5 Ways to Calm Your Anxiety Without Using Drugs or Alcohol

I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. For me, it usually comes to me in the nighttime when I’m trying to fall asleep. I remember being a little kid, tossing and turning late into the night, stressing about the next day at school. I had a radio alarm clock next to my bed that I’d turn on and listen to music quietly until I eventually fell asleep. Whenever I hear “I Want You” by Savage Garden, I think of those nights!

Not everyone wants to take medication to cope with anxiety (I certainly don’t), and not everyone has access to professional mental health care. For most, natural remedies aren’t a cure and won’t solve everything, but here are five remedies that work to quell my anxiety, at least temporarily:

  1. I think everyone can agree that exercise is the best way to calm an anxious mind. I’ve never been much of a gym rat, but yoga and running have always been helpful in calming – and tiring out – my restless mind. There’s nothing like a challenging yoga class to help me sweat out my anxieties and on a nice day, a quick jog through the park or down by the lakeshore can literally make me feel high! Gotta love those natural endorphins.
  2. Listening to music never fails to distract me from whatever’s bothering me. Depending on my mood, I may prefer something gentle and calming like Feist or Ben Howard, but other days, when I need a confidence boost, rap music does the trick. There’s something about Jay-Z and Big Sean‘s lyrics that make me feel like I can conquer anything.
  3. Reading is a helpful way to re-focus the mind. I find that forcing myself to hone in on a story allows me to remove myself from my own story for a little while, in a way that television can’t. Reading something light and funny helps cheer me up too!
  4. Get out of the house! Stewing in your own negativity doesn’t help. Walk to the grocery store, grab a coffee with a friend, or go see a movie. Taking a break and removing yourself from an anxious or stressful situation may help you recalibrate and see things from a new perspective.
  5. Distract your brain for a bit with a game like Candy Crush! I know this sounds crazy, but during one of my worst bouts of anxiety, I played Candy Crush constantly. It helped me focus on something new that wasn’t emotional or personal and removed me from my worries for a bit. If Candy Crush isn’t your jam, try a classic like Solitaire.
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3 Books to Read this Fall

With fall finally in full swing and cooler (and cozier) months ahead of us, I have been hunkering down and reading my ass off. I wanted to share with you what’s on my reading list as you settle into fall too!

handmaid's taleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Who’s been watching the new show on Hulu?! I had never read the book (even though I think we were supposed to in high school), but after getting totally hooked on season 1 of the TV show, I wanted more. The book was a quicker and easier read than I had expected, but it got pretty dark at parts and hit a little too close to home, given the current political climate in the United States. It’s an addictive read that also serves as a stark reminder of how freedom is never permanent or guaranteed, and we must never stop fighting for our rights and protecting the rights of others.

 

what happened hillary clintonWhat Happened by Hillary Clinton

In this detailed and very honest account of the 2016 election (and the months thereafter), Hillary goes deep. I love the new Hillary — honest, uncensored, and not taking anyone’s shit. She lays it all out on the line: her relationship with Bernie, those god-awful debates, and all the scary-ass shit that’s going on with Russia. But keep some tissues close by, her chapters on being a woman in politics, everything she’s fought for, and how wronged this prepared and capable woman was had me choking up the whole way through.

 

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Sick in the Head 
by Judd Apatow

With Netflix slated to release a new stand-up special every week until what I believe is the end of time, you may want to learn a little more about the comedians themselves. As a huge comedy junkie, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this compilation of Apatow’s interviews with various very-famous comedians all the way from the 1980s ’til now. Read it from start to finish, skip around and only read the ones you know, or dive deep and study the art of stand-up comedy with life lessons from the best in the game.

 

Comment below: What are you reading this fall?

Instagram for Musicians: 8 Steps to Crafting the Perfect Post

When it comes to social media marketing, Instagram is at the forefront these days. And it can actually be so much fun. It’s an authentic and engaging way to connect with your audience without coming across as sales-y. But, like everything else you do to market your band online, you want to make sure that you’re maximizing your reach with every post.

