Nadia Elkharadly: Social Media Tips for Musicians – Shit you NEED to know

Nadia LogoMultiple writers on this site have written, raved and ranted about social media, and how pervasive it’s become in our world today.  Whether you like it or not, you can’t swing a cat without hitting some new, old, or random social media network that everyone has just become addicted to.  Between Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Imgr and the plethora of other nonsensical names that creators come up with for these things, it’s enough to make your head spin.  But as annoying and confusing as social media can sometimes be, no one can deny that these networks are an amazing way to connect with people and information.  Want to track down a long lost classmate from elementary school?  What about a distant cousin you remember meeting as a child?  Or someone you used to have a crush on at a previous job?  Facebook is the tool to help you.  Want to get your news before the networks get it?  How about the top secret location of an exclusive show with your favourite band?  Twitter’s the place to go.

Social media provides an incredible array of ways to share, learn, and most of all, to engage with your fellow human.  And one of the most amazing things about most of these networks?  They’re FREE!   A computer, an internet connection and even the weakest command of the English (or really any) language and you’re good to go.

An interesting development in the field of social media is the discovery of these different networks usefulness as marketing tools.  If you have something to sell, or just want to get the word out on, and you’ve got a fairly low budget, starting that sharing and promotion process on a social media network is a great start.  One segment of the population that should but doesn’t always take this into account is the musically inclined.  Musicians, artists, bands, groups, etc have tons to gain from utilizing social media platforms to share their music with fans, to gain new fans, and hopefully the attention of people in the industry with the power to bring them to the next level.  And there are some bands that utilize social media to their great advantage.  One recent experience I had with social media and music came through a band that’s just tearing through both the Canadian radio airwaves and the highways and biways of our fair country.  Saskatchewan natives One Bad Son have three radio hits and surely more to come.  A little while back their PR company approached me to see if I would premiere the band’s video for “It ain’t right” on Addicted.  Having seen the band perform and knowing they put out some great tunes, I immediately agreed to do it, but asked that the company and the band created buzz for the video on their social media networks, just like I and Addicted would ahead of the premiere date.  And that’s exactly what they did.  Between myself and Mark Munroe(my dear friend and Addicted Editor in Chief) posting lead ups to the premiere on our personal, as well as on the Addicted Social media platforms, Strut Entertainment and One Bad Son also put up teasers, inviting posts and all sorts of other tidbits onto their Facebook and twitter feeds.  The results were incredible.  From the moment the video was posted, the link was shared over and over on Facebook, tweeted and retweeted and the hits soared into the thousands.  Check it out for yourself right here (and feel free to roam around the site while you’re at it!).

One Bad SonOf course, the fact that it was a great song meant everything, but what helped drive all that traffic was how on the ball One Bad Son was with their social media.  Not only was the band actively posting about the video ahead of the premiere, but they had spent a significant amount of time and energy building up their following on Facebook and Twitter.  But the numbers alone aren’t what make for social media success, no matter how good it feels to see those statistics on your accounts climb up.  Along with being EIC of Addicted, Mark is what I like to call a social media maverick.  In marketing himself as a model as well as a musician, Mark learned the tricks of the trade of how social media helps get a product out there to fans or customers.  He’s made a business out of applying what worked for him to others, and he’s shared some tips and tricks with me, and I’m going to share them with you, my lovely readers.

Know your brand and stick with it

Brand Nads and MarkBrand may sound a bit businesslike, but it definitely applies to musicians and their style.  Consider your “brand” the combination of things that makes you and your sound who and what they are.  That’s step one; figuring out what that brand is.  Once that’s done, you can begin cultivating your social media voice to match that personality and brand.  Voice means the tone and language you use when posting, the type of things you post, etc.  Create content to suit that voice and that stays within your brand zone.  People will be able to relate to you and that brand you’ve worked to create.  When they can relate to you, they feel connected to you, hopefully enough to buy, share and get excited about your music.

Be consistent

Now that you’ve created a brand and personality AND voice, make sure you remain consistent with it.  Consider your brand a zone, with a fenced perimeter – stick within that zone.  If you deviate from that people may perceive that at artificial, (like you’ve hired someone to tweet and post for you, let’s say).  If that happens, you run the risk of losing that carefully created connection, and fans and revenue as well.   Tweet for your audience, your geographical area, your timezone, and the timing of when your audience would be paying attention.  For example, if your fanbase is localized to Japan, but you’re in North America, you tweet when you know your fans are up and paying attention, even if you normally won’t be.  There are programs that can help you with that (scheduling tweets, etc).  This also goes for content:  keep it consistent.  Keep your frequency consistent as well, post regularly, ideally every day.

Know your fanbase

Facebook NadsKnowing the demographic and interests of your fanbase is key.  Are your fans mostly men? Women? Are they older, younger?  Do they mostly follow your content on Facebook or twitter?  Learn who your fans are so you can better tailor your content and output to them and their needs.  There are lots of tools available to you to figure this information out.  At the very least, you can even spotcheck people’s profiles to see what they’re about, and to get to know your audience.  They’re your lifeline in this business, so the time it takes to do that is well worth it.

Reward your fans

Who doesn’t love getting rewarded?  Your followers and fans are there for you, usually giving you their time or hard earned money.  Reward them.  These days it’s easy enough to align yourself with sponsorship, or companies that have a budget for marketing that includes giving you free stuff to give to your fans.  Make sure any companies or sponsors you align yourself with match your brand (you don’t want to look like a sell out).  Giving away music is an option as well, but ideally you want to attach as much value to your music as possible.  Giving away music for spread or sharing isn’t a bad call either.  But keep in mind that people can stream your music for free easily enough that music alone may not be enough of a grab.  The point is, make sure your fans know you value them and they’ll keep being loyal to you.

Always be mobile friendly

We live in an age where most people are on their phones constantly.  Chances are your followers are are going to attempt to access your website and social media via their smart and super phones.  It’s imperative that your content, especially your website is mobile friendly.  Also make sure your social media links are on your site, and vice versa.  Make it easy, not difficult, for fans and followers to be able to read up on you and get in touch with you via the internet.

One last point Mark asked me to stress was this:  always stay true to who you are.  Being fake, whether it’s in your music, how you portray yourself on social media and in real life doesn’t work.  You can’t be fake forever.  People will figure it out, and you, your music and your reputation will only suffer for it.  When you’re honest with yourself and what you’re creating, it can only be positive and helpful to you, and you can know that you’re putting yourself out there in a true and honest way.

If you want more social media advice, or maybe want to enlist Mark in your quest for musical success, you can reach him via Twitter (@markmunroemusic) or via email at munroemedia@yahoo.com

Until next time,

N

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Nadia’s column appears every Wednesday

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonNadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

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