4 Ways Facebook has Helped me Get Gigs
By Co-Executive Director Delia Stanley
There are a lot of different social media platforms out there, and you probably have your preferences to which ones you use more frequently. For me, Facebook is a go-to, especially because it’s been invaluable in connecting me with musicians and music communities. It’s even helped put money in my pocket, and here’s how:
- I’m Easily Found
Believe it or not, Facebook was created for more that sharing passive-aggressive posts about your exes, cat videos and venting your political rage (though I’m particularly partial to the last two.) The original intention was creating a database of people and connecting them. So when, for example, a local film festival organizer had seen me play but forgotten to take my business card, she simply looked me up and reached out to me on Facebook in order to book me for the event. Here are a few tips on maximizing your ability to be found on Facebook:
- Make your Facebook name the same as your “brand” name: Some people like to keep a distance between their personal pages and business pages, and Facebook has accommodated this with the ability to create musician pages that can accept messages, create events and post. I don’t mind having people find my personal page, so I stopped using my long full name and now both of my pages are labeled Delia Stanley, the same name you’ll find on all of my show promotions.
- Check out your Facebook messages: Some folks I know were hesitant to install the Facebook Messenger because of privacy concerns, and sometimes the functionality of the app changes when they update it. Make sure you’re not missing potential connections by checking the messages of both your personal and business pages. For your musician page, your response time to messages is actually displayed, so you may want to get into the habit!
- Make your posts public: Again, this tip might not work for folks who want to keep their posts between their friends or have reasons why they may not want to be found my people in the general public. I choose to keep all of my posts public, but if you prefer to keep most of your information private, you can always adjust the privacy settings on individual posts. You may want to do this when it comes to promotional images, songs and events so that a wider audience can learn about your music!
2. I reach out to venues directly on Facebook
Almost every business has a Facebook page, and bars, venues, coffee houses and other potential gigging spots are no exception. When you “Like” a page, you can check out their reviews and photos, virtually “scouting” the place from the comfort of your own home. You can also message them directly; my go-to move is to send them a brief message that says something like “Hello! My name is Delia Stanley and I’m a local musician interested in playing at (venue name)! Who is the best person to contact for booking?” More frequently than not, this leads to getting a specific email to their music booking folks, and those are the people I send my longer e-mail (including music examples) to. Once you have a established this contact, you can also send the venue promotional material through Facebook for them to share. One little tip: Not all venues are created equal when it comes to updating their social media. If their last post was from 2013, you might want to skip the Facebook message and try a more traditional means of booking, like visiting the venue and speaking with them face to face!
3. I see (and respond!) when people need music
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen venues or event planners post statuses like “Looking for musicians for summer weekends!” or “Planning the next (event name), we need local entertainment!” Many times other folks have already responded inquiring about pay, so you don’t have to be “that guy” but still get the answers you want! (If not, do NOT feel weird about asking about compensation- you deserve to know and to be paid for your time! If it’s a free event, you deserve to know that too so you can make a decision about if it’s worth your time or energy!) I’ve picked up many a gig by simply responding to these calls for musicians in a timely manner. Sometimes a musician friend will need coverage because they are sick or have an emergency, and sometimes a venue has a callout and they post a status looking for a fill in as well. It’s worth friending up your local musician buddies, event planners and venues and keeping an eye out for what they need!
4. I join music groups and musician “think tank” groups that support community
I’m part of quite a few groups on Facebook that involve music. One of them is a “Live and Local” group where musicians post their upcoming events and promos. It’s a great spot to check out musicians, where people are playing, what events are coming up and to share gigs. Other groups I’m part of are more like think tanks, where musicians discuss topics that are relevant to them. GoGirlsMusic has one for Elite Members where we talk about changes in the music industry, music news, and the evolution of indie music. Our Co- Exec and fellow blogger Rorie Kelly created another group for her musician friends specifically about getting gigs, where musicians share their questions, advice, have discussions about what works and what doesn’t and promote conversation about venues that are supportive (or warn each other against the ones that are not!) Being part of the digital music community is great, but try to get out there and support your fellow musicians IRL too, it’s one of the best ways to improve your music and your career!
Do you have Facebook practices that have helped you advance your music? Do you use another social media platform in a similar way? Tell us all about it in the comments!