Social Media for Musicians Vol. 3: Google+

While Google + was clearly launched as a direct Johnny-come-lately to the post-Facebook world, it offers a number of features that can’t be found on the comparable platforms, and a 500 Million-strong user base is no joke. It’s an ideal place to share promotions generated via Nimbit’s Promo Tool! Let’s look at some of the benefits of Google+ that aren’t available on other platforms.

A quick note:  Check out Vol. 1 and 2 of this series regarding Facebook and Twitter if you haven’t already! They’re here and here. Some of the best practices mentioned in those articles will carry over to Google+ as well. If you haven’t read those articles, I recommend you do—but I’ve included a summary of the Dos and Don’ts at the end of this article.

Integration with existing Google services and Android phones
For me, this is the feather in G+’s cap. If you already have a Gmail account, you already have a Google + account—as well as a YouTube account, but that’s a topic for another post. Your Google calendar info integrates closely with Google+ , so Android users will find scheduling and sharing of concert events a total breeze. Shared Google documents are a great way for you to share new lyrics you’ve been working on with your bandmates.

Futhermore, Google is the King of Search, so it stands to reason that the big G would prioritize their own content over that of others when returning search queries. In other words, just because you already have a presence on Facebook doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also be on Google+, as being active here can really only help increase the visibility of your art.

+1:
The +1 button=Facebook’s Like button. ‘nuff said.

Circles:
Circles are akin to Facebook privacy settings with a much more intuitive interface. Rather than digging through menus to set up your share settings, Circles makes choosing groups of audiences much more search-and-drag-and-drop simple. This allows you to arrange your fans by region and selectively target concert reminders to the relevant audience. In doing so, you’re sticking it to redundancy, as fans in Peoria probably aren’t that interested about your show at the White Eagle in Portland.

Furthermore, you can create Circles for all of the different people and resources that you need to follow or connect with for your business:  music industry resources,  news, venues, and fans. I recommend grouping fan Circles by region, and a “Top Fans” Circle of the folks who really go the extra mile in hyping your band—before long, you may consider re-naming this Circle to “Street Team.”

Communities
Analogous to Facebook Groups, Communities are collective feeds of users with common interests. While I recommend setting up a Page for your band as opposed to a Community, the Communities are still worth checking out. A nice enhancement over the Facebook version is that Community content can be broken down by sub-categories for more efficient browsing. Some that I recommend:

Hangouts:

Hangouts present a golden opportunity for musicians. Google Hangouts are live group video chats that are limited to ten people. This could be fun to host a sort of virtual house concert, and is particularly ideal for teaching private lessons.  But the real gem here is the similarly named Hangouts on Air, which allows you to stream your broadcast directly to YouTube. And for those about to shout “foul” regarding YouTube’s notoriously compressed audio, rest easy. There’s a high-definition audio mode just for concerts. Webcasting a concert live is an ideal reward for a promotion, or a suitable alternative for folks who couldn’t make it to your show.

Setting up a Google+ page
Like Facebook, Profiles are distinct from Pages in that Profiles are for people, and Pages are for entities—and that means bands.

Google+ makes this process real easy, but here’s the best process for setting up a page for your music project:

First, go to plus.google.com and click on your e-mail address in the top right. A drop-down menu appears. Click “All your Google+ Pages.” You’ll find a blue button offering to  ”Create a Page.”  Click it!

When choosing your category. select “Arts, Entertainment, or Sports,” and then choose the admittedly clunky-sounding “Music Band.”

Choose your band name and enter it at the next screen. You’ll then be presented with your shiny, new Google+ page.

You’re probably an expert at filling in online forms at this point, so I’ll gloss over things like contact info and website links. Worth noting here is that you will want to click that “Change Cover” button ASAP and upload a photo. Google+ supports great big monster cover photos, so if you have high-res photos from a pro photographer, this is where you want to apply them. Recommend against cell phone shots for the cover photo.

Next step: let the world know you exist!

Be sure to let friends know via E-mail, other social networks, and Google+ itself that you have set up a presence here. Once you’ve got a community going, you can start taking advantage of the unique features (again, particularly hangouts) that Google+ has to offer.