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Below, you’ll find my 8-step checklist to crafting the perfect Instagram post, and you can also download it here for FREE. By downloading my free Instagram checklist, you are free to do what you want with it. You can print it out, write all over it, or save it to your iPhone photos to have it handy before every Instagram post. The choice is yours!

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  1. Is the description engaging? Does the caption call to action (tell followers to do something) or ask a question?
  2. Have I updated the link in my bio to lead followers to my new song, video, streaming link, etc.?
  3.   Is the colour scheme on-brand? Do the colours in the photo visually complement the other photos on my Instagram grid?
  4.  Are my hashtags on fleek? Am I using effective hashtags that will drive traffic to my post?
  5. Do I know what time my followers are online and is this the optimal time for posting? (Psst: you can find out by updating your Instagram to a business profile and checking out your insights there!)
  6. Will this post bring value to my fans? (Even if it’s just to make them smile?)
  7. Am I using the appropriate emojis to truly convey my message? Music notes? Laughing through tears? TACO EMOJI?!
  8. HOLD UP: Spell check! Are there any typos or errors?

Check off all 8 of these points before every Instagram post and you’ll be Insta-famous in no time!

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RELATED: How to Use Instagram to Promote Your Band 

GUEST POST: Why having killer merch is key in marketing your band

BY ANNE RUSSELL, ROCK YOUR MERCH

We are in the era of the t-shirt. We love them, we live in them, we have hundreds of them. We get a new t-shirt every time we have a family reunion or a parade or a holiday or a drinking festival or the most quintessential: a new band we fall in love with. Americans have such a love affair with t-shirts there have been books written about the poetry of t-shirt design, cataloging and collecting the greatest designs as they could get their hands on. T-shirts give us flexibility. They are the type clothing that can be worn in a lot of different situations, which means that your T-shirt design will give you exposure more people – all potential fans.

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T-shirts help to spread your Name

Think of your merch as a walking billboard for your band. Everywhere your fan goes wearing your name, you are getting more exposure. And we all know getting your band exposure is key in order to get good shows and good venues. When you try to get shows with a venue and they’ve already heard of your name and know you have a following – you’re getting that show.

Tour date t-shirts show your credibility as a band

This is literal proof that you’ve been able to play in huge venues or have been hired to play in multi-band events. This gives people an idea of your type of genre and they may even recognize another band on that list and be compelled to think, “I should check them out! They might have a similar feel to the band I love!” It all starts with getting your name out there.

Social proof

If your fans love you so much they are willing to give you their hard-earned cash, you know that they would be wonderful ambassadors for your band – to tell other people about why they love you. A great way to spread your name is to give them a kickass shirt that they can wear out, that they’re proud of and  that makes them feel incredible. They’ll get stopped by strangers that are drawn to the design and then your fan is given the opportunity to talk about why they LOVE YOU SO MUCH. The perfect ambassador for a potential new fan!

So what makes killer merch?

I think it’s a level of imagination, a level of commitment to the plan – knowing your band’s message and keeping that at the focus of every design decision you make. You’re already Creatives – you’re musicians! The ability to tie your music to a visual, physical medium is something that not all bands think too much about – but they’re missing the point of the merch! Yes, you want to make a profit, and putting your logo on a t-shirt is always a great option, but it’s not innovative. It doesn’t do anything new and it won’t necessarily be a hot seller. You want it to sell? Make sure the design is as unique and creative as your music is. The standard plain-white-tee, while classic, isn’t something that draws the eye from across the room. You want to create a design that will be eye-catching – that will get people excited and want to wear it and also want to know where they got it from!

Keep it classy

One thing I think that’s really important to emphasize is that you must avoid simply ripping off a famous classic t-shirt design by another band. Unless your band has the clout and context to back it up it makes no sense and it just looks like you’re ripping someone off (and it makes people wonder what else you’re ripping off). One counter-example for those Devil’s Advocates out there: think of Weird Al  Yankovic: his entire gig is parody from his songwriting and music videos and concerts, it is completely in line with his branding for his merch to also parody those same artists.

