Words by Annie-Mei Forster.
So, you’ve discovered a great band you want to play at your venue, but you’re struggling to sell tickets. If you’re a complete newbie when it comes to promoting events, then you may find it is a steep learning curve. A promotor’s job is to do that solely, so how does a venue owner compete? The Internet has made it easier than ever for people to find upcoming events and buy tickets, but what do you do if you don’t have the money to hire someone to promote forthcoming gigs? We’ve put together some tips that can help.
If your gig is tomorrow night, then it’s probably a little late to start promoting it. Depending on how big the performance is, you want to start publicising it at least a month beforehand, if not earlier. With venues that have regular gigs, you can promote a few upcoming events in one post rather than making three separate ones. Remember, you want to inform potential customers, but you don’t want to overdo it because people don’t like receiving spam messages.
Start with a few posts and gradually increase as the gig approaches. It will help if you build up excitement, so people want to come to your event, so consider including a video of the band playing at a recent gig. People are visual creatures, so they want to see what they’re paying for.
Create an event
Creating a Facebook Event is straightforward. If you’re not sure what to write about the artist, then look on their website or Facebook ‘about’ section and copy and paste their description. Make sure you add the artist as a host so they can invite all their fans. The gig will appear on friends of friends’ event suggestions, so make sure you add its location. Events are a great way to link to your venue’s Facebook page, so encourage people to ‘like’ it to discover more about any upcoming gigs.
Make your posts more shareable
According to MDG Advertising, pages with pictures receive 50% more shares, so make your posts as visually appealing as possible. Go through your Facebook feed and look at what your friends are sharing. If it’s anything like mine, it’s full of funny animal videos, memes and travel photos.
Promoting live music means you have the advantage of using audio so that you can attract punters using multiple senses. Ask the band to provide you with previous footage of them playing. If they supply footage that is blurry or shaky, ask them to film something new the next time they’re busking or practising in their garage.
Pay for an ad
An ad on Facebook or Instagram is going to cost money, but the long-term payoff is great if done correctly. Weigh up the pros and cons before you decide to do it and consider your target audience. Look at the artist you’re promoting and find out which social media platform most of their fans use, as this can help determine where you should invest your money. Of course, if you’re rolling in dough then spread your ads across as many platforms as you can!
Schedule your content
People aren’t always on their phones, though sometimes it appears that way, even when you’re at a gig. There are more advantageous times to post than others, so the first thing is to identify the best time. You’d think this would be in the evening or over the weekend when people have more free time. However, according to data from Sprout Social, the best time to post on Instagram is ‘Wednesday at 11 am, and Friday between 10 and 11 am.’ and for Facebook, it is at 11 am and 1 pm on Wednesday. Weird, right? I guess hump day is a thing.
Now, while this might be the optimum time, you can’t schedule your social media posts across all channels during these two hours once a week, but you can post content that is of the highest priority.
Once you decide when you’re going to post content, there are several websites (some of which are free) that allow you to schedule posts ahead of time. So, you don’t need to sit at your laptop at 10:59 am on a Wednesday, with your hand on the mouse ready to fire off posts into cyberspace. Schedule your posts in advance, and then you can continue with your day.
Make it live
Use Facebook Live to stream the gig as it happens, so people who can’t make it can still experience it. If the gig sells out, this may be a useful tool next time the artist plays, as fans will try and nab the tickets quickly. Also, if your venue is full, it provides more footage to use in the future and creates interest.
Instagram Stories have many features that you can utilise. You can post updates during the event, and people can watch them the next day and relive the experience, plus you can check out what other people post to their stories if they tag your venue. There are also polls you can create on Instagram, so investigate and see what you can use for your gigs.
These are Muso’s top tips for beginners looking to promote their live music event on social media. Remember not to bombard followers, as this can have the opposite effect and they may unfollow you. Build up promotion for your event as it draws closer.