Time Management for Bands
This post is slightly at odds with one of my mentors, Michael Branvold. Strange considering it’s based on his great advice on what musicians should do online daily. It’s not that I disagree with what Michael says. It’s that, well, there’s not enough time in the darn day! Time management is a bane to my existence.
Currently, I’m trying to start a new band, filling in with another band, and I’m running a blog on how to run a band. And guess what? I’ve hit media overload. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogging…the social media list grows every day. I try to keep up, but it’s freakin’ hard! Not to mention I have a day job. Refreshing my Facebook page 30 times a day doesn’t help with job security. After backing off for a little bit, I’ve come up with a strategy to manage my time more efficiently. This post will concentrate on managing online activities since they can cut most significantly into a band’s time.
Make music. Make art. Before all else, do this. Social media and marketing are essential to your band’s success, but they can also be its downfall when not properly managed. If you find yourself blogging and tweeting more than writing new music, you’re doing it wrong. Social media and online promotion are meant to strengthen your music, brand, and fan engagement. If you’re not putting out good music or increasing your musical skills, all the social networking savvy in the world won’t help you. Prioritize. Know what to put on the chopping block for online activities. Creating music, artwork for your band, and videos needs to be at the top of your list. All else can be cut. The good news is these activities generate content for you to use with online marketing.
Now that you have your priorities, you need to…
Twice a day, quickly go through and respond to everyone and everything. Don’t linger or read more at each site. Just speed through it as quickly as possible. If you have notifications set up with your e-mail, you will know quickly what new followers, comments, or updates are happening on each of your sites. You won’t need to go to Facebook if no one has responded, so use your e-mail as your time gatekeeper. On Twitter, check your @Mentions and Direct Messages and respond. Then add any new followers. Quickly respond to your Facebook profiles and your YouTube. Follow back, add friends, and subscribe to all appropriate people. Remember, don’t linger! It’s easy to get sucked in and start reading everything. Only do this TWICE per day. Constantly checking your e-mail and Facebook is a tried and true way to completely lose your valuable time. Try checking at noon and, then, 6pm.
Social media is about being social. To build your fan base, you need to reach out and engage them. One on one, and one at a time. In addition to fans, you will need to be engaging with multiple media outlets: mp3 blogs, local newspapers, and other industry related figures. In this context, I refer to interacting as responding to other people’s posts. Put the focus on others and not yourself. Creating posts is dealt with in the next section. Interacting is, unfortunately, a giant time-suck and needs to be approached with discipline. You can constantly be spending time searching through blog posts, Facebook, and Twitter updates. You will need to give yourself time limits for each online service. Go through each and add comments, re-tweet, and share other people’s posts. Have a goal with these interactions, so you get the most value before you run out of time. Fans first. Venues and bookers second. Local media third. Responding and commenting on people that don’t care about your band won’t win you much. Focus on those with the highest social value to your band. Fans support you and go to your shows. Venues and bookers need your fans. Local media helps you get fans and shows.
Important: Keep a time limit for each! Get a timer and be strict.
By “Create”, I mean creating posts, blogs, and e-mail newsletters. Anything that you put out there. Your Twitter update. Your Facebook status. Start easy and be consistent. If a blog post per week is too much for you, try once every two weeks. If tweeting 20 times a day burns you out, keep it at once a day. Daily “Facebooking” draining all your time? Do it every other day. Develop a strategy that you can keep up with daily, weekly, and monthly. One to two tweets per day. Once a month, pop out a new e-mail newsletter. Do not “Interact” or “Respond” when you “Create”. Dedicate yourself to putting fun, interesting updates in the social-verse. Get your mind on track to blaze through this. Focus intently on only creating new content. Be interesting and have a strategy for each of your online accounts. Twitter is stream of consciousness. Facebook is like talking one on one with a group of friends. Blogs relate interesting stories and adventures. By focusing solely on creating, you can reduce the amount of time you spend online. Facebook update? Done. Next. Twitter update. Done. Next. Once you’ve mastered your routine and reduce the time engagement, you can then consider doing more, a little at a time. Tweet 4 times a day. Facebook updates twice a day.
(See below on “Batching” on how to create multiple updates in only one sitting.)
Reach out for new people to follow, but intelligently. Find someone new that adds value to your online experience. A new, potential fan that likes your music. A blog that covers your band’s type of music. Seek out those that you can interact with. Just blindly adding everything on Twitter isn’t the goal. Finding someone who would be into your music is. Seeing updates that let you know what’s going on in your community is. Add another local band and see how they are using social media. Slowly grow your online reach. Grow it in a valuable way that enriches your band’s online presence. It’s not a number game, but a quality game. Don’t spend hours hunting down new people. Just add one or two at a time. Limit your hunt to a few minutes.
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