A lot of people are delusional when it comes to what they think the internet will do for them. While it's unquestionably the most powerful marketing tool available, if it's not being used correctly, any expectation of results is pretty much a fantasy. Rather than simply throwing your content out there and hoping the rest will work itself out, take heed to these fundamental steps towards effectively making an impact online.

Advice

Choose the right name

Choose the right name

It all starts with your name. Pick something unique and easy to remember. Your name is how people will identify you, so choose something that makes sense, and that properly represents you as an artist. It's important to remember that your name should be unique yet straightforward enough to be easily searched for. So, stay away from acronyms with periods between the L.E.T.T.E.R.S., hyphens, AKAs and overly inventive misspellings.

Setting up your online presence

Setting up your online presence

Once you've chosen your name, the next step is to secure your domain and all of the associated social media handles so that you can secure a website URL and begin to amass followers. If your name is not available, I suggest choosing a phrase that can be associated with your brand or getting creative. For example, if your name is MC John Doe but @MCJohnDoe is taken, try @JohnDoeTheMC and other clever wording. Most importantly, you want everything to match because it will substantially help your search engine rankings.

Build Your Infrastructure

Build Your Infrastructure

If you want to be recognized as a professional, you're going to need the right tools. Every artist should have a logo, business cards, a well-written biography, professional photos, a website, and a press kit or one sheet. Keep in mind that all of these tools are what industry players, interested music fans, and others will use to judge you before ever listening to your music, so cutting corners and going cheap can potentially leave an undesirable impression.

Establish a monetization model

Establish a monetization model

There are hard costs involved in almost every aspect of trying to be a professional artist, so don't get caught up in the meaningless competition for attention that some people mistake for business. Studio equipment, marketing materials and high-profile publicity all cost money, so you need to figure out how you are going to pay for all of these things, and hopefully recoup your investments. This is not something you want to enter into blindly, so take some time to sit down and make a realistic budget before reaching out to vendors for their services.

Create Quality Content

Create Quality Content

The internet is driven by one thing: content. It's a constant struggle to gain people's attention, but what's even harder is keeping it. You can have tons of social media followers, but if you fail to continuously entertain people with engaging material, an online buzz can quickly become yesterday's news. If you want to produce strong online content, I suggest establishing a team that consists of a graphic designer, a web guy, a videographer and a writer.

Participate in your industry

Participate in your industry

Like it or not, the world runs on relationships. If you want to get ahead, you should at least attempt to be cordial with the right people in your industry. Follow, and engage with, those who you think can help you, and most importantly, start establishing your presence--both online and in-person--wherever your industry congregates. The more you get your face out there, the better, so show your support for others in the way that you want them to show their support for you. You didn't pay for those business cards for nothing.

Forget about going viral

Forget about going viral

In most cases, content doesn't go viral because it's good, it goes viral because it's either shocking or being laughed at. But let's say you get lucky and one of your videos just happens to blow up. Then what? If your YouTube account isn't monetized, you won't see any advertising revenue. And if your online presence isn't set up to receive the effects of instant popularity on Instagram or Twitter, your 15 seconds of fame will literally be just that. Channel your focus into making consistently high-quality content and your work - not the view count - will speak for you.

Do The Work

Do The Work

Successfully marketing yourself online is usually the result of one thing: effort. Engage with other people's social media accounts. Go to the websites of companies that you are trying to establish relationships with and send e-mails to those who are in the positions that can be beneficial to you. Most importantly, be genuine. Take time to be thoughtful and personable in any communication you have with potential business associates; this means re-reading e-mails before sending them, speaking in a respectful manner, and injecting some personality into your words. The goal is to establish a network of like-minded people.

Be Realistic

Be Realistic

It's easy to get enchanted by the astronomical numbers promoted on social media, but keep in mind that behind every follow, every like, every view and every comment is an actual person. If you treat every instance of interaction as if you were engaging with someone in person, you will quickly find your time on social media to be much more effective and leading to more success everywhere else.