So you’ve opened a Facebook account, sent your first Tweet and uploaded a tune to SoundCloud. What next?

Few artists will tell you that it is easy to navigate the landscape of social networks, yet it is a basic requirement for anyone trying to make it in the industry. Social media can be both a curse and a blessing all at once. More and more artists have made a name for themselves through platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud, sites that allow them to upload and share content. Others are using sites like Twitter to connect with fans on a deeper level. But the downside is that not everyone is a social media expert, and artists have less time to focus on simply creating music and playing gigs. The debate over the value of a Facebook page like is ongoing, but ultimately it is consistent engagement that is key to building a loyal fan base. Are there enough hours in a day for artists trying to do it all? 

As industry insiders have explained to us before, a successful strategy involves creating an eco-system out of your social media, using a unique approach in each network, which at the same time is consistent with your image. Without a social media team, figuring out the best approach can be a tall order, and requires a lot of time and effort. To give you an idea of numbers, Next Big Sound allows you to track data off of 14 different publicly available sources, from the basics like Facebook and Twitter, to more music-oriented networks like ReverbNation and Bandcamp. 

In order to help artists navigate this complex universe, we have put together an ebook on the various social media outlets, explaining the differences between them, the opportunities available and the advantages to maintaining a presence on each site. It is our hope that this how-to guide will help artist and bands prioritize and manage their online presence. It is available for download here.

And remember, nothing looks less professional than a Twitter profile that hasn’t been updated for months, or a ReverbNation page with an outdated bio, so make sure you take it one network at a time. 

Liv Buli is the resident data journalist for music analytics company Next Big Sound. Buli is a graduate of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and her work has appeared in Newsweek Daily Beast, The New York Times Local East Village, Westchester Magazine and more.

Billy Mitchell is the data journalism intern for music analytics company Next Big Sound. Mitchell is currently a graduate student at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute focusing on magazine writing. Before joining the Next Big Sound team, the Newport News, VA native worked with CMJ and Rolling Stone.