Many musicians discount LinkedIn as a useful social media network, because they think it’s for people in the corporate world. Instead, they concentrate on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube (which isn’t exactly the most fair to musicians). But there are actually thousands of people in the music industry on LinkedIn, and musicians have a lot to gain from signing up.
In this post, I’ll first discuss the benefits musicians can get from LinkedIn. Then, I’ll move into strategies that musicians should use on LinkedIn.
Benefit #1. Connecting with the people you need
To build a career as a musician, you’re going to need help from a lot of people. You’ll need to work with recording studio managers, booking agents, sound and lighting technicians, photographers, graphic designers, and perhaps social media managers and website designers.
Sure, you can put out a call on Facebook asking if anyone can do those jobs for you. But you can probably develop a more expansive network on LinkedIn than you can on Facebook. This is because people are more inclined to accept LinkedIn requests from people they don’t know well, or even don’t know at all.
While Facebook is more a private social network, LinkedIn is all business. And the purpose of LinkedIn is to put yourself out there. You never know how a LinkedIn connection could benefit you, so you might as well send and accept as many requests as you can. With an expansive LinkedIn network, you can more easily find the professionals you need in order to complete your next album or plan your next tour.
Benefit #2. Maintaining connections
Once you establish a professional connection with someone, LinkedIn is the best way to maintain it. A LinkedIn connection is immune to changed email addresses, lost phone numbers, and other obstacles which can cause you to lose contact with someone.
It’s also better than Facebook for maintaining these connections because you might not want someone you have a strictly professional relationship with to see your private posts—nor would they want you to see theirs. Like I said in the last point, this is all business.
Benefit #3. Professional appearance
If you’re looking for professionals like booking agents or producers who are going to be more picky about who they work with, a LinkedIn account can make you look like a more attractive investment. It shows that you are professional, business-savvy and have good self-promotional skills.
Of course, agents should make decisions about who they work with based on talent, but if you’re competing for the same agent with another musician of equal talent, and you have a LinkedIn page but the other guy doesn’t, you might have the edge. Lots of music industry managers like to look at LinkedIn to see what a musician has accomplished and what their goals are.
Benefit #4. Research opportunities
The last major benefit of LinkedIn is the opportunity to do research on people you might want to work with. You can see what kind of experience they have and how many people have endorsed their skills. This information is helpful in deciding whether you trust the person to handle a particular job for you.
Who should you connect with?
I already discussed the answer to this question a little bit under benefit number 1. There’s no downside to reaching out to basically anyone on LinkedIn, so you should try to cast your net as wide as possible. But I’m going to name a few more categories of people you should target, because you might not necessarily think to reach out to them.
1. Conference attendees and speakers
If you ever attend any conferences for folks in the music industry, you should make a point of sending LinkedIn requests to the people you meet there. These types of connections are great if you’re seeking career advice, or if you just want to expand your network. Conference speakers are probably already very well-connected in the music industry, so when you form a connection with them, you come one step closer to all the connections they have.
2. Journalists and bloggers
Connecting with journalists and bloggers opens the door for you to get media coverage. For example, if you’re in a ska band and you connect with a blogger who writes about ska music, the blogger might be willing to include you in a feature on up-and- coming artists.
3. Industry leaders
I admit, the chances that the CEO of Spotify is going to accept your connection request are low. But honestly, it can’t hurt to try. Don’t be afraid to reach out to industry leaders. You might just end up with an extremely valuable connection.
Other good LinkedIn Strategies for musicians
One strategy that everyone should be using on LinkedIn is sending messages to connections. A short message that just says, “Hi, it was great working with you,” or “Hi, thanks for adding me!” gives a good impression and makes the person more likely to want to work with you.
Another strategy that musicians should definitely use is joining groups. LinkedIn music groups might be the best way for you to connect with the professionals you really need to get your career going. Groups also provide a forum to ask for career advice. “Music and Entertainment Professionals” and “Music Biz” are two of the largest groups for musicians.
Is LinkedIn necessary?
As I’ve discussed, LinkedIn provides a lot of benefits for musicians. But if you’re not that serious about the business side of music, it might not be for you. Plenty of musicians succeed without having LinkedIn accounts. You might decide to focus on your art and hire someone else to do your promotion. But if you do want to manage your own business and self-promote, you should definitely take advantage of LinkedIn.
Eric Brantner has worked in internet marketing for over a decade. He shares all he has learned about marketing on blogging on his site, Scribblrs.com. When he isn’t working online, he’s busy strumming his Gibson SG.
Top image by Esther Vargas (Adapted under CC by SA 2.0).