The tension between the music industry and the internet community has been apparent for years, most of which can be traced back to the same old problems that have been in existence for generations - individuals receiving a copy of music without paying for it. This isn’t a new phenomenon and has simply evolved into a common fact with the evolution in technology.
I’m guessing most people have taken part in something between recording the radio or a vinyl onto a cassette to sharing music on a file sharing website like Napster. It has always happened and is very difficult to stop. The damage can be far reaching in terms of the record labels bottom line and inevitably the artists will suffer, but perhaps to a lesser degree. However, despite this volatile relationship, the continued success of Social Networking Sites (SNS) have allowed one aspect of the music industry to engage with fans in a way that was previously impossible. Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the time of the music marketer! From my experiences of working in such an industry and capacity, there are a few key rules that must be taken into consideration to make SNS a success. Remember: Having a good presence on Social Networking Sites will not make you famous; your music has to do that. It is simply a shop window that you can dress up as you wish and give your visitors the level of service that you see fit!
RULE #1 – GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
Far too often, artist’s pages are full of spammy posters for gigs, releases and general ‘LISTEN TO US PLEASE’ posts that lack any relevance and just make the whole thing look untidy! If you were running a shop, you wouldn’t let other shops sell their goods in your shop window, so try and avoid your pages being hijacked by other bands!
RULE #2 – KEEP PRODUCING GOOD CONTENT
I like the shop analogy, so let’s keep it going! Like a shop, you need to keep people interested and coming back for more. On a Social Networking Site, this is crucial as competition for user’s time is fierce. Information needs to be regularly updated in order to keep things fresh so make sure you keep your fans, friends and followers up to date with what you are up to. Update your site with any important news and anything that users might find interesting. It doesn’t have to be ground breaking, just something relevant and of a high quality. It is imperative that you, as the marketer, remember why people have connected with you. It is because they want to hear from YOU and what YOU are up to and things that relate to YOU. Try and avoid irrelevant information!
RULE #3 – YOU’RE OUR NUMBER ONE CUSTOMER
If everyone was the one millionth customer all of the time, would it be special at all or just pretty false and annoying? The same applies to social networking pages; you need to pick your communications carefully. It’s all about leaving them wanting more, so respond to the best quality posts. If you respond to everyone all of the time you will inevitably end up in hundreds of conversations that you don’t have enough time in the day to get into! One of the greatest assets social networking sites have is that users engage in a two-way conversation. Try and answer people’s questions first, respond to quality comments second, and finally, if you have time, respond to some of the banter! Find a happy middle ground that makes people feel involved but doesn’t leave you at their beck and call.
RULE #4 – HARNESS THE AWESOME POWER OF PEOPLE!!!
Now that you’ve got your fans on your side, try being creative! There are so many free promotional opportunities available to artists who can engage their fanbase to act as one. One such campaign that I was involved in saw Fighting With Wire, a relatively unknown band from Northern Ireland, reach number one on the MTV2 Chart for several weeks in a row. This was purely down to engaging a fanatical following and giving them a degree of ownership. You can use your imagination to come up with some cool ideas to get your name known around the local town, city, and venues – although remember, you need to be known for the right reasons! If you follow the four rules outlined above, you’ll go a good way to making your pages effective, interesting and alive. However, the vital thing to remember is that it is your music that needs to do the talking. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how pretty your shop is, if it’s full of stuff no one wants, no one will care! Any thoughts? - @ShmeegsOfCourse