Just as in your creative endeavours as a musician, it’s better when you’re truly expressing your Creative Vision – so allow your merch to do the same thing. Let it sing along with your songs. You know them better than anybody else. I think one of the coolest techniques that I have seen was when a band incorporated an important lyric or idea or theme from the from their recent album into the merch that they’re selling. Doing that makes it so personal for the fans and kind of “In-Crowd” because then it becomes something more special and Just For Them.

What are the next steps?

Start researching designs you love! Create an account on Pinterest and start hunting for designs. Pin everything you love and that draws your eye. Keep pinning and pinning – I want to see your board with at least 50 pins. Next you’re going to edit – look over your board and remove any that don’t hit you as strongly any more. Now look at the board as a whole – do you see any trends? Are you drawn to neon colors? Do you like designs with a lot of imagery on it or is it more powerful to you to keep it simple?

Want to learn more? Check out my post “6 Essential Ingredients for a Kickass Band Tee Design”

 

Follow Rock Your Merch online here: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

The Top 5 Hashtags to Get Your Band Noticed on Instagram

Alright, so you’ve got Facebook figured out, you’ve got Twitter down pat – but now it’s time to focus on Instagram. And if you’re not already on Instagram, it’s time to get with the program.

“But I don’t like taking pictures of my food – what’s the point in Instagram?”

“None of my friends use Instagram. It’s not relevant to me.”

“Instagram is for sharing photos. It’s not for marketing music.”

If you caught yourself thinking any of the above – you are dead wrong mon ami. According to Fast Company, “Instagram is the best social and mobile platform for brands to reach audiences that are willing to engage. If you’re not marketing on Instagram, you’re missing out.” (Read more about that here.)

Now that you’re all caught up…

So but how can you grow your Instagram?

The answer is simple.

Hashtags.

So, let’s dig in.

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Hashtags may be pointless on Facebook and are becoming obsolete on Twitter, but they are still in their prime of their lives (*cue sick Monica c/o Friends Season 6) on Instagram. They are becoming more and more important in the online music community, and if you’re just starting up your IG page, they are essential in gaining new followers and new listeners.

Here are the top 5 hashtags to get your band noticed on Instagram:

  1. #NewMusic
    • Indie snobs the world over will be using this hashtag to suss out new tunes before they are cool. Let them find you, let them love you, and make sure you give them credit after you make it big.
  2. #MusicLovers
    • Same thing here. The most genuine fans are the ones searching #MusicLovers. These are the fans who are bonding over their love of music like yours. They are the community builders, the tribes – they are the #Beliebers.
  3. #MusicLife
    • #MusicLife is for the musicians, the producers, the roadies etc. Show some love for the crew.
  4. #Music
    • Cause duh. There are over 118 million posts with this tag – join the club.
  5. #NowPlaying
    • Whaaat? It works! Indie snobs and pop fans alike love to share what they are listening to with this hashtag (one of the oldest in the books). Help them (and me!) find you by tagging your music with this one – it’s okay to listen to your own tunes sometimes too. 😉

BONUS TIP: Create your own hashtag! Got a new release coming up? Heading out on tour? Premiering some new merch? Create your own catchy hashtag to generate some interest. The trick? Don’t be afraid to overuse it. Use that hashtag anywhere and everywhere you can! Hell, throw it on a t-shirt and walk around downtown so strangers on the street start to wonder what’s up. It will start to catch on and eventually people will begin to recognize it. Who knows, you could be the next #squadgoals or #majorkey. Shoot for the moon!

What hashtags are working for you? Did you create your own? I want to hear them! Share with me on Twitter at @nowplaying_blog.

Ya like that? RELATED: How to Use Instagram to Promote Your Band

How to Use Social Media to Connect with Artists in Your Area

Connecting to people with whom we share interests seems to get harder and harder as we get older right? In high school and university we had classes, clubs, and events, and we were constantly meeting all kinds of new people. Now in adulthood, it seems like if you don’t meet cool people at work, it’s almost impossible to make new friends anywhere else.

