Author: Leah McHenry

It's become my absolute obsession to find out what will make musicians successful today. In the face of many obstacles, and in the vast sea of the internet, we have an opportunity that has NEVER been available to us in the history of the music business.

Are the New Facebook Updates the Apocalypse for Musicians?

 

If you’re a musician, artist, or content creator and you pay attention to what’s happening on Facebook and your page, you’ve likely seen your engagement and reach drop dramatically over the past several months. It’s no secret that Facebook has been reprioritizing the newsfeed to encourage more interaction from friends and family rather than pages for businesses, brands, and media.

 

Mark Zuckerberg recently posted his mission to “fix Facebook” as part of his New Year’s resolutions. We all wondered what that meant.  On January 11th he posted[1] specifically what those changes will be.

 

He stated that Facebook’s top priority is the user’s experience and well-being. Translation? Less passive scrolling and more meaningful conversations. In order to make Facebook feel like it’s time well spent, posts from pages will be demoted while posts from family and friends they feel users are likely to interact with will be promoted.

 

“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups,” says Zuckerberg. “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

 

Read his whole post here.

Facebook News elaborated on Mark’s statement:

 

“The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.[2]

 

Whoa, hold on.  Does this signal the beginning of the end for artists, bands, and content creators who rely on organic traffic and engagement to spread the word about their craft?  Already, people are alarmed and running to their Facebook bunkers with their marketing tinfoil hats.

 

As a fellow independent recording artist, I want to help calm the storm, demystify what this means, and share exactly what I’ll be doing to make this work for my music brand.

 

It also should be pointed out that if you have anything to sell — music, merchandise, art, etc. ––– it is still vital that you still use a professional business page to stay compliant with Facebook’s terms of service. Additionally, you need a business page in order to advertise, as well as get the benefit of Google’s SEO bots, which spider public pages, and in turn allow your page to be ranked in searches (unlike personal profiles which do not get spidered). So don’t think that you need to switch to using your personal profile to continue building your brand (which could get you banned).

 

Make no mistake: this change will certainly affect organic traffic on our Facebook pages and the type of content we promote.

 

Here are my “pay-attention” bullet points of what Zuckerberg is saying is important to Facebook:

  • Meaningful relationships
  • Friends and family
  • Well-being and happiness
  • Sharing personal moments
  • Connection and intimacy
  • Feeling less lonely
  • Physical and mental health
  • Conversation and discussion
  • Community

 

These are words and principles I pulled right out of Mark’s post. These are Facebook’s “new values,” which tell us everything we need to know about the type of content and interactions we need to aim for and strive to create as artists and content creators.

 

What we want to focus on is how to make these changes work for us rather than fight against us. Instead of crying in our coffee over algorithms and reprioritized news feeds, let’s choose to say, “Ok, these are the changes. How can I adapt and pivot to make these changes enhance what I’m already doing?”

 

According to Facebook Newsroom, in order to have your page shown in the News Feed the page’s posts must “prompt conversations between friends.” That means between people and people they know — not people and the page. Posts that people don’t react to — even video — will see the biggest decline.

 

Facebook can afford to do this because the newsfeed is overcrowded and they can pick and choose what goes into the feed. So in other words, the cream will rise to the top. As I’ve been learning and experiencing and teaching fellow musicians — regardless of what the algorithms are doing –– the key to success on Facebook is to post better content that make people want to engage. This has never been more important than now.

 

What we should do

 

I’m going to share what you should stop doing and start doing –– effective immediately.

 

STOP scheduling every single post.

In the past it was well known that posting more times a day allowed more people to see and interact with our pages, since people are on and off Facebook at different hours. The standard social media recommendation was to post up to ten times per day, or every few hours. This became rather daunting for musicians and artists, so many of us turned to scheduling apps like Hootsuite, Edgar, Buffer, PostPlanner, and others. While it may still be useful to schedule certain posts, Facebook is hinting that spontaneous posts which elicit meaningful discussion will be shown in the feed. Take the hint.

 

START being more spontaneous.

I will schedule 1-2 posts per day (if that), and make sure that each post is more meaningful, entertaining, inquisitive, or somehow conversation-stimulating to my fans. Beyond that, I will post spontaneous “mini blog-type” posts, personal thoughts, more text, and photos that I think will resonate with the culture I’m creating around my music. I also pay attention to the pages I’ve liked in my own news feed, and whenever I find something amusing, thought-provoking, or entertaining, I often will spontaneously post that to my page on the spur of the moment. I believe this will really work well if you’re posting often, at least every day. If you’re only posting once per month, I don’t think anything is going to work for you. You must be present, and more importantly — you must be relevant.

 

STOP posting links to your website and music shop.

Anytime you post a link to your website, music shop, even iTunes — the reach is abysmal. Facebook definitely punishes posts that try to take people off of Facebook and try to get people to do something like buy a song. Even posts that are just a photo (which worked really amazing for a while) are being demoted. My best guess is Facebook sees it as self-serving and one-way. It’s almost the equivalent of walking up to strangers in a mall and shouting “Buy my stuff! Buy my stuff!” It just doesn’t go over well. Facebook wants their virtual community to be more like a real-life community. We would never normally walk up to someone and just say, “Here’s my website.” That would be weird and inappropriate. Instead, in real life, we get to know people. We find out what we have in common and develop rapport. Then later on, we talk about what we do for work and perhaps tell them about our website if they are interested or ask. That’s what Facebook is going for.

 

START doing more live videos.

