What You Need To Know About Your Online Presence

An excellent website design by Sarelia Design + Development

Whenever I am approached by a potential client, I generally do an assessment of their online presence to find out what they already have in place, what needs improvement, what’s missing and what should be implemented in order to ensure maximum opportunities for marketing and social media interaction.

The most important thing for any artist or business to have in place is a really good-looking (not too busy) and functional website that obviously highlights what they have to offer.  It should be carefully proofread to ensure that there are no typos or spelling mistakes and fonts should be limited to two easy-to-read styles that are no smaller than 11 pt.  Colours should be limited as well to only a few and they should be complimentary.  If you’re not good with colour schemes, seek the advice of someone who is.  Your website should also contain clickable social media icons on the home page that will take viewers directly to their Facebook page, YouTube channel, Twitter account, Google+ or LinkedIn profiles or WordPress/Blogger blog.  If you’re like me and don’t have the budget to pay a professional web designer yet, I highly recommend a WordPress site as it has a lot of functionality and is quite easy to use.

I believe that in this new age of social media marketing it is also important to have a professional photo of YOU and/or your logo on your website that is consistently branded across all of your social media networking sites.  The whole point of social media marketing is to be accessible and to connect and engage with your audience.  If you don’t reveal what you look like people will think you have something to hide (and don’t use a photo of yourself wearing sunglasses either!).  Ultimately a person will become a fan or buy your product because of the quality of it and their own personal tastes, but putting yourself out there online is now mandatory for anyone trying to sell something on the Internet.

If you’re selling art, CDs or books/eBooks, make sure that they can be purchased right from your website or at the very least from an excellent online distributor like iTunes, CDBaby or BookBaby, Amazon, Etsy, etc. with applicable links in place.

I always recommend that my clients have a Facebook page, a YouTube channel and a Twitter account because of what you can do with these three platforms when they’re all interlinked and consistently branded and you know how to use them effectively.  They work together to produce a finely tuned marketing machine.

MySpace is dead and an utter waste of time…even for musicians.  No one is interacting there anymore and the only email or comments you’ll receive are from other musicians trying to market themselves.  However, video and photos are worth a thousand words!  Now is the time to consider starting a video blog (a.k.a. Vlog) or to create a Flickr photostream that you can integrate into your website or Facebook page.

The number one most important thing to consider when using social media marketing to sell something is to think outside the box!  Think of as many creative ways as you can in which to engage and interact with people in order to keep them coming back to your sites again and again, and even more importantly, recommending them to their friends!

What Musicians Need To Know About Social Media Marketing

This afternoon I was writing to a musician client of mine about social media marketing tools that I think are important for musicians to implement and utilize regularly and decided that I would share my advice (that comes from working as a social media manager for 3 years) with you.

The first thing a musician needs when it comes to marketing is a professionally designed website that looks really striking and contains lots of useful information including a bio, tour dates, blog, mailing list, photos, music and video files. It should also contain easily identifiable icons that link to your other social media sites and/or social plugins for Facebook LIKE boxes and Twitter streams.

Next to Google, Facebook is the number 2 site on the Internet, followed by YouTube. So, a Facebook fan page (or business page as they are also known) is really important! Definitely more so than MySpace which is dying a slow death – I’m witnessing the fact that musicians are deleting their MySpace profiles every day now as I monitor my clients’ accounts.

You should post on a Facebook fan page regularly and be sure to add any new press, photos, videos, links, etc. whenever you can, but not necessarily all at once. It’s good to space out your posts so as not to inundate people. If you can do some video blogging or have a good quality video made of you performing, that would be most beneficial too. Having a YouTube channel and building it is very useful. Using Twitter is a way to reach people who may not be on Facebook as some people tend to prefer it because of its simplistic and real-time format (it’s also easier for those who want to, to remain anonymous).

Social media marketing never ends and it’s not going to go away either. If you want to increase your public profile, you have to do it. That’s where people are these days…online! If you want to connect with people who may be able to help your career, you have to do it. It’s all about being social though so that part is really important. It’s more important to engage with others than it is to market yourself (says Scott Stratten, author of UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging). Your website should do that beautifully.

