Top 10 Online Tips For Traditional Musicians

Tradconnect has been live for close to 18 months and in that time we have learned a little, observed a lot and now we are ready to feed some of that back into the online space, hopefully for the benefit of traditional Irish musicians.  In no particular order and with an emphasis on Tradconnect we point out some tips that may seem obvious but if followed through can help you manage your online presence.  It is done with reference to Tradconnect but it could just as easily apply to your Facebook, My Space or other online pages.

1. Join TradConnect.
OK, we were always going to start with this.  While Facebook is great, research is showing that smaller, niche social networks offer a lot more opportunity.  Firstly everyone on them is involved in the specialist area, namely traditional Irish music.  For Tradconnect we are as much about the offline experience as the online experience - our members actually meet up and play some tunes. With thousands of members and thousands more visiting the site each month its a good starting point.  We actively support, promote, review and help professional musicians as best we can.

2. Update Your Online Profiles
We notice it again and again that musicians do not keep their online profiles or websites up to date. It is better to have one or two well presented profiles rather than several badly presented ones.  Add your profile photo, other photos, videos, events etc.  Most of all keep your website up to date.  However the truth is that your profile on sites like Tradconnect can be as flexible as any website with blogs, events etc. 

3. Don't Just Browse
We all do it. Flicking through sites, looking, browsing. If you are a professional musician take 15 minutes, twice a week to add content to your various profiles on line. On Tradconnect add a new photo, video, event or whatever. Respond to a discussion point. Every time you visit you show up in the latest activity page and people follow your profile.  When you are on sites give close attention to how things work.  On Tradconnect if you post an interesting article with an image the resultant action by us is to feature it and post it back out to several other social media like Facebook and Digg.  One positive action by you results in us doing something positive as well. Your message is then out there and is being liked and shared by others.  So don't just browse. Every time you turn on you PC undertake to carry out at least one positive action.

4. Post Your Album Reviews
OK, you got some good reviews lately  from TradConnect, The Irish Times or some other outlet.  Add these reviews to your website, CDBaby profile, TradConnect Profile, blog or where ever you have a presence.  Post it to Facebook and Twitter.  Don't forget to always give recognition to the source of the review where possible.

5. Don't Be Too Shy
As a general point don't be shy. Post good information you have to relevant pages and groups on Facebook, Digg, Delicious, Stumbleupon.  On Facebook start with your own profile, and then your band profile.  Follow that with regional based groups such as CCE groups that you may be a member of, West, East and North London for example. There are lots of general groups crying out for content on Facebook. However make sure the group has some relevance and a couple of interesting posts per year are perfectly acceptable. Don't just post links. That is not real content.

6. Load information in the correct order.
If you are going to post events, blogs or whatever do it in the easiest way possible. Facebook does not let you re post to other social media.  However if you post firstly on Tradconnect at the press of a button you can re post to Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon etc.  So get smart with your time and do things in the right order.

7. Understand the fine line between Spam and Genuine Articles
Now lets be clear this is our own view of this particular topic. If you are an artist it is our contention on Tradconnect that stored in your brain is a world of interesting content relating to music, the recording process, touring, marketing etc.  Sharing that information is of great interest to others. Who knows, we may even learn from it.  We would always encourage members to post a blog or article with some original content, even if it is self promotion, as long as it imparts some new knowledge.  Some notes on the tunes, different settings, difficulties in recording etc. This to our mind is genuine content and even though it gives links to your site, or album we like it. The alternative approach is a one line blog or article that is purely a link to another site or whatever. Other sites and forums may have different rules of engagement.  Check them out.  Our starting point is supporting musicians and building a strong network that in turn supports you. 

8. Be Proactive
Everything does not come to those that wait.  You have to work at it. While you may excel at music you may not excel at business or at this "online thing".  As stated above don't just browse. Take 15 minutes a week to add content somewhere.  The more you do the more you learn.  Loading the first photo or track may take time but as with most things in life, the more familiar you get with the technology used on sites such as this the easier it gets. Before you know it these important actions take seconds.

9. Post Your Events
So you are doing a tour of 10 gigs. Take the time to post them.  On Tradconnect once you post the first event you can copy it over, and use it for the second, third etc. Check out the buttons. To post 10 events may take 15 minutes. However here is the pay off.  As your gig date comes around it appears on our home page.  Even better we then post it out to Facebook the day before and the day of the gig. 15 minutes of your time and 15 seconds of our time and you event is being shared the day before it takes place. Beat that.

10. Find an interesting angle
With regard to your websites find an interesting angle. Add some information not found on your album. Add outtakes or tunes that do not appear on the album. Some interesting trivia about the tunes. Add some tutorial videos. This lifts the website above other sites and it can in itself become a source of learning and interest for your fans.

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