Those of us who have already been experimenting with live video already know the power it brings along with the increased engagement and reach. Last summer I did a seemingly boring Facebook Live video from my home office/studio that lasted just over forty minutes. When I ended the video, I was shocked to see the reach was just over a quarter of a million people. This happened due to the simple and sheer fact that I titled my video as a specific question. By doing this, it elicited responses from my fans, and because my page is public, when my fans commented on my video, their activity showed up in the newsfeed of their networks. I hope that makes sense. You’ve probably seen this: you’re scrolling in your feed and see that your friend commented on another page. That’s all it is. But it only happens when the page is public, as opposed to when users comment on someone’s private personal page, which does not show up in your newsfeed or in the feed of their friends. So get people interacting with your live videos! Live videos get 6x the engagement of normal videos. You’re going see how much this helps. And when it comes to promoting our music and merchandise? Plug it in your live video. While there are several other ways that have helped me generate an annual six-figure income from music sales, this is one way I’ve found to be very effective.

 

STOP being a spectator on Facebook.

I get it: many of us creatives are introverts and not big risk-takers. We prefer to read and observe and carefully weigh what’s going on behind the scenes rather than be in the spotlight. It’s well known that artists struggle with the introvert/extrovert thing. Many of us have to force ourselves to get into character in order to pull off being the center of attention (and probably why many of the greats of yesteryear turned to alcohol and drugs to pull off things they did for years on stage). Fast forward to 2018: you cannot remain a social media recluse if you want to cultivate a fanbase and culture that results in a sustainable living.  If you’re not willing to come into the spotlight just a bit — even behind a computer or mobile screen — and show who you are, what you stand for, and the kind of culture your music represents — then you’re finished. End of story. Good-bye.

 

START building a culture around your music.

This is something I’ve been working hard at for the past year with my own music brand. It’s a huge topic that many have not really tapped into yet. Whenever someone says the word “brand,” musicians tend to think of their logo. Not so. Your brand is what people think and say about your music when you’re not around. Your brand is essentially people’s perception, which often comes down to a gut feeling. That makes it sound kind of esoteric or mystical compared to what we’re used to, but think of it in terms of first impressions, and it starts to make more sense. Once on my Facebook page, I asked my fans what word first popped into their heads when they thought of me and my music. I posted it along with a photo I wanted them to associate me with. The feedback was the most valuable data I could’ve ever asked for. I was able to go out and build a music brand around their perceptions, which was based off of single words! When you have a culture, you have a community and this is exactly what Facebook wants. What’s a music culture? In short, it’s a common theme or idea that brings people together. Culture and community are synonymous. I like to think of social media platforms as my own personal magazine that you’d buy from Barnes and Nobles. Only my music is the soundtrack. So, picture the images, the articles, the opinions, the politics, the worldview that your personal magazine would have… and you’ll attract more people just like you. Your music becomes the soundtrack of their life.

 

A few other things to consider with these changes:

 

Start a Facebook group around your music culture.

Both Zuckerberg and the Facebook Newsroom mentioned groups several times, and that meaningful conversations happening within groups will be promoted to the top of the news feed. Make it a community-centric focus. I’ve already started a group for my page where people can post things related to my music and the culture that surrounds it. The nice thing is that when you do have something to promote (say, 10% of the time), your members will actually see it.

 

Train your following to click on the “See First” button on your page.

Create some screenshots or a 30-second video on where that button is on your page, and let your following know about the changes and that if they don’t want to miss important details from you, to make sure they click that “See First” button.

 

Building your email list is more important than ever.

If you thought email was dead, think again. It’s for reasons exactly like this that I continue to build my list year-round. Anytime I release a new single or have anything share-worthy — I make sure I milk it. I use videos, advertising, and my social platforms to get as many new email addresses as possible. That way, no matter what happens on Facebook or any platform — I can still communicate and promote to my own unique audience — and no one can take that away. I will still continue to build my Facebook page and other platforms as long as they are effective, but I will also be very aggressive in the coming year with building my list.

 

Learning how to advertise on Facebook will become essential.

Aside from learning to build a tight-knit culture and community around your music, advertising is the next, and maybe even more important, task to learn.  You do need to know what you’re doing so you don’t waste your money. I always tell people though, that before you start spending money on paid traffic, master free traffic. If what you’re doing isn’t getting you any results with organic traffic, throwing money at it won’t help.

 

 

Thank you for reading this post, I hope it helps you navigate these sometimes scary changes. If you felt this was helpful or informative, please leave a comment and share this with your friends!

 

For more strategies on creating a sustainable living from your music, follow me on Facebook (and click the “See First” button!) where I do regular Facebook Live videos and share my journey with you.

Musicians, don’t fret: get savvy and let’s crush 2018.

 

 

 

[1] https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10104413015393571

[2] https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/01/news-feed-fyi-bringing-people-closer-together/

Top 10 Social Tools for Musicians That Helped Me Build a 6-Figure Music Business

 There’s a million-zillion tools and apps out there, and 99.9% of the time, they don’t actually move the needle for us musicians.

This is a list of my top go-to tools that I constantly use that DO SOMETHING to help grow my music business. Some of them are big, some of them are small – but they get me where I want to go, time and time again.

 

1. CANVA.COM

A free social graphics maker. This toolis amazing!! Even if you are terrible at graphics (and really, I do believe you should hire a professional!), but you need a new Facebook banner or Instagram photo in a pinch and make it look like a pro did it…. This is your tool. They even have tutorials to help you get better at doing graphics. I use this multiple times per week, depending on what I’m doing in social media.

 

2. ADOBE SPARK

Really awesome video clip maker you can use for social media. You can do a slide show, images, or video with your own music, and upload to Facebook and other social platforms. It’s one of those tools you can definitely lose several hours playing around and having fun with!