If you don’t want to spend money on a website right away, at the very least, you can create a dynamic Facebook fan page (or have someone like me do it for you!) complete with a customized BandPage tab (my favourite music application on Facebook, although ReverbNation’s My Band is also excellent) that can act as a landing page for people who haven’t LIKED your page yet so that they can hear your music before they decide whether they like it.

You always have to give people a reason to keep coming back to the page too. The BandPage needs to be updated with your tour dates so that people know where to find you and music samples should be changed once in a while. You should provide contact info, up-to-date bio, photos, .MP3 files of your music, any links to videos with you in it or links to all the sites that you’re currently on, tour date information, your influences and other artists that you admire, copies of any press or reviews, and info regarding your mailing list if you have one. You should also decide whether you want to market yourself as a band, solo artist, session player, or instructor, etc.

The end of the year might be a good time for you to send out CDs and one sheets to many different music festivals that you might be able to play at across the country for the following year. You could set up a Twitter account that you can use to start following people who have similar taste in music to your own and to start following music publications, bloggers, festivals or venues that you might be interested in playing. Connect with the owners and organizers that way and you may land some gigs. It CAN work but you have to WORK it.

As a social media manager, my job is to get people up and running on the sites that would be most suitable for them, teach them how to use them effectively and monitor them regularly for any email or comments that need to be responded to while deleting the junk. I can also help build the numbers by cross promoting between Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (as well as other social media sites that are beneficial to musicians). I provide other services as well and you can read about them here.

The trick is to not stress about social media…if you can update your Facebook (which can also be set to go out as a Tweet) fan page twice a week, that would be great. If you can spend one hour a week on Facebook and one hour on Twitter for starters…you’ll notice the benefits of it. Just go on the sites and engage with the other people who are there. Artists who are really successful with their social media marketing probably spend an average of 10 or more hours a week on their social media profiles. It takes time. But it’s worth it! If you feel more comfortable having a beer or a glass of wine while you’re doing it…so be it. Just remember that social media engagement is similar to being at a cocktail party: mingle and talk to other people about the things you have in common. If you’re a wallflower and don’t talk to people, you’ll never make beneficial connections. (I have to remember this myself when I’m at parties and social events because I can be shy in person when I don’t know the people.)

Above all, have FUN with social media marketing and don’t try to hard sell anyone. Just make sure that the information is available, be approachable and let it be.

Anna Pasternak – On The Couch!

Anna and Wilfred at home with a Russian relative

Anna Pasternak and I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about a new Facebook fan page that has been created as a place to post the links to Anna’s brand new column in the London Daily Mail. We hope that you will join Anna every Monday morning – with your coffee in hand – for “On The Couch”, a column about her sessions with a therapist (Mr. T) and what she learns about herself in the process. You may just find that you will learn a few things about yourself too!

We will post the link each Monday morning to the latest column on the Facebook fan page wall and would ask that you leave your comments on the Daily Mail’s site underneath where the column is published. Of course your comments are welcome on Facebook (as well as on MySpace) and we hope that you will take part in each week’s discussion topic (on the Discussion Board). For the first week, we simply ask the question, “Have you ever had psychotherapy or would you ever considering engaging in psychotherapy?”

While your thoughts and opinions are most welcome, let’s try to keep this a positive place where people can discuss important issues safely and without judgment. Please refrain from using any profanity or from bashing Anna or those who choose to share their experiences. Don’t forget to invite your friends as it’s going to be very, very interesting!

And now without further adieu, welcome to “On The Couch”!

The Truth About Social Media

This morning I was reading a blog about social media on my new friend, Jennifer Chandler’s, Esteem Rising blog and it got me thinking about how much other people are just as overwhelmed by all of the different social media networking sites as I am, and I work with them on a regular basis.

There are a ton of sites out there and each one professes to be the best possible one you could sign up with to achieve your social networking goals, when in reality, they’re created and run by people who want to make the big bucks like the creators of MySpace and Facebook do. Bebo is also extremely popular, but it currently ranks third after Facebook and MySpace and you have to decide how many sites you have time for. Everyone has a different opinion but for a 2010 Social Networking Websites Review, click here and here.

