Posts Tagged ‘Social Networking’

Finding Ways to Communicate: Fitting Your Audience’s Style

Friday, September 18th, 2009

by Rachel Velarde
Republished with permission Music Teachers Helper

I have a voice student who only communicates effectively through her MySpace account. Emails and phone calls don’t work when trying to reach her.

One student communicates solely through text messages. Her mother I can ONLY contact through land-line (no email, text, cell phone messages – although she has that capability).

When I was in college (early 1990’s!), I would try to call home and the line would be busy – my mother was on the internet! So, I’d send her an email and 5 minutes later, I’d get a phone call. When I graduated for college, one of the running jokes was that we were going to grad school so that we could continue to have an email account (hotmail was JUST in its infancy, Windows 3.0 had just come out and Gmail wasn’t even a thought in Google’s nonexistent eye).

via www.telephoneart.com

Nowadays we have SO many options to reach one another that frequently we are communicating TO other people rather than WITH others. Blogs (like this one, for instance) often tend to talk a lot without having conversations. I am trying to raise my “presence” as a blogger so as to increase my conversations, but don’t want to monetize the blog. I just want to communicate with more people! So, it’s a slow process.

Communication, though, is KEY! Social Media (TwitterFacebookMySpace,FriendFeedGoogleDelicious) allows you to share and network information throughout your “friend network.”

I use Twitter (via Seesmic Desktop – which integrates my Facebook updates) to find cool information. I’ve found some really amazing people out there who have worthwhile information. I started by following a few really interesting people I’d run across while doing web searches (it started with Chris Foley at The Collaborative Piano Blog). Then, I went through who THEY were following and followed them too. Chris Brogan is the social media guru I ran across through Chris Foley (I’ve subscribed to both of their email RSS feeds for almost 2 years now). Between the two of them, I’m covering a large portion of musicians and social media information. Through this method, I now have over 1000 followers on Twitter (which I’ve only seriously been using since March 2009) and am “following” over 1000. It’s not easy keeping up, so I don’t try to follow everyone.

With Seesmic Desktop, I can do a search for my favorite “tweeple.” I then keep those searches at the side and can pull them out at any time to view what they’ve been saying recently. I also go through my stream at least once daily. I then use an application called TweetLater to send out interesting links that I’ve found at spaced out intervals (I’ll sit down at Twitter for about 20 minutes, but send out links that post on my schedule – I choose about 1 per hr throughout the day). Seesmic then lets me know if/when someone responds to my tweet.(more…)

Growing Your Studio…

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

By Rachel Velarde

Trying something new…

I’ve been working on promoting and building my studio for the past month.  I got MANY great ideas at the Classical Singer Convention in Chicago at the end of May, thanks to Cynthia Vaughn at Magnolia Music Studio in Fort Collins, CO.  Cynthia has SO many amazing ideas and she worked with several other voice teachers to try to get as many as possible so that we could benefit from all this experience.

Several points were made:

  • Attract & Retain students
    • Show progress with
    • Quantifiable advances
    • Awards/competitions
    • Roles/solos – community based|
    • Technical goals achieved
    • Have a Student Achievement Page on the studio website

* Relevance – non-quantifiable advances in:

* enjoyment

* validation

* feedback/applause – studio class BEFORE a recital!

* Added Value:

* Options in scheduling and payment (check/credit card)

* bonuses – register early, get 10% off, register for summer & get free lesson

* performance opportunities – find out who has space you can use!

* Gain New Students
o Word of mouth through different circles
o teach styles OTHER than Classical/Musical Theater
* Marketing:
o Bold, creative, SELECTIVE (no mass emails!)
o Distinctive logo (see my new logo here!) & business cards

* www.vistaprint.com

* www.imagemedia.com

* Online Business Links

* Facebook, LinkedIn

* www.getlessonsnow.com ($49/yr)

* www.teachstreet.com (free listing)

* GOOGLE yourself & find out where you are listed – you might be surprised at what’s there AND what’s not! (I have an OLD listing that I’m trying to modify – the web address leads nowhere)

o   Advertising??

