How to get started with social media
I’m a social media music industry specialist and in this blog, I want to share ideas on how to improve your social media and increase the reach of your brand.
I’ve been involved with the guys at Waterbear for a long time, and believe it or not Bruce Dickinson was my mentor when I was a student. Bruce is the most influential person I’ve been involved with throughout my career, and due to his mentorship I’ve learned about work ethic, best practice, and the music industry. I’m a firm believer that the team at Waterbear are some of the best educators in the entire country.
This blog is about using social media to grow your audience and build your brand online. Now, most of us are social media consumers, but, before we go diving into a social media strategy and becoming a marketeer, we need to appreciate the overview of social marketing. And answer the question “What is it that we are trying to achieve with our social media?”
An overview of social media
Traditionally the music industry had barriers to entry in the form of record labels. They would advance you the money needed to create a record and subsequently distribute it. However, that’s all changed due to advancements in technology, not only can we make music for little money, but we can also distribute our music for next to no cost.
If you can build an audience that engages with you, and embarks on your journey, you have the ultimate control. No matter whether you want to go on tour, sell merchandise or put your music out there, you have full reign and no longer need the middle man or gatekeeper. This gives you control over your art and allows you to build a community that will invest time, money and become part of your tribe.
Platforms of discovery
Once we have our purpose and know what we are trying to achieve, we can start to question where we are going to house our content. You have many options to consider; Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, the list goes on and on. You need to judge what is the best platform for your project and consider whether you should be on all of them or only use a few.
The answer to this depends on your skillset, you may be a fantastic creative writer, or, like myself, you may not mind being on camera. However, it’s possible that you may have a camera phobia and prefer to use audio for your content creation, this is also completely fine.
Most new bands set up on every platform under the sun to get their message out there. Unfortunately, this is setting yourself up for a fall, effectively managing one social media platform at a high level is testing, let alone managing four to five platforms. If you go down the path of using them all, there is the potential that you will let down your audience as you are spread too thin.
It’s 2019 and I do not know where social media will go in 2020, however, I can tell you that Youtube is the most under-utilised social media platform there is for art, music, and bands. It’s an absolute monster when it comes to the search engine capability it is only second to google, and google owns youtube. When it comes to the “Evergreen content”, the entertainment factor and how many people are consuming content on this platform, Youtube is perfect. It excels at long-form content which can then be broken down and inserted into other platforms. My advice is to use youtube and find a way of making it a central part of your social media campaign.
And then there is Facebook, it’s still a monster, and yes, the algorithm has changed, however when it comes to distributing your content and creating a community, Facebook is second to none. You can throw text, pictures, video’s at it and have conversations with your audience, it’s an absolute giant when it comes to social media. The advertising behind facebook is the best structure in the entire world.
What sort of content should I produce?
So, what sort of content should you put out on your social media? Well, here is something you’ll see me write time and time again, this is about how you look after your audience! Try and avoid advertising, your audience is not there to be promoted to every five minutes. The push media I see; “Buy our tickets” “watch our video” and “listen to our music” are just demands. The audience wants to come with you on a journey and they do not want to be pushed around all the time.
As for the content you should create, it’s up to you, it can range from vlogs, performances, updates and many more. It’s up to your skill set and how much time you have to put into your project. However always remember this, it’s about the audience first and how you look after them.
Whether you are starting your social media journey or have been doing it for a while, I would say don’t make social marketing a bigger deal than it needs to be. You need to make social media a part of your routine and look after your audience. Use your skills, your strengths and the opportunities around you to tell these stories.
Let me give you an example, most of you reading this will be musicians, you have the ability to pick up an instrument and trigger emotion. Whether its sadness, happiness or anger, you have the potential to make an audience stop what they are doing and give you their attention. Therefore that’s the content you need to start off with.
Your job is to build an audience, or more importantly a community and to do that you need to bring value and say hello. “Hello” is the most important word when starting a relationship and from there you can grow your numbers from one to one million, it all starts with one person and one word and that is hello.
A quick word on mentorship
Before I close this blog, I want to tell you about an amazing aspect of Waterbear. And that’s the 1-2-1 mentorships schemes that’s offered through their BA and MA courses. This was a life changing process for me and it’s positive to see it being brought into the college. No one makes these plans on their own and every plan is slightly different, having one to one guidance is specific to you and will translate into real goals for your career.