I am continually amazed at the number of bands who don't post any music on their social media properties. Ostensibly that is why you chose this as your career: To create music and have people hear it. Also, it is potentially a huge advantage when it comes to competing for people's attention online.
The people running for president are getting cease and desist letters from bands demanding that the politicians stop using their music. As clueless as the candidates are, even they know that music is a great way to connect with people. Yet for some reason the people who create the music still insist on filling their social media with vague comments about the weather and pictures of highway off-ramps.
Yesterday I assisted client Big Head Todd and the Monsters in posting video of an acoustic version of their song “Bittersweet”. Here are the stats after about 24 hours.
Don't underestimate the power of your own music.
One thing to keep in mind with social media: What you post does not have to be elaborate and expensive to grab attention.
When someone is watching a live sporting event on TV, and thus cannot fast forward through the commercials, the second the ads start running, that guy or girl is on his mobile device scrolling through posts. Suddenly a commercial that cost millions of dollars and features chase scenes, swimsuit models, and multiple explosions loses out to some text and a photo of a guitar pick.
You are not going to be good at everything. It seems like an obvious statement. But then you get immersed in social media and you feel like you have to personally conquer every means of communication in the online world. You won't. But it's okay. You don't have to.
Writing. Photography. Video. Drawing. Audio (music / podcasting). Odds are you have some talent in one of these areas. I have yet to come across anyone who is good at all of them. Even companies that draw on the talents of multiple people have trouble covering every base.
There are people whose videos I like that get into the writing game … and it's a a disaster. But that's okay. No one is good at everything. I still watch their videos. I still appreciate what they are good at.
If you are good at just one of the talents I listed above, you can find a way to make that work for most social media platforms.
Jonatha Brooke: You have to just be open and write it all down. Sing it all. Walk until you find the right rhythm for a lyric that you've fallen in love with. And don't edit yourself, don't self-sabotage until it's time.
Cris: When is it time to self-sabotage?
Jonatha: I think that moment is different for everybody. It's something I learned from Woody Guthrie, because he wrote all this stuff down. And some of it was kinda goofy and unusable, but he still wrote it down. He didn't even think about it until he was forming it into stanzas.
Don't worry too much about the other guy. Yes, it can be a blow to the ego to see that someone else in your field has better numbers than you. And if competition drives you to improve your game, that's fine. But don't let the occasional comparison become regular obsession.
For one thing, the other guy's numbers could be artificially inflated. If someone has hundreds of thousands of followers but averages 10 likes per post, that means his audience is a mixture of fake accounts, people who were tricked into liking his page, and accounts people created for their pets. “Looks like we're very popular among Border Collies.”
Second, few people have staying power. Maybe they got lucky and exploded onto the scene with a bit of fanfare. But the majority of those people disappear just as quickly as they arrived. As an example, just look at all of those “overnight successes” on the various TV singing competitions. Six months later even their own parents have forgotten about them. I'm convinced some of those shows funnel contestant directly into the Witness Protection Program.
Create quality content over the long haul and that guy who sprinted to the front while yelling and waving his arms will soon be far behind and collapsed in exhaustion.
Every musician I have met is also a music fan. Most are really intense music fans. They know a lot about the history of various bands, how the instruments are made, what happened during iconic recording sessions, etc. And they can talk about these topics for hours.
But then when it comes to creating content for their social media channels, they just duplicate the gimmicks and fluff they have seen others put out. They don't like it, but “that's what others have done.” Thus brilliant musicians are suddenly posting the kind of material you would expect from a small child. “I don't really like grapefruit.”
But it's better to keep the perspective of a music fan. When I first delved into social media, bands were not talking about their music. Most still aren't. They were doing little contests, posting pictures of the burrito they ordered, etc. One thing I started doing was collecting and posting stories behind specific songs. There was no special study that said this gets good numbers. It certainly wasn't trendy. I just did it because, as a music fan, I like reading those stories. And while nothing is a certainty, I figured that if I liked those stories, maybe some other people did too.
And it turns out other people do. When I set up those posts with clients, they usually do well. They get a lot of attention. They spark conversations. People share those stories with their friends.
If you are a music fan offline, be a music fan online.
Anyone can publish a post. We can tell your story.
See the full list of Bands To Fans interviews