Promoting Gigs on Social Media
Updated: Dec 23, 2021
From a couple of Facebook posts:
PLEASE STOP posting events using words like "tonight", tomorrow", "Wednesday", etc. Just post the date, day and time to be clear. It's quite simple.
People are posting events saying it's going to be tonight, tomorrow this weekend, etc. Just put the day date and time! Yes, I know there are the geniuses out there that say the post is dated x hours ago and we can calculate x hours ago and figure out that was yesterday and now it's today, but why not just post the day and date down. After all, you're trying to get people to attend your event. Wouldn't it make sense to make it easier to know when the event is.
Here’s another one:
So I just found out that "tonight" was last night and "today" was a week ago. STOP IT!!
I feel like I should respond to this because it describes about 2/3rds of my promotional posts.
Even if I didn't know the guy, I could tell this was probably an older person. How? Because it's an antiquated way of looking at marketing and promoting a gig - especially on social media.
Keep in mind that I'm an old guy so I understand and sympathize with the mindset these posts are coming from, but I've also learned a thing or two from younger musicians and applied it to my own marketing and promo strategy.
When I first started using Facebook to promote my gigs, I had the old paradigm; posters and flyers stapled to telephone poles all over midtown, flyers tacked on bulletin boards in grocery stores, music stores and record stores as well as ads and articles in local music magazines and newspapers.
Just the nature of this strategy meant you had to get out in front of the date. It took time to put up the flyers and posters. There was a lead time for ads and articles in magazines and newspapers. You had to be working the promo weeks ahead of time.
Back in the early days of social media (middle 2000s) I considered Facebook just another bulletin board and designed my promotions accordingly. I would start promoting 3 or 4 weeks in advance.
However, I noticed that people were showing up on the wrong week. And not just a few people - a lot of people. They weren’t following directions. They weren’t reading-with-comprehension. They were showing up the week I started the promotion instead of the date given in the promo,
It happened so often that I realized I couldn't promote something on Facebook weeks ahead of time. It worked better if it was the week of the gig. After some trial-and-error I settled on a 2 to 3-day lead time. If the gig was on Saturday I started promoting on Thursday; Wednesday at the earliest.
At about the same time, I had a realization that wasn't connected - but it was. I realized that I needed to network with younger musicians.
At the beginning of my career I fell in with a bunch of older, established players. At least 10-15 years older than me. That's one of the reasons I was playing clubs full-time at a relatively young age. For the next 35 years I was always the youngest guy on stage. Then I noticed that the guys I depended on for gigs were dying, retiring &/or getting out of the business for financial or health reasons and so on. I also noticed the same thing happening to the crowds coming out to see us.
Since I wasn't ready to quit gigging (I'm still not ready to quit), I decided I needed to flip that age difference. It became my goal to be the oldest guy in the band!
I aggressively started networking with younger players. I would scope out the go-getters I wanted to play with, cold-call them, then take them out to lunch and let them know exactly what I was thinking.
So one night I was in a club checking out one of these guys and my eyes were opened. This was around 2006 or so. It was a late-night gig, probably 10:00-2:00. The band was a bunch of mid-30-somethings. I was about 50.
The first set the place was mostly empty.
On the first break, the bandleader (the guy I was schmoozing) said, “Wow, man, it’s dead in here!”
He then got on Twitter - I didn't even have a Twitter account at the time - and sent a tweet out to his followers.
Within an hour the place was packed!
That was my moment of clarity about the power of, and how to use, social media. It's about the present, not the future. It's about what's happening now.
All those kids (well, “kids” to me) that showed up? Their phones went, "ding!" and they knew where the party was...now. Immediately.
Many, usually younger, people live moment-by-moment with it. Most older people check their feed once a day, some more like once every 2 or 3 days or so.
Social Media is not about reading articles, research or information, it’s about communication leading to immediate action - a “call-to-action” in marketing lingo. After all, it’s “social!”
So even the people who say, "...the post is dated x hours ago and we can calculate x hours ago and figure out that was yesterday and now it's today..." still aren't getting it. They are not in the “now.” They're already a day behind. They're operating from a pre-social media premise. They missed the show.
