What Many Musicians Don’t Realize About Social Media Marketing

Galway Street MusicianI’ve been working as a social media manager for musicians under the business name Scully Love Promo for almost seven years and I absolutely love working with them because music has always been a great passion of mine.  I’ve worked with everyone from local musicians who create music as a hobby to Juno and Grammy winning artists.  Over the years I’ve morphed from super fan girl who listened to music constantly in my spare time into a self-employed person who doesn’t have a lot of time left at the end of the day to actually discover or listen to new music online, let alone the artists I’m already a fan of. So I suspect that most people’s computer time is also extremely limited and therefore it’s extremely important that as a musician with an online presence, you don’t take your audience for granted.

Social media has completely changed the life of working musicians and has forced them to get on board with it whether they like it or not.  Most independent touring musicians don’t have time to write new music, record, produce, market and tour it themselves without a team of individuals in place to help them.  They need a manager or booking agent, a publicist, a grant writer, a social media manager…you get the picture.  It takes a village to create a successful touring musician!

Social media has also completely demolished the barrier that used to exist between an artist and their fans.  It used to be that all they had to do was make records, give interviews to the press and perform live in concert, while their agents or labels took care of their marketing. Not anymore.  The music industry has changed drastically, and now most artists have to do everything for themselves and the most important thing that needs to be addressed is the relationship they have with their fans.  Without fans, they have nothing.

I’m sure most of us have LIKED the Facebook page of at least a few musicians, singers or bands since we’ve been on Facebook and some of us have liked hundreds if not thousands of them. If you actually want to Ann Vriend Singer-SongwriterSEE the posts from your favourite artist’s Facebook page, as soon as you LIKE it, click on Get Notifications and add that page to an Interest list. You can call the list whatever you like but it will help you to filter your News Feed so that you’ll see those pages’ posts that you’re interested in when you’re ready to look.

Most musicians that I work with are wonderful at posting their own content regularly on their Facebook page and they even know how important it is to post different kinds of content, including lots of photos, videos, text-based updates, questions, links, events, etc.  Many of them are very good at having conversations with their fans and answer their comments and emails in a timely fashion.  However, quite a few aren’t so good at it. Some don’t even really want to look at their Facebook pages, or their YouTube inboxes, nor give a damn about how Twitter really works, even though they know they’re important marketing tools and that having a lot of likes, followers and views (which translates to fans) is important.  They think having a social media manager to take care of their sites for them should be enough, but it’s not. There is no substitute that is acceptable to the fans of that artist.  They want to communicate directly with the artist!  The social media manager should be there to help them post content in a timely fashion, let them know when they have messages and comments, organize lists, run ad campaigns, delete spam, monitor analytics, etc., but they should not be the ones talking to the fans.

When it comes to social media marketing, I’ve found that many musicians that I’ve worked with who have been around for a while fail to understand the need for or importance of not only being consistent and posting regularly on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but also sharing other people’s content.  They think their social media marketing should be all about them, and that’s just not the case.  We’re all here to help each other and the more that musicians show their generosity of spirit by allowing their fans to know about who they like and support by sharing their content, the better it is for everyone.  If you’re not a household name and you don’t have a ton of cash to spend on a super professional and expensive marketing team, you need help, and that means that you need to be willing to help others as well.  That’s how it works.  That’s why we LIKE other people’s pages AS our page, so that we can use Facebook AS our page and scan through the News Feed to find other people’s content that we can share to help them.  That’s why we retweet other people’s content and comment on other people’s videos.

Musicians are special.  They are important.  What the talented ones bring to the world makes it a better place to live in.  But they’re not more important than the people who spend their surplus cash on buying their CDs or digital downloads and tickets to their concerts.  Musicians and their fans are a team and should treat each other with thoughtfulness and respect at all times, because without fans, you may be a musician, but you’ll be a lonely player performing for yourself in your bedroom.

 

Updated February 10, 2015

Learn How To Perfect Your Pinterest Profile Now!

Christine Bode Pinterest profile“Expressing passion for a hobby is just as easy as browsing for your next purchase. But what’s even more addictive about the site — a collection of collections — is that it’s just as much about the users as it is what they’ve posted.” ~ MASHABLE

Just last week, I discovered the reason why Pinterest is the fastest growing social media site ever!  Since 2010, Pinterest has gained over 11 million users and it’s growing like wildfire every day.  I looked at the Google analytics for Pinterest and in one month it grew by over 100%.  I also found out why so many people have become addicted to Pinterest because I became one of them.  Pinterest’s audience is 97% female.

I’ve read quite a few posts lately by social media experts about the fact that Pinterest is all the rage and that anyone who is marketing with social media should not overlook it.  This platform makes sharing of images super easy and it has proven to drive traffic back to the websites the images are linked to, extremely well.  In a recent techie report that I read, Pinterest was found to be a BETTER traffic referrer than YouTube, Reddit, LinkedIn, MySpace or Google+ combined!  I prefer it to all of those sites, although I enjoy YouTube very much.

Pinterest is a collection of online pin boards (think scrapbook) on which you pin images and add descriptions, links and hashtags that direct people back to their original source.  It’s entirely captivating for visually oriented individuals and the possibilities for self-expression are endless, not to mention the fact that it’s so much fun!