That’s where social media comes in. From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn, there are so many different ways to use social media to connect with other artists like you. And it’s totally legit – people are really doing it. Scroll down and I’ll show you just a few of them.

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Facebook Groups

  • Join groups! There are tons of different Facebook groups for musicians. They may not always be explicitly for connecting artists to jam or write songs with, but there is a huge network of musicians on Facebook who are probably, like you, looking for people to jam or write songs with.
  • In Toronto and a few other cities, Bunz Music Trading Zone is a popular Facebook group connecting musicians to trade equipment and instruments. This is also a great place to trade records, concert tickets, and generally shmooz with other music-types like you. There are also groups like Toronto Music Industry Network & Resources (or your city’s equivalent) which connects all kinds of people in the industry. Joining one of these groups is a great way to interact with other artists – especially if your band needs a replacement drummer in a pinch.

Twitter Lists

  • Twitter’s list feature is a hugely under-utilized tool that can help you to keep in touch with artists like yourself. Create a list such as “Local Musicians” and add to it when you come across people in your network who might be a good fit to connect with. When you view your list, you’ll see a feed of updates only from these profiles, so you’ll know what they are up to and can instantly get in touch.
  • If you’re feeling really bold and outgoing – start your own hashtag! Try something like #TorontoIndieMusicians or #EdmontonHipHopHeads and see who interacts. You could be the starter of the next. big. thing.

LinkedIn Groups

  • I’m always grappling with the idea of whether or not musicians should bother using LinkedIn. It’s a business networking tool, and if you’re not in the corporate world, does it really work for you? That said, there are all kinds of music networking groups on LinkedIn as well. It may be that they are primarily for people who work in the industry, but click through it to find a group that strikes you. I often see artists sharing their music in these LinkedIn groups, so at the very least, it’s a great way to get industry people to hear your music. And if you’re looking for artists to chill or jam with? Well, you don’t know who could read your call-out.

Trying out a couple of different social networking groups is a great way to connect with other artists in your area. But it’s also a great way to connect with like-minded industry folks around the world! You never know when a Twitter follower from overseas could be visiting your city and want to get together to talk business. Obviously, use your best judgement if anything seems sketchy or unsafe, but connecting online is the modern way to grow your fanbase, your music network, and eventually – your album sales.

TELL US: How do you use social media to connect with other music types? Join the conversation here.

Faith, perseverance, and why you must always keep a journal

BY KYLA CLARKE

A couple of nights ago, I was having a few drinks with some coworkers. A conversation about freaky dreams snowballed into a conversation about deja vu, spirituality, and faith. I explained to them (in more or less articulate terms) how I have never been a religious person, but I am spiritual in the sense that I believe not in a higher power, but in a higher purpose. I believe everything happens for a reason and exactly as was planned. I believe that every loss, every setback, and every failure is leading you exactly where you’re supposed to be going – even if it doesn’t feel like it.

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Now let me tell you why.

I have failed at almost everything I have tried. But, I have tried more things than most people. With “a cool job in music” always being the goal, I have tried to start blogs, to start businesses, to start clubs, to run festivals, to host major music events, and even to relocate to another country. All of these endeavours have ended with either my team backing out, me giving up, or booking a fast flight home. But every single one of these failures has been leading me closer and closer to my goal – I’ve just been too caught up in the little details to watch it all unfold.

I’ll start from somewhere near the beginning.

About two and a half years ago, as the result of a blind career leap in which I was frauded and left broke and unemployed, I had been living back in my hometown to make some good money and re-stabilize my life. I was 25 and panicking about it and bored with my old hometown life. So, I boldly took a job teaching English abroad and announced I was moving to Argentina to start a new life there. I had very little teaching experience and my Spanish was advanced enough only to order drinks and insist I was vegetarian (how do you know when una vegetariana walks into a room?). I lasted exactly six months before I was broke again, depressed with homesickness, and begrudgingly returned to Canada. This time, to the city in which I attended university. I hastily signed up for an eight-month college writing program in the hopes it would stall some time for me to figure my shit out, and eventually lead me somewhere productive. (It might be worth noting that at this time, I figured getting back together with my ex-boyfriend for the zillionth time was a cool idea, which, of course, ended before I even wrote my midterms.) I was working at a pub I hated, drinking more than I ever had before, and sleeping til 3pm every day off I had.

