5 Social Media Tips for Artists

As I described in previous articles, Social Media is one of the biggest ways to connect to your audience. It is also a way to capture the attention of promoters, publishers, booking agents, labels etc. These all consist of people that could be your audience, as fans of your music, but they also look at the marketing potential and of course the profit potential of the artist and their music. When you are a popular artist with big hits already, it doesn’t matter so much what and how you put things out on the internet, you have already established a fan base. But how do you grab the right attention, when you are just beginning? Aside from an entire social media strategy, here are a few important tips on how to use social media channels.

1. Be authentic. Don’t try to create a certain image, just for social media, to be more loveable or to gain more followers or likes. Just be yourself. Your music also reflects who you are. You don’t want that to clash with an “online persona”. Make sure you have your information in your bio and that links are active.

2. Make sure that the balance between your own posts and reposts/shares is correct. When you are still in the process of building a following, give those people posts that are about you and from you. Don’t have your entire feed consist out of other people’s posts, quotes (unless a quote out of your lyrics or something) or memes.

3. It’s ok to mix personal and business posts. It doesn’t only have to be about your new music, or shows. Let the potential fans see that you are a person that they can relate to. Who does every day things. Let them get to know the person behind the music as well. They may start listening to your music, because they like the person. But here also counts, make sure there is enough balance between personal and business. After all, you are trying to promote your art first.

4. There’s no need to use every social media channel there is. If you have one or a few that work great for you, stick by it. If you are comfortable using Twitter and build a following on there, there is no need to force yourself to do the same thing through a channel that you are not feeling comfortable with. Focus on what works for you and use that to build and promote with.

5. If you have someone managing your social media channels for you, make sure that’s known, or that they only handle things out of your name and person. This way you keep your authenticity, even if someone else is helping you maintain your channels.

These are 5 basic things that will help you create your online presence on social media in a consistent way. Too much contradiction as a beginning artist, will only ensure people will lose interest and quickly gravitate towards the next big thing or highlighted artist. If you don’t have an entire strategy, using your social media channels with the above given advice will get you a long way.


The “Dayjob” Dilemma

The dayjob dilemma usually exists in the lives of people whose dreams and goals are so huge, they want to dedicate all of the time they have in to reaching them and making them come true. Their passion is what drives them and they don’t want anything getting in the way of getting to that point in life where they can breathe and say “Momma I made it” [/Jay-Z voice].

When you have reached the point where you can pay your bills with your art, your passion, your dream, you can relax, look back and think to yourself that it was all worth the blood, sweat and tears. Because honestly, we all know it takes a lot of dedication, to get to that point. Some people may think it’s an easy road, but there’s only a few in this world that have their dreams handed to them on a silver platter. For most of us “common folk”, its hard work.

As much as its wonderful not having to divide your time between a job that pays the bills, and your passion and goals, its not necessarily a bad thing. The thing is, people are always so proud not to have a “dayjob” but fail to realize that having one has a lot more advantages than they think. Especially if you’re not at that point of “sitting back and relax, while my art pays my bills” yet, but are still struggling to make it. Some of the advantages of a job, that I experienced myself, are (in no particular order):

1. Steady income. —This adds to whatever you’re doing on the side. The money can be used for more than just paying your bills. It can be used to invest in growing your own business.
2. Learning the business (whatever business you’re in) and applying this to your own business. —This especially goes for those whose job is related to the field you are trying to make it in.
3. Gaining professional work ethic. —Something that most of these “free agent” artists seem to lack a lot nowadays, thus blocking their own progress. Networking & maintaining good relationships with people in your field, are key.
4. Progress as a person. —In any aspect of life, expanding your knowledge, broadening your mind. Which you can apply, again, to any of your life aspects and situations.

Only those that have and value excellent work ethic and have genuine passion can actually work a job next to their passion. It’s far from easy. Getting up early, working all day, coming home in the evening, being tired. But then having to work again, for yourself. It may be your passion, but it still requires work and energy. Not to mention sacrificing time from your social life for building your business.

Though it seems to be a luxury, not having to need a job, it can also block artists from progressing as a person, as they can be stuck in the same mindstate for long periods of time, trying to make money with what they do, paying the bills. Having a job in which you can develop yourself and evolve, makes you progress every day, even if your own art is standing still for a minute. So as a person, you’re never standing still.

I have had a ‘corporate’ job for 17 years. My luck was that my study is applicable to all of my own businesses. All of the knowledge I have gained through my job(s), I can apply to whatever I am doing on the side. Combining your job and your art is in my opinion, a huge advantage. I have two degrees in Marketing (equivalent to a Master’s) and it’s not at all what people usually think it is (quote: “Marketing is lying to people“). It’s much more than just branding. It’s becoming an expert in your field, knowing your market, your competition, your economical situation (for the company products/services etc.) and predicting the future curve of the particular product or service. It’s anticipating on the future and on market demands. Something not a lot of people can do, or know how to analyze and research. And all of this, is very useful, when setting up your own business, or trying to brand yourself as an artist/service/product.

