Free and Easy Marketing: Mutual Promotion
by Elena Greco
Typical reading time: 3 minutes
November 9, 2015
Promotion in the arts is radically different than it was a few years ago. There are many great ways to promote, some of which are expensive and some of which are not. But there’s one way that doesn’t cost a cent: mutual promotion.
One way we can use mutual promotion as a beneficial free marketing strategy is by mentioning the other musicians who are performing in our productions in any promotion we do. If I’m doing a concert, for example, and in my promotion I mention another musician, (a) that musician gets free promotion and (b) I get extra promotion because people who are interested in, or Facebook Friends with, or in some other way connected with, that musician will see my promotion, so it benefits me and/or my company as well. I’m a big proponent of promotion that benefits all parties.
You can even carry this strategy into the technical arena, such as tagging your blog posts with the other performers’ names, in addition to your own. (The metatags in web pages are not as important as they once were, but the tags in blog posts are.) If appropriate, you can list their website along with their name. You can also make certain that each and every musician or support staff person is listed in every email, YouTube video or SoundCloud audio clip you post.
An example of mutually-beneficial promotion is found in a monthly group I used to host called The Music Salon™. In addition to The Music Salon main web page, there were two related pages, each of which used mutual promotion. The Music Salon Past Programs page listed all of the music we did in past Salons, along with the names of all of the musicians who performed it. The Music Salon Personnel web page served as a repository for information about everyone who performed with the group, along with their picture and biography. If a web user perused either the Personnel page or the Past Programs page for any reason, they might come across someone who fit perfectly with a need they had, or they might find a musician who was so interesting to them that they filed the information for a future production. In this way, every musician who was on that page got a free advertisement.
Conversely, if someone did a web search specifically for one of the people who had performed at The Music Salon, they were directed to the Music Salon page, or one of its related web pages such as the Music Salon Personnel page, and this benefitted The Music Salon. It ALSO benefitted EVERYONE ELSE listed on those pages. In this way, everyone on that page received the benefit of a search done for anyone on that page. Or if a web user was looking for someone to fill a role vacancy, they might have searched for the name of an aria that character sings, in which case they might be brought to The Music Salon Past Programs page, where they would see the name of the singer who sang that piece at the Salon. Then they would be able to see that person’s bio on the Music Salon Personnel page. So far there have been three instances where people have connected through the Personnel or Past Programs pages with long-lost friends or colleagues, or with directors looking for someone to sing a particular role.
This kind of mutual promotion doesn’t cost a cent, and it is crucial right now because, in addition to being a challenging time financially for those in the arts, this is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to reach so many people so quickly thanks to the internet and new technology. Viral marketing, which allows us to reach large numbers of people almost instantly and without charge, is wonderful, but I think it’s even more wonderful when it’s done in a way that truly benefits everyone.
Facebook® is another example of an opportunity for mutual promotion. If, for example, I post a notice about a Blog article of mine, everyone who is a Facebook Friend of mine will see it, and many people who are Friends of those people will see my post and possibly read my Blog article as a result. Because they’re Friends of my Friend, they are often like-minded people who might an interest in what I’m doing, so I’m not risking offending people who have no interest in my product in the same way I would if I sent an unsolicited email advertisement.
Commenting on, Liking, or Sharing someone’s Facebook Post supports them and makes them feel heard – always a good thing – and it also gives you a small amount of free promotion, since that person’s Friends will see your name or Post and might become curious about you and what you do. What’s not to love about this? Everyone benefits.
The same goes for producing concerts or events with other performers. If you include everyone who is a part of the show in your marketing, you each get the benefit of the others’ promotion. And for those who are performing in someone else’s show, inviting guests to your performance benefits you, it benefits the other performers who will be seen by your guests (they might want to hire them!), and it also benefits the company producing the show – which benefits you since it supports the company’s ability to produce future shows and hire you again!
We’ve all experienced people who are our Friends on Facebook who never Like or Comment on our Posts, or share anything personal or interesting; they just advertise at you! It doesn’t feel very good, does it? I know that I’m not likely to be interested in the projects of people who market in that way. It feels as though they’re using our Facebook Friendship simply for the purpose of selling something to me. Facebook is called a “social media” because its purpose is social; it’s about interacting with others, not just using them. So one other way of mutual promotion is to post things on Facebook (or other social media) that have meaning for yourself and others, rather than just advertising at them.
In addition, if you’re promoting something, I think it’s really important that you give the recipient of the promotion something of value, so that you’re not just blasting them with a request or an advertisement. Give them something pleasant to look at, listen to, brighten their day or inspire them. This is not only a sound marketing tool but, again, creates an environment of mutual benefit, rather than pure commercialism (or worse, narcissism). This makes the world a better place for all of us!
See Elena’s bios for more information about the author.