But I graduated on the Dean’s List – both semesters.

This was when things – almost – started moving for me. Nearing the end of my final months in college, I was casually browsing for “cool music jobs” online. I found a posting for a social media and marketing coordinator for a young music marketing company in Toronto. It was only a four-month contract, but it was my dream job and it seemed like the perfect fit. I applied just for fun and ended up getting an interview for the next day. Without batting an eye, I booked a Greyhound ticket, traveled five hours to Toronto, nailed the interview, had lunch with a friend, and traveled the five hours home.

I got the job. My dreams were coming true.

Two short weeks later, with the help of a dear friend and a rented SUV, I moved down to Toronto and started my new job the next day. It was intense, it was fast-paced, it was exciting … and eventually, it was awful. The company culture was such that no one said “Good morning,” the interns were expected to buy toilet paper and pick up lunch, contract workers were disposable, and if something made you concerned or unhappy, you were never allowed to talk about it. It seemed so shiny and pretty on the outside, but working there drained me. We worked so much we weren’t expected to have personal lives, but my work life only brought me down. This was not how I imagined it would be. Was this what the music business was like? Was everywhere in the industry going to be the same way? Unsurprisingly, my four-month contract did not get renewed, which devastated me at first, but I realized quickly it was a blessing in disguise.

After two weeks of unemployment in a new city and no family nearby to turn to, my friend helped me out with a three-month contract job at the eLearning company he worked for. It wasn’t at all where I wanted to be and I was sad to walk away from the music industry. But I couldn’t afford not to work, and a job’s a job.

This is where it gets good.

I really liked it there. I found the work to be easy and my coworkers were awesome. The office was laid back and everyone said “Good morning.” I was good at the work I was doing, and when there was downtime, they had me help out with their social media profiles and even write a few blogs. Call it fate or call it coincidence, but when my three month contract was wrapping up, I learned there was a need for more help in the marketing department. Essentially, they saw my value and created a position for me. To this day, my role is still evolving, but I manage all the social media channels and do everything from writing and editing to design and events. I get to be creative every day, work with people who I love to spend time with, and if we have an issue or concern, discussing it is not only tolerated, but encouraged. One of the company’s core tenets is ongoing learning, so they provide courses and learning opportunities for us all the time, and it’s beginning to feel like so much more than just a job. My managers are supportive of my “side hustle,” my passion for music, and my personal goals. They believe that investing in their staff is always valuable and opportunities for continued learning, professional growth, and even travel, are all on the horizon.

So you might be wondering what the whole point is. I’m not making tons of money, my blog is still just a baby, and I still don’t work in the music industry. What did I really accomplish? Isn’t this the same as giving up?

No. And let me explain why.

This morning, I randomly pulled out my old travel journal and took a look through it. One weekend when I was in Argentina, I had gone on a yoga retreat in the countryside near Buenos Aires. As part of the retreat, my friend Meredith and I attended a “Conscious Psychology” class, which ended up actually feeling more like group therapy. One of the tasks was to write down our goals and list how we could go about achieving them. Identifying my goals was the hardest part. At that time, I was unhappy, but I had no idea what it was specifically that would make me happy.

This is what I wrote:

  • feel successful on my own terms
  • live a life that includes travel
  • continue my education in all ways

So, no, I’m not exactly where I thought I’d be. But I’m exactly where I’d hoped I’d be.

I just wasn’t looking at it in the right lens. You see, if I hadn’t kept a journal and looked back on it years later, I wouldn’t have realized just how far I’ve come.

Though my passport has expired, living in a new city still feels like travel to me. I continue to explore Toronto and discover new pockets of the city, and I have had the chance to visit neighbouring cities for work, which is exciting in its own small way. Though I’m regaining stability and focusing on work now, I know I will travel again and it will always be a part of my life.

