Article Written by Teiya Kasahara @teiyakasahara – New Apprentice Web Designer for Coffeeshop Creative
So you’re thinking about getting a website, wanting to beef up your online presence, but what does that even mean, you think to yourself… Am I going to have to ask someone to help me or maybe even pay someone to do it for me? The answer is definitely yes, but maybe you’re not quite ready to give up on trying on your own first… so, where to begin? Here are…
5 things you can do to digitally promote yourself before you get a website…
Creating (and maintaining) an online social media and digital promotional presence can be daunting, exhausting and confusing, but with 10 years of experience doing it solo I’ve learned a few things along the way. Most have been from trial and error and the observations I’ve made from said trials and errors.There’s a lot of info online geared towards recording artists, singer/songwriters, and that doesn’t necessarily capture the parameters that you or I fit in to: opera singers and/or classical musicians. We present our work mainly in live performance, and don’t always have any recorded material to sell and distribute, unless we are Lang Lang or Anna Netrebko. So how to do we create a digital presence when we aren’t famous (yet). These 5 key points will help you get off on the right start.
Number 1: Consistency
As much as possible be consistent. That means your name and how it appears as various handles and URL’s need to be the same or at least similar. This ties into the idea of “branding”. You are essentially creating a brand of yourself, of the work you do and what you produce; you are the product. The more consistent that branding is the better.
If you have a common name, it may be more difficult, but play around with your name, abbreviations, voice-type, instrument, or title, to see what you could come up with to amalgamate your handle names and URL’s.
Michael Gaydos/Marvel Entertainment
Let’s use Marvel Comics Jessica Jones and imagine her as a bad-ass lyric mezzo! The full name Jessica Jones may already be taken. And the full title Jessica Jones, mezzo-soprano is too long for Twitter username (up to 15 characters), so here are some other options of usernames, handles, endings of customized URL’s and hashtags:
- @JessicaJonesMS /JessieJonesMS #JessicaJonesMS
- @JessJonesMezzo /JessJonesMezzo #JessJonesMezzo
- @JJMezzoSoprano /JJMezzoSoprano #JJMezzoSoprano
- @JJMezzoSop /JJMezzoSop #JJMezzoSop
(Bonus Tip: check a domain registrar site like namecheap.com to see if the domain you want is taken. You can always purchase your domain now to ensure it’s yours even well before you create a website).
The list is long and repetitive, but finding a combination that can work across most of the platforms is key. It doesn’t necessarily have to match up to your eventual official website URL, however.
Number 2: Follow! (and Like and Subscribe…)
In order to get followers, one must also follow, or be Justin Bieber. And that applies to “Likes” on a Facebook page and subscribers on Youtube, Soundcloud, etc.
Before you start following is to in place have your profile photo (eg. square crop of your face from your head shot), a mini bio (~ 180 characters… professional with a dash of personal) and a few bits of other digital content (performance photos, posts, video, etc). When people noticed they’ve been followed, they will be more likely to follow you back, and already having a profile pic in place is a good place to start.
(Bonus Tip: Create a professional Facebook Fanpage (artist/musician/band, etc) to use instead of your personal Facebook profile/timeline.)
Some ideas of who to follow:
- companies and orchestras you want to work for
- artists you admire
- your fellow colleagues
- your alma mater
- summer festivals & programs you’ve attended or want to attend
- leading professionals in the biz (heads of companies & arts organizations on local, provincial, national and international levels)
- radio/tv/film/record labels pertinent to your artistry (eg. Sony Classical, Decca, CBC Radio 2, Classical FM, etc)
- competitions you want to apply for
- anything you are interested in related to your profession (photographers, foreign languages, music schools/academies, etc)
Start commenting, liking, give a thumbs, and interact with their pages. Once they see your involvement, it may encourage them to follow you back and engage with the posts on your profiles as well.
Number 3: Post! (and Comment and Retweet and Reply…)
I have a few basic rules for posting:
- Post only when you having something to say.
- Post on a regular basis.
- Mix up the type of posts.
If give yourself 15-20 minutes per day to post on your professional social media profiles, it won’t seem as daunting. See it as a part of your job, just like practicing your scales. You may not always have something to say about what you’re up to, so you can try to relate it back to your instrument, discipline, the industry, and the artistry. Here are some ideas you can post about (and remember theses don’t have to be long either):
- musicians/artists you admire
- new composer you discovered (could be long dead or alive)
- a new technique you’re working on
- a new gadget, toy, instrument
- how you prepare a new role, concerto, suite, or sonata, etc.
- someone who inspires you; a quote from them, etc…
- a conversation between fellow colleagues
- cheering on/congratulating colleagues’ and companies’ premieres, etc.
- a question, ie. practice tips, top 5 places to study music in the city out of the practice room
- request for jam session, or to share what you’ve been working on with a group of colleagues
(Bonus Tip….The following is taken from Cyber PR Music’s article: 5 Things All Musicians Need BEFORE Starting a Digital PR Campaign with a general guideline of posting:
- Facebook: 1 Post Per Day
- Twitter: 2 – 3 Tweets Per Day
- Blog: At least 1 new post every other week
- Newsletter: 1 newsletter per month (more on this in a future blog post)
- Youtube: At least 1 new video per month (note this doesn’t need to be a professional music video) could be a vlog
- Pinterest: Posting at each of your boards at least once per day
(Teiya’s NB: You don’t need to be on all of these sites and posting all the time. Pick 2-3 sites to get started and create a profile. See how it goes for a while, and add more profiles remembering the steps as you go.)
Number 4: Tagging and Hashtags
It’s a great idea to tag others within a post in order to generate new interest and audiences. In Facebook, as you’re typing use the @ symbol and then start typing the name of user or company, and it will allow you to tag them — their name will appear highlighted once you’ve successfully tagged them. Twitter and Instagram use the same principle, but you will see the entire handle name with the @ symbol, and usually a drop-down menu will appear and you can select the handle you were searching for.
Adding hashtags (#) with key words is another great way to add links to your post. If something is trending, people will be searching for that topic, and if it’s also hashtagged on your post, it could lead them to it. Some examples:
Number 5: Consistency
Oh, did I already say this? Yes, I did… this time I mean be consistent with when you post and how often you post. Just keep posting, and remember to mix it up: interviews of colleagues, quotes, questions, call-outs, photos, video, blog, vlog, cheering on your fellow colleagues, and keep tagging trends, events, topics, ideas, people and companies that are relevant to each post. You are creating digital database all about you and your profession deep within the online world.
(Bonus Tip: Set a reminder on your calendar or phone to keep up the posting on a regular basis.)