Google Plus For Musicians: Why Do You Need To Be On Yet ANOTHER Social Network?
I completely understand where you’re coming from…you’re thinking, “another social media platform to master. I can’t keep up.” But I’m going to make a good case for why you should invest the time to create a vital presence on Google+. I believe it is an important step in Indie music marketing. So stick with me and hear me out:)
I took this very useful chart from a free eBook by Guy Kawasaki called “What The Plus: Google+ For The Rest of Us.” It is a great comparison between the four top social media platforms in several key areas of functionality. Take a look below. After you look it over, you may immediately come to the conclusion that as a musician, you need to get on Google+.
There are a few differences that stand out even at first glance at this chart where Google+ clearly does things better and has the edge.
- For example, did you know that all your friends and followers on Facebook
cannot see your updates? If you look at your insights report, you will see that only about 12%-20% of your followers are seeing your updates. This is so Facebook can charge for Promoted posts. But on Google+, your followers see 100% of your content.
- Your content is not only public on Google+, but is searchable on Google. More on this later.
- Video hangouts are available ONLY on Google+
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Top 4 Advantages of Google Plus For Musicians
There are obviously more advantages than I list here, but they are more the “generic” promotion that you can achieve on Twitter and Facebook. But being on Google+ is not just about adding yet another weapon to your promotional arsenal. The 4 reasons I discuss below are what make Google+ uniquely useful for you as an Indie musician.
1. Circles: Circles are a powerful Google+ feature that Facebook and Twitter do not match. Circles allow you to group people of interest into categories. This is almost like creating segments for your email list or groups in Facebook, but so much better.
For example, as a musician, you have many different kinds of contacts: bandmates, fans, Press, Venues, personal friends, family and more. Say you want to share a wacky picture from last night’s gig with your fans. Would you really want to share this with your press sources? Probably not. Or would you want to share a dry press release with your fans?
The key to Google+ circles is that you only share content with the people you want to share it with. It also helps you to organize your contacts in a meaningful way. Here are the choices you have when posting on Google+:
- Public. Anyone on the Internet can see your posts, and your posts
also will appear in anyone’s search results. I use this setting 99.9
percent of the time.
- Your circles. Anyone who is in at least one of your circles will see
your posts. You can control which circles are in “Your circles” by
customizing your settings.
- Extended circles. The people in your circles and the people in their
circles can see your posts if you publicly display who you’ve circled
on your profile.
- Circles. You can select the specific circle or circles that see your posts.
This limits the exposure of these posts, although not in a bulletproof
2. Communities: Communities are tailor-made for musicians. There are two ways you can use communities. You can join communities to network with other musicians, learn and grow and help others. Secondly, you can create a community specific to your own music where fans can join and interact, keep up with your music news and feel like a part of what you are creating. Unlike a Facebook Fan Page, communities are MUCH more interactive. Also, members of your community will receive your posts 100% of the time whereas on Facebook you must “boost your post” for it to be seen by everyone which means $ out of your pocket. Also, you can group discussions in communities into several areas so people can quickly find what they want, i.e. you can create a tab for “Album Release” so your fans can quickly find out the latest news on your upcoming release without scrolling through a bunch of posts.
3. Social Search: Social search should be exciting to any musician because this is one of the few ways to influence search results: post stuff about a topic, and you’ll probably be included when your fans search for the topic.
- For example, say you put up several posts about a gig you were going to play on Saturday in San Francisco. I decide to take a trip to San Francisco for the weekend and start searching on Google for events in the SF area to attend while I am there. If you are in my circles, your posts will pop up when I do a regular Google search. I don’t even need to be looking on Google+.
- Here’s another example. Say you are an Indie artist who feels her music is similar to Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. You might post a new song or video on Google+ and use the hashtags #sarabareilles and #ingridmichaelson. Then, when people are searching on Google for those artists, your music will come up in their search, especially if they are in your extended circles, and they may discover they also love your music.
4. Google Hangouts: Google+ provides live video conferences called a “hangout.” There are three kinds of hangouts.
- First, the “regular” ones where up to ten people can participate. Hangouts enable you to conduct a group online video conference, chat via text, share a document, share desktops, and watch YouTube together. This has awesome application for songwriters. If you have a good connection, you can write with anyone anywhere and share all your resources to create something amazing.
- Second, “Hangouts with extras” includes the capability to name a hangout, share a whiteboard, and invite telephone participants. This might be useful if you were doing a project and wanted feedback from fans or wanted to do a format similar to a radio call-in show or take requests.
- Third, there are “Hangouts On Air” that lets you live broadcast to an unlimited audience. The applications for musicians are obvious and exciting. Google automatically records these hangouts as YouTube videos. Here are some ideas:
- Host a live concert online. Then use the video to promote the next one or your live events.
- Hold a virtual CD Release Party
- Create an “inner circle” of loyal fans (paid or non-paid) and offer a special “hangout” with the band.
- Do a crowd-funding campaign and offer Google Hangouts to investors
- Offer a “behind the scenes” look at the band in the studio live.
- Be create. There are so many applications for musicians.
Google Plus for Musicians Jumpstart
Here is a link to an amazing resource that I mentioned earlier, “What The Plus: Google+ For The Rest Of Us” by Guy Kawasaki. It will guide you through all the setup of your profile and understanding how to navigate the different areas and “dos and don’ts” on the site.
Not already on Google+? Go jump in and get your feet wet. Maybe you’re on Google+, but you haven’t taken the time to figure everything out yet. There is a lot to learn, but it’s all really useful for the promotion of your music, so make it a priority. Circle Me on Google+ at +BreeNobleMusic