11 tips to help you improve how you use social media

We learn how new acts can boost their social media profiles with some of the industry's most switched on digital experts...
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The world of social media can be a tricky one for new and emerging artists to navigate. 

From choosing which platform to adopt to deciding how often to post content, there are numerous questions confronting acts when it comes to setting out on their social media journeys.

But, with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram becoming increasingly ubiquitous, it's obvious that these platforms are creating conversation emerging artists cannot afford to ignore.

With this in mind, we went along to the recent session at BBC Music Introducing's Amplify to learn from many of music's best digital experts on how to make the most of these online opportunities. Check out what the likes of Black Butter Record's Jo Heron (JH), Tony Barnes (TB), Head of Digital, Virgin EMI and Alex Thomson (AT) from the Greenhouse Group had to say... 

Good social media is an extension of your personality

JH: Good social media is an extension of your personality. You should use it to represent yourself in the best possible way without bragging or showing off. Essentially, being how you are with your peers or your family is how you should behave online.

You need to be real - otherwise people will see through you

TB: Authenticity is important. You need to be real, and be yourself. It's such a noisy, crowded place out there. The challenge for all our artists is trying to get attention so you need to be authentic. You also need to remember to be creative and find your voice in a way that represents you as an artist.

There's no quick fix. It takes a long time to build up your audience and the way you want to be perceived.  

There’s no magic trick to becoming an internet sensation

AT: There's no magic trick to making your band famous on the internet. It takes time, it takes effort - it's a classic case of the the more you put in, the more you get out.  

Social media offers an important first impression of you and your music 

JH: Once our A&R team at Black Butter have heard your music, they will then head over to your social media profiles. So if your Facebook or Instagram profiles aren’t up to scratch, don’t look good or have the right relevant information on there, no one will pay you much more attention.  

If you’re in the studio, then put photos and images up of your work in there. If you’re about to perform at a gig, then share images of that. It’s all great content. 

As an artist in 2017, social media is part of your job

AT: I worked with Charli XCX for some years and she's a great example of an artist who uses their channels effectively. She understands the importance of social media and will always find time to get on there and join the conversation. You can’t ignore social media. Those who find the time to do it and talk to their fans are the ones who win.

JH: There’s nothing worse than following an account and you know it’s not them, it’s obviously the label or manager are running it. Whether you’re signed or unsigned, artists need to realise that social media is part of their job now.

Bad social media just promotes rather than converses

TB: Ineffective social media involves feeds of promotion, flyers or just promotional videos, there’s no personality. This kind of content gets lost very quickly and the artists who adopt this strategy struggle. It's really important that artists find their voice and rhythm in how they project online.

Your preferred social media channel depends on your audience

TB: The best platform for you depends on your audience and who you’re trying to reach. Everyone is on Facebook but this has become more of a media platform. 

Broadly speaking, Instagram is second biggest, and Snapchat is for the younger generation so those aged 18-24. You need to think about your audience, who you’re trying to reach at all times. That’s what you need to work out first and be as natural as possible on that particular platform. Focus on at that from the start.

Remember to prioritise social media - it is important

AT: If you’re a new artist and think you don’t have time to devote to this, you need to find time. Set aside an hour every week to come up with a plan for how you’re going to share content on social media so it’s not just on the fly. Ask yourself what you’re going to do on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram every week. Figure that out and schedule in advance. You might not know where your audience is so visiting all these platforms will help you work this out.

Use the free analytical tools to inform your content plans  

AT: Understand how platforms work. Make sure you look at your analytics - you can do this on Twitter, as well as using Facebook Insights, they’re connected to your Instagram as well as and offer you insight - see who is engaging with you on these platforms and use this to inform your future content plans.

Have a thick skin

JH: One of our artists released a video and received a lot of negative comments. We spun it and got her to read them out in another video and it worked as a way of retorting. But you do need to have a thick skin and try and recognise that you’re above this kind of negativity.

Sponsored posts are worth it - for the right content

JH: It's worth paying to boost content as long as you have budget to do so. Facebook is algorithm based so something like 12 percent of your posts will reach your fanbase, hence how it can be worth investing in it. 

Instagram is also the same in terms of algorithms. But only spend if it's what we call thumbstopper content. If this is something that will grab their attention, then do so but don’t if it’s something that isn’t working. There's no point on spending money on anything that’s struggling as it's probably struggling for a reason…

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by Jim Ottewill
October 9, 2017
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