The Artist - Fan Connection, The Future of Social Media

The Artist - Fan Connection, The Future of Social Media

Social media is ubiquitous - almost everyone uses Facebook, Twitter or is a dab hand at one of the countless other platforms on offer. But how do you break through the noise and make yourself and your music heard on increasingly competitive and crowded networks? What do you need to consider, what content works best, what image do you want to portray and how do you choose which network to use - or do you just use all of them and hope for the best?

We've summarised some of the answers to MAS clients' most common questions about using social media and doing it successfully.... read on:

Which channels are essential for DJs, labels, producers to setup and maintain? What should you consider when choosing and updating a channel?

It depends on what an individual wants to promote and who they want to reach. The lynchpins Facebook and Twitter used to be enough to showcase your work, and had the largest audience potential, but engaging new audiences means being clever with your social selection, and using the right channel to share the right content. Instagram has taken on new levels of social prowess and combines a lot of Facebook and Twitter’s best features.

For anyone producing or working with music, it goes without saying that Mixcloud, Soundcloud and any music sharing platform that you feel comfortable with should certainly be in your suite of channels.

The most important thing is that if you decide on using a channel, then dedicate yourself to doing it properly – don’t be on every single channel and spread yourself thinly. Also, think about what’s being shared and when – there’s a big difference between posting 2 quality images and videos a day to posting 10 times a day about what you had for breakfast lunch and dinner – although this works for many big artists!

When we manage clients’ social media we recommend content schedules to ensure that everything gets coverage and promotion reaches a maximum audience. This is where the help of a digital agency can really make a difference – managing multiple accounts and giving each channel individual attention is important (sometimes syndicating content across all your channels with automation can become boring for fans when they see the same thing everywhere, but there are some benefits to automating your social posting). For individual artists there should be balance between promo and personal posting - an amalgamation of the two is the holy grail.

‘Content is King’ - just how important is unique content to a channel? What type of content do you think works best? Should content be channel specific?

We all want our content to reach a maximum number of people, but each channel has its limitations. There’s no harm in posting a mix on Soundcloud, then sharing this across other networks to ensure it reaches as many people as possible. Then again, a picture or video taken at a gig works really well on image led networks like Facebook / Instagram and can go viral very quickly on Twitter.

There is some merit in saying that content on each channel should be unique, to give your followers and fans a reason to follow you on each. Keeping Facebook more formal with videos and releases, and keeping those pics of your breakfast to Twitter can maintain fans’ interest across the board. Instagram and Twitter are best used in real time - whereas Facebook does require a posting strategy to ensure you’re working carefully with Facebook’s algortihms, especially when competing for space in the all important News Feed.

The lifeblood of a social channel is its audience. How can you attract and grow an audience?

Be interesting. Offer something unique on your channels that fans keep coming back for. Use social media to reward your followers and most of all, be innovative with what you offer. Promote others and they’ll promote you – being social is about being reciprocal, and we all like a big up from time to time! Ask for retweets, ask for likes, say thank you and use the same etiquette on social that you (hopefully) use in real life!

Social media is a conversation – and lots of them. So how do you keep them going, drive engagement and keep spreading the word?

Follow what’s hot, have an opinion, and ask others what they’d like to see. If you were a fan of you, what would you want to see? Be extrovert but remember that what goes out on social media cannot be undone! A stream of updates about nothing in particular might work for the likes of Example, but when you’re working your way up you need to make sure you’re talking to the right people and showing the world the right image. Have fun but remember, your social profiles are your face to the outside world – so don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say to your manager or your Mum. Share something special, unique - share content for your fans and give other people a leg up too, they’ll repay the favour.

Keeping conversations and hype going strong means you have to be committed to putting in the time - be approachable and answer questions, talk to fans on Twitter, spend the time following and finding conversations then building relationships with those fans, with influencers and with your peers. Retweets and favourites take a matter of nanoseconds to click and are very important in today's techiquette world.

What defines success on social media and how can you measure it? Are ‘likes’ important? If fans aren't engaging, what should you do?

You have to measure your success by your own terms. Getting 50k likes is easy if you spend some money, but creating a fanbase that will continue to engage and which is genuine and relevant makes a big difference. The ‘Like’ has become an uneasy measure of success because its been shown this is a tenuous statistic that can be manipulated the same way YouTube views can.

Some of the biggest acts on the planet have seen the proportion of likes they receive on a Facebook Page drop dramatically recently (largely due to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm changes) so you need to adapt, be clever and creative and look at other channels that may be better suited to your purpose. That’s not to say stop using Facebook, but maybe combine this with Instagram and post via this network.

Outsourcing vs running the channel yourself. Can you do it yourself or is it best to get professional help?

There are pros and cons to running a channel yourself, and sometimes its important to consult a brand management professional to help you reach your potential and give you some help with online PR. There’s a lot to navigate these days! You need to be able to cover website, email marketing, social media, video, podcasts among many others, so enlisting the help of a professional creative agency helps you cover all bases with style and efficiency.

There’s a lot of attention being paid to social network advertising? Is it worth it? Is it possible to run successfully yourself?

This is a huge debate right now, which has been stoked further by the changes to Facebook’s News Feed and algortihms that determine what is shown to users (read all about the Eat24 debate). Incorporating a paid camoaign strategy into your marketing can make a big difference to the size of audience you can reach.

There’s definitely a benefit to paid advertising if its used in clever ways, for the right reasons, but blanket promotion of everything you do is simply going to look desperate - and cost you a lot of cash. Get a professional in to manage your campaigns, or help set you up, and make sure you don’t spend those hard earned royalties with little return. We’ve seen clients who have spent £10,000 on Google Adwords to no avail see big returns from a £1,000 Facebook investment, with increased fan engagement, website traffic and translation to all-important sales.

In summary, the growth of social media and the changing face of music platforms - read: streaming over downloads, interactive video and the like - makes social media the perfect promotional tool with plenty of opportunity for making an impact if you use it in the right way - plus its one that is largely, free! Making the most of it takes a bit of creativity, a bit of technical knowledge, and your talent - that speaks volumes.

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