On Pinterest you have followers (like on Twitter) and you can follow people or just their boards, in return.  Users can comment on the images and you can include links & hashtags like we do on Twitter to direct someone to a specific website or to aid in a keyword search.  You have to have a Facebook or Twitter account in order to create a Pinterest profile and right now, you still have to be invited to it by a member.  Pinterest synchs in all of the people we’re connected to on Facebook or Twitter who have Pinterest accounts already so that we have a potential built-in audience to begin with.

Here’s a link to more info about Pinterest and a free HubSpot eBook that you can download on How to Use Pinterest for Business:

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31147/The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Mastering-Pinterest-for-Marketing.aspx

This recent article in Forbes will give you more of an idea about the power of Pinterest:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2012/02/18/10-reasons-pinterest-booked-10-million-visitors-a-month-so-fast/

Facts to Remember

  • Install your Pinmarklet right away by adding it to your toolbar
  • Rename your pin boards
  • Pins are chronological
  • Don’t pin directly from Google images as you want to properly credit your sources
  • Don’t pin anything without crediting the source
  • Don’t be sleezy and post stuff in unrelated places!
  • Don’t send people to a link that’s unrelated
  • Follow friends from Facebook & Twitter
  • Comment on other people’s pins to get more followers
  • Create your own pins
  • Re-pin stuff or create a new board
  • Create boards that other followers can contribute to
  • Pin videos
  • Think of keywords and use #hashtags
  • Tag people the same way you tag someone on Facebook using @
  • Don’t tag people without a purpose
  • Don’t use it purely as a tool for self-promotion
  • Link images that you’ve used on your blog back to your blog posts
  • Be creative, be creative, be creative!

Okay, so what’s stopping you from joining Pinterest?  If you need an invitation, simply email me at scullylovepromo@gmail.com and I’ll send you one and follow you!

Happy pinning!

*NOTE OF CAUTION:  Excessive pinning can lead to Pinsomnia!

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.

Twiends – Just Another Social Media Gimmick!

Twiends.com is a tool to help you build your followers on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. You can set up an account with them for free and will earn 50 free seeds right away but this will only apply to your primary account. If you try to set up an account for another user on your computer, the program reads your IP address and you’re able to set up the account, but you will not receive any benefit for having done so.

Seeds are used as currency to sell to people for following you. Twiends wants you to purchase packages of seeds from them for prices that vary from 75 seeds daily for $9.95/wk up to 20,000 seeds for $279.95. You can set your rate for how many seeds you offer people, but offering them 2 seeds is the minimum limit.

Twiends asks you to fill in your profile and add your social media profile URLs that you want to draw attention to and then you have to fill in 5 keywords that will assist the program in finding followers for you who have common interests.

I’m a small business owner with no budget but I’ve been using Twiends free service for a couple of weeks now and the service does work. I was able to increase my Twitter followers and members on my Facebook fan page by a wee bit and I’m grateful for that. However, the free portion of it isn’t terribly useful unless you’re prepared to spend hours earning seeds by following other Twitter users, liking Facebook pages, and watching YouTube videos and then sift through the detritus of people that you really aren’t interested in following anyway. Of all the people who use my seeds to follow me on Twitter, a very, very low percentage have stayed with me and an even lower percentage were actually people who I am interested in following. I will not follow anyone who doesn’t have an interesting bio to accompany their Twitter profile.

Twiends offers you free seeds periodically via email and today I was offered 250 seeds for writing a review about the program on Review Centre.com. It took two hours for the 250 seeds to be used up by people who either started following me on Twitter or liked one of the Facebook pages that I administer. I got email notifications that 59 people started following me on Twitter, but after 2 hours, I only had 40 extra followers. I gained 9 members on my Facebook page but I’m certain they won’t all stay with it.

You will lose followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook just as fast as you gain them because they’re not really screening you based on their interests (they just want to earn seeds for their own accounts) and I suspect for the most part you waste your time and your seeds. Some people have liked my Facebook page and then unliked it within a few minutes later and my seeds have been wasted. But then again, some people have actually stayed with the page for at least a week. It’s up to us to give them content that they’re interested in, after all.

This past week I also tried the free trial offered by Social Oomph which is a tool to help you to boost your productivity on Twitter by allowing you to schedule your Tweets ahead of time, and send auto-welcome DMs as well as auto-follow for $3.97 per month which is pretty cheap if you have a budget. I was able to find out who is actually following me on Twitter and I sent a large percentage (by hand, not using a DM auto-responder as that wasn’t part of the free deal) of my artist followers a request in a direct message to join me on my Facebook page in order to get to know me better. I had a pretty good response to that but some people were still suspicious and I was accused of spamming by one person. That wasn’t my intention. I am offering all artists the opportunity to post about their work on my page because I believe in the power of cross promotion and of actually trying to help others through networking. I enjoy sharing information about artists that I like and I also provide links to some great social media tips by experts in the field. I have gained a few more members for my page but it will remain to be seen whether or not they stay with it and actually participate.

I investigated these free trials to satisfy my own curiosity about them in order to find out if they actually work. Yes they do. But they’re not really free. Between Twiends and Social Oomph, I would recommend Social Oomph, for its capabilities, but to upgrade to a Professional account, you have to pay $29.97/month. I think that would be a better way to spend your money than to waste it on buying packages of seeds on Twiends which for all intents and purposes is basically just another social media gimmick from people who want your hard-earned cash and your ROI with this program just isn’t worth it.