* Facebook Advertising – can limit yourself to a small daily $$ & focus the market

* Facebook Fan Page

* I’ve tried Craigslist & gotten several spam emails and one VERY rude call from a potential student (she decided I was too far away – but by the 3rdword I’d decided I didn’t want to teach her)

o   EASY website address

o   Ask friends from around the country to come in & do special classes.  Just ask, “What would it take to get you here?”

o   Sight-reading workshops, songwriters, ticketed events => benefits? (get tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com)

o   Making Music Magazine – they’ll send a free subscription for you to hand out to your students

o   Logo products and merchandise – it’s free marketing!! $15/ea or $25/2, tote bags & t-shirts

o   advertise in an opera/community/young people’s theater program (maybe not as expensive as you might think)

“Voice Lessons may be your students’ hobby, but you can never treat it like a hobby.  It’s a BUSINESS and maybe, even a calling.”                                                                — Cynthia Vaughn

You must let your students know:

* I am reliable, I almost never cancel lessons
* I attend my students’ concerts & other performances
* I appreciate the personality that makes them unique

You are the CEO of your own business.

Show you are a community asset.

* support/join other arts organizations
* collaborate with other teachers
* join the local business organizations – often musicians are “foreign” to them!! J
* Chamber of Commerce?
* Get a state sales tax license for selling the logo merchandise (even if it’s just for pennies)
* MTNA (Music Teachers National Association)
* Federation of Music Clubs

Other ideas I’ve gotten from friends who’ve responded to the Facebook postings I’ve done are:

Get the book by Philip Johnston Promoting your Teaching Studio.
In late summer connect with music teachers in the local schools. Offer to do a fall workshop to kick start the choral programs. Advertise in the programs of any events your students are performing in (concerts, musicals, etc.)
Advertise in Christmas & year-end concerts at local schools

Discount summer rates/gift certificate if current students refer a new student who signs up for a minimum number of lessons (6 or so)
Attend as many performances as possible and congratulate students & the director in person. Directors and parents will consider you highly when asked for a referral if you support their program. If need to reschedule students, offer to take those students with you to see other studio mates in action!
WHAT I’VE DONE to promote my own studio:

  • New Studio Logo
  • Easy website name.  My studio website hosted & designed by www.musicteachershelper.com.  My website adress with them iswww.rachelvelarde.musicteachershelper.com, which is extremely long & awkward when telling a prospective student your website over the phone.  You can purchase a short domain name for about $10/yr which will then FORWARD to your chosen site.  I’ve now chosen www.velardevoice.com, which I got fromGoDaddy.  It also came with one free email, so my studio email is now rachel@velardevoice.com.  Consistency is the name of the game (plus, I have all of my email addresses dumped into www.gmail.com where I have the option of replying using the address the email was sent to – no one knows that I’m really using one email client to manage my mail, but I have everything in one place).
  • Advertising on Facebook (I’ve set a $1.50/day limit, but I’ve gotten interest & I can track how many clicks people use on the ad)
  • Advertising in the Family Market programs in the Phoenix Area – turns out most of the bigger Children’s Theater companies (there are 4 major ones here) use the same company to produce their programs. The programs are paid for solely from advertising & then are provided free to the community. So, I’m supporting the arts & advertising at the same time. Those will begin running in October. (Thanks, Dad, for that small business loan!)
  • Signing up for websites: www.GetLessonsNow.comwww.Teachstreet.com,Facebook Fan page for the studio, www.vocalist.org.
  • Going to my social media websites every day to click on the links – the more “cross-linking” you have the higher up in the search engines they’ll show. This takes about 10 minutes daily, but I think it’s worth it!  Put links for your teaching site on your solo site, and vice versa.  I also have a “button” for my Facebook Fan Page on the front of my studio Home Page.   It’s not that hard to do.
  • Consistent branding with my logo – I have business cards, a promotional flyer, car door magnets & a downloaded logo to use on anything I do (including throughout my web presence) thanks for www.vistaprint.com (if you even MIGHT be in the market for any of these things, go to Vistaprint & sign up for the promotional emails – they give GREAT deals & then when you check out they always offer you more, so under order!)
  • Free Google local business listing – choose your keywords wisely
  • I’m looking into forming an LLC that will cover my voice studio, my solo performing & anything else I do that is music – that will most likely have to wait until fall, but I think it’s a good idea to create that kind of umbrella.

Good luck with your own studio promotions!  People ARE looking to get lessons, they just need to know where to go & how to go about it.  Let me know what you end up doing by commenting here on the blog.  I’m posting this atwww.rachelvelarde.com AND at www.musicteachershelper.com blogs.  This is good information for everyone.

Any more ideas???