 

3. POST PLANNER

One of the cheapest and easiest-to-use social media schedulers. It also helps you find new content to post, including popular articles, quotes, and images. It’s around $10 at the basic level. Pretty great!

 

4. FACEBOOK LIVE

NOTHING – and I mean NOTHING – will get you more reach and engagement like posting a live streaming video on Facebook. Don’t have a following yet? Don’t have fans? USE THIS free tool and sing or play live!! Make sure you go live on a professional page, and not your personal profile — then ask people if they liked what they heard to share or tag a friend…. Incredibly powerful.

 

5. FACEBOOK PAGES APP

This is really an essential free app I use multiple times per day to manage my Facebook page. You probably know I preach against using your personal profile for you music as it doesn’t benefit you whatsoever. This pages app helps you manage, post, and go live right on your page, as well as answer any incoming messages from fans. A must-have!

 

6. FACEBOOK POLLS

A really fun tool I use from time to time to ask my fans questions or get feedback on something, especially if I have decisions to make. I recently polled my fans on what kinds of items they’d like to see in my merch shop! I had hundreds and hundreds of responses. And it made my life so much easier when it came time to decide what to add next!

 

7. EVERNOTE

What would I do without this app in my life?? The number of notes I have is astonishing. I write everything this thing. From to-do lists, vacation details, to jumbled song lyrics, planning out my next album launch, and image clips from around the web I want to come back to. I use both the full version on all my computers, and of course I have it synced with the mobile app on my phone. I also use this daily!

 

8. DROPBOX

What musician can live without Drop- box? I keep ALL my important files in my Dropbox! I also try to stay extreme- ly organized by having a master folder for one thing, and then sub-folders, and then numbered sub-folders, so they appear in order.

For example:

So you can see, it’s good to have a system when you’re trying to find things! I have many folders that look like this, including for Photos, Social Media images, Videos, and more.

 

9. MAILCHIMP

Email is an asset, and Mailchimp is by far the easiest Customer Relations Management tool to use on earth. If you don’t have an email list, you’re missing out on SO MUCH as a musician or artist. This is how I maintain relationships with my fans and make a large portion of my music sales.

 

10. GETEMOJI.COM

My go-to resource for emojis when I’m writing fan emails, campaigns, or writing high-converting Facebook ads. I can copy/paste any emoji I want that makes sense and enhances my message.

XOX, Leah

 

For in-depth strategies on how to launch and market an album online, please see this introductory workshop to Leah’s full Online Musician program:

Why I Recently Deleted My SoundCloud Account

Savvy Musician Academy, the online musician, Leah mchenry, facebook for musicians, music career marketing, soundcloud

On the go? Listen to the audio version below!

You might be thinking to yourself, “What the heck, Leah? Why would you do that?”  After all, there are 175 MILLION SoundCloud users, and ten million of them are music creators.

 

So why on earth would I limit myself and my ability to give all these users access to my music?

 

One word: ROI.

 

OK, that’s technically three, because it stands for Return On Investment.

 

In one sentence: I never made a dime on SoundCloud.

 

As a musician whose goal is to make a living with my music, I found SoundCloud useless.

 

I’ve had these conversations with several of my students in the past. One, in particular, tried to argue with me. She said:

‘”Leah, I have over a MILLION listens on this one track!”

“Great!” I told her. “How many email subscribers did you get from that?”

“None.”

“How much money did you make from that?”

“None.”

“And do you have a way to contact all these new, raving fans who love this new track so much, so they can visit your website and buy your album, or maybe some merch, in the future?”

“Nope.”

 

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So, you see, I’m having to show people over and over again that, despite them saying they want to make a living in the new music industry, they are actually more obsessed with their EGO and the number of listens they get.

Those two goals are NOT synonymous.

 

I propose to you two options:

 

  1. You care about your ego and the surface number of likes/listens/fans
  2.  You care about making your music sustainable and making a decent living
     

One of those two can be true, but they can’t both be true.

 

SoundCloud is not evil, and there’s nothing wrong if you want to be on there. . . HOWEVER,  my challenge to you is, if you’re going to put your music up for free somewhere, do it with a specific strategy in mind.

 

Do everything purposefully and intentionally.

 

OK, so your music is on SoundCloud. WHY?
What’s your strategy for that?

Or your music is on YouTube. WHY?
What’s your strategy for THAT?

What’s the purpose?

 

As of right now, there’s no way to monetize your music on SoundCloud. They will be rolling out a new program in the future that apparently will allow monetization through ads, similar to YouTube’s ads.

 

That’s because they know artists can’t succeed on their platform, so why should they stay? That monetization program is not rolled out to the public yet, so, for now, I have no use for it,, and I have not found my fans there.

 

Where have I found my fans, and where have I found a good ROI?

 

That would be Facebook. Love it or hate it, there are two billion people there, and, without a doubt, YOUR fans are there too.

 

Every interest, every book club, every film, even local police and government agencies are on Facebook. It is not going away.

 

Now, a return on investment means that when I invest my time, my energy, or my money, I get MORE back than I put in. That’s how you know something’s profitable.

Facebook gives me that. I get new fans every single day – some of them are superfans – and I make new sales every single day from this one platform, which is why I spend 98% of my time there.

 

Now, I am a big proponent of being a big fish in a small pond and the idea that you don’t need millions of fans and followers to be successful.

But there is one thing that is very important on social media if you want to really build some momentum. That is, you need something called social proof.

 

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Social proof is the surface evidence that you are indeed legit. Despite the fact that there are thousands and thousands of AMAZING musicians and bands out there, if they don’t have the “proof” that they’re amazing, they’ll get ignored.