I started my social media experience with MySpace over 5 years ago because I’m a huge music fan. I often discover new, unsigned, indie talent on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and I can almost always go to MySpace and find out more about the musician or band and hear more of their music. I had a lot of fun there discovering new music that I have come to love. It’s also fun to sometimes be able to actually correspond with the artist behind the profile. I used to write CD reviews quite prolifically for PartyinKingston.com (I still do, but they are infrequent now due to time constraints.) and being on MySpace was a wonderful opportunity for me to get to know new artists that I wanted to write about. I am still on MySpace, but don’t spend as much time there anymore, again, due to a lack of time.

A writer friend of mine who is also a singer just wrote a blog on MySpace (where she has a devout group of followers) about the fact that she went kicking and screaming back to Facebook and re-joined, but she doesn’t like it. So this is what I wrote to her:

“As someone who loves Facebook, I’m sorry to hear you say you’re there but would rather not be. I have made the acquaintance of some really great people there and for some reason it just seems easier to leave a comment on someone’s wall or comment on something they’ve posted there, than it is here. I don’t get involved with the applications for the most part and I don’t have to spend time looking for pretty pictures to post on people’s comments and cut and paste codes; all I have to do is type. It’s also a great place to share photos, even better than MySpace in my humble opinion, and the page loading time is way faster than it is here. The more things you embed into your profile here on MySpace, the longer it takes for the page to load and in this day and age when everyone’s busy and trying to network as quickly as possible, MySpace is a little antiquated. You can read the News Feed faster on FB than you can go through everyone’s bulletins or blogs here (and you can’t even see bulletins here anymore if you have over 2000 friends). You can also post links really easily, without having to get HTML code from somewhere else first. You just type in the URL or cut and paste it in, and voila! I think it’s just a more efficient and user friendly social networking platform and the creators are constantly updating it to try to make it better. They also have a very strict anti-spam policy there so you’re almost never bombarded with unwelcome email.

MySpace is great for many things, don’t get me wrong, but you should give Facebook a fair chance. That’s kind of synchronistic that FB suggested your ex-husband as a friend. It’s probably because he’s linked to someone you’re friends with there. It’s just as easy to set your privacy settings tightly and block people who bug you there as it is here, but I have only ever blocked two people in the last 3 1/2 years that I’ve been on it and I haven’t had any of the unwelcome lecherous dating type comments or emails from men who can’t even type or spell one sentence correctly who are constantly emailing me here and asking me to chat with them on IM. No matter how many times I’ve posted that I’m not on MySpace for dating, no one seems to read it. I have found the men on Facebook whom I’ve connected with as friends to be far more respectful and I have many, many real life friends who are on it that I want to stay in touch with and almost none of them are on MySpace. So for those reasons and more, I prefer it there. But I come back here to read your blogs!”

That’s why I prefer Facebook to MySpace, but I have also recently become much more aware of the merits of LinkedIn which I wrote about in a recent blog. I also use Twitter, but not as much, and you can link your accounts on all these sites so that when you update your status on one of them, it is immediately included on all of your sites. A real time-saver! I truly believe that the most popular social media sites, which are Facebook, MySpace and Twitter (closely followed by LinkedIn) are the important ones for authors and musicians to be on if they are trying to promote their work. They are also useful for many other types of businesses and they really can help you to expand your client/fan base.

Authors should also join one of the major book appreciator sites like Shelfari, Good Reads, Library Thing, Book Blogs, Amazon or Chapters.Indigo.ca (which is my personal favourite). You don’t have to be on all of them. Spreading yourself too thin doesn’t really accomplish anything. Believe me, I’ve learned that and am still in the process of making changes to pare down and pay more attention to the people I really enjoy! You can’t be effective when you don’t have the time to get to know the people you’re connected with on all of those social media sites. You have to choose the ones that you like the most or that are specifically geared towards your career (MySpace is excellent for musicians; LinkedIn is excellent for career professionals; Facebook is great for everyone!) and stick with them. And remember that more is not necessarily better. It’s much more effective to have a smaller base of contacts with people you have things in common with and actually correspond with and who show an interest in what you have to say, than a whole bunch of people who are there but you never communicate with.

I have had to join many different social media sites in order to learn about them and work with them for my clients, but in all honesty, the ones I spend the most time on lately are Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. Twitter is fun for a while. It’s like being a fly on the wall and listening in on snippets of people’s conversations. You have 140 characters to express what you want to say in one post and most people use it to post links to other sites and things that they want you to see. It’s fun to follow some celebrities who have interesting things to talk about (and some of them don’t!) and it certainly is a way to get news quickly by checking out which topics are trending at any given time, but as a means of positive and effective two way communication, you still can’t beat a meeting in-person or with someone over the telephone.