MySpace Fundamentals

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Promote Your Music : Myspace Fundamentals
By Liam McCormack
Republished with permission from Artists House Music

Ok, I’ll admit it. I am addicted to MySpace. I love it. I’m on MySpace everyday and can’t get enough of it. The more I use MySpace as a promotional tool and a way to communicate with fans, promoters, industry contacts, bands, etc. I’ve found that many of the business ethics and concepts of professionalism that lead to success in the music business world are mirrored in the business relations of the online world. In respect to these ethics, here are some essential tips on how to build, design, and format your MySpace page correctly. I hope my insights will inspire new ideas and beneficial changes to your MySpace page.

Your Bread and Butter
Ignore all the cool site designs, flyers, links, and banners for a second. What is the most important thing on your page? The answer is your MUSIC!! The songs you post on MySpace are your page’s bread and butter. Your music will make fans or lose them. Just like the “real world,” you want to present your songs in the best form possible; so you should record professional demos of your songs and post them on your page. It’s hard to comprehend a catchy, well-written song through layers of static and a guitar amp that drowns out the vocals from your one-mic recording done in your basement. Posting high quality recordings on your page will put you above the thousands of bands on MySpace who have posted mediocre tracks. If you don’t have the money to record professionally, record acoustic tracks with just a vocal accompanied by guitar or piano until you’ve saved enough money to produce better recordings. This allows your fans to get into your songs in their purest form and it keeps the recording process simple. Another tip to consider is the order of the songs you post. My suggestion is to post your best song first; just like the first song on your album, you want it to draw the listener in. Posting a variety of songs on your page is also a plus. Displaying a range in your music abilities will impress people as well. Maybe someone who doesn’t like your louder songs will fall in love with the ballad track and purchase your CD. One recent update to MySpace gives bands the ability to post five songs in their profile, instead of just four. MySpace has an advertising deal with Bodog Entertainment. All you have to do is go to http://www.myspace.com/bodog, add Bodog as your friend and a fifth song option will appear for upload on your ‘Manage Your Songs’ admin page. Check it out!

Shows, Shows, Shows!
After you’ve posted some quality recordings on MySpace, there are still endless ways to improve your page and inform your fans about your band. Two important items for your MySpace page are your upcoming shows and your contact information. MySpace provides an easy way to enter show information and displays your upcoming shows in a calendar list on your page. Include as much information as possible about your shows so your fans don’t have any questions. Be sure to fully research the details of your gigs and list the date, time, venue address, price, other acts, etc. One possible way to draw more fans to your show is to list whom you’re playing with on the same line as the venue name that appears on your calendar. For Example: “June 22nd – The Avalon w/ The White Stripes.” If you are playing with a local band that you know has a good draw – it would be beneficial to list this right on your calendar to attract more fans to the event. The more information you give your fans about your gigs, the more you decrease the chance of people not coming because they don’t know how to get there, or how much it costs, or when you perform, and so on.

Where Can I Contact You?
Another important piece of information you’ll want to highlight on your MySpace page is your contact information. Just like promotional materials you send to people in the music business, you want your contact info on your MySpace page to be easy to find and easy to read. A club booker or label executive isn’t going to see your email address or phone number if its hiding down at the bottom of your page under your list of musical influences, so be sure to make it easy for visitors to find. Along with your email, website, phone number, and other contact information that you post, you could list your individual band member’s personal MySpace pages, emails and screen names as well. Putting your screen name on your MySpace page is another easy way for a fan to contact you. Sometimes people prefer to talk directly over instant messenger about booking shows, merchandise questions, or just to say they like your music. Who knows, having an instant messenger conversation with a fan might inspire them to tell even more people about your music and how they can ‘talk to you online!’

Behind The Music
In addition to this basic information, the supplemental content you can add to a MySpace page is literally endless. One piece of information most bands post is a biography. Your bio informs your visitors of your band’s story and can also document your achievements, for example, who you’ve recorded and performed with, past tours, etc. Along with a bio, press quotes from publications or popular music identities will attract attention to your group. This type of promotional content on your page has the ability to influence new fans to look further into your band and can also be beneficial if music industry professional check out your page. MySpace also makes it easy to inform your fans about your latest news by posting blogs that appear as links right on your page. Blogs are an ideal place to present exciting upcoming events, lyrics to your songs, member journals, track listings, and more. Your fans also have the ability to comment on these blogs, which can fuel the buzz around your band to an even greater degree.