So I am not saying numbers are irrelevant; I am just MORE concerned with quality over quantity.

At the end of the day, we do need social proof, no matter if it’s just a few hundred people who think our music is the best thing since sliced bread, or tens of thousands.

The fact remains you need SOME social proof.

 

How to Get Social Proof

One way I’ve been building social proof is by allowing reviews on my Facebook page. It’s very similar to Amazon.com, where people give you a star rating from 1 to 5, based on how they feel about you, and they can also write text.

The reason this is powerful is that you cannot edit or delete these reviews! It’s very organic and raw.

This might feel a little risky to you at first if you’re not feeling confident about your music yet, but, in my opinion, it’s the most powerful form of social proof you can have.

When you do a search for my music page, this is what you see in the search results:

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At the time of this post, I have over 1,500 four- and five-star reviews on my music page! This is really incredible and, if you read through them, they are all raving fans.

You cannot BUY reviews. This is 100% raw and organic.

This is what you need to build organic momentum on your page. Because, when people leave you a review or give you a star rating, guess what happens?

That activity shows up in their newsfeed, and whoever took that action just broadcasted that to their entire network. Do you know what you’ll get from that? More followers.

It’s like word-of-mouth marketing on steroids.

There are a few things you’ll need to know, if you want to start getting this viral social proof on your page, to make sure you have it set up right.

I created a free PDF to show you step-by-step how to do this, so you can start getting an ROI for the time and effort you DO put into your music. After all, if you’ve read this far, I know for a fact you ARE legit and your MUSIC is legit, and now we need to make sure your Facebook page reflects that.

 

Get your Facebook Reviews feature set up properly here:

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Why finding your musical NICHE is the difference between failure & success online

Savvy Musician Academy, the online musician, Leah mchenry, facebook for musicians, music career marketing, music industry education

 

On the go? Listen to the audio version of this post below!

One of the most frequent questions I get is, “Leah, how do I get my music to stand out?” 

That’s a VERY good question, and the right one to ask, now that we’re in the digital age of the internet, streaming, Spotify, and the like.

It’s a vast ocean of music out there, some amazing, some mediocre, and a lot of not-so-good stuff.

It’s gotten to the point that we’re dealing with a lot of white noise, and every musician is competing for the same eyes and ears!

As competition becomes more fierce and the internet becomes a more crowded place, there’s really only one breed of musician that will succeed, and that is those who have a strategy in place.

We’re going to steal the best strategy used by other online businesses. It’s called Niche Marketing. 

 

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WHAT’S A NICHE, YOU SAY?

A niche is a specialized market.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s start with a huge market: canned beverages.

From there, we go into a niche: a carbonated beverage.
From there, we go into a smaller sub-niche: energy drinks.
From there, we go into a micro-niche: sugar-free, all-natural, herbal energy drinks.

 

This is exactly what we will do to be successful and stand out in the OCEAN of the internet.

We’re going to determine our micro-niche

We start with our largest genre and then work our way down.

 

WHY DO I NEED A NICHE AND HOW DOES IT HELP?

It comes down to this:

You can either be a small fish in a large pond, or you can be THE BIG FISH in a small pond. 

Which do you want to be?

 

Which do you think is easier to become successful in? An ocean or a little pond?

Now you might wonder how this works if you have a popular, more mainstream genre.

Well, that’s indeed a very good question.

The same question could be asked if you were in the beverage industry and you wanted to make another carbonated drink. WHY do people need another energy drink?

 

You always start by answering the question of what is UNIQUE and DIFFERENT about that new product.

 

The same goes for your music.

 

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Does the world need another Coca-Cola? Probably not. But it does want new ways to consume canned beverages that are more healthy and that they enjoy just as much.

In the same way, we can solve a similar problem.

 

GIMME AN EXAMPLE

OK, say you make mainstream pop music.

Maybe all the pop music out there right now is boring or predictable.

Say you have a unique voice or play an instrument that is not typically used in pop, or perhaps you have some unique lyrics.

So maybe you combine pop with a few distinctive middle-eastern instruments that people don’t typically hear.

NOW you’ve got something with a twist that will perk ears up!

Perhaps your fans tell you it sounds like “World Pop” to them…

…OK, now we’re getting somewhere…

And maybe besides the catchy melodies and beats you typically hear in pop and your unique middle-eastern instruments, you also sing about certain topics that aren’t as typical.

Now people will associate you with more than just pop and beats they’ve heard before.

Does this make sense?

When you know your micro-niche, not only will people find you SO MUCH FASTER, but finding fans who are more than willing to become BUYING fans becomes exponentially easier. 

Why? Because they are true fans.

 

When you dig into a micro-niche, you either create a new market, or you home in on an existing one that tends to attract SUPERFANS.

And when you have superfans, making a living is very easy, doable, realistic, and achievable.

 

FOR THE RECORD…

Full disclosure: I did not know what my micro-niche was when I released my first album.

I just sort of released it without thinking about it. Luckily for me, I had intuitively combined my favorite flavors and influences to create a unique combination that worked for me as soon as I started to learn about niche marketing.

However, if you have already created music, it can become very tough to go back after the fact and figure out if you have a niche.

What I would rather have you do is consider what you already have, then consider what kind of music you’re currently making, and then consider where you might want to go with it. 

With that in mind, start looking at similar bands in your genre to find out if you’re making music too similar to them.

 

THE ULTIMATE QUESTION YOU MUST ANSWER

The ONE question you need to ask yourself is:  what’s my twist?

OK, so I make this kind of music. But what’s my TWIST on that?

 

What is the answer to that?

