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How NOT To Get A Gig With Social Media – Jordan Canada


This week’s blog post was written by social media blogger, Jordan Canada, and originally published on the Social Media For Music blog. In it, he points out three things that musicians should not do with social media to get a gig, all of which should be common sense, as he points out, but, since Facebook has only existed since 2004 and Twitter since 2006, the practical advice for musicians offered below is worth reading and following.

I hate the fact that I have to write something about this topic. Nowadays, you can be two clicks away from sending your EPK [electronic press kit] to a promoter or venue. Many people have got important contact info and gigs because of this. However, many people are using social media the WRONG way for getting gigs. While some of these may seem like common sense, you still may be guilty of a few of these. Here are some examples of how not to get a gig using social media.

“Everyone tweet at _____ to show support!”

If you have ever asked your fan base to tweet at a promo company, promoter, or venue saying they want to see them, then there’s a good chance that person now hates you. Unless you are a nationally recognized act, this will not work.

I once had a guy tweet “EVERYONE TWEET AT @(twitter handle) 100 TIMES TO SHOW WE’RE NOT MESSING AROUND AND THAT WE’RE SERIOUS ABOUT PERFORMING!!!!″ This was after going out of my way to tell them that there are no more performance opportunities available. This is exactly how you don’t get a gig. I hated this person and went out of my way to make sure he never will get a gig from our company.

There’s two issues with this theory of spamming people to get a gig:

1) Your fan base may not be in the same region or even city as the venue/promoter you’re trying to contact. Essentially, this means only a fraction of the people being annoying will actually come to the gig, which is what really matters.

2) It means that you’re desperate enough that you’ll go through the effort of getting your closest fans to be as annoying as possible. The venue won’t book you voluntarily or after you’ve submitted a booking request, so why would you bug the everloving crap out of them? To get their attention? You’ll get their attention, and they will hate you and refuse to book you.

It looks very unprofessional to have your fans spam a promoter or venue. During the time you were rallying up the troops, you could have been doing more legitimate things to get a gig, like networking or calling the venues themselves. It doesn’t matter if you call 100 venues in the area; as long as one says yes, you have the gig you’ve been looking for.

Using Incorrect Grammar

This really should go without saying, but the number of requests I’ve had that look like a first grader’s essay is jaw-dropping. Often promotion companies and venues will get Facebook messaged about playing a gig; Facebook messaging may be the closest point of contact to a company or venue if you don’t have a direct contact to the booking department.

While I personally have never booked someone based on a Facebook message, I bet that some people have got gigs or even contact info of the people they need to talk to. In order to be considered for any of that, though, you need to present yourself as a decent person. Below is an actual message I’ve received:

“hey i am a DJ from denver and would love to perform at one of your events, how would i get to do that?? here is a mix i hope to hear from you guys soon”

Seriously? You couldn’t have put any more effort into that?

Facebook messaging for gigs can get you a performance slot, or even can direct you to the appropriate person of someone who would consider you. Typing like an idiot will automatically disqualify you from seeing any of that though.

Think about it; you’re essentially asking for money, and you’re presenting yourself horribly. It’s applying for a job and showing up to the interview wearing jorts [jean shorts], an old “Metallica” cut off, and sandals. Use common sense, people.

Not Posting About Your Events

If you have an upcoming gig, and don’t promote it on your social media sites, then you can pretty much guarantee you won’t be getting another one again. The exception to this is if: 1) you’re a nationally known artist, and 2) if you can bring in hundreds or thousands of people to your show.

Odds are you’re a little smaller than that. That’s OK! You need to start somewhere though, and to make sure you can get follow-up gigs, you need to at least look like you’re putting forth an effort.

So many people neglect to post about their events on Facebook or Twitter for some reason. Whatever the reason may be, it’s inexcusable. It’s easier than going out and putting up posters and flyers! Just take 30 seconds out of your day to type up a post, include a ticket link, and attach the gig flyer. It’s that simple, and spreads more awareness of the event. Even more so, the person who booked you will see you’re making an effort and that will leave a great impression. Quit being lazy – post about your gig!

What are some other tactics you’ve seen people do that just make you shake your head? Leave it in the comments.

Thanks to Jordan Canada for allowing us to re-post this article, the original of which can be found here on the archive of the Social Media For Music site, a regular blog aiming to ‘improve social media for musicians, bands, agents, and everyone else in the music industry’.

Please note that this is a forum for discussion, dialogue, and debate, and posts and comments on this blog represent only the author, not Live Music Exchange as a whole, or any other hosting or associated institutions.


One thought on “How NOT To Get A Gig With Social Media – Jordan Canada

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  1. I love the section on posting about gigs you do get. As a musician and a promoter/event manager I can’t for the life of me understand why an artist wouldn’t do this. Maybe laziness, maybe ego: I’ve certainly encountered both. There could also be mention of turning up with the right equipment and not complaining about your slot once you’ve got that gig you were begging for. A little bit of effort and humility go a long way.

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