To Social Media.. Or Not to Social Media?

Two Examples Show it’s a Game-Changing Question of Content and Time

Social MediaAs an instructor, consultant, journalist, and personally active-user of social media of all types, I am often asked if posting to Facebook or sending out tweets can really make a difference in the long-term branding of an artist or band.

The simple answer is yes.

But what may not be as simple is finding the appropriate content, and also the time to share it.

Topics aren’t trends for long. If you didn’t post a photo you grabbed at almost the moment it happened, it may be too late. Your friends and fans are already on to the next item fighting for their attention. A recent survey from Kissmetrics backs this fact using facebook as an example:  posts with timely photos received 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs than typical, text-based posts.

Tuning In:  The Grammy’s Turn to Social Media

Did you know behind the recent Grammy’s broadcast, one woman handled all of the social media for the show? Lindsay Gabler uses several platforms but her main way of pushing and sharing content is via Twitter, which she describes as interactive and on the mark. I saw an interview with her where she notes many of the awards are not included in the broadcast-portion of the show, and some artists end up learning they won a category through The Grammy’s twitter feed. It then allowed them the opportunity to be social by giving an immediate, excited reaction or re-tweet. Gabler also shared a “you won’t see this anywhere else” message during the pre-show, backstage, and post-show with the goal of keeping followers engaged for more than 16 straight hours.

However, it is the other 364 days during the year Gabler really has to stretch her imagination and offer compelling, timely posts.

One way I believe you can make this work for your band is by finding new ways to express your key points. Track down those little known stories or share testimonials from within your group, along with pictures in support of your message. It’s still about human connections, despite it all happening through an online network.

Standing Out:  One Band Goes Social to Share its Success

The surprises you encounter at a show or on the road can be turned into some great social media content. A “selfie” with the audience. The fan who drove 400 miles. Or the crazy item you spotted at a convenience store stop while on tour.

Social Media helped Wheelhouse fans stay connected

Friends of Wheelhouse take group “selfie” and post, tag, on multiple sites. Photo ends up going viral and being shared hundreds of times via social media.

It’s a tactic members of the Madison-based band Mighty Wheelhouse are using, and with great success. The group recently competed in the national finals of the American Battle Competition.  The first rounds were held across the country late last year, and by the time Wheelhouse learned it was in the top ten, a bus full of fans was ready to head to Nashville in support. And all of it came together through the use of social media– gauging interest in the number of those who may want to attend, what were they willing to spend, and then sharing final details through an e-newsletter.

I can tell you the weekend itself included hundreds of posts to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. It allowed those traveling with the band to stay in touch, tag and share each others content, but also to keep up on what was happening behind the scenes at the competition.

It also gave the friends who couldn’t be there in person, the opportunity to feel a part of the action as it was happening. Three, even four days after the trip, photos and stories were still being shared socially. And the band’s fan-base is now growing thanks to its active use of various forms of social media.

New Year:  What to Expect on the Social Scene

Hopefully this post helps you easily understand the potential importance of including social media on a regular basis to support the branding of your band.

But what’s expected in 2014?

Experts say there’s a few trends carrying over, including the use of more interactive content. And the ease of posting visually, whether video, an info-graphic, images, or quotes is expanding beyond Facebook to Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

Most of these platforms are also allowing you to schedule when your posts appear, or will have this capability soon. It means setting up what you want to share ahead of time, if you know you’ll be busy or in a poor Wi-Fi location.

LinkedIn is becoming a destination for industry news on a larger scale. And with a simple, but up-to-date profile, you can publish original content, share photos or video, ask for suggestions, or network among your peers in various groups of interest.

And you may have heard Google will continue to merge its products, making it even more important on the social media landscape. Google+ gives you the opportunity to create a strong community by identifying those who may share an interest in your style or brand of music.

Finally, throwing some surprises into your usual communication methods is more likely to make you stand out, and be shared with others. Do you regularly send an e-newsletter? Create a short video of the information instead. Stickers can include your logo on one side; website, and social media addresses on the other. You could also try a band photo used as a holiday card or thank you note.

Take this opportunity to grab your audience’s attention by delivering a special social media message. You may surprise yourself how quickly your rise above all the other noise.

Teri Barr is a multimedia feature writer, radio host, and award-winning journalist. She has work appearing regularly in local and regional publications, along with producing news and webcasts at the national level. If she's not on assignment for a project, she may be banging on her drums, hunting for the next road trip to enjoy a live show with her husband Brian, or snuggling with their cat Harrie-Yeti. You can find her on twitter, facebook, and at http://teribarr.wordpress.com

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