Comparing apples and oranges. Sometimes people who think social media stats matter say, “How come your clients don’t have numbers like this artist?”
And I have to explain, “That’s a lady in her 20s who mainly posts videos of herself wearing a bikini and doing vaguely pornographic dance moves. I am betting most of her followers don’t bother to take her off mute when they watch.
“I would not call her social media team geniuses. It seems they just hit the record button and then give directions like ‘turn’ and ‘bend over.’
“I am happy to let them corner the ‘Former Pole Dancer’ market. I will keep working with actual musicians who build a career around… well… music.”
Most people have a lot of great insights and stories to share. But a blank text box is like kryptonite to them.
In a casual conversation they can talk for hours about their work. Put them in front of a blinking cursor on a social media platform and they suddenly cannot think of one thing to say.
And I think that is normal. People talk like it is easy. “Just market yourself on social media. Anyone can do it.” Evidence suggests that is not the case.
If that does come naturally to you, great. Go for it. If not, I can help.
Client and fitness coach Tony Bevilacqua tells people, “When you are chasing down goals like better health, better performance, and better aesthetics, you must play the long game. Patience and persistence are critical.”
The same is true for social media work. These platforms are littered with the dead accounts of people who mistakenly thought this was a sprint.
Most people I meet have great ideas for one or two posts. It’s the other 300 they need help with.
Cris Cohen: Your voice (still) has this amazing strength to it. How is it so strong after belting it out in clubs and theaters all over the world?
Fur Dixon: For quite a long time, maybe 25 - 27 years, I was playing a lot of acoustic, solo (shows). But I also did a lot of busking. The reason I went off the path to more singer-songwriter stuff was because I had a child. And I just didn't have the time to have a band. So I started busking in New York City and at art festivals. And it was really lucrative. Wow! It was shocking how you could open up your case and play tunes… I guess if you're good enough. The first time I ever busked I didn't have anywhere to put the money because I didn't know I was going to make any money and I came home with like $93 in an hour. It was so much change, it was stuffed in my pockets, and I didn't even have a plastic bag on me to put the change in. So busking teaches you what works and what doesn't and how to project.
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Robbie Wulfsohn of Ripe: Inspiration can strike anywhere. The easiest way to find great songs is to try a bunch of different things and be as prolific as possible in the creative process. I don't have any rock solid faith like 'this formula is the magic bullet.' I just want to try every possible formula and see what yields things that feel true to us. We find that a mentality where we are committed to our formula being a lack of formula has been the best for us.
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There is that line in the movie “The Usual Suspects”… “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.” The equivalent for my line of work would be “The greatest trick the social media companies ever pulled was convincing people that their stats matter.”
Sometimes I get sucked back into believing it myself. Then I will get a message from someone who did not comment on or like any of my posts saying, “I saw what you wrote the other day and I wanted to ask you…” And I remember that the social media platforms really have no idea who is connecting with my content and who is not.
There are people out there with huge social media numbers who still owe me money. That is because, although they have figured out how to play the game to make the algorithm happy, they do not have any genuine fans or customers.
Clients will sometimes ask about other musicians they see online who have big numbers. And I will say, “Yes, their stats are impressive. However, they have been doing this for several years and they are still just playing complicated solos in their basement. Meanwhile you tour internationally and people pay to see you perform. I would say you have more genuine fans.”
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