Social media, everyone who is anyone is on it. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok. Everyone has something to say and they use these platforms to say it. With the world connected through digital fingerprints its an obvious choice for musicians to launch their brands and increase awareness. With the potential to reach billions of prospective fans with a few clicks and some carefully designed posts, musicians are now able to enjoy the benefits of promoting their talent within a multi-billion-dollar industry with relatively small marketing budgets. But as promotions seem to get easier and more affordable, how does this change the social landscape of the bond between musicians and fans?
When it comes to social interactions I’ve always landed on the introverted side of the conversation. Its not that I’m not a people person. Its more like I get so far in my head sometimes I forget simple things like saying hi to people when I see them. I’ve improved a lot over the years, thanks to countless hours of adulting and semi-awkward social experiences, but now that I’m actively pursuing my musical dreams, routine social exercises have become a daily necessity.
So what does it look like when an introvert tries to connect with strangers over a world wide network? Take a look at my social profiles and you’ll see. I struggled to create relatable yet original content to post on a daily basis. At times I would post multiple times a day and others a few posts a week was the best I could do. While I feel like I’ve done well to offer unique and captivating content I feel like I could do better on a regular basis.
But creating great content isn’t the end all of establishing a social empire is it? I’ve watched countless hours of social media marketing videos on YouTube. Adam Ivy by the way is frequently played. The one thing that always comes up is engagement. Every social media “guru” will post video after video on the importance of social engagement and sing hymns to the wonders of it’s unlimited following potential.
So here lies my biggest struggle, how does an introvert like me boost my engagement? The videos and articles make it sound as simple as commenting on posts and videos. But like establishing and nurturing any kind of relationship, this task gets a little more complicated. Who do I follow, and what am I supposed to say? A big part of me wants to just hideaway in my music studio and focus on the next greatest song I’m going to produce, but even the small pragmatic portion of my brain realizes that to create great art simply isn’t enough to be famous. Look at Van Gogh for example, he was clearly a talented artist who unfortunately never enjoyed the benefits of stardom. Picasso on the other hand was a rock star in his time. Why? It wasn’t because one artist was better than the other, but it was become one artist was just better at self-promotion.
Self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to me. In fact I’d prefer it if I could just let my music do the talking, or singing, for me. But in the interest of keeping my mood up, I won’t be going down that rabbit hole of things I can’t control. Instead I will be focusing on what I can do.
In order to find new fans and followers social roles will need to be tweaked. The traditional musician-fan relationships will need to shift from musicians on the stage and fans in the audience with a clear dividing line between the two, to musicians join the fans and become an integral part of the experience. Maybe your big wig rock stars can get away with not responding to comments or engaging in personal conversations, but for starting musicians, these kinds of interactions are crucial to building up a solid social presence.
It’s easy to get caught up in vanity metrics. The number of likes and followers we have are not fully indicative of our level of talent and it really isn’t the point of what we’re doing is it? These metrics are merely numbers that occasionally rob us of our self-worth, if we allow it. Numbers don’t appreciate music, share meaningful moments, or attend shows, fans do. Therefore, our mission as musicians is to chase the fans, not the numbers.
Thanks to the past year and this semi-constant state of lockdown and quarantine, people are looking to social media more than ever to find and maintain meaningful relationships. My goal for the coming month is to set aside some time every day to reach out and talk to people. I want to talk to them, hear their stories, and of course share some great music. I’ll be posting follow ups and sharing my experiences in future posts, so make sure you check back often so you don’t miss anything. And for my fellow musicians out there who are experiencing the same struggles, you are not alone. Let’s work together to bring “social” back into social media, where the focus is on the people and not the numbers.
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