guest post via Kyla Clarke from HashtagNowPlaying.com
As the music industry continues to evolve, musicians are finding it ever more challenging to make money from selling actual music. Nowadays, artists make money from streaming, from concerts, and possibly more than anything else: from merch. But no matter how cool your newly designed merch is, you have to promote it to get people to see it - and buy it.
These key strategies will show you how to use social media to promote your merch and get people talking - and shopping.
For beginners of social media, Facebook photo albums are an awesome and easy place to house images of all your new gear. Create an album on your band’s Page with front and back images of everything you’ve got. Be sure to include descriptions of the feel and fabric and whatever imagery is on the shirt. This is your chance to get creative! Make sure to include available sizes and price in each caption, too, as well as how to contact you to place an order. Boost your album with a small budget to gain a bit of extra traction.
But the best way to promote your merch on Facebook? You can now open a shop right on your band’s Page! When editing your Page, check out the menu on the left hand side. There should be a link that says “Add Shop”. Click through the step-by-step process and set up your own easy pop-up shop - right there on your Facebook Page.
Facebook Pages also have buttons on the top right of the menu on the main page. Edit yours to say “Shop Now” to send fans to your online store. You can change this at any time, so feel free to use it only for special promotions and then change it back.
Twitter is a great place for hosting contests and giveaways. Promote your merch (and thus, your band) by posting a “RT to win” tweet and picking one lucky retweeter to receive a free t-shirt.
Host a hashtag contest by inviting your fans to come up with a unique hashtag to represent your band - and the winner gets a free shirt or hat.
Alternatively, invite your fans to design a shirt themselves and have fans vote by retweeting and liking. This will generate a lot of buzz for your band online, it will involve your fans in the merch production process, and is guaranteed to nab a few sales.
If you’ve already got a Shopify store on the go, hone in on Shopify’s “Sell on Twitter” feature, where they generate tweets featuring your products and link directly to your store for a quick and easy purchase.
Much like Facebook, Instagram is a obviously a great place for sharing photos. Get some friends together for a fun and engaging photoshoot wearing all of your merch. Use locations like beaches, coffee shops, graffiti-lined streets - whatever speaks to you and your brand. Share the photos sporadically throughout the coming weeks - using the link in your bio to send them straight to your online store.
There are also tons of product giveaways on Instagram these days. Encourage your fans to tag a friend in the comments for a chance to win a free shirt or hat. This encourages fans to tell their friends about you and sends traffic to your page, even if they don’t win. And if they do win, you’re sure to get an online shout out.
But what if you are still a young band with a small roster t-shirts and hats and you haven’t set up an ecommerce store just yet? That’s totally okay! Make sure your fans know to DM or email you to order, and you can arrange to mail it to them or have it on hold for them at your next gig. Give it time - and maybe yours will be the next high-profile pop-up shop in NYC.
Thanks to social media draining our wallets has never been so easy.
To learn more about using social media to promote your band, check out my blog post “How to Use Twitter to Promote Your Music Online (And Why It Matters)” here.
About the Author:
My name is Kyla Clarke. I’m a writer by trade and music fan by heart. I have worked in radio, marketing, PR, and concert production for over 7 years. In 2011, I started Now Playing as a place to review and share new music that I was listening to and wanted my friends to hear too. It evolved over the years into a place for me to share my thoughts on music, travel, and growing up. Fast forward to 2016 and I have rebranded my little blog into a digital marketing resource for musicians just like you.
So tell me, how can I help?