This section will cover the process of expanding your artist's reach, engaging with fans, and gaining permission to market directly to those fans.
Take a look at the parent topic, Quick Start to Best Practices, and be sure you've completed the first step, Tune Your Online Presence. You should have knowledge of the following
Google Analytics setup on your artist site and knowledge of data, such as monthly uniques
Monthly search volume etc.
Size/quality of fan email list (i.e., you know where it is and how big it is)
Bonus: Knowledge of historical conversion rates on that list (i.e., what % typically opens, clicks, etc.)
Size/quality of Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc fans
Best practices for kickstarting your fan network
1. Prepare the components for deployment
Identify assets that you will give away in exchange for emails via the E4M widget.
Choose quality tracks, not leftovers of dubious quality. Fans will give up their emails in exchange for a track if they sense that it's buzz-worthy.
Consider giving away the lead single from your album, or potentially an alternate version of the lead single. For Metric's first E4M campaign, they give away an acoustic version of the hot lead single.
Choose a different track than the one used in the E4M widget
Identify a widget to associate with your Facebook-for-Media campaign
Most likely a streaming widget or an E4M widget
Identify an asset to give away in exchange for Facebook fans
Once again, this should be tuned to complement your other offers
Create different widgets for each platform. If you are putting up an E4M widget on both MySpace and your artist site, creating a naming convention for the duplicate widgets. This will allow you to track their metrics separately and see which channel is delivering the most fans.
You may wish to create multiple versions of the widgets and test different messaging and artwork.
Fans want to hear about your studio experiences, stories from the road, song ideas, collaborations, etc.
Tweet about artists that inspire you
Search Twitter for fans talking about the same topics and follow them or start conversations
Make sure that your Twitter page links back to your website. New followers will discover your music even when you're not talking about your release.
Use trackable links (bit.ly etc.) to make tracking (see #3) easier
Time your Tweets, Facebook posts, and widget launches strategically.
Evidence suggests that Twitter traffic peaks in the evening, towards the end of the week, and during the weekend (contrary to traditional e-commerce activity trends). Tweet during peak activity times.
Aim for repeat mentions on different platforms at different times. Remember that a series of snowballs is preferable to a single avalanche of announcements to your fans.
Find ways to increase the number of "fan impressions" you have.
Use Google AdWords to purchase keywords of relevant artists and design ads promoting your free giveaways
Use paid-play services like Jango to introduce your music to new fans, and then message your fans using the Jango interface to visit your giveaway pages.
Actively seek out fans on MySpace, Last.fm, etc.
3. Monitor the results and refine your deployment accordingly
Monitor your widget analytics to determine which strategies are most successful
If a particular channel (i.e., MySpace) is not performing, consider ways to improve performance
Remodel your MySpace page, redesign artwork or messaging, or add more MySpace friends
Check your Google Analytics to see how fans are discovering your site
See if your trackable links are driving any traffic to your pages
See if your improvements to SEO are improving your search engine traffic
Swap out giveaway assets and creative to keep the offers fresh
When Metric hit street date, they swapped out their first acoustic single for the second single off the record. This kept fans engaged and returning to the site.