Sharing your Nimbit Promotions on Google + 

Having a social media presence means nothing without fans, and you can’t get fans without a message. One of the best messages you can send: FREE STUFF! So, why not give away some music? One of the best way to reward your existing fans and find new ones is via Nimbit’s Promo Tool. Nimbit’s Promo Tool allows you to:

  • Share a free download, automatically followed up with a discount on your full album at a specified time
  • Offer a discount on an item, then reward fans who purchase with a thank you message and a free bonus
  • Set start and end times for limited-time-only promos (A window of opportunity is a great motivator)

For lengthier exploration of Nimbit’s Promo Tool, click here.  Meanwhile, here’s a video on how to create a promo code in Nimbit, which you can then share to your Google+ fans (and why not a Community or two?) to give away a free track, or another offer of your choice.


Dos ‘n’ Don’ts

Do:

  • Create Events for your shows, usually. Before doing so, watch for redundant events set up by the venue holding the shows. Having multiple events on online set up for the same show dilutes the messaging and increases the chance that fewer people will be aware of your upcoming performance.
  • Invite friends to like/share your page, but be judicious about it. Don’t spam everyone on your whole friend list.
  • Give away some music! You don’t have to give it all away, of course, but who doesn’t love a freebie? One of the best way to reward your fans and show your appreciation is via Nimbit’s Promo Tool. Getting your fans to download a freebie is a great foot-in-the-door to an album sale. Among other things, Nimbit’s Promo Tool allows for:
  1. Share a free download, automatically followed up with a discount on your full album at a specified time
  2. Offer a discount on an item, then reward fans who purchase with a thank you message and a free bonus
  3. Set start and end times for limited-time-only promos (A window of opportunity is a great motivator)
  • Ask questions. People LOOOOVE A soapbox. Ask fans who else they liked at the last show, what cover song they want to hear next time, or something similar.
  • Respond promptly. Check in to answer fan inquiries once per day, and make sure everyone gets at least one “Like,” or better yet – a response.
  • Make everyone in the band a page admin. This allows you to divide and conquer, so the bulk of the online marketing efforts don’t just fall on one person.
  • Post photos from the road/practice space/backstage. Fans LOVE this stuff. They love access, even digital, to spaces and places they are not ordinarily allowed into.

Don’t:

  • Over-do it. A band that’s too noisy and posts a lot of non-news is more likely to get un-followed.
  • Argue. If someone tells you your band sucks on Facebook, you can take it. Trust me, if you’ve ever been booed or heckled, you can take it—and your fans may well come to your defense. Don’t feed the trolls, it only gets worse. Consider a policy of not deleting inflammatory posts (unless they’re REALLY bad) as this can just egg jerks on to post negative stuff more frequently, turning your great Facebook presence into a moderation nightmare.
  • Set up a personal profile for your band, like first name: “Jack”, Middle Name, “and”, last name “the Badgers”. This is a common mistake. Set up your band with a Page as described above. In setting up your brand as a person, there’s always the chance that Google will find out your profile is not for a person and remove the account entirely! Profiles, distinct from Pages, are for people only.
  • Set up a Community as your main Google + presence. Fan groups are OK, but setting up a group for your main band presence on Facebook is less than ideal, as you’ll lose out on advertising opportunities and app functionality like the Nimbit store.
  • Say anything stupid. Seriously. There are a million cases out there of social media posts gone awry, and even if you delete the offending post, savvy, users are quick to screencap embarrassing online moments. Consider posts permanent.
  • Feed the trolls: If someone talks trash about you, big deal. Responding will only beget more trash talk, and probably more haters. Never forget that the Internet is bigger than you are.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Social Media for Musicians Vol. 3: Google+

  1. E

    What is better for a musician? A Google+ page or a Google+ profile? What are their differences and advantages vs. disadvantages?

    Reply
    1. Ryan Roullard Post author

      Like Facebook, Profiles are distinct from Pages in that Profiles are for people, and Pages are for entities—and that means bands. A Profile is required to create a Page. Google strictly requires that Profiles be set up for real people, and if they find out you’ve set one up as an entity like a band, it could be removed from the site.

      Reply

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