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by Chris Singleton

Spring seems to have finally arrived at Prescription Towers, with sunshine making a brief appearance and bunny rabbits running rampant around the office. As such we’ve been indulging in some spring cleaning (chiefly to get rid of the rabbits) and thought that you might like to do some too. So here are five things YOU as a musician can do to clean up your act...

1. Get rid of social media accounts that are no longer of any use to you

Given that there is a ‘next big thing’ in social media popping up every 5 minutes, it’s not surprising that artists have many disused social media profiles kicking about. I bet you a tenner that your band has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Myspace, Reverbnation, Bandpage, Bandcamp, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+ and quite a few more social networks…but chances are, you’ve forgotten about most of them and you only keep one or two profiles updated. This means that you run the risk of potential fans or useful industry contacts doing a Google search on your act and encountering really out of date material and goofy pictures that you’re now embarrassed by. If you’re not using it, consider losing it; however, if you have a big following on a particular social network, it’s probably best to keep the relevant page alive – but bring it (and keep it) up to date.

2. Unfollow a load of people on Twitter

Most bands start off their life on Twitter by following a truckload of people in the hope that everybody will follow them back – but only a small percentage of users ever do. This leaves you with a huge following to followers deficit. So take the time to go through the list of people you’re following on Twitter and unfollow as many people as you can - you should unfollow people who don’t ever tweet or people who aren’t particularly relevant to you or your band. Doing this is beneficial for three reasons.

1) It makes your ratio of followers to following considerably better (which is helpful from a reputational point of view – it looks a bit rubbish if you’re following 2000 people and have only 100 followers).

2) It makes your Twitter feed more useful – it’s next to impossible to discern useful information from Twitter feeds when you’re following absolutely everybody.

3) It makes Twitter algorithms more effective for you – if you are only following people that are particularly relevant to your band (sympathetic radio DJs or journalists for example) then the suggestions that Twitter makes to you regarding who to follow will actually be useful ones.

For the record, you might want to check out a tool called Crowdfire (formerly Justunfollow) to help you with the above tasks – it allows you to identify people that haven’t updated their profiles in a long time as well as do one-click unfollows.

3. Update your website

Even if you have the swankiest website going, it will still look rubbish if you haven’t updated it in ages. Make sure it’s got all your latest gigs on it; a nice blog post or two; current photographs and so on. And if you know that you simply don’t have time to update a website (shame on you!) then delete any pages on it that require regular updating: it’s better to have a very simple website that is not out of date than a flashy one that is.

4. Sort out your file storage

I feel slightly ridiculous and not a little un-rock-and-roll in writing this, but simply because everything related to the music industry seems to be digitised these days, a band needs to have as good an approach to file management as possible. The one thing I have consistently found both as a musician and a PR person is that you will inevitably end up needing to access and send files relating to your band on a regular basis – A&Rs, journalists, fans, radio pluggers will all need digitised material from you regularly. If you haven’t got a cloud file storage solution, get one (Dropbox is probably my favourite for bands). And if you do have a Dropbox or Google Apps account, make sure all your folders are neatly organised and that key content is easy to locate. Again, not a very rock and roll thing to be thinking about, but you’ll be grateful for a nice folder structure when the Head of Music at Radio 1 comes calling asking you for new material pronto…and you can locate and share it with him immediately. Well hello, Mr Ergatoudis - another track you say? Certainly...

5. Clean up your mailing list

Take the time to go through your mailing list, ensuring that

  • all those email addresses collected at gigs on scraps of toilet paper are actually added to it
  • you are not using Excel or Word to store addresses and sending out emails manually but have invested in a proper e-newsletter broadcasting tool such as Mad Mimi, Getresponse or Mailchimp
  • your list does not include people who perhaps shouldn’t be on there: think twice about including friends and colleagues on every email about your band (here’s why).

There, that feels better doesn’t it. Nice and clean.

 

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