As for education? The courses my company provides for us allow me to continue to learn every day. Added responsibilities and leadership opportunities allow me to learn every day. And by the very nature of my work, I continue to learn every day.

By doing work I enjoy and feeling valued and respected, I feel successful. By making a steady paycheque and starting to pay off my debts, I feel successful. By living in my own apartment in a city I love, I feel successful. By being in control of my life, I feel successful.

All of these “failures” and “setbacks” have taught me is that every single one of them has been a stepping stone to lead me exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m still not there yet, but I know now that I am young. I have every intention of working in the music business, but I know I’ll never get there if I give up, or worse, live with resentment. I firmly believe in hard work and faith. If you don’t have faith in yourself, then trust in a god or a higher power. And if you don’t have faith in a higher power, you must have faith in yourself. If all else fails, trust in blind faith.

And for god’s sake, keep a journal.

Why every artist and band should keep a blog 

I know, I know.

You already have enough on your plate with working or going to school full-time, trying to keep your band alive, and now I’m asking you to write a blog? But there are a number of different reasons why every artist or band should keep a blog. Not only is blogging a great form of content marketing (which I will explain below), but it is a great way for you to connect with your fans, and with yourselves. Blogging is also a key way for you to come up with additional social media content and drive more traffic to your website (and thus, to your music).

Keep reading to find out how blogging regularly can drive loads more traffic to your website, help you grow your social media presence, and even aid you in the songwriting process.

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Content marketing is the new way for brands of every industry to market themselves effectively online. There is no reason why a band or a performing artist cannot benefit from this as well.

Blogging provides you with updated on-site content. If you’re between albums and on the road, you may feel there isn’t much to update your fans with during that time. Regular blogs keep your website looking busy and give people a reason to continue to check out your page. This also means you’re more likely to turn up in someone’s Google searches and increases the chances of them discovering your music and thus, buying your album or coming to one of your shows.

Consider guest blogging on a music blog or publication you read. If it’s a popular blog or website, that should give you some decent referral traffic by linking back to your own website or Youtube channel. You’re inviting a whole new audience of readers to learn about you and they may love your music. (I remember, specifically, when Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter shared a powerful guest post from Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino on feminism and what it’s like to be a woman in the music business. After reading it, my best friend and I were suddenly obsessing over Best Coast and I found myself streaming their latest album all day. It works.)

Blogging provides you with regular social media content. If you feel like you are running out of ideas for social, aim for a bi-weekly blog to help fill those gaps. (And if you’re really stuck for content down the road, that’s what #ThrowbackThursday is for). The larger the band, the more writers you can get to contribute (yes, it’s time for your silent bassist to voice an opinion), but artists could also have managers and roadies contribute for a cool behind-the-scenes piece. Post a new blog once a week or so and link to it across all of your social media platforms. Bam.

But there is so much more than what you see on the surface.

Blogging humanizes your brand. For artists who are worried about seeming “inauthentic” online, there is really no better way to reveal an honest piece of yourself than by essentially sharing your diary with your fans. It’s also a great place to post all those ridiculous pictures of your food and bandmates sleeping that you just don’t know what to do with.

Blogging allows you to connect with your fans in a new way. If your fans are only used to seeing posts online about your new record or music video, sharing your thoughts, feelings, and experiences through writing is a new and intimate way to connect with them. Share your tour stories: the best restaurants on Highway 401, a cool band you saw on the road, a funny thing that happened on your day off in Nashville. Or if something in the media really grinds your gears (like Kanye West’s Famous video), what better way to vent your thoughtful and carefully written opinion than through a blog post? These are the moments and the parts of you that your fans are missing out on and dying to know more about.

Blogging creates memories for you! Most musicians I know are great writers too, and often keep journals anyway. Obviously, censor your blogs as you’d like to see them shared with the public, but enjoy the time reflecting as you write them. You’ll have these little 300-500 word mementos forever, and who knows, maybe it will inspire you to craft your next big hit!

