Social Media -- How It's Working in My Life
I subscribe to Social Media Examiner -- a blog I have been following for about a year. I also recently joined their Social Media Marketing Society in an effort to learn more about Social Media and its changes and updates. In the Meet and Greet section, we are asked to introduce ourselves. I did, and the moderator came back and asked me how I was using Social Media in my concert and recording career.
It was a really powerful experience to put into words what I have been doing and why. I am sure my answer was far too long for the moderator, but it wasn't for me. It was a real stream-of-consciousness brainstorm to review what I and my company, Watchfire Music, have been engaged in now for quite a while. Seems appropriate to share some of this insight here with you, too. After all, we spend most of our time together communicating through some form of digital communication (my other term for Social Media!).
Here's my answer to the moderator's question of how I am using social media in my performing career:
My work as a singer is enormously intertwined with my online music company, Watchfire Music (WFM). WFM is the machinery or mechanism that sells my CDs (and many other artists' CDs too) through digital downloads — mp3 single songs, full albums, and shippable CDs. We also sell through many other digital channels as well (iTunes, etc.).
As an individual artist, I use Facebook – both fan and profile, Twitter, Fanbridge (an email management system like Constant Contact), Soundcloud, Pinterest, Youtube, LinkedIn, blogging, my own personal website, and our company website to connect, communicate, and get the music to my audience (tribe), which is international. I’m also on Spotify through various digital aggregators.
Because it’s all so time-consuming, I am the most consistent on Facebook — and not really consistent enough. My own Social Media endeavors unfortunately usually take a backseat to WFM’s Social Media plans. I am therefore looking for ways for us to become more facile with strategy, content creation, scheduling and interacting across the various platforms with the goal being more effective, creative communication of great truths and inspiring music.
Several years ago, I worked with both traditional and online publicists specializing in music promotion for help in developing my online presence/publicity. What my producer and business partner, and I found, though, was that we were already doing a lot of that work instinctually, and doing it better – simply because we understand our niche market and our niche audience better. We’ve been doing it in-house ever since. But more specifically, the marketing aspect (converting the Social Media activity to actual sales) is the big challenge.
It’s a difficult prospect getting the music out and actually selling it in an era of increasingly free music (File sharing, Pandora, Spotify, etc.) Where music really sells best, though, is through live performances and touring. So, I/we use the various Social Media platforms to create on-line events, sell tickets to my/our concerts, (Eventbrite), talk about the upcoming performances and tours, and make music available to listen for free. I use Facebook ad targeting to let a specific demographic know that I am coming to their city to perform. But I also let the whole tribe know as well, since word-of-mouth is so powerful.
I have 10 solo CDs under my belt, and so I often will feature one of the songs from a particular CD on Soundcloud. This allows my audience to listen for free for as long as I keep the song up. They can like, comment, respond, and also click a "buy" button which leads them directly to the purchase page of that particular song and album. I post about the free listening through Facebook and Twitter, and I've also been successful with FB ad targeting as well.
Soundcloud is still largely in development and not without some hiccups. Though I still use it as an individual artist, my company, after a year of using it for a weekly song feature, decided to improve on the Soundcloud model and feature music regularly, but do it within our own site, where we have much more control of the content and how we communicate with our audience. (We represent not only my music, but 350 recording artists and composers).
We built a WordPress site to attach to our main ecommerce site. There, we offer the “Inspirational Song of the Week." We feature a recording artist and one of their songs every week, Monday through Friday, as well as changing over to an “Inspirational Song of the WeekEND” on Saturdays and Sundays. We are finding that the subscription email list is growing through our social media posts for this weekly feature and we are seeing direct sales of mp3 songs, CD downloads and shippable CDs as a result of this weekly feature.
I’m off the road for a while so that I can dig deeper into our business. As a result, I am doing a local concert series now over the next 6 months while finishing 2 new CD projects. The key to this is that we are talking to our followers around the world through Social Media, even as we target the tri-state local audience (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut). The reason for this is that we are planning to start live webcasts of the concerts and offer an online subscription for folks to attend internationally. And it’s also the same opportunity to talk about the new CDs coming out and performing the new music in the concerts as a preface to their release. (So far, I’ve had several, successful webcasts using an early Facebook app, Evinar, and also Google Hangout Studio for broadcasting live music.)
Also, we have successfully used crowdfunding platforms to pre-sell new CDs in order to fund the final finishing costs of mastering and manufacturing the CDs, and paying for the graphics and initial promotion. We have used Kickstarter for our own projects, and we have also used GoFundMe when managing other organizations’ fundraisers.
Finally, here are a couple of bloggers that I follow regularly: Seth Godin and Bob Lefsetz. I read Seth daily for his internet marketing wisdom that goes way above and beyond. I read Bob even though he’s often an angry, ranting blogger: he’s the main music industry expert out there blogging sometimes several times a day. He is a wise read on industry trends and how the internet is indispensable to the indie and mainstream musician alike.
So here's the thing: I live and breathe the music in the recording studio, concert, and in the business. Like so many, I work many hours a day — on both my career and the company’s progress -- and I love it. However, I’m looking to further streamline and and automate wherever possible so as to keep the inspiration and creativity flowing freely like a river.
It's a gradual process -- corralling all of these activities, learning to stay up -- if not ahead -- of the curve, and putting new-found skills and ideas to work. Some of my Social Media platforms become badly neglected for a time (take this blog, for example). And others surge ahead in my life.
Mostly, I follow Inspiration and Intuition and let these lead the way as to the What, the How, and the Why of my communication and activities. I find this proving to be the best Social Media plan for me.
Here's a list of my Social Media platforms for more info:
Eventbrite -- come to my concerts! Facebook -- juliawademusic Twitter - juliawademusic Fanbridge -- sign up for my email list Soundcloud -- listen to my music Pinterest -- juliawademusic Youtube -- check out my videos LinkedIn -- connect with me juliawade.com -- visit my site watchfiremusic.com -- buy my CDs
Subscribe to Inspirational Song of the Week -- Check off the "Inspirational Song of the Week" box to subscribe.