What is it about the television icon MacGyver that makes people so drawn to him?
What is it about this fictional hero that makes him such a cultural staple in our collective consciousness?
Well, quite simply, he embodies a very specific image of what every person would like to be: he is a person of initiative, of confidence. Most importantly, he has an uncanny ability to be exceptionally resourceful when the time calls for it.
His resourcefulness, in fact, is his famous key to success.
If you don’t know who MacGyver is, he was one of the most famous television characters of the late 80s and early 90s. He was a prodigy scientist who was quick on his feet, able to get out of any complex and dangerous situation presented to him using everyday materials like duct tape, strings, and rocks.
To be a successful musician, you don’t need to be a genius secret agent scientist like MacGyver, or be able to diffuse stuff with paper clips. Contrary to popular belief, you also don’t need to have a lot of money, or even go to a great music college, although that certainly can’t hurt.
It may surprise you to hear, but what truly sets most musicians apart from others, besides talent and ability, is initiative and resourcefulness.
When I was in college, me and my friends literally ate ramen noodle every night. That was how tight our budgets were. The struggle of being a ramen noodle budget college musician who is not exactly cashing in on those exclusive Sony Classical recording contracts is an obviously very real thing.
That said, there are many ways you can be an exceptionally resourceful and successful music student or professional musician without having to spend nearly any money at all.
Here are 9 really good tips for increasing your success on what I like to call the “ramen noodle budget.” Some of these may be familiar to you, and some of them will probably be completely new.
9. Correctly Use Social Media to Promote Your Concerts, Tracks, Website, etc.
This is a really big technique I don’t see enough student musicians (or even professionals) doing, so I decided to put it first on the list. When you have a big concert, event, or just want to get the word out about yourself, nothing is better in 2014 than promoting yourself on social media.
Many music students understand this, and will often post their concert events and the like on their personal Facebook pages. Which is a good start.
However, for literally the price of two or three cups of coffee, you can expand your reach to thousands of targeted people who could potentially be very interested in your music.
I’m serious – it’s that cheap!
In order to take advantage of super inexpensive targeted social media on a platform like Facebook, start a fan page for yourself that people can “like.” Then, whenever you have something you want to promote, like a website, new track, or concert, there is an option you can choose called “boost” to get your posting seen by hundreds or thousands of people.
Once you are in the boost page, you can target exactly who you would like seeing your posts by choosing topics that you know your audience would like.
Pretty neat, huh?
Example: if you are a contemporary classical music composer, you can boost a posting on your Facebook page to potential fans all around Facebook. Facebook has a bunch of data that makes them exceptional at targeting, and if you think that someone may like the music of one specific composer, they may like your music too. Just target that specific composer in your boost.
This is what I mean – if you write complex post-tonal music, see if you can target people on Facebook who like Pierre Boulez, Milton Babbitt, Arnold Schoenberg, Roger Sessions, Elliot Carter.
If you write more minimalist music like me, try targeting people who like Max Richter, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Nico Muhly.
See where I am going with this?
Here’s an example of what a Facebook boost page looks like.
This is an example concert I want to promote to people who like certain things (minimalist music) that live in a specific area (New York City). For $12.00, Facebook thinks I can get between 630 and 1,700 people to see it, which is not bad at all. If your posts and events are animated in description or popular, you will most certainly have more than 1,700 people looking at your boosted post.
It takes some experimentation and trial and error to really get it right, but it is truly quite amazing how you can power start your career on social media for the price of lunch. Having social media prowess, without question, is a mark of exceptional resourcefulness, whether you are a musician or a professional in any field in 2014.
If you need some suggestions for targeting ideas, feel free to shoot me an email.