Well, that’s where the hard work comes in.

 

But once you dig in and start to home in on that, it will make ALL the difference between being a needle in a giant haystack…and being the haystack itself!

 

…It’s a tough question, I know.

We can go back and forth on it for years, but it’s often much simpler than you think.

 

HOW I FOUND MY MICRO-NICHE

For me, I took my biggest influences, which were quite diverse – European Heavy Metal and Celtic/New Age artists (like Enya) – and I squished them together and they had a baby:  my music. Haha! 

I also had a few fans and asked them what THEY thought. This was an important factor to consider, since I didn’t quite know what to call the music I made.

They repeatedly told me:

> Celtic Metal
> World Metal
> Symphonic Metal
> Fantasy Metal

….and other similar things. Now, they didn’t all say in perfect unison one specific adjective, but it started tilting me and directing me toward a certain niche.

 

I now call what I do Celtic Fantasy Metal. 

 

 

Print

 

THE KEY TO REMEMBER

The important thing about niches is that MOST of the time they already exist.

I didn’t make up a string of adjectives and then say, “Hey, guys! My micro-niche is red-flowers-moody-pop-chicken-dance-groove-blues.”

Uh, no.

A micro-niche is not a list of what you wish you were or a mood you’re in.

99% of the time, it’s a real niche that already exists.

You can tell because, when you type it into a YouTube search bar, songs and playlists with that exact title come up!

 

That’s a sure-fire way to know your niche is real.

 

THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE

There’s always that rebellious little bugger who has to break all the rules and make up something ridiculously cool that doesn’t exist yet.  (I’m kidding!)

 

Take, for example, these guys (who I just realized are on the same label as me – small world).

They even made a video “meme” out of their strange little micro-niche. They’re calling it “Dwarven Metal”.

I think it’s pretty obvious what it is before you even press the play button. 
Think Lord of the Rings. Think elves, trolls, hobbits……and dwarves.

So they didn’t just identify with a fantasy movie; they’ve gone much, much deeper and identified their music, brand, image, and lyrics with a mythical race! 

And if you think this might be too risky and you might be cutting out too much of the market…at the time of my writing this post, this video has gotten 3.5 million views in just over a month on Facebook!

 

THERE IS POWER IN GOING SMALLER

I hope this little article has opened your mind to the fact that it’s not all about becoming world-famous. It’s all about becoming famous within your micro-niche.

YES. This is how you stand out, how you get noticed, how you attract the RIGHT kinds of fans to you, who will ultimately BUY.

Welcome to the New Music Industry, where you have the power within yourself to “make it”.

 

Download today’s freebie on how YOU can find YOUR microniche! A simple PDF to help you narrow it down. Enjoy!

 

 

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The 3 biggest MISTAKES musicians make on Facebook (and how to fix them)!

Savvy Musician Academy, the online musician, Leah mchenry, facebook for musicians, music career marketing, getting facebook fans

On the go? Listen to the audio version of this post below!

There’s A TON of JUICY TEACHING in this FACEBOOK LIVE VIDEO. Take notes!

 

 

If you’re a musician, singer, songwriter, composer, or even an industry professional and you are NOT using Facebook to build a fanbase, you are missing out BIG TIME.

 

Facebook has been one of the most important things I’ve used to propel my music from a hobby to a 6-figure career, all as a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t tour.

 

{ Get the PDF Freebie! }

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That sounds kind of hard to believe to some people, because they’ve been on Facebook a while now and haven’t seen results anywhere close to that!

 

There’s always a reason why things work for some people and not others.

 

It’s not a game of luck or chance on Facebook. We’re dealing with human behavior, emotions, algorithms, and data.

 

 

SO WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?

 

Let me fill you in on what you might be doing wrong so we can fix it right away.

 

 

Using your personal profile to promote your music 

What’s wrong with that? There are four reasons why you want to STOP using your personal profile.

  1. It’s against Facebook’s policy to use your personal profile for business, and that includes anything you have for sale, including your music.
     
    Your personal profile is meant for friends and family. That’s why they cap you at 5,000 friends – because, realistically, you don’t have personal relationships with more than 500 people (let’s be honest), but they still allow a larger number for, say, acquaintances, work colleagues, etc.
     
    This friend limit was put in place so that it would keep the newsfeeds personal. The last thing you want when you’re trying to interact with friends and family is to get spammed by people you hardly know about their latest vitamin MLM. I’m a big supporter of small businesses and even network marketing, but I always tell my MLM friends that they need to stop promoting on their personal page if they want to build a business, and start building a FOLLOWING of people on their business page, based on a certain lifestyle, common interests, and community. THEN people will want to buy what they have. The same thing goes for our music. We’re going to do the exact same thing.
     
  2. You are capped at 5,000 friends on your personal profile. Why would you want that?
    It makes absolutely no sense to limit yourself when you’re trying to build a fanbase around the world.
     
    We’ve already talked about why Facebook has this policy, but the fact is that some people reading this right now are going to be stubborn and keep their personal profile JUST because it seems they get more interaction on their personal profile. The reason is that’s where you’ve put your focus. Plus, Facebook’s algorithms are designed to show friends and family’s posts first. If people are on your friends list, yeah, there’s a bigger chance they’ll see it.
     
    I believe the pros of that do not outweigh the cons and the bigger benefits of having a professional Facebook fan page.
     
    So how do you get people from your personal page to your business fan page?
     
