Now, that you have successfully booked your next show, it’s time to start spreading the word about your upcoming performance. In this digital era, everything revolves around your social media activity. A vivid, interesting and consistent presence will deliver new music and other content online.

In a perfect situation the promotion aspect should be taken care of by the promoter who booked you, the venue, and the rest of the artists on the bill. Typically, if you are opening or closing for a huge act, the promotion element isn’t going to be hard as the headliner will pack the house.

The Numbers Game

On the other hand if this is a show with a few unknown local artists you will have to put in some effort if you don’t want to be disappointed by a dead dance floor during your show. You’re playing a numbers game here: the amount of heads you are bringing to your show is of the utmost importance at this stage in your career.

At the same time, you’ve put so many resources into rehearsing, planning, and booking the gig. What’s the most effective way to bring in the crowd when your funds are limited?

Three Ways to Go Online

For years we’ve heard all about one online success story after another. Yet it’s hard to be constantly active online when you don’t have huge following. Don’t be discouraged by the numbers you see on your profiles. Do the work and you will build gradually—one new fan after another.

1. The Early Bird Catches the Worm

Start as early in advance as possible. The moment you confirmed the gig, hit all your social media channels announcing the show. No need to recklessly spam it about. Instead, find a way of announcing it in an irresistible fashion. Try using a pop culture reference or quote, or maybe a funny picture.

2. Play it

You’re a musician, and you love to create! Apply some of that creative energy to your social media posts. There are plenty of tools to make your promotion efforts interactive. Sharing photos, videos, other people’s funny pics, quotes—these are all ways that you can keep bringing up the gig without sounding desperate. You’re giving and sharing with your audience before they even step through the venue’s doors.

3.“…With a Little Help from my Friends” 

Hit up your friends to share it on their social media profiles. Remember: be cool, be generous, and don’t be desperate. Find some way to return the favor, and give them your well deserved appreciation. You want them to still be your friends after the show!

Four Steps Beyond the Screens

These next steps include online elements, but may also take you off the screens and onto the streets. Nothing keeps it real like Real Life!

1. Go Big

If you’re playing a show without a headliner, find a way to make this show attractive to the audience. You need to make this night seem bigger than life. Maybe you’re going to be giving away free merch, thumb drives with your music, etc.

Think of something else you might do or give away at the show that may be a little off the wall. Get that rumor mill humming and feel the crowds coming.

2. Got You Covered

By this time you’ve developed your show, your look, your image enough to be newsworthy. Reach out to the local magazines and blogs to cover your project and mention the upcoming show. Hooking up with the established local music mavens will drive significant “live traffic” to your night.

3. Pound the Pavement

Grab your thumbtacks, scotch tape and head for the copy shop. Good ol’ fashioned flyers, stickers, and posters put you out on the streets meeting and talking with people. And hard copy gives a sense of hard reality to your presence that might make the difference between someone just thinking about going to the show, and actually buying a ticket.

4. Super Fans

Establish a group of super fans. They are the ones dancing to your songs in the front row when the rest of the dance floor is empty. These are the people who support everything that you do. Your super fans will be responsible for sparking the initial interest and hype about your project

Here’s an amazing short video of the importance of those first few super fans and what can they do for you.

Brand You

The main purpose of running a promotion campaign for your show is to spread awareness and stand out from the rest of the musicians. You’re essentially building a brand, and every step you make contributes to the overall perception of what your project is all about: how you sound, how you communicate online and in RL (Real Life), what you look like, what’s your ideology, your message and so on.

You’ve put out the buzz and you’ve got the honey to back it up. In Performing Live, Part 5 we’ll see what it takes to follow through on your epic night.