

●     Link your social media profiles in your website, and add them in all your communications.

●     Use social media to drive people to your website or to other platforms by including links.

●      Keep personal accounts separate; you may not want prospective collaborators seeing the holiday pictures posted by your friends!

●     Be positive. Always. Never say anything negative publicly.

There are also many tips and tools out there to help understand and extend the reach of your social media through analysing data. Sound and Music have lots of information about this on their Audience Development Blog if this of interest to you.

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