Indie Musician in a Digital Age: Self Promotion Basics
Perhaps less fun than Facebook, with its cats and jokes, All About Jazz / Jazz Near You is a professional platform tailored for jazz musicians.
Work with Social Networks the Smart Way
Publish things at All About Jazz / Jazz Near You, then share on social networks. Post your promo messages in groups/pages for the general public (rather than industry professionals). If we speak of Facebook or LinkedIn groups/pages you can look for:
Any "jazz lovers" gatherings and general industry pages like http://www.facebook.com/allaboutjazz;
Groups of instrument fans, something like "jazz guitar";
Groups by location, like "I love Hamburg"; why not post there if you will be performing in this city?
Groups for some better known musicians you have had associations with;
Do not post to your own pages if most of your contacts are colleagues;
Do not post to pages for industry professionals like these "all musicians" groups.
These are top of the list, but you can think of any other context or settings for your music and search to find out if there is any public channel for it.
It Doesn't Have to Be Facebook Only
You can investigate what websites exist for your local entities. There is a chance that posting a gig on a local forum or a library site will generate more foot traffic to your gigs than a massive Facebook campaign.
Add Value to Every Message You Send Out
The Digital Age has resulted in some new challenges previously unseen. One of them is dealing with a flood of information. Only a couple decades ago, music lovers had a very limited access to information about their idols, mainly through print media; today anybody can connect with an artist who lives overseas and engage into a friendly chat. Updates come daily via a bunch of social networks and news sites. There's often too much noise to handle; filtering takes more resources than research.
In this situation relevance and quality of information are the most important values. "Quality" often means completeness. Speaking of a gig announcement, it has to be complete with band (all members), date, time, venue address, ticket price, short description of the program, image or video (sound clip).
The Jazz Near You Events Calendar offers the most comprehensive format for a jazz gig listing. If it is completed properly, your gig shows up not only on the local calendar but also on a profile page of each participating musician, venue/festival page and related pages including articles, news, photos and more. Your gig is distributed on All About Jazz's network, and is syndicated via a localized email newsletter, calendar widgets, and a coming iPhone APP and mobile website.
Anything the artist has to say in public might have a business aspect, but it also must possess some cultural and educational value. Make your promo message as meaningful and simply interesting as possible. Don't let it be just the usual "Check out"; add a little story or a joke. An interesting photo can be an advantage. Just try to put yourself in place of an average web user who sees your ad (because it is an advert).
The degree of success you achieve with your self-promotion efforts will dramatically depend on how you treat this "new" media, the Internet. If you treat it as a dust bin and throw in your stuff without giving it a second thought, you won't see any positive results. It will be like trying to fill a bottomless hole. If, on the other hand, you remain patient, consistent and professional, your promotioal work should be successful and your audience will grow as a result of the following efforts:
Think of/visualize your audience and create/target your promo content for them;
Choose the best publishing platforms available to ensure that your promos reach your audience and nobody else;
Watch out for new platforms that arise and begin to take hold, like Google+ and Pinterest;
Add value to your messages by ensuring they are complete, descriptive and well-formatted.