The truth about social media is that it is as effective as you have time to make it be effective. It’s ever evolving and often quite interesting. It’s all about establishing relationships with people you have things in common with and whom you respect and admire and once that relationship is formed, you have the opportunity to tell them about what you do (and like) and about what others do and they just might listen and take your advice. I am constantly learning new things about what to do and what not to do every single day. So as a person who works with social media, I am an ever evolving work-in-progress too.

What Scully Love Promo Is All About!

SCULLY LOVE PROMO

What is Scully Love Promo?

A Social Media Marketing and Internet Promotion business based in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, owned and operated by Christine Bode, focusing on the marketing and promotion of first class musicians, authors, actors, and artists on the Internet in order to promote their talents and expand their fan base.

How does Scully Love Promo propose to market and promote its clients?

Scully Love Promo will assist in the marketing and promotion of its clients on the Internet in the following ways:

  1. Creating MySpace and Facebook profiles (including Groups and/or Fan Pages) for the artist if they haven’t already been created and by blogging/promoting on MySpace, Facebook, Blogger, Gather, Squidoo, Shelfari , Chapters.Indigo.ca, ReverbNation, iLike, Twitter and other relevant social networking sites;
  2. Posting any information, links, bulletins, notes and/or blogs the artist wants to add to their profiles, including proofreading and editing of same;
  3. Creating events for the artist when applicable and inviting friends and fans to attend;
  4. Internet search for press and photographs (including Google Alerts) on the artist to include on their profiles;
  5. Search MySpace and Facebook for appropriate friends (fans) for the artist, adding them to their friends list and thanking each one individually with a comment;
  6. Answer as much intelligent correspondence from friends on the artist’s behalf as possible within the time constraints;
  7. Direct the artist to those individuals who should get their personal attention in the form of a comment or email;
  8. Provide the artist with monthly statistics regarding the increase of their fan base and the amount of plays each posted song or recording has received;
  9. Incorporate the ReverbNation application to profile;
  10. Post a profile on RevernNation and iLike for musicians;
  11. Provide musical artists with a CD review for Kingston, Ontario, Canada’s entertainment website, PartyinKingston.com at (PiK has reached over 11 MILLION PAGE VIEWS!);
  12. Write press releases when required;
  13. Offer photography services when feasible (within distance constraints);
  14. Ensure complete confidentiality where the privacy of the artist’s personal email is concerned;
  15. Block any individual whose profile contains any suggestion of pornography, racism, misogynism or violence.

Can anyone hire Scully Love Promo?

No. Scully Love Promo will only represent clients it feels passionate about.

Do I have to give Scully Love Promo my email address and passwords for my MySpace and Facebook accounts?

Not necessarily. It depends on exactly what features of our services that you want.

What is the fee for Scully Love Promo’s services?

  • $200.00 for creating MySpace and Facebook profiles
  • $300.00 for 15 hours of online time spent promoting the artist
  • $50.00 per press release
  • $100.00 per photo shoot including a CD of photos for the artist

NOTE: We will do our best to work within the artist’s budget and hours and fees can be adjusted.

How would one pay for Scully Love Promo’s services?

  • By direct email transfer of funds from their bank account to ours
  • Cheque or Money Order
  • Via PayPal account

When is payment due?

Upon completion of services provided, to be reported to the client via email.

How do I get in touch with Scully Love Promo?

Is Christine Bode willing to meet her clients in person?

Yes, she encourages her clients to meet her in person, as long as she doesn’t have to pay for travel costs.

What makes Christine Bode of Scully Love Promo qualified to provide these services?

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Diploma in Television Broadcasting
  • 24 years experience in office administration
  • Worked for Canada’s leading entertainment lawyer
  • Photographer for 30 years
  • Lifelong passion for music and the Arts
  • Volunteer promoter for almost 10 years
  • Entertainment Writer/Editor for PartyinKingston.com for over 3 years
  • Over 2 years of personal social networking experience
  • Ask for a copy of Christine Bode’s creative Résumé or look for it on Scully Love Promo’s blog on MySpace