    I suggest you make a public post explaining that you’ll be moving all your music posts to your new (or old) official fan page. Explain you want to keep things a little more separated in your personal life and music life. People will understand. Give them a heads up, and also let them know that they can interact with you on your fan page, where you’ll be very ACTIVE. Then copy this post and put it in the public “about” section of your personal profile. That way, when people are searching for you and sending you friend requests, they’ll see why you haven’t added them, and they’ll also see the link to where they CAN interact with you.
     
    Another reason you do NOT want to use your personal profile to promote your music is…
      
  3. Google does not spider your personal page but DOES spider your professional business page. What does that mean? It means Google sends little bots to search for keywords, phrases, and interests and “spiders” pages to find them. This is what gives you an SEO ranking when people search for certain terms. Google does NOT send those bots to your personal profile, which gives you NO added benefit to posting your music there as your primary social media marketing channel. Google DOES, however, spider your professional page. That means that, every time you post, all the words and images you use go into Google’s systems as it searches for relevant keywords, hashtags, and key phrases. This is how potential fans will FIND you in search results. Oftentimes, if you’re using a Facebook page properly, this is how you get on the first page of Google search results. Good enough reason for me!
     
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  4. Lack of boundaries: fans and stalkers will have access to you day and night. If you’re just starting out, this might not seem like a big deal to you…yet. But eventually, you will NOT like the fact that any and all fans can reach you any time of the day or night. Many of them just assume that if you’re online and they have access to your profile, they can simply converse with you and message you whenever they want. And, mark my words, they will. I learned the hard way when I started getting some creepy messages and people borderline stalking me. Keep in mind that you have your very personal friends, family, and loved ones on that same friend list. They can access this. They can see those people commenting on your kids’ pictures. I believe privacy and security are an issue here. So, for that reason alone, it’s a healthy and safe idea to separate your music page from your personal/private profile.
     
    And one of the bigger reasons you don’t want to use your personal profile for music business:

     
  5. You cannot use Facebook advertising for your personal profile. If you get to the point where you really want to build a serious following of fans online, at some point you’re going to want to learn how to use Facebook ads properly (I have extensive training on this for musicians). In order to advertise, you MUST have a professional business page.That’s the only way you can set up an ad campaign. You also can’t show ads to your personal profile of friends. That’s not how it works. You CAN show ads to the Facebook page of fans that you’ve been building, though! So it does not help you in any way to build a personal page that you can’t ever advertise to. Just doesn’t make any sense.
     

 

OTHER MISTAKES MUSICIANS MAKE ON FACEBOOK…

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Using outdated graphics on your Facebook banner and website

    1. Sure, that photo of you from 5 years ago or 20 years ago is great…but that’s not you now. Plus, most outdated photos and graphics LOOK outdated.Get a new photoshoot done once a year. Get new graphics made for each new release, and update your Facebook banner and social media platforms with the same THEME.It’s a very jarring experience for a fan to see one image or graphic of you on your Facebook page and then go to your website, only to experience a totally different look and feel. What we want is brand continuity. That means we provide a consistent experience across different platforms and channels, which helps establish our brand identity, and it also establishes trust between the consumer and the brand – the fan and the artist.

 

  1. Secondly, if you’re making your own graphics and banners (and you’re not a graphic designer), stop.  I don’t mind being the bad guy, but I have to tell you: we can tell you did it yourself. Go to fiverr.com or hire a friend who knows what they’re doing and get yourself some professional-looking graphics and banners.Just because we are often VERY creative beyond music, and JUST because we LIKE playing around with Photoshop and Canva, does not mean we SHOULD be doing those things. Our energy would be better spent on making more great music and building our fanbase. Those are things that only we can do. Other people are great at graphics, so let them do what they do best.

 

Promoting your music in every post

“What are you talking about, Leah? How else am I supposed to get people to listen and buy my music?

There is a time and a place for flat-out promotion. But this is a by-product of doing something far more important: building a community and culture of like-minded people AROUND our music.

What does culture mean? Culture is a common belief, theme, or idea that unifies people together.

We often think of the word in a larger context of the culture of a certain country or something. But as we grow our music and our fan base, we create our own little music eco-system, where there are relationships and transactions.

Those create bonds, common interests and ultimately a THEME.

So, for example, when you go to my music fan page, even if my music isn’t your cup of tea, you’ll KNOW within 3-5 seconds of scrolling what my music is all about, even though I might not be posting all about my music.

Now, the Facebook algorithms have changed a lot. It used to matter that you posted all the time, and some businesses even posted every hour! The reasoning behind that was that people tend to only engage with what appears in their newsfeed, so the goal was to try and be in the newsfeed all the time, which meant they posted every hour, since people are jumping on and off Facebook throughout the day.

The algorithms have changed recently, pushing the posts of pages further down the feed. This means it’s no longer all about quantity. It’s all about QUALITY. The better the quality of the post, the more chance your post has of being seen and getting engagement.

In my mini-course, Facebook for Musicians (FB4M for short), I give the exact details – the whats and the hows of growing a Facebook page organically, as well as a specific formula for the TYPES of content you should be posting that is based around culture.

This, I believe, is the most important thing you can possibly do on social media. It’s the one thing most musicians NEVER think about. They’re always thinking of the end goal, which is sales and followers (and we do need those goals), but HOW they go about it is usually backwards. Building a fan culture around your music solves that problem for good. And it’s something that you can and should continue to do as long as you make music, even if you’re 100 years old!

 

That was a lot of meat to chew on!! Great job for getting ALL the way to the bottom of this post. I hope you enjoyed it and don’t forget to grab your freebie to help you transition your profile followers and get them on your official page!

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2 Things Unsuccessful Musicians Won’t Do

Musicians ask me all the time,

“Leah, how the heck do you find the time and energy to pursue music with such a busy life?”

