Why YouTube is especially important for Musicians

Update: This week we’re going to talk about YouTube, however there have been some important changes in Facebook since the last 2 weeks and I wanted to fill everyone in on those first. First of all, Bing is now using the Facebook API to show what your friends have liked within their searches. What does this mean? Well, Bing has been having a growing in relevance as far as web exposure recently, and this is a huge step towards making it a real competitor to Google. Two weeks ago I talked about how Facebook’s biggest draw is that people are more likely to be interested in what others in their social circle are interested in. By leverage the “Like” data from Facebook, Bing can now theoretically become the most powerful tool for finding searches relevant to your interests. I say theoretically because, despite their pretty video explaining everything, I’ve yet to actually find a search that actually displays Like information. More information on that as it becomes available, but again I absolutely can not stress enough how increasingly important it is to have a Facebook presence.

Additionally: Remember all that stuff I said about setting up an engaging Facebook Page for musicians and using FBML to make a nice custom landing page? Throw that out the window. The new hotness is setting up your landing page using iFrames. Mashable explains it in length better than I could, but to summarize: By using iFrames now for your Facebook Page landing page you can now utilizes languages like PHP, ASP, JavaScript, etc, to give your page some dynamic content. You can still use FBML to make an engaging and effective landing page, but for those who know how to use it the ability to be able to use iFrame to deliver data is incredible.

In just 2 weeks things that I have talked about have changed pretty drastically from a marketing perspective. The internet, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, all change like the wind, and can get difficult to keep up with, and that’s absolutely why I write Just the Tips.

So back on track:

Why YouTube is Especially Important for Muscians

So immediately I’m going to give you a pretty powerful stat: What do you think the 2nd most powerful search engine on the internet is? Bing? Yahoo? Facebook? Well you can probably guess by the context: It’s YouTube. Not only that, but Google now embeds YouTube search right into it’s dynamic search. That’s pretty incredible stuff if you’re looking to get exposure. By why is it especially important to musicians?

  • Videos have sound. GASP! It’s no brainer that you can upload a video with your music in it to YouTube. People do it all the time. This gives fans and fans-to-be a way to listen to your music without having to dedicate any hard drive space or time into download an MP3. Users and listen to it on the go, fans can pull it up on their iPhone and play it for a friend, or stream it at work; the amount of applications are endless.
  • Videos have VISUALS. Well…they should anyway. Your video doesn’t have to be playing guitar, or sequecing a song live (though it could!). You don’t have to do a whole AMV to post your music on YouTube. You can simply just have a static image, or a loop video like OCReMix does. You make something like this pretty simply in iMovie or Windows Movie maker, and it doesn’t have to be all sorts of flashy. My advice to you is to put as much information about yourself as you want people to know, without over doing it. I’ll go over this in much more detail in the upcoming weeks.
  • Talented artists get a A LOT of exposure on YouTube. Have you heard of Justin Bieber? I mean, you probably have, but did you know he got discovered on YouTube? I don’t hate the kid. I don’t care much for his fan base, but he got where he is today by having some degree of talent, and a YouTube account. Be warned: This isn’t the last time I’ll bring him up in my discussions of YouTube, either. So be ready.
  • To combat plagiarism. As I’ve said before in the OCR Plagiarism thread: You absolutely can not control whether or not you or your music will get onto the internet, because it absolutely will. It will not necessarily be what you want to end up on the internet, and it will not necessarily be in the places you want it to be on the internet. You can’t stop it, however you can control it. How? By making sure that all the information you do want to show up shows up first, more often, and more relevant. If you get popular enough, it is certain beyond a reasonable doubt that someone will post your music on YouTube. It may have an innocent omission of information about you, or they may be trying to pass it off as their own. You can search down every iteration of your song on YouTube, and flag all of them as inappropriate, and how YouTube takes action against them eventually or you can post your music yourself, with all your legitimate information, so that there’s absolutely no question what the official source is. I can guarantee you that if you post a video of “Zelda Ocarina of Time/Chrono Trigger: Eponapoch (Guitar Remix)” posted by Willrock07 with a video about you, and links to your Facebook Page, and website, and all kinds of info, it will get more hits on YouTube than some kids “ZELDA KRONO TRIGGR GUITAR MIX” with a picture of a dancing storm trooper by coolkid0009 with 30 videos of the same thing and bad spelling, and hopefully yours will show up in the “Related Videos” sidebar when that DOES happen. Optimizing video titles, tags, and descriptions will be important for this as well, and will also be discussed in the upcoming weeks.
  • People can’t stop watching YouTube. The thing is addicting. I go to watch my own video of Shnababula‘s amazing live Terra remix, end up clicking on the Batman playing Terra in Black Video, then I see Terra in Black in Guitar Hero, then I see You Are Not Alone from Final Fantasy 9 in Guitar Hero, then I find You Are Not Alone on Classical Guitar, then katethegrate’s Roses of May from Final Fantasy 9 (love her, by the way), and then…crap I’m supposed to be writing a column here. SEE WHAT I MEAN? Powerful stuff. You want your video to show up on YouTube, because people will find it, and they will watch it. Hopefully they’ll like it and know where to go to find out more about you and your music!

So there you have it. As mentioned about, in the weeks following I’ll be explaining how to optimize your videos themselves, your profile, your titles, tags, and descriptions. I’ll also go over some other ways to drive traffic to your profile, and get yourself some more exposure: namely covers. Pretty huge, but that’s for another time!

