Like it or not social media has become a huge part of most peoples lives. It has also become a very powerful marketing tool. People are now starting to post questions on social media sites about other peoples experiences of products, places to visit or eat and that’s right you guessed it music. Your friends recommendation of something is worth more to you than some unnamed avatar on a comparison site which is why more people are making social media their first stop when they have a question.
To help you understand what this means for you and musicians in particular I have summarised what each of the relevant social media sites have to offer you the consumer and me the musician and what we can do to help each other.
Most people now have a Facebook account ( over 1 billion of us ) and most people have a good understanding of how it works. I’ts great for sharing things with our friends. A video, a blog post, our dinner, our pets or how happy/miserable we are it doesn’t matter. It’s about being connected with other people. It’s about relationships.
It has some great opportunities for both the musician and the music lover.
Musicians and bands can connect much better on Facebook than they can using traditional media. You can interact directly with fans and grow real relationships. You can create an event (usually a gig but could be a private meet up or signing) and invite fans personally which makes people feel part of something. You can also post videos of live performances/new releases etc that aren’t necessarily an official release. Overall it allows you to engage your fans on a more intimate level and in return they will spread the word for you among their own friends.
To get the most out of it from a fan point of view my advice is this. If you are a fan then just behave like a fan. This will help the band you are a fan of and help you by getting closer to the band you love. If you like something share it. Personally I don’t think there is any need to ask other people to share it or write some emotionally blackmailing post to make your friends feel bad if they don’t. If they like it they will share it just like you did as people value their friends recommendations very highly. You will ultimately have access to content and information about your favourite bands and artists that you wouldn’t have if you hadn’t connected on Facebook. Everyone’s a winner.
Google plus is not the most popular social network but in my opinion is by far the best. I read something recently that stated that Google+ is not a social network it’s just Google mark 2 with a social aspect. I have to agree. Google+ is just all of Google’s products synced together and has some amazing functionality. It has all the sharing aspects of Facebook but with extras like
1. Hangouts (a bit like Skype but with the ability to record them and post them straight to your YouTube channel) Great if you are live streaming a performance.
2. Search. As you can imagine Google+ has by far the best search feature of any social network
3. Images. Images on Google+ look great and Google photos is a great free photo enhancing tool.
4. The events are good and they automatically add themselves to your calendar if you are invited. They also have a really cool feature where everyone at the event can add their photos in real time. This creates a time line gallery of the event made up of participants photos.
Other features include a much better privacy system called circles, great access to real people not just a page run by a marketing team and great access to people with similar passions. If Facebook is about connecting and relationships Google+ is about people and passions. From a music point of view the opportunities are endless for both musician and fan but be sure to add your favourite artists to your circles (both their personal profile and their business page if they have one) That way you’ll find out all the latest stuff as soon as they post it.
YouTube is the second biggest search engine and is owned by the biggest. It is completely synced to Google+ and uploading is seamless. Although YouTube is all about video (either entertainment based or information based) it is still a social network and relationships can be built. If you like someones channel make sure you subscribe to it. It will aid them and give value to you as when new videos are added you will be notified.
It is amazing for watching and listening to music and also for things like tuition videos (watch out for the not so accurate ones). It’s a great opportunity for bands to make their music instantly and easily available and great for music lovers who can spend an endless amount of time searching for new things to listen to. Obviously the search aspect is very advanced.
The comments system is very intuitive but can be a bit brutal and I advise not getting involved in any arguments on there.
Lots of people are on twitter but not everyone “gets it”
It’s very fast and very immediate. It’s about news and communication. What’s happening now. It’s good for building relationships as it’s a great way to communicate as it’s so quick and you can use the direct messaging tool if you want to be private. It’s got good search capabilities and was the first to use the hash tag as a way of searching for a phrase, name or event. Lot’s of musicians are on twitter and it’s a great way to find out their news and thoughts. Twitter is not my favourite to be honest but it is very powerful and well worth following your fave artists even if you don’t actively post yourself. You can just listen (be an ear stalker).