Whenever people “go back” (or are forced) to having a job again, next to their passion, others are quick to call it a step back. Providing for yourself, making sure you are not struggling to have food or keep a roof above your head, is never a step back. Every decision you make as an artist or entrepreneur, is always a step forward, given you have the right mind set and strategy about it.

Making conscious decisions on how to be better, how to be smarter, how to progress, how to get to that “Momma I made it” point in life, is always moving forward.

There are no guarantees in life, not in any business. The only thing you can guarantee yourself, is to stay focused, stay positive and believe that no matter what you have to do in life, you can make it work and make it happen. Dayjob, or not.

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”
~ Napoleon Hill

The DO’s and DON’Ts of Networking

Networking, a term, over-used in this day and age of the internet and social media. A lot of people use social media for “networking” yet have its definition totally wrong. Pushing your work onto somebody, spamming people with links, is not “networking”. When the term networking is used in reference to some type of business, it definitely is being misused, or even abused.

Back in the day, (read: before there was internet / social media) you mostly built your network on your work, things you could show for, your actions and referrals from people you work with. Now, a lot of networking is done through the internet, specifically social media.

Social media made it easier to connect to people, all over the world. Connecting is not equal to networking. This is where the mistake is made. In any type of industry, networking requires mutual benefits from collaborating. It’s not a one-way street. You can’t make a connection, if the other side doesn’t connect with you. Social media can be used in different ways. One can use it to listen, to send, or to do both. It can be used to act, interact and react. According to the business dictionary, this is the definition of networking:

Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question “How can I help?” and not with “What can I get?”

Applying that to social media, in my experience, more people are focused on the latter question of above definition. People send out work of their own, without interacting, or showing interest in what the other person does. This is not the most effective way to gain valuable business. Below I’ve summed up my opinion of the most important Do’s and Don’ts.

The DO’s of Business Networking:

  1. Show interest in the person (and their work) who you are trying to “network” with.
  2. When you connect, introduce yourself and your work in a professional way.
  3. Make clear how you can be beneficial to each other. What do you have in common, which mutual interests do you have?
  4. If your goal is to work together, have your solid ideas ready.
  5. Maintain a relationship, keep communication open, see #1: keep showing interest.

The DON’Ts of Business Networking:

  1. Do not address a person for the first time, by talking about yourself and your own work instantly.
  2. Do not spam with links or push work all the time.
  3. If the goal is to work together, be clear about what you want, do not let the other person wonder what you mean or guess about your intentions. (See #4 of DO’s, have your ideas ready.)
  4. Do not tell/ask the person what THEY can do for you.
  5. Do not put a deadline on the communication. Be patient.

Social media made a lot of definitions unclear or even redefined certain terms, such as business, networking, connecting but also friendships, relationships and other terms on a personal level.

If you reach out to someone, please make sure to use proper terms. If it’s just for feedback, just say so. If you are “networking” make sure you know what the person does and how you can help each other. And of course, attend actual networking events where you can mingle and meet people in your industry, in person. Make sure to present yourself in the way I have mentioned above. The DO’s and DON’Ts qualify for both online and offline.

“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” –Keith Ferrazzi

If you need any help setting up a (social media) strategy plan or want advice on how to approach people in a professional way, let me know. You can reach me through the contact form or through info@paykolmus.com.

Prioritizing: Making Choices that Work

Being exposed to what everyone does, every day, non-stop, there’s a lot of pressure keeping up with that fast pace. Especially in the music/entertainment industry. Every day new songs come out, albums are released, video’s are put online. A lot of artists release free music, instead of waiting on a label, just to stay relevant. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it works in their favor.

How do you know what to do and when to do it?

First, before society became over-exposed, most artists actually created art. They stayed true to their art instead of being in a rush to put something out there. Quality is very important. Just because there will be a group of people/fans, who will buy music, doesn’t mean it’s something of the same level quality as put out before. As an artist, you have to really think about what it is that you want. What do you want to accomplish with your music? How do you want to put yourself out there? How do you want to be perceived as an artist? Not just by your potential fans, but also in the eyes of other artists, your peers and people you may possible want to work with in the future. Below are a few steps that will help in prioritizing.

  1. First figure out what type of artist you are. Why do you make music/create art? Is it for yourself or for other people? Really be honest with yourself.
  2. Make a general long term plan (5-10 years) for yourself. Then make a short term plan based on this plan (12-18 months).
  3. Determine how you want to reach your goals (number of album releases etc.) for the coming year.
  4. Find out which (media) channels work best for you, and how you can maximize those, to use them for the coming year, to help reach your goals.
  5. Create a strategy based off of #4, so you have everything laid out for you, only having to create the content (music/art), without thinking about the rest.

The 5 steps above will help you figure out what is most important right now for you. It also helps in making those important things happen, without being all over the place with everything. The steps lead to a plan for you to work on, to stay focused, but this plan can always be adjusted if you come across things along the way, or if you go faster or slower than planned. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that you don’t let others distract you from your focus, from your plan. Patrick Lencioni (business management) said it best: “If everything is important, then nothing is important.”

If you need any help figuring out what you need to do first, how to prioritise or need help with putting together a strategy plan, let me know. You can reach me through the contact form or through info@paykolmus.com.