So you’re in a cover band and it’s Monday morning. Time to get out the checklist! Where will you be performing this coming weekend? Do you have a Facebook event page set up to invite friends and fans? Do you have a simple flyer that shows where and when you will be performing? Have you emailed your fan base? (What do you mean you don’t have an email list!?) Is your cover band listed on the calendar at weekendbroward.com or whatever website serves the area where you are playing? Is your Facebook and website band pages showing an up-to-date list of all your upcoming gigs? How about the venue where you are playing – do they have your band listed on their Facebook page and website? This isn’t rocket science! ?
Here are some tips and basic instructions for those of you who are new to all of this.
Facebook Event Pages
Whether you are in a cover band or a solo act, Facebook event pages serve two purposes. First, they act like a calendar. If you click on the EVENTS tab on any band’s page, you can see where they will be performing and where they have been previously. Second, they are a great way to spread the word. Here are some tips based on my experience:
- Make sure the event page is set up under the band’s page, NOT your personal page.
- Upload a cover photo that is appealing to the eye and does not look like your band is rehearsing a garage filled with junk.
- Make sure the title is catchy like a newspaper headline and includes both the band’s name and the venue’s name. This will make it easier to find when anyone searches Facebook using either name.
- Fill in ALL of the blanks. That means writing out a description that talks about the band, the venue and includes drink specials and any special celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries. The more exciting, the better!
- There are some metadata blanks that are used by Facebook to better understand when they should show your event to people who are interested in other events that are similar. So, for category, be sure to indicate MUSIC. Is there anything else? For tags, you might have to try a few different keywords before you figure out which ones are in the Facebook dictionary. For example Nightlife, Drinks, Dance Music, etc… You won’t find Rock Music or Party or other keywords that you might think should be there but work with what is available – you only get to use three.
- If you look carefully, you will see another blank for co-host. Be sure to add the venue as co-host so that when they accept it, your event will automatically be listed on their Facebook page. If the venue is not showing up as a valid name, visit their page on a separate browser and look for the menu option “Like as page” then make sure your page likes the venue page and ask the venue to like yours. Note that this is not the same as you personally LIKEing their page.
- Ask each band member to RSVP and invite friends from their personal Facebook page who live within driving distance of the venue. I always find it ironic when I get invitations from cover bands and less people RSVP than exist in the band itself. Also, be careful who you invite! The worst thing you can do is invite out of town friends and then have them comment “wish I could attend but I am attending your aunt’s birthday party in Rhode Island”. Also, try not to invite musicians from other cover bands who you know will have a gig the same night as your event. They will end up leaving comments advertising their gig instead and that’s a faux-pas as far as Facebook etiquette in my book.
- If you run into technical difficulties with any of the above, it might be due to the fact that Facebook mobile is not exactly the same as the desktop version which usually offers more features.
Make a Flyer
Why is it that you have a cover band filled with artistic people but nobody knows the first thing about using Photoshop? No problem! Try my favorite online tool that is so easy to use that even a non-artsy person such as myself can make a decent looking flyer in just a few minutes. Here’s the link: www.canva.com It’s free! Here are some tips:
- Set yourself up with a username and password. They will then let you store all of your creations at no charge at all!
- Pick a size and shape for your flyer or click the button that says “use custom dimensions” and use a minimum of 500 px for the width and 700 px for the length if you want a standard 5×7 vertical flyer.
- Click the UPLOADS button in the side menu and upload your band’s photo, logo and venue logo while you’re at it.
- Drag the uploaded images onto your blank canvas and stretch them to make them bigger or smaller depending on where you want them placed.
- Add text using the TEXT button. Try not to use too many different fonts no matter how excited you might be about making your first flyer. Be sure to include the time, date, location and phone number of the venue (not your band’s phone number!). Optionally, add in the venue’s website.
- Click DOWNLOAD and save your creation to your laptop or phone. It’s that easy!
- Now that you have a flyer, you can share it with the other band members on Facebook by simply tagging them in your post. You can also post it on Instagram and Twitter.
Email your fans and followers
Don’t have an email list? Set one up using mailchimp.com and they’ll give you all the tools you need to create professional looking email blasts. I prefer Mailchimp because they will store the first 2000 email addresses in their database for FREE! After that, there’s a sliding scale for using their service but if it helps you fill seats, it’s definitely worth it. Companies such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact will even give you the HTML code to insert sign-up forms on either your website or Facebook page. Don’t even try sending out hundreds using gmail, hotmail or yahoo as they will flag you as a spammer.
Submit your gigs to websites that will list them for free
Don’t assume everyone uses Facebook. And even if they do and your page has thousands of followers, Facebook will only show your posts to a select number. Find new ways to reach people. Here are a few websites you can use to get your gigs showing up on Google when people are searching for live music in their area:
- WeekendBroward – Lists live music, comedy, karaoke, and more on hour by hour calendars specifically for Broward county (Fort Lauderdale area) and Palm Beach county (generally Boca Raton to West Palm Beach). Submit using this link several days to weeks ahead of time: www.weekendbroward.com/add-to-calendar/
- Eventbrite – A great source for upcoming events in any city. Create a free account and anytime you create a gig, it will be saved so that the next time you play at the same venue, you can simply hit the copy button (under manage events tab) and within minutes, your event will be live on the internet. Here’s the link to get started: www.eventbrite.com
- Yelp Events – Since Yelp is at the top of Google’s search results for just about anything, why not take advantage and submit your gig using their EVENTS tab. Once again, set up a personal Yelp account if you don’t already have one, then look for the EVENTS option on their main menu. Get started at: www.yelp.com
You can easily find many more websites to submit your events by using Google or Bing to search for “Live Music in (insert city)” and look at page 1 results. You might be surprised at what you find!
It took me years to learn all of the above but I’m sharing this with you because there’s nothing worse than playing to an empty room, especially if your band is any good, right!? If you want to speak with me, one-on-one, with personal help with any of the above, you can reach me via the contact-us page on this website. If you just want to buy me a virtual drink ?for helping you out, there’s a DONATE button on the About-Us page.
Best of luck!
Rob “Weekend” Concierge