Social Media: What Managers And Artists Need To Know – Part I
“If you ain’t on Google, you don’t exist.” That quote is especially true if you’re an aspiring artist. If you don’t have a presence in social media, you need to consider another career path. Incredibly as it may sound, in this day and age, I still get calls from managers and artists who think that just recording 3 demos and shopping them to various record labels on its own is enough to get them a recording contract. They refuse to acknowledge the new realities of the music business. So the following is a primer on what aspiring managers and new artists need to know about social media and its importance.
Social media is ubiquitous. A recent Forbes magazine article found that 43% of people aged 20-29 spend more than 10 hours a week on social media sites. Even your Momma is on Facebook! Social media is a powerful tool that, if leveraged properly, can boost an artist’s career. It’s been used to launch the careers of artists like Justin Bieber, Karmin and Carly Rae Jepsen. Even more established artists, like Beyonce, Frank Ocean, and Lil Wayne use social media for their marketing, advertising, and public relations needs. In turn, social media networks play an important role in fans’ entertainment-related decisions – i.e, where and to whom fans decide to spend their money.
So what is social media?
Social media is an interactive communication instrument that connects individuals to communities. These online communities are often based on any number of shared interests, such as music, sports, or careers.
Why is this important to you as an artist or manager? Well, because in order to be successful and build a fan base you need to be part of the conversation! Social media has become the most important means to engage with and receive feedback from your fans. According to Tatiana Simonian, head of music industry relations for Twitter, the top five most followed accounts on Twitter are all musicians and 50% of all Twitter users follow at least one musician. YOU need those followers! But, in order to get them, you need to share—your voice, your story and personal journey are as important to your fans as your music (or your films, books, etc.). It also allows you to connect and expand your professional network (especially important if you’re a manager) or generate “buzz” to gain the attention of record label execs. Social media is an integral part of your brand marketing strategy and if you have any interest in furthering your brand, you cannot ignore social media.
What are the important social media websites for artists?
Below, I’ve provided a list of important social media websites which every artist and manager should maintain an active account on.
Websites for Sharing Music and Non-Music Content (ranked in order of priority):
Facebook: a social networking service launched in February 2004, which provides registered users with a personal profile to add other users as friends, exchange messages, and join common-interest user groups. Facebook recently reached over one billion active users! So how many friends do you have? If you’re reading this and don’t already have a Facebook profile page, please hurry up and join the 21st century already! [ **Artist/Manager Must have**]
Twitter: a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets.” Hashtags are used to search for popular twitter topics. As of July, 2012, there were 517 million accounts on Twitter. [**Artist/Manager Must Have**]
Instagram: a photo-sharing program and social network launched in October 2010 and sold to Facebook. Everybody who’s anybody is on Instagram these days. It’s like Twitter with pictures! Use Instagram to share photos of you doing “Artist-ty” things (e.g., recording, shooting a video, etc.), personal photos (e.g., your family, dog, etc.), and anything interesting that catches your eye. The name of the game here is followers and comments about your posts! [**Artist Must Have**]
Personal Blog: A personal blog or website is a standard in your social media portfolio. Use your blog to post your biography, press releases, video clips, etc. You can also link all of your other social media sites to your blog like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. There are several platforms for maintaining a personal blog such as Tumblr, Blogger, or WordPress. [**Artist Must Have**]
Tumblr: a microblogging website and social networking platform that allows users to post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and/or videos. Tumblr hosts 76.5 million blogs, including many from your favorite artist and magazines. [**Artist Must Have**]