“It’s not what you know, its who you know.” A fairly common phrase that couldn’t be truer when it comes to the Music industry. The way I get most of my sessions, wedding performances and teaching clients is through reccomendations from previous clients and colleugues.
Of course, I have built up a reputation as a session musician and music educator over time through performing and networking both on social media and at events such as open mics and jam nights. Getting your name out there in the industry and introducing yourself to people you haven’t even met can be a hugely daunting task when you first start out, it most definitely was for me!
With that in mind, I’ve devised a short list of tips and tricks to make networking on social media and in person easy for anyone.
1. Have a solid online presence
There’s no use in making yourself known within industry circles if you’ve nothing to showcase your work! Make sure you have a website and social media pages full of quality content (such as photos, videos and audio clips) that you can refer people to once you meet them.
2. Join online groups and forums
Social media is at the centre of how our society operates these days and has proved a brilliant tool for networking. If you’re too shy to go out to public networking events, you can start by joining the various groups and forums online. I’ve found Facebook and Linkedin to be the best place for this. Just go to your preferred one and type “Musicians” in the search bar and you’ll be spoilt for choice! There’s groups for session musicians, covers bands and music teachers, something for everyone.
3. Don’t be shy to say hi
when I first started out, I found it impossible to introduce myself to people. It’s perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of walking up to a random fellow industry person in the room and going “Hi my name’s Gary Cunningham, I play Piano!” Did anyone else hear a five year old’s voice in their head when reading that? I know I did *Cringe.*
That being said, you MUST take the plunge, the best ice-breaker for me when it came to making introductions was complimenting somebody’s performance. Something like: “That was amazing! I’m Gary by the way.” It may seem really kiss-assy but you’d be surprised at how well the conversation begins to flow after that.
4. Follow up
This is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to networking. You spend all night make introductions, complimenting performances and exchanging business cards to then get home and forget to follow up the next day. What.a.waste! If you’ve managed to bite the bullet and make some connections in person, make sure to keep the relationship going online by sending a DM or email, or even giving them a cheeky follow. It’s important to keep the image of you in the minds of the people you meet for as long as possible and keep that connection alive, you never know what that person may be able to do for you one day!
There we have it, four tips to help you make yourself known in the industry. I hope all of these little nuggets help you get as many gigs and students as possible in 2019.