Any band that promotes themselves and their shows, I give credit to. They could just not give a shit and expect the things they want to fall into their laps. Bands that hit me up periodically and ask if I’m booking anything they might fit on, have a much more favorable opinion of mine, as opposed to bands that don’t contact me for months then say “WAAAAAAAAAAH DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ME, YOU HAVEN’T OFFERED ME ANY SHOWS.” Self-promotion matters a lot for bands, but doing anything in a manner that’s too aggressive can turn people off and have the opposite effect of what’s desired. Here are some examples of how NOT to promote:
- Promising to post something new once you reach such-and-such number of “likes.” Yes, it’s important for your page to have a decent number of “likes” so you can reach a wide audience. Ideally though, you want the majority of those “likes” to be people who will listen to your music, attend your shows, buy your merch, actively support your band and participate in posting on your page. Some bands seem to think Facebook pages are a popularity contest and he with the most “likes” is automatically the most successful. If you don’t post new material until you reach a certain number, you will start to make people feel “used” and like just a number to you. It will also cause people to lose interest from lack of new things posted. Don’t make your fans feel like they’re your whores, treat them with respect. Appreciate people “liking” your page because they chose to, not because they felt pressured to do so.
- Trying to pimp out your friends to promote for you. I’m not talking about street teams, people join those of their own accord, and there’s usually some type of incentive or reward in exchange for their promotional work. I’m talking about hitting up a friend and asking him to make a Facebook post or send a mass text on behalf of your band. Unless it’s a really good friend or a band I really like, my thought is usually “Fuck you! You don’t promote my booking agency for me, why should I promote your band when I get nothing out of it?” The exception, of course, is if the band member has promoted a lot for me already, I will always show support for those who have helped me out but again, don’t treat your friends as tools to use to accomplish things, be such a good band and cool people that people want to spread the word without being asked.
- Too much direct marketing. Yes, I know you’re playing at Harpo’s and you’re selling tickets, if I want to go, I will definitely get one from you, so stop texting me several times a week about it, and stop posting it on my Facebook repeatedly. Again, contacting someone personally is appropriate for close friends or people that you know would for sure be interested but for an acquaintance who’s come to your show maybe once, it’s just way too pushy. Send out event invites, post shit on your page, let people come to you. I agree that everybody needs to be aware, but reminding people about it too much is overkill. I have merch to sell right now, do you think I’ll get anybody to buy it by bothering my friends about it every second and shoving the merch in their faces every time I talk to them? Probably not. They will buy it if they want to. Same logic applies to going to shows, buying tickets, voting for your band on a site, etc.
You think your band is great, so why shouldn’t everybody else look at it the same way you see it? Some people might not be very into your band, some might not be into going to shows, there are a million possible reasons. Letting people know what’s going on and letting them make their own decisions is a much better strategy. A good sound, good friends, and a good attitude are the best assets to have in building a following for your band.