One of the biggest misconceptions about social media is its purpose. B.S.M. (Before Social Media), artists connected with fans organically, and maintained a certain level of mystery, authenticity and talent. Today, these qualities have nearly vanished, due to the way artists are representing themselves online.
What’s remarkable about using social media, is that regardless of your industry the consumer or fan paves the way. Fact is, if you’re an artist without a legitimate story, people will notice.
Before taking your brand to social media, it is important that you plan a strategy in order to avoid the following challenges and risks.
No Existing Fan Base
Thousands of artists begin their social careers with unorganized methods for song distribution. It is not uncommon to see aspiring artists without an existing fan base. It is also not uncommon for these artists to assume others will click a link every time they read, “Check out my new single on YouTube.”
If you are a new artist without a marketing strategy, you may want to ask yourself the following: Are you an artist, or a hype bot? Is the quality of your music professional? Who are you and why should others check out your latest YouTube single? The answer to these questions is what often sets established artists apart from beginners. Seasoned musicians have existing fans and know how to speak to them.
As a new artist, I recommend planning your communication on social media before posting it. Do a little market research to discover who your fans are and find out what they like and dislike about your music.
A great way to do this is by asking questions. For example, you might say to one of your new Twitter followers, “Thanks for your support. Let me know your favorite song, and I’ll send you a free copy.” Not only are you acknowledging your prospective fan, but retrieving the qualitative data needed to improve your music.
Mass Music Market
Online music has become so popular that consumers are now spending more revenue on digital tracks than CD’s. The digital music market is massive, and according to some Statistics and Facts, “Revenue generated by digital music industry sales worldwide, grew by nine percent last year from 5.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2011 and 5.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2012.” The market’s top leaders are Universal Music Group, and iTunes! In comparison to the market return, “91 percent of all artists are undiscovered.”
The music industry is highly competitive in real time, so imagine what it’s like on social media. Millions of artists use social media to leverage their brand, what will you do to position yourself differently, and how?
Finding the Right Networks
During the first phase of your online journey, you may feel the need expand your reach across all existing networks, however this isn’t necessary. Every social channel serves a different purpose. To see which one might be useful for you, take a look at the following chart:
|B2C||Connect with fans, Promote Music, Share Stories|
|B2B & B2C||Connect with Fans, Promote Music, Network with Industry Professionals|
|B2C & B2B||Share music, Network with Industry Professionals|
|B2B||Network with Industry Professionals|
Now that we’ve covered a few of the challenges musicians face when joining social media, lets take a look at potential risks.
For artists, PR is equally as relevant as marketing on social media. It is important to think about how you want to represent yourself to millions of people online and how you are going to do it. Your reputation means a great deal to fans and prospects, and being careful with what you say is non-negotiable.
In fact, it’s not uncommon to see these three types of artists on social media:
The Cryptic Artist – Mostly all of this artists’ content is narcissism full of “me, me, me” posts. Much of it may difficult for fans to comprehend. These types of artists are often disconnected with fans, and are non-relatable. After all, what would anyone understand about a post that reads “ III?” If you can’t explain it simply then don’t post it.
The Controversial Artist – You’ve seen them. They start “beef” with other artists online and blast the critics in their comment sections with profanity (can’t name any names here). While I don’t recommend doing any of this period, the last place to make a fool of yourself is on social media. Your reputation will get branded, as anything and everything that goes online never disappears.
The Annoying Artist – This type of artist is broadly defined. I’m sure some of you would prefer for artists to keep their personal live private on social media. The annoying artist shares every moment of their life, leaving little anticipation for their fans. If you think you may be an annoying artist, share your content when relevant. This ties in with another trait, which is how artists strive to be relevant or popular. If you thought for one second your fans weren’t smart, think again. Fans can sniff-out authenticity from a mile away.
THE TAKE AWAY
If you are an artist thinking about building an online presence, ask yourself if what you’re saying is true, well thought out and necessary? You have to know your market, who you’re up against and what to say to fans and prospects. As a public figure, your reputation is everything and more importantly, your music and connection with fans. Next week, I will conclude this social media series with tips on best practices for artists who Tweet and Blog.