Click Here!
On the technical side, one of MySpace’s greatest assets is the ability for bands to host graphics, linking, and image/video posting on their pages. You can provide links to your website, mailing list, your online store, online music stores for your music, press stories, videos, ring tones, and the list goes on (for posting tips check out the Graphics section of this article below). Having these types of resources available on the same page as your music is a priceless opportunity to present your fans with ways to learn more about you, buy your CD or contact you, all in one place. Posting upcoming show flyers and pictures of your merchandise on your page is also a great idea. Many bands utilize promotional tools like online map programs that represent their fans from all over the world by location (see an example at http://www.frappr.com/). A similar program that is also becoming popular on band’s MySpace pages is Eventful’s “Demand” program (http://eventful.com/demand/learn). This program allows fans to demand that an act perform in their area. A band can create a demand box for their group, post it on their page, and their fans can add to it depending on their location. The program counts and displays the number of fans in each area that “demand” the artist. Neither Frappr’s mapping technology nor Eventful’s demanding program are essential components to your MySpace page, but if you have a growing number of fans across the country that message you saying they wish you’d play in their hometown, why not document it on your page for people to see? It certainly can be impressive if you have many people supporting you across the globe, especially to a music industry professional that may have an interest in your band.

It’s Always the Little Things!
Two final topics that are subtle but important characteristics of your MySpace page are your “headline” and your “Top 8”. Your MySpace “headline” is the short quote that appears next to your profile image at the top of your page. This quote can be edited in the “Edit Profile” admin page on your MySpace. Since this little blurb is right next to your picture, people visiting your page are bound to see it, making it an excellent place for advertising. This is a prime promotional spot and you have the ability to write anything you like, from song lyrics to your album title. But choosing to write something like “Buy Our EP on iTunes!” or “Request Our Songs on 101.7 FM” are great messages to relay to your fans if you are really pushing something like a new record or looking for a new drummer. You can even take a larger step and post this information right in your band name appearing in your profile. For Example: “The Strokes *Have 2 New Songs*” or “John Mayer is LOOKING FOR A NEW BASSIST.” Many people will see this information attached to your name –whether it be on your page, above your picture, in comments you’ve left, next to messages you’ve sent them in your inbox, or a friend’s Top 8’s.

Speaking of Top 8’s, another MySpace page feature is the Top Friends list that is displayed on all MySpace pages. For non-musical personal MySpace pages the Top Friends list serves as a way to post pictures of your closest friends. With a band/music MySpace page, a band can choose to represent a number of profile types on their top friends list: fan’s profiles, bands, clothing companies, record labels, venues, and more. If you are at a level where you are playing music with notable bands and recording at recognized studios, its a good idea to list these up and coming bands and studios in your top friends list. When you display this relationship on your page, anyone in touch with the music scene in your area can see that you’re recording at top of the line studios, playing with successful bands, performing at great venues, and making the right choices that lead to a successful career. Ultimately, with all of these content, image, and linking ideas in mind, it is most important to keep your MySpace page looking professional. With all of these resources in your grasp it’s very easy to clutter your page with too much information and promotion. No one is going to want to scroll through your page if it is just a bunch of videos and advertisements. Keep your page organized and professional while still displaying your group’s important information and promotional resources. You may choose to design your page after your latest album’s artwork, or create a custom design to make your page stand apart from the default white MySpace background. Regardless of what you choose to put on your page, you’ll want the online representation of your band to be informative, user-friendly, and professional.

HTML What?
In order to maintain and update your page with links, flyers, text, and such, you will need to know some html coding basics. Fear not my friends, although computer coding may sound kind of scary, it really isn’t that complicated. There are a handful of free Websites that offer html basic how-to’s that can teach you a variety of linking and posting techniques. A great example of a free html site is: http://www.htmlcodetutorial.com. Another graphic design tip is to make friends with someone who can create flyers and banners for your band. Maybe someone in your band will take this on so you can keep it within the band. The last thing you want is a MySpace page with great music decorated with lame banners and show flyers that people find unattractive. Either research resources or take it upon yourself to make attractive advertisements for your band. Many artists, especially those with record label backing, have teams of people working to design their MySpace pages and promo content. Make sure you can compete with these pages by learning the fundamentals of advertising – through Google searches, advice from friends, or whatever it takes. One popular option for formatting your MySpace page is to use a free MySpace Page Generator. These are programs in which you enter information and then the generator formats your MySpace page with a certain background, font, font color, bordering colors, etc. Some artists choose to give their page a certain look to make their profile more unique. This is a great idea in my opinion as long as the page layout doesn’t interfere with the content on the page. You can find free MySpace Generators all over the web. Here is an example: http://www.mygen.co.uk/.

Remember, when designing your MySpace page, keep your page professional, informative, and organized. Best of luck!