BUSINESS Chris Brown has been known to swoon over antique microphones, vintage drums, and country Telecasters. He can’t ride a horse, but does have a weakness for cowboy shirts. Find him at firstname.lastname@example.org. By Chris Brown Social Media & Today’s Musician E very band I know uses social media to some extent, but few seem to know how to use it to its full potential. It takes time to build a strong social media following, so you need to be grabbing your audience’s attention with in- teresting little vignettes of your musical lives starting today. Facebook is the perfect platform for bands because it is all about telling stories. Twitter is for quick hits of news and infor- mation. Instagram tells stories through photos. Snapchat tells stories that disappear in seconds and are gone forever. Call it a virtual shoulder tap. Most of your fans do not live a musician’s life, and to them, what you see as normal can be exceptional. The average fan works a typical day job, sees mostly the same people, travels a few times each year, and has never been on stage, backstage at a festival, or in a recording studio. They view your life as glamorous, creative, exciting, and out of the ordinary. You have the power to give them a glimpse into that world, to lift the curtain on a life they can only dream of. So, tell them a story. Make it in a few parts. Make them crave the conclusion and they will be hooked. Quality Posts What I see far too often is an artist begging for fans to come to a show. I get a Facebook shoutout usually eight hours before show- time saying something like: “Hey, gang we are playing at Club X 62 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N tonight. Who’s coming?” No images, no story, no incentives, noth- ing. Just a feeble plea to attend. Maybe it’s a Tuesday night and the show starts at 9 p.m. and the band comes on at midnight. Do you expect anyone to come or care, really? Who can drop everything they have planned on a few hours’ notice and run out to a club, only to get home at 2 a.m. and be ready for work the next morning? So, what should you be Tweeting? Well, as Gary Veynerchuck points out in his great social media book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, you should be jabbing rather than trying for that knock-out punch every time. Jabs & Hooks What’s a jab you ask? A jab is a tap on your fan’s shoulder. It’s a share of something interesting, different, and cool. Maybe a band you admire just released a killer single. You telling your fans is a jab. What’s the playlist on the drive to the next gig? That’s a jab. List the wildlife seen on your drive through Banff. Another clever Jab. You just found the coolest guitar in a pawnshop in Winnipeg. Take a photo and share. Jab. Get it? A jab is your way of staying close to your fans, to let them into your life a little and slowly they begin to believe they know you and love you even more. After dozens of jabs, along comes a show that most folks living regular 9-5 lives could make. It’s on a Saturday afternoon at a com- munity festival. It’s time to throw the right hook. Begin your story. • Share the Weather Network’s post of the temp and conditions if it’s going to be glorious and hot. • Ask them to share a photo of the cute/odd/crazy outfit they plan to wear to the show. • Tell them what each band member likes to drink (super good if it hap- pens to be one of the festival spon- sors’ beers) and ask what they are planning to drink at the show. (It is practically guaranteed that somebody will buy you your favourite beverage and deliver it to the stage.) • Offer to sign a copy of your album and pose for photos with fans after each show. • Ask them to take photos of the band performing and send them to you. Say the best-of-the-best will be shared. • Ask them to live stream that night’s performance on Facebook Live or Periscope. Give them a mission and let them in on being a part of the show. They are going to do it any way – why not make it seem like it was your idea? • Finally, ask them to buy a ticket and come to the festival. After that, show photos of the band loading gear, arriving at the park, the drummer with a burger, some friendly dog, the view from the stage, the backstage area as you meet and greet other acts. There is your story. No money paid to advertise, your fans are entertained and in- trigued, and best of all, no begging.