  1. I’m a full-time, stay-at-home mom.
  2. I have five children. I homeschool them.
  3. I run my household, cook & clean, etc.
  4. I run Savvy Musician Academy.
  5. I’m a songwriter & put out a new album every 1-2 years.
  6. And I run my private label, Ex Cathedra Records.

HOW DO YOU DO IT?, you ask.
WHERE DO YOU GET THE ENERGY?, you ask.

I’ll tell you exactly how.

There’s two extremely important things I’ve figured out about creative people (like me) who NEED to create and produce in order to feel sane.

#1: Creative people need structure.

Tell this to most musicians & artists and you get a reaction that looks like a scene from The Exorcist (LOL).

I get it!

I too resist structure, routine, schedules, have-tos and deadlines.

Something about rules feels anathema to the artist.

BUT… having constraints and structure is the EXACT thing the artist needs in order to be the most productive they can be on planet earth.

We may resist it, but if we can overcome our own resistance toward structure, we might just create the most amazing music we’ve ever created…

…and the world will actually hear it.

Why?

Because you’ve mastered the art of self-discipline in an area where 98% of musicians are complete slackers.

That sets you apart already.

You’re already ahead right out of the gate!

2 Things Unsuccessful Musicians Won't Do

#2: There is no such thing as “do it all.”

Hear me now: I do not do all the things I listed above simultaneously!

I attack my tasks and goals in chunks and seasons and I’m deliberate about it.

I know when I’m not in a season of writing. I know when I am.

When I am, I take other things off my plate and I go to town.

I’ve trained my children to do chores and do them well so that it’s not ALL on me, taking up every second of my day.

We currently don’t have a dishwasher (I thought we would die!) but guess what.
The dishes are done every single day, after every single meal, because I trained my 10-year-old how to wash dishes by hand, and it gets done.

I’ve also taught him that if he does a very good job he will be promoted to a more important job one day and one of the other kids will take over that job.

So, lesson: delegate things in your life that need to be done that someone else could do.

Then give them incentives to do a great job.

That could be a friend handling your CD sales and merch that needs to be mailed out.

That could be hiring someone to code your website instead of YOU trying to learn a bunch of geek stuff to save a buck.

Don’t step over a $100 bill to pick up a dime.
Learn this stuff and you will go FAR BEYOND everyone else in your music genre.

You will blow the the other wannabes out of the water because you learned how to actually manage your time and your talent.

Those are the two most valuable assets you have!!

3 Things You Need To Get More Fans

Savvy Musician Academy, the online musician, Leah mchenry, facebook for musicians, music career marketing, music industry education

The majority of artists overlook the most important aspects of building their fanbase.

 

They get addicted to shiny objects and things like artist profile sites (ReverbNation, etc.), thinking that will help them get discovered and propel them into the spotlight.

 

Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

There are actually three aspects a musician needs to develop about themselves that are FARRRR superior to any of those shiny, distracting tools or websites…

 

Do these three things and it will truly make a difference in your music career.

 

How can you connect with fans and actually grow your audience?

 

Let me give you a few things to consider.

 

Some of this will require some homework.

Ready?

 

  • You need a great story.

Sometimes your story needs to involve the one thing you’re uncomfortable with.

For me, it was that I’m a regular “mom” and I have a large family.

That didn’t feel “cool,” especially in my genre of symphonic metal.

You just don’t see a lot of women with a pile of kids in my network. LOL.

So I didn’t want to talk about that a whole lot for the first few years.

And then I realized that one piece of the puzzle was actually what made me relatable.

It’s what separates me from everyone else in my genre.

And so instead of shying away from that fact, I celebrated it and started incorporating it into my story during interviews, magazine articles, and my biography.

And you know what happened? I gained more fans.

You should do the same.

Figure out what about your background, influences, or life events has made you different from the others in your genre, and make that one personal thing you almost want to shy away from the thing that makes you stand out among the crowd!

Get over trying to have a celebrity “mystique” and be a real human with real struggles and a real life, and you will draw fans to you!

 

 

  • You need a way to find fans.

This is something I dig into in more detail in my free training class (link below).

What you need to understand is that you cannot grow your following and fanbase organically.

I know, that’s a shocker, but I always promise to tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

If you thought that, if you could just release your music into the universe, someone somewhere would hear it and the rest would be history… I hate to say it, but you’ve been dreaming.

I once thought that too.

If you build it… they will NOT come.

You need a shortcut to finding the fans who will love your music and would like to become your new super-followers.

And then you need to turn those listeners into customers that hopefully will buy from you for the rest of their lives.

For more on this particular strategy, click the link at the bottom of this post.

What you need to know, though, is that some highly specific social-media strategies are a key way to do this, as well as a very modest advertising budget.

 

 

  • You need a way to engage fans.

It’s one thing to identify your potential fans, but it’s another thing to get them to engage and interact with you.

In the marketing world, there’s a saying that breaks down the entire sales process: “Expose, Involve, and Upgrade.”

Let me explain what this means for you as a musician.

First, your potential fan sees your music for the first time.

You’re a stranger, but something about you, your cover art, your headline, or the music itself intrigues them enough to take some kind of action.

Perhaps they click on a link that leads them to a page with your song where they can stream it.

At this point, they’ve been exposed to your music.

Next you want them to get involved by doing something.

Maybe they sign up to get a free song.

Maybe they are streaming it somewhere.

But they are doing something.

It’s an action on their end that is giving them some kind of result.

Hopefully the result is that they are loving what they’re hearing!

And next would be the upgrade part. You give them an opportunity to purchase your album for a great price or support you in some other way (crowdfunding, fanclub, etc.)

