Hey, let’s talk. We need to get your social media stuff in order. You may only think of it as a network of your college buddies, or a waste of time, but it’s much more powerful than that. Social media is communication, which is the biggest part of relationships, which is the number one thing you can do to get more work.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Yeah, I probably should be better at social media, but it just sounds like a lot of work. I think I’ll just keep taking BuzzFeed quizzes.” Social media does take some work, but can do great things for freelance musicians.
Where To Start
“Friend me on Facebook! Follow me on Twitter! Follow me on Instagram! Respond to my never ending flow of LinkedIn requests! Repin my pins on Pinterest! I post on Vine too! Google + is like Facebook, but better! MySpace is really making a comeback, you know Justin Timberlake owns it now?! Hit me up on Xanga! Comment on my LiveJournal!”
If you’re reading this article, chances are you clicked on a link from Facebook or one of the other social media platforms mentioned above. Social media is the Internet. If you’re not on at least a few of these platforms, I’m not going to spend any time convincing you to join. I’ll just give it to you straight. Here’s the social media platforms you need to be on, go sign up right now if you don’t have an account. Seriously.
Facebook: Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s Facebook. But you can’t not be on it.
Twitter: “Why does anyone need to know what I’m doing right now?” Just sign up.
Instagram: “Why does anyone need to know what I’m eating right now?”
Stop it, go sign up.
These are the big 3 social networks. For now, don’t worry about anything else. Before we dive into specifics of what to post, let’s talk about the differences between these three platforms and why you should be on each of them.
Is Facebook still cool? Of course it isn’t. Everyone and their Mom is on it. But that’s exactly what makes it so great.
Facebook has over a BILLION users. That’s 1/7 of the entire planet. These days, it’s difficult to find someone who isn’t on Facebook. When you post something on Facebook, you’re basically announcing it to the general public. Even if you aren’t friends with people, they still may see your posts (more on that in a second). If you think about it, that’s pretty incredible.
The fact that your Facebook posts are essentially public shouldn’t scare you, it should excite you. That means there’s people that you aren’t yet friends with that can get to know you, without actually meeting you. Facebook helps you expand your network without any work from you.
How Facebook Expands Your Network
There’s two main ways Facebook helps expand your network.
1. When Someone Tags You In a Photo or Status
You’re playing a gig with Tevin Sebastian. He takes a picture of the two of you, posts it on Facebook, and tags you in it. Now your friends get a story in their news feed about how you’re playing with Tevin, and Tevin’s friends get a story about how he’s playing with you. Now Chaz (Tevin’s best friend, who you aren’t friends with) knows who you are, or at least that you exist, so when you finally meet him, he already has some idea of your level of playing, and if you’re a good person.
2. You Write a Status With a Lot of Shares or Comments
Since there’s about a trillion things happening with your friends, Facebook decided to come up with a system of showing you popular stories. It’s in Facebook’s best interest to keep you on Facebook at all times, so they want to bring you interesting things to read. So if Chaz writes a status, “Just finished my first gig with Scott Stapp!” and 100 of Chaz’s friends (including Tevin) “like” it, you’ll get a story in your newsfeed letting you know that Tevin liked Chaz’s status. Now you know that Chaz, one of Tevin’s friends, is playing with Scott Stapp. In the future, when you need a guitarist for a mediocre 90s butt rock band, you know just who to call!
Facebook isn’t hip, but in the same way that email isn’t hip. Just because it isn’t sexy doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly useful. If you’re not already on Facebook, go sign up right now. If you are, keep up the posts.
Twitter differs from Facebook in a few ways. For one, your Mom is probably not on Twitter. For two, your favorite musician probably is, and they don’t have to accept your friend request for you to follow them. Let the stalking commence!
Your circle of musicians may or may not actively use Twitter. Regardless, it’s a great platform to meet new people. Follow musicians that you know, whether you play with them, or you’re just a big fan. You should also follow people that you aren’t friends with. That’s why Twitter is awesome. You can follow and interact with people without being friends or having to accept a friend request.
Follow musicians you like. Retweet stuff you like from other people. This lets your followers know a little more about you. Let’s say you see a tweet that there’s a new album coming from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, so you decide to retweet it. Now all of your followers know that you love The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, so they’ll call you for the one MMB cover band gig in the country. Or something like that.
All kidding aside, Twitter is a great way to connect with musicians in your circle, but also the larger outside world. It allows you to see what your favorite musicians are up to, and join a larger conversation. If you’re not already on Twitter, go sign up right now. If you are, keep tweeting!
Instagram is unique in that it’s platform is based on photos and videos only. There’s no statuses, no article sharing, just photos. If Twitter is pure text (which it isn’t always), then think of Instagram as the polar opposite.
Instagram’s people network is a little unique as well. You can still connect with your friends similar to Facebook, but kind of it’s own club (even though Facebook owns Instagram). Your Mom probably isn’t on Instagram either, and when you post a photo, it’s not quite as public as Facebook. Because it’s photo and video based, Instagram has a show and tell feel to it. You snap a picture, slap on a filter, add a caption and you’re done. This makes it great for sharing things you’re doing, and it feels a little more private, like it’s just you and your musician friends. Instagram is not as public as Facebook, and not as massively public like twitter (though you can follow celebrity status musicians as well). If you’re not on Instagram, go sign up right now. If you are, keep posting photos of your lunch!
Ok, But What Should You Post?
You’ve got your social media stuff set up and ready to go right? If you don’t, just go do it man. I promise it’ll pay off. Next week we’re going to dive into the specifics of what you should post, and more importantly, what you shouldn’t post. If you’ve enjoyed this article, feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter with the links below. (See what I did there?)
Photo Credit: Jason Howie