As always if you have questions about anything discussed, or suggests on what you might hear about in future articles, post a comment!

Why You NEED a Facebook Page!

Every Thursday, I find myself incredibly bored while starla heads off the One Hour Compo. I’ve worked in web marketing for a year, and every day I see a video game remix artist or some other musician who’s trying to promote their music, but just doesn’t know how. Just the Tips is weekly-to-bi-weekly article on how to take control of your web presence and promote your brand. I say brand because that’s what you are: A brand that you are trying to sell. Maybe you’re selling it for free, maybe you’re collecting digital downloads, but you are selling your name above all all else. If you are serious about your music, and serious about getting it heard by everyone out there who might want to hear it, these will be some helpful hints to getting the most out of your web presence.

If you’re an artist these days, there’s 2 things that are absolutely required: A YouTube profile, and a Facebook Page. Even more so than a website, these 2 things are going to get you the exposure you want. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t have a personal music website, because you should, but a Facebook Page and a YouTube profile are 2 simple, free, things you can set up quickly and easily. As you can probably tell by the title of the article, today I’m going to focus on Facebook Pages, but in the upcoming weeks expect more tips for setting up a YouTube account. Be prepared to get yelled at if you don’t own a custom domain name for your website at the very least, but again, that’s for another time.

Today, Facebook released it’s new Pages layout, so thought it’d be a good topic to talk about. When I say Facebook Page, I don’t mean your personal Facebook profile. Facebook Pages, previously “Facebook Fan Pages,” are Facebook Pages for your brand. Why is it important to have a Facebook Page? Well consider that over 500,000,000 people were using Facebook by late last year. That’s 7% of the population of the entire planet, and over 25% of the people using the internet. Quite literally everyone, and their mother, is using Facebook these days. So how does this help you as an artist?

  • It’s additional web real-estate. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: There isn’t much legitimate real-estate on the web that can’t be turned into good real-estate. When someone searches your name on Google, you want to have as much relevant information available for them as possible; Facebook pages, personal websites, blogs, twitter, heck even MySpace is bouncing back now a days. So long as you curate your web presence, it can only help.
  • It’s much simpler, and professional, than having people add your personal Facebook profile. You’ll see all the time pseudo-celebrities with thousands of Facebook friends, but what if you don’t want your entire network to know you and your fiancé just broke it off? Or that you’re in the hospital for some embarrassing injury? Or even those photos your friends took when you passed out last night? These things aren’t just embarrassing, but they could be damaging. Sure you can set up lists and privacy filters, and you should regardless. If you do it right, it is much easier, and much more effective to let your Page handle this.
  • It’s very easy to collect followers. Facebook is probably the easiest way for you to get people to follow you, and your music. A simple “Like” and suddenly they’re getting up-to-the minute updates from you when ever they’re on Facebook and, let’s face it, they’re on Facebook all the time. While at work, while at school, on their phone, while driving. ITZ SO EZ. (Note: I’m PRETTY sure you can’t be held legally responsible for someone reading your Facebook updates on their phone while driving, but I’m not a lawyer so this is not legal advice.) You can even embed your Fanbox on your website and collect followers that way. This is infinitely easier than expecting people to follow an RSS feed, or have a twitter account, or even worse, have to continually check your website for updates manually.
  • Social Proof. It’s a proven fact that people are more likely to trust the opinions of someone else they know. Social proof is one of Facebook’s biggest draws when it comes to marketing. Chances are if 6 of your friends are a fan of a certain artist, and you know and trust their tastes, then you may consider listening to that artist yourself. The same goes for your followers and you.
  • Facebook advertising is THE BEST out there. Now you might not be considering advertising yet, which is your own decision. I personally find it acceptable to put away a few extra dollars a month to help promote my brand. I understand it’s not in everyone’s budget, but consider this: Facebook allows you to target the audiences you’re looking for, specifically, and you only pay per conversion. You heard that right, you only pay if someone likes your page, thusly becoming a new follower, and becoming a subscriber to your content. How specific can you get? You can target people who are between the ages of 14 and 30, male and female, in the United States, the UK, Australia, and Japan, who are fans of OverClocked ReMix or ThaSauce Network or deadmau5 or zircon or whatever else your sound is, that aren’t already fans of you. Depending on what you’re looking for your price-per-click will vary, but it will likely be less than a dollar per conversion, you can set a max amount of budget that you have for ads, and they can be started or stopped at any time. Did I mention that every click is a real life new follower who sees all your updates? Yea.
  • Analytics. Analytics. Analytics. What are analytics? Analytics are something VERY important for managing your brand. They are essentially stats that tell you whether or not what you’re doing is working, and how well. Facebook analytics  tell you how many impressions your posts got each day, and also how many actions (likes/comments) each post got per impression. For those who don’t know what an impression is, it’s basically when ever a page loads and your content is on it. So basically how many times your updates have shown up in other peoples feeds. You’ll probably be surprised when you see how much exposure you’re getting through Facebook.

So that’s all I have for you this week. If you haven’t already, hopefully you will go out and make a Facebook Page for yourself right now. Set it up, have fun with it, dip your toe into the waters a bit, and see how it goes. Next week I’ll be telling you how can get the most out of your Facebook page, how to post engaging content, and what engaging content actually is, how to keep people coming back and, most importantly, how to turn this all into ROI.

If you have any questions at all, be sure to post a comment. (and please excuse the forum theme, it’s a work-in-progress.)