Earlier this fall, we spoke with The Forks’ Kristin Pauls at our DIY Series: Social Media Strategies workshop. Social media is a huge topic that couldn’t possibly be covered in one session. Thankfully, Kristin left us with a few big picture concepts that will help point us in the right direction. Here’s a few tips on building a stronger social media presence based on some of the topics that we covered...
1. Know who you are.
Sound familiar? This is something that seems to pop up in all of our workshops this season. It’s a friendlier way of saying “know your brand”. So what is branding?
“Branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organization, product, or service. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what this particular brand is and is not.”
Heaton, J. The Difference Between marketing and Branding, Retrieved from: tronviggroup.com/the-difference-between-marketing-and-branding/
Before you communicate with your fans on social media, you need to have a well-defined idea of who you are. That means defining things like your values, aesthetic, and your voice. Branding will influence not only how you communicate, but what you communicate as well. Everything you put on your social media channels should fall in line with those ideas. The more consistent you are with your branding, the more likely you are to get your messages across.
2. Know your audience.
Before crafting your next social media post, you should have a well-rounded idea of who you’re posting for.
When creating content for your socials, imagine you’re sitting down and speaking face to face with your fans because, in a fashion, that’s exactly what you’re doing. Before you can speak to that person in the most appropriate voice, you need to understand who they are.
How old are they? Where do they live? What are their values and ideals? What concerns them? These may seem like sweeping generalizations, but if you analyze your audience, you will likely see trends emerge that you can use to create more engaging content.
You can gather this information from mailing lists, social media analytics, Google Analytics (from your website), sites like Next Big Sound, or by simply looking out at your crowd and taking stock of who’s coming to your concerts.
3. Know your tools.
There are many different platforms for social media, though some are more popular than others depending on the audience. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter seem to be the contenders for top three social media platforms at the moment, but time has proven that this is likely to change. Snapchat is rising to prominence and is now wildly popular amongst millennials. Who knows what new social app will spring up next?
Regardless of what platforms you use, it’s important to understand their strengths and limitations. Your audience will interact and engage with these networks differently and you need to know how they work in order to use them to your advantage.
An example: Facebook limits the amount of impressions you can get without paying to boost your posts or create an ad. This means that without investing advertising dollars into your content, you are only likely to reach about 10% of the fans who have “liked” your page. You don’t need to spend a lot of cash to get your message across, but the days of free marketing on social media are nearing an end. If you want to connect with all of your fans, you need to pay to play — especially if you hope to push your awareness beyond your current fan base.
As someone who endeavors to communicate with your fan-base through social media, investing time into understanding the ad-managers behind social media advertising could be very valuable.
Here are a few more quick tips:
- Interactions, even small ones, go a long way in creating meaningful relationships with your audience. When someone posts about you or comments on a post, like it, send them a quick response, and/or re-post.
- Remember — what goes on the internet, stays on the internet forever.
- Video is huge for social media, especially on Facebook, so think about investing in creating this kind of content. Short content created on your smartphone can be a good tool for engaging fans.
- The most popular times of day for social media are typically before people head to work, during lunch hour, and during the hours after work and after dinner time. Though this is isn’t true for everyone — always know your audience.
- Most platforms have really great free analytics. Take advantage of them to see what kind of content is the most popular and what the most active times of the day are.
- Asking questions can be good way to drive engagement and to get a better idea of what your audience is into — i.e. what song they want to hear covered or what’s their favourite thing eat for breakfast.
- Create extra content that your fans can use like creating a playlist of some of your favourite bands/influences, or sharing content that aligns with your brand. A lot of social media gurus swear by the 80/20 rule — that is 80% other content like funny photos, current events, other bands your audience might be into, behind the scenes stuff or anything else you think your audience might like (this is when the audience analysis comes in handy) and 20% promotional content. People will likely get bored if all you’re posting is show posters.
Some further reading:
Bandzoogle Social Media Marketing for Musicians: How to Get More Fans on Instagram
Cuepoint The Facebook Music Test: Proof You Are Missing Updates from Your Favorite Artists
Paperfly/Soundfly Social Media Content Planning for Musicians
Hootsuite Social Media Advertising: The Complete Guide
Dozmia How to Promote Your Music on Twitter – The Musician’s Guide to Twitter Marketing
Sonicbids 8 Ways to Build and Strengthen Your Band’s Brand
Rock Sound 20 Things Every Band Should Know About … Social Media
Hootsuite 7 Social Media Metrics that Really Matter—and How to Track Them