And that is the process that every musician needs to understand if they want to be successful.

 

 

The last thing I want you to realize is that if you make music, you are an entrepreneur. You’re a business owner. It means YOU and YOU ALONE are responsible for your success and your outcome.

No one can make people like your music. No one can make you successful.

But… if you have talent, and you have the passion and the drive to be successful AND you combine that with a strategy that works in the New Music Industry, then NO ONE will be able to hold you back from success.

Are You Living the Dream as an Independent Musician?

Are You Living the Dream as an Independent Musician?

As I write this, we’ve recently celebrated Independence Day.

 

You might not know this about me but, even though I was born in Canada, half my family lives in the USA and I’ve spent a lot of time there.

 

I always looked forward to the 4th of July – loading up on fireworks and celebrating with my dad and relatives.

 

One of my favorite Independence Day celebrations was when I was a kid and my dad was living in Northern California (absolutely gorgeous there). We went to a local county fair for the afternoon… Gotta love the sights and smells of the county fair! It’s the best!!

But the reason it sticks out in my mind is because it was hilarious… My dad looks exactly like the celebrity actor Chris Elliot (Groundhog Day)

… and that day it really worked in my favor (as a 10-year-old kid).

We kept getting stopped by people asking him for autographs and pictures, and I got a free pony ride out of it! There really was no convincing these strangers that he WASN’T Chris Elliot!

HA! You just couldn’t convince them. Was really a fun memory for me.

 

One of the reasons I fell in love with the USA was because of the whole concept of the American Dream…

 

You can start out as a nobody and become a somebody.

 

You create your own destiny.

 

That’s never been more true today.

In the digital music age, some people claim that musicians can’t make a living anymore and the music industry is dead!

But that’s simply not true!

As you probably already know, I made a 6-figure income in music sales last year using the “1000 Superfan” method.

It’s not a new idea, but the ways in which we make it WORK for us have changed.

It was because I figured that out that my husband was able to quit his failing construction job and join my music business.

It’s only because of this very special time and place in history we find ourselves in right now that even made that possible!

 

I invite you to take a step of faith in your own ability. In your own music.
The American Dream can become a REALITY when you invest in your own skills. The 2% know that.
If you want to increase your income, your fanbase, your recognition in the world… you must get educated.

 

So that’s what I did.

 

When I started making a couple thousand dollars every month in royalties – instead of spending it on junk – I invested into business school, marketing courses, seminars and books.

 

I studied millionaires and what makes them so successful.

 

Then I took that knowledge and started applying it to the way I promoted my music and built my fanbase.

 

The result?

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6 figures in 12 months. 😱 🙌
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But you’re like, “Leah, that’s awesome, but I don’t have the patience, the time, the energy, or $20,000 to invest into business and marketing classes that don’t address my music goals directly… I need results right now.”

I agree! I get it… I had no idea what I had gotten myself into and don’t wish for you to take the long route!! It was a very long, tedious road to get to where I am now.

 

So why don’t you skip all of that and get ALL the most relevant info you need to know and a PLAN OF ACTION for your next 30 days?

 

I invite you to change YOUR destiny right now.

 

Make the American Dream your reality today.

 

One thing I heard from the millionaires I studied over and over:
==> The only determining factor between success and failure is ACTION.

 

Anyone can think nice thoughts about what they *might* like to do one day.
But it’s the action-takers that will build an amazing fanbase, get the recognition their music deserves, and get the attention of the world!

Artsy-Fartsy Nonsense Musicians Say…

Savvy Musician Academy, the online musician, Leah mchenry, facebook for musicians, music career marketing, music industry education

You know what’s complete baloney?

 

Musicians who think that focusing on the business side of things somehow adulterates their “art.”

 

That somehow learning about marketing takes away from the love and passion of music.

 

That to focus on success means you’re not focused on making the world a better place simply with your music.

 

That is artsy-fartsy nonsense!

 

Why?

 

Because music is meant to be heard.

 

If your calling and passion in life is to make the world a better place with your music… and NO ONE ever hears it because you didn’t take the time to learn how to build an audience… then you DID NOT make the world a better place.

 

Artsy-Fartsy Nonsense Musicians Say…

 

Keeping your music undiscovered in your basement doesn’t do you any good and it doesn’t do the rest of the world any good.

 

That’s why understanding the New Music Industry and how you can leverage your TIME and your TALENT by doing LESS is key.

 

Here’s what ticks me off even more:

 

Musicians who don’t bat an eyelid at spending $5000–$10,000 in the studio, but will WHINE, COMPLAIN, and RESIST when it comes to investing a tiny fraction into increasing their SKILL and VALUE through education and knowledge so they can actually succeed!

 

Newsflash! Spending money on a single or an album does not mean it will go anywhere or be heard by even one person!

 

98% of musicians have it all backwards.

 

They think they will release a single or album and then somehow get discovered. Nope.

 

You need a fanbase first.

You need a fanbase first.

You need a fanbase first.

 

I need to get that through your head (I love ya, but it’s true).

 

Spending 10K in the studio only to have NO ONE to market to after the fact is just silly.

 

Just learn a few marketing skills and learn how to CONNECT with your true audience through the internet… learn to do that well and you will go FAR beyond all the other artists in your genre!

 

There are those artists who will continue to whine and complain and get NOWHERE, and there are musicians who decide to actually LEARN and INVEST in themselves so they can truly fulfill their calling.

 

Getting your life-changing music in front of the right people is how you make the world a better place. Keeping it left undiscovered on your computer doesn’t do the world any good.

 

Learn a few easy strategies.

It will change everything you do.

You’ll thank me later.