There are a lot of different elements that factor into moving forward in your music career. Networking like a boss is undoubtedly a major one of these.
There are a lot of ways you can expand your network and build relationships with people nowadays thanks to social media. Many bands are doing it right and many are doing it oh-so-wrong.
Here’s a random list of ways to network and a few tips and tricks along the way to ensure your rep is building in the right way as well.
This one is obvious, so let’s just get it out of the way.
Incorrect ways to network on social media include:
- Following and liking month’s worth of someone’s images on Instagram
- Following a thousand random accounts for the follow-back (not to mention this totally fucks the algorithm for you)
- Adding someone as a friend on Facebook and immediately inviting them to like your band’s page
- DM-ing random people with the Facebook event link to your band’s show or a video
- Following someone on social media and immediately asking them for a favour (this can be anything from a follow back to an interview or media review from them).
Constructive ways to network on social media:
- Follow an account and genuinely take the time to engage with their posts (I know people with 100K followers on their socials that answer every comment and message so if they can, you can too)!
- Ask a mutual friend to make an introduction in the DMs. Note there must be a mutually-beneficial purpose to this.
- Your band page will, of course, be on public. But put your personal social media pages on public too! Treat your personal profile in the same professional manner as you would your band page with clear links to your band’s page, what you do and anything else relevant in the bio.
- Be active in general on social. The more you are engaging on your friend’s posts or in groups, the more your name pops up (make sure you’re contributing something positive and valuable though).
- If what you say catches people’s attention, they’re more likely to want to connect with you. You will slowly gain authority as a musician or in your field and this is what you want to be doing in terms of networking. Twitter, in particular, has been instrumental in the past few months in terms of networking for me.
Attending local shows and being seen in the scene is paramount. Once again, you want to get your face out there and this will lock in nicely to when people see your name and profile pic pop up on social media.
At Industry Events
If you’re in Australia, do everything in your power to attend Bigsound next week. Everyone who’s anyone in the industry will also be there sinking beers and with the intention to network. Whether you’re showcasing or not, it’s a powerful place to be.
But if there are other events near you, whether they be workshops or networking events, definitely go! You can’t beat a connection made in-person!
Most people enrol in a music degree thinking they’ll get a job out of it. Well, this can be the case but not in the way you think. The people I went to uni with are now band managers, booking agents and work for labels. But back then they were students like anyone else.
When I enrolled in my music degree, yes I wanted to learn about the music industry, but I also knew how important networking was. It’s an expensive way to do it but I knew going to JMC Academy in Sydney would help me find band members and meet people who were going to do amazing things.
Would I recommend people go to music college for this exact reason…not sure as social media wasn’t as big then. All I know is that it was some of the best years of my life.
Working with the right people
This is something I don’t think many bands think of. Working with certain PR people or producers is AMAZING for networking. Doing this will not only enable you to establish relationships with them – which is great because they’re usually pretty influential in the scene – but they themselves usually have a KILLER network.
Many producers I know have direct lines to management, record labels, bookers and more. If they like you and what you’re doing, they WILL help you. So think twice before you get your mate from down the road to record your next single because he’s cheap!
PR and Media
This leads me to PR and Media. As someone who worked in media for years, I can assure you that reviewers, editors and outlet owners PAY ATTENTION to the bands that come through. If that band goes above and beyond to promote an article from a particular outlet, that shit gets noticed. Ears prick up and the next minute when these reviewers happen to be at a local gig you are also at, they might just come up and say hi. Or you might say hi to them!
If the media likes you and have noticed you being professional and going the extra mile to leverage any opportunities they’ve given you, this means they’re more likely to help you out in future. Your band might be first in mind when they do special features on a particular sub-genre or stuff that involves the local scene!
Social media plays a huge part in this point but I’ve also heard stories of bands that will hire a PR person, then take 2 weeks to complete an interview! This definitely doesn’t bode well in terms of rep as it makes you seem ungrateful. This is the best way to ensure your network stops expanding in its tracks because people will no longer want to give you opportunities.
Act on things quickly. The music industry is faced paced after all! Have a ‘majority rules’ policy in your band so you can make decisions without delay. Be active, pay attention and be grateful.
At the end of the day, it’s all about respecting each and every small or big opportunity you are offered. Firstly this is polite and secondly, as a manager friend perfectly put it, you never know where people will end up.
A reviewer at a small music blog could one day be in charge of bookings at a major festival. The band photographer taking pictures for free right now may end up running a huge media outlet in the future. If you always treat people with respect, don’t badmouth, do the best you can in terms of your songwriting and promotion for your music, etc. you are primed for some good fucking karma.
Do you have any other points you’d like to add in terms of networking? If you do, leave them in the comments below! As always, please share this post if you enjoyed it as it does help me out a lot!