Oh, and my last reason why every artist or band should keep a blog?

It’s fucking free.

STILL FEELING STUCK? Check out this resource from Canada Arts Connect Magazine: 101 Blogging Ideas for Musicians.

RELATED: How to Use Instagram to Promote Your Band

How to Use Twitter to Promote Your Music Online (And Why It Matters)

There are SO many new and different social media platforms coming out all the time, but since Twitter‘s launch in 2006, it’s still holding ground. Twitter started out with a basic mandate, a really simple question: “What are you doing?” Today, over 300 million users are tweeting their thoughts, promoting their business, and sharing their music. Any entrepreneur should be using Twitter to market their brand, and that includes you.

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Get followers

To make headway on Twitter, you have to get a good following. The best way to get new followers: start following others. But you have to follow the right people to attract the fans you want. Follow artists that sound like you, artists whose careers you aspire to emulate (i.e. if you are an indie rock band, follow bands like Mumford and Sons, and maybe not pop stars like Selena Gomez. Unless you’re like me and you dig “Same Old Love”, then follow her too), and follow organizations in the music business such as radio stations, record labels, and management companies. Their followers will see you come up in their feeds, which will eventually lead them to following you too.

Share your content

This is your time to shine! As you release new singles, new videos, and announce tours or shows, you have to share it all on Twitter. If you don’t already have a graphic designer, use a web app like Canva to create a nifty graphic to go along with your tweet.

You should try to post at least one “original” post every day (content that comes from you and not another site) – and it’s okay to regurgitate your big news a few times in a week.

Share others’ content & interact with them

You can’t just post your own material to be successful on Twitter. There’s an unspoken exchange policy: I follow you, you follow me. I retweet you, you retweet me. I like your post, you like mine. And don’t be shy to comment, reply, or message other users. To grow your own large network, you have to become an active member of a large network first. Unless you’re Justin Bieber and you got discovered on Youtube by Usher, that’s just the way things are now.

If you are still starting out, you should aim to retweet or share others’ tweets at least three times a day.

Long-running campaigns

If you have a huge announcement or release coming up, Twitter is a great place for a free marketing campaign. Use your platform to tease your new record with album art, clips of a new single, or a running countdown.

You can repeat the same information – in different ways – over and over throughout the month or weeklong period to generate interest. Get creative!

Sponsored posts

It’s totally understandable if you don’t have a big budget to put into ads. The struggle is real, amirite? But if you have an extra $20 bucks lying around every now and again, put it towards a promoted post on Twitter. It’s an easy way to put your content in front of the eyes of users who don’t currently follow you. You will watch your impressions and retweets multiply right: and the more you put into it, the more you’ll get back. These are especially beneficial for big tweets like releases or tour announcements.

Join the conversation with hashtags

Join in trending conversations by using popular hashtags. When people click the tag, they’ll find everything people are saying about that particular topic. You want to be in the feed! If you are playing at a festival or event, use the festival’s hashtag at the end of your tweets, so anyone following the event will see your tweets associated with it.

If you have a big, special event coming up, get creative and create your own hashtag! #swag

Some other little tricks:

  • Include a clean, short link to your music in your bio section. This could be your YouTube channel, your Soundcloud profile, or your iTunes download page.
  • Start using Lists! Make various groups such as Artists I Like, Local Radio Stations, Record Labels, Music Festivals, etc. and add relevant Twitter profiles in those groups. When you check in on them, you’ll see only updates from those accounts, make it quick and easy to connect.
  • Do a contest or giveaway to engage you audience! A classic “Retweet to win” is an easy example, but you can get creative with this as well.
  • Pre-schedule that shit. Use a program like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to pre-schedule your tweets for the week.

Why being “big on Twitter” matters:

  • Twitter has little to no privacy settings, so everything is easily accessible and listeners are easy to reach
  • Twitter has evolved to facilitate a business and networking culture, so it’s set up and intended to aid you in promoting yourself and making connections …
  • …. And because of that, nowadays it is primarily used – and one of the best resources – for organic marketing
  • With over 300 million users per month, Twitter is the 3rd most popular social network, coming in after Facebook and Youtube, which you should already be using. Get into it!

