Using LinkedIn To Boost Your Career As An Indie Artist, Songwriter or Music Professional

© 2011 Vinny Ribas

There is no question that Facebook and Twitter are great tools for building a fan base. But when you’re looking to build business relationships, I find that the most powerful business network is LinkedIn. Sadly, many musicians are complexly unaware of this powerful tool, or they know about it but misuse it completely. So, I thought I would offer this quick course in how to start using LinkedIn to further your career. Keep in mind that it is a social network for professionals and businesses. It is NOT a place to find fans. Most people can stay with a free account and never have to upgrade.

Some of the things you can and should do include:

    • Build a complete profile. Be as specific as you can. Remember that this is a business network, so keep it professional. Be sure to include your website(s) and email address (for your connections only).
      Connect to your Facebook and Twitter. Be very careful with this. Linking your profile to your Facebook and Twitter accounts so you share your status updates means that all of your posts, regardless of the nature of them, will appear on your page and on the pages of your connections. Keep it professional.
    • Click on the ‘Groups’ tab and join a maximum of 50 discussion groups. Search for music-related groups, as well as other groups that interest you. There are some music industry groups that have 20,000+ members in them. There are groups for just songwriters, recording artists, producers etc. Be sure to search for local, music-related groups, such as ‘Nashville Music Industry’, ‘LA Music Industry’, ‘Atlanta Music Industry’ etc. Also join the Indie Connect group!
    • Introduce yourself in each group. People will begin connecting with you as well.
    • Start a discussion, ask a question or post an article. Get people to interact with you. You’ll be amazed at the level of expertise that is just there to help people.
    • Connect with everyone on your mailing list (there’s a built in tool for this). You want to make as many connections as possible. The reason you want to do this is that LinkedIn will only let you invite someone to be a connection or send someone a message if:
      • You already know them
      • You work or have worked with them
      • You have done business together
      • You are in a LinkedIn group with them (this is why you join a lot of groups and you pick ones with a lot of members)
      • You have their personal email address.

This avoids the overkill of meaningless ‘friending’ that is rampant in some social networks.

  • Connect with me –
  • Use the search feature to find music connections in your geographic area, or in the areas you are interested in. You can look people up by company, location, occupation and more. This is how you can find nightclub owners, managers, booking agents, other artists, songwriters, producers and more. Build relationships. Do not spam anyone. If you’re connecting with someone, have a reason for it.
  • Connect with business professionals from all aspects of the music business worldwide. Again, build relationships.
  • Get introduced to the people you want to meet. On the right side of each person’s profile page is a map of how many degrees separate you and that person. If you share a connection or are separated by 3 degrees or less, you can request an introduction. Be sure that you include a personal message to person you want to meet as to why you want to get to know them.
  • Participate in the group discussions. This makes you someone that people want to get to know.
  • Check out the job postings in the groups if that is what you are looking for. There are a lot of music industry jobs posted here!
  • Follow companies that are important to you. Many companies post advice, news, promotions etc. Use the news to connect with people (e.g. congratulate someone on a promotion). This is also a great way to keep up to date on industry news.
  • Start your own group(s). This can be for your fans, or a general industry group. The advantage to this is that you then have direct access to everyone who joins.
  • Share interesting articles, web pages, blogs, news etc. that you come across elsewhere. Be sure that they are appropriate for the group you are posting in. Websites with ‘Share’ buttons often have a LinkedIn button. So, if you like an article in Indie Connect Magazine, please share it with your network!
  • ‘Recommend’ people you know. You can give testimonials or recommendations to others. This helps them tremendously. Be honest and sincere. Don’t overdo it. You can also ask for recommendations from people you know.

Here are just a few important tips:

  • Be sure to fill out your profile in as much depth as possible.
  • Every group has its rules. Read them and follow them. Some keep the group for discussions only and do not allow you to promote your music or your gigs. Some, on the other hand, are there specifically for you to promote yourself.
  • Never spam the network. Sending the same message to every the group and multiple times just in case someone missed it is not a good idea. It may get you banned from some groups.
  • Keep it professional at all times. Be polite, considerate, respectful, complimentary etc.
  • Help others. Answer questions. Give advice if it is sound. Share your expertise and contacts. Take the discussion offline if you need to.
  • Join the discussions and voice your honest opinions, but avoid nasty confrontation. If someone is getting abusive in a group, report them. Do not give them the satisfaction of replying because it only stirs the pot even more.

Used properly, LinkedIn can be the most powerful tool in your business toolkit. Use it wisely and you can open almost any door that you want to all around the world!


About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.