So...my first post to promote a gig will be a picture with the time, date and location on it:
This is old school, except it happens a mere 2 or 3 days before the gig. The information is on the picture; I don't have to write anything. It's now Thursday or Friday - people see "Sunday." Believe me when I say very few people see “May 24th.”
The day before &/or the day of the gig I'll do another post. It might be a picture of one of my irresistibly cute grandkids playing guitar, or an artsy impressionistic rendering of a guitar player or band:
This will be accompanied by a little saying, catchphrase or joke: "3 Musicians will be at Bumpin' Uglys tonight 9:00-1:00. Musicians, not the painting."
If I have the time, right before the gig I'll put up another picture and say, "The band starts in 10 minutes at Bumpin' Uglys - join the party!"
That's "10 minutes."
It’s as if I’m talking to the person face-to-face; I wouldn’t say, “Tonight, November 16th, at 9pm.” I would say “Tonight at 9.”
Remember, it’s called, “FACEbook.” That should give you the intention/concept behind the creation of the thing.
If you are one of those people that check your feed once every 2 or 3 days you are out of the loop.
If you live in the "now" with your feed then you'll know exactly what I mean and you'll see it when, or close to when, I post it because your phone will go, "ding!"
A side note: see how live-streaming fits this paradigm?
Ding! “Jay EuDaly is live now!”
It’s all about now (see, Ether-Shift: Live-Stream!).
If you don’t use social media the way it’s designed to be used, I’m not marketing to you beyond that first post, 2 or 3 days ahead of time, with all the relevant information on it. That first post is for you.
The other posts that say, “tonight” and “10 minutes?” Those aren’t for you. Those are for the people who use social media the way it was designed to be used…..which is in real time, or close to real time.
"But Jay, I still don't know why a few extra words saying time, date, and place would clarify the post."
The answer is, “extra words.” “Extra” means, “unnecessary.” To those who live in the now with their feed, “extra words” is the kiss of death from a marketing standpoint. They have to get the message in a single glance. Extra words sabotage the marketing potential. Statistically, 3 seconds. That’s the span you’ve got to snag the person from a marketing perspective.
I've done the research, the trial-and-error and the A/B test studies, as well as taking a cue from younger guys who are way better at the marketing and promo game than me, and the way I’m doing it works the best. Why?
Because it’s leveraging social media consonant with the way it‘s designed, which is the way the overwhelming percentage of people use it (sorry, that's the data - "You c’n argya with me son but cha cain't argya with figures!").
Yes, Facebook especially, is trending towards an older demographic, but those people are less likely to party and buy lots of drinks. They also want to be home by 11:00 and in bed by midnight - at the latest.
For that reason, Facebook is only one of several social media sites on which I promote.
Remember, not only do I want to flip the age difference onstage, I want to flip the crowd as well.
I recently finished a run of weekly Tuesday night gigs that went from 10pm-2am. Not one single older person who has followed me for the last forty years (if they’re still alive and not in a home) showed up.
What‘s the deal? Too late? Dude, you’re retired! You got nowhere to be early tomorrow. You can sleep all day if you want to.
See? It’s just a fact; older people don’t want to stay out late. Heck, if I didn’t have the gig I’d be in bed by midnight…’cause I’m getting old!
The place was full of kids (at least “kids” to me) whose phones went, “ding” and they knew where to be - now!
This particular club does social media promo daily and their promo always says, “tonight” with no date. The clientele at this club is overwhelmingly a younger demographic - they get it.
That club knows what it’s doing.
If you choose not to live in the "now" with your feed, turn off the notifications ‘cause they’re freakin’ annoying and only check in every 2 or 3 days, that's fine, I get it.
But then don't bitch-post and try to force a function onto the format for which it was not designed……when you finally check your phone 2 days later. You’re projecting; you’re assuming everyone else uses social media like you do. You’re actually in the minority. There is a HUGE demographic out there to whom your days-late bitch-post is irrelevant.
You’re using your social media once a day or once every 2 or 3 days - again, that's fine - but it’s designed to be used minute-by-minute, in real time.
It's about "now."
Not like reading a newspaper or a magazine - remember those?
Sign up as a Master Guitar School site member - it's free! - and get access to dozens of free site-based lessons, a monthly newsletter that contains a brand-new free lesson, and DEEP discounts on lesson series downloads - plus more!
For more information on site membership see Why Become A Site Member?