Hit me up in the comments or email hello@hashtagnowplaying.com if you have any questions or feedback at all! Make sure to stay in the loop with all things social media by subscribing to my mailing list here.

RELATEDFacebook for Musicians: How to Make a Killer Profile Page for Your Band

Facebook for Musicians: How to Make a Killer Profile Page for Your Band

As promised, I’m back at it again with some hot tips on how to maximize your investment in promoted posts by having a really dope Facebook profile page. Remember, when a new user is discovering you for the first time on Facebook, this is the first thing they see. Ya gotta make it the best it can be!

How to Make a Killer Facebook Profile Page for Your Band

The About Section

I can’t be the only one that reads the About page when discovering a new band. This is a key part of your Facebook page, and any new follower is going to click around here to find out more about you.

Make sure to have a really killer bio. This is your “long description.” Writing a badass bio is no easy feat – so don’t feel discouraged if you find yourself struggling in this area. Keep rewording it, revising it, and rethinking it as you and your band evolve. Have a writer friend read it over and offer advice. You want to include a brief history of your band, introduce your members, describe your style – but most importantly, tell your audience what you are about. What do you want your music to say? What is your message? What is your ‘why?’ Keep it personal, keep it fun, oh, and try to keep it all under 200 words. 😉

Use your short description to link to your other social platforms or link to your latest Youtube video or iTunes download.

When filling out the About page, make sure to have as many of the slots filled in as you can. Make sure you provide contact information – this is because people may want to book you or buy your music or interview you and give you publicity! If you have a manager or publicist, put their info in there too.

EXAMPLE: Take a look at T-Sweezy’s About page. Her label has written her a lengthy and beautiful Bio, outlining – in detail – her awards and accomplishments. Notice how her new album is linked right away in the short description. She promotes her own fan club in the Band Interests section, and even her “Start Date” refers back to her latest album. Clever and carefully designed. 

Facebook for Musicians: How to Make a Killer Profile Page for Your Band

Don’t be afraid to manipulate the different sections and use them in a way that works uniquely for your band. Have fun with it!

The Cover Photo

Obviously your profile picture will need to be a high quality, hopefully professional, photo of you and your band. But you cover photo is where you can really get creative – and it can offer a world of possibilities. There are so many unique and interesting ways you can use a simple banner photo to engage your fans! Awesome things that I have seen include:

  • display all of your tour dates
  • promote the release date for a new album or track
  • tease the album art for a new release
  • list the summer music festivals you have booked

Be sure to use the caption in each cover photo as a way to link to whatever you are promoting. Concert coming up? Link to where your fans can buy tickets. New album release? Link to where they can purchase it. New song streaming on a blog? Link to the blog post streamin’ it! Remember to use shortlinks as much as possible – they look so much cleaner and sleeker online.

Facebook for Musicians: How to Make a Killer Profile Page for Your Band

EXAMPLE: In the cover photo above, you’ll see Canadian rock band Arkells in a graphic set with a list of all the festivals they’ll be playing for Summer Sixteen. It’s fun, it’s bright, and they have links to each festival’s Facebook page in the caption (plus bonus points for the Drake reference). Talk about bringing it home.

Keep it Personal

Remember, one of the reasons you are on social media at all is to humanize your brand. Yes, you’re a super successful, famous artist, but you’re also a person. Use your Facebook page to share funny, personal updates, music you are listening to, or to speak out on social causes you care about. If your fans are like you, they will identify, and they will love you for it.

Did I miss anything? What are you doing to maintain a killer Facebook profile page?

Hit me up in the comments or email hello@hashtagnowplaying.com if you have any questions or feedback at all! Make sure to stay in the loop with all things social media by subscribing to my mailing list here.

RELATED: Why Sponsored Posts are Key in Getting Your Band Noticed on Facebook