Social Media & The Buddy System
Social media is very important for creatives who want to grow their businesses and careers. A 2021 study surveying nearly 8k adults in the US found that 35% of them said that they found new music through music apps like Spotify and Apple Music and not far behind at 30% was social media.
Well known names like Justin Beiber, Doja Cat, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Shawn Mendes, Halsey, Tori Kelly, The Weekend, all got their start by growing their fan bases on social media or had their careers skyrocket from viral success on social media. Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to reach people all over the world. Taking the time to make sure we’re set up for success is an important and necessary use of our time.
The Role of Social Media In Your Music Business
If you’re familiar with our Buddy System training it’s important to know where social media fits in. The Buddy System is what we call the framework of your fan journey. From someone discovering you to then becoming a wild raving fan and every step in between. All Buddy System journies start at the same place: Someone discovering you. We call this the Introduction phase. Once they’ve been introduced to you, they’re going to want to know more about you and your brand and your music. We call this the Education phase. Social media is a great place to generate new fans and to educate them.
*If you’re not familiar with The Buddy System, you have full access to this training right now in your training vault, so you may want to check it out!
For this, let’s think of a real life scenario: I’m at a birthday party and I start chatting with a new friend of a friend. Likely, one of the first things that is going to come up is who I am, so I’m going to introduce myself,
“Hi, my name is Graci!”
This would likely be followed by a brief explanation of who I am.
“The birthday girl and I used to work together! But now I work full time for a company that teaches Independent creatives how to market their own music and I’m a folk pop artist myself.”
In this short exchange I’ve just given them a fair amount of information:
- They now know how I’m connected to them. We know some of the same people, like the birthday girl!
- What I do in life that may (or may not) be of interest to them.
In a real life conversation, it’s very unlikely that, if the person I was talking to wasn’t interested in what I do for a living or who I am, they would just turn around and stop talking to me. However, on the internet, it’s pretty much the exact opposite.
When I land on a profile of someone I don’t follow yet, I know in a matter of seconds whether or not this is a profile that I’d care to know more about. Nailing this introduction is very important, because a potential fan visiting your profile might not give you more than a few seconds of their time.
Let’s go back to that conversation we were having at the birthday party.
After we’ve exchanged some of this basic information, we’ll probably go into more detail. We might talk more about fun things we’ve done with the birthday girl, or what we’re doing next weekend, or discuss a current event that we’re both interested in. Here, we’re getting to know each other better. Figuring out likes and dislikes, senses of humor, tastes in movies or music. Things that our brains instinctually use to help us decide if we want to pursue a friendship with someone.
Humans naturally like to belong and we like to identify ourselves by our interests. This is why we buy band t-shirts and join clubs and discord servers and make and distribute memes of our favorite shows and movies. We love what we love and we feel cosmically connected to people that share those same loves and interests.
Let’s look at another example:
If you’re a raw vegan, it’s unlikely that you would follow BBQ, pit boss, or meat smoking accounts on social media. It’s not relevant to you or your interests and it doesn’t align with your identity.
While humans are incredibly complex and interesting and can have a wide range of interests that aren’t tied to their identity, the education portion of how you present yourself online will help people either immediately identify with you and your brand, or know it’s not for them. This is ideal.
While most people would like large followings for their brands or music on social media, you want those people who follow you to be real fans of what you’re doing–not just a number on your screen.
We’ve all seen it, someone that has a big, seemingly impressive number of followers with super low engagement. While a big number of followers might seem impressive at first, it doesn’t mean much if there’s not an actual fan base that makes it up. The goal is quality over quantity.
There’s a tried and true saying in marketing,
“If you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll appeal to no one.”
When your targeting is very broad, there becomes less and less of any target at all. There are major benefits to showing people immediately what your brand aligns with and what your brand doesn’t align with when the goal is to build a die hard fanbase. You want to attract people who are interested and invested in you or what you represent. In that same way, you want to repel the people that won’t really care about you or your music.
Here are the top things to consider when thinking about your social media:
Thing To Consider Number #1:
Treat your brand like a real brand would.
Consistency in your branding across social media is very important for gaining the trust of fans and followers as well as helping them to endear themselves to you. If you have a different profile picture or aesthetic on each of your profiles, your fans are going to be confused and it might make it hard for them to identify with your brand. Knowing your brand and establishing brand consistency is key.
The word “brand” can feel a little vague and nebulous. To borrow from our branding expert, *Casey Shumacher, “brand is defined as the intangible feeling or concept that is evoked when people observe or interact with the company, in any capacity, via any medium. The same definition applies to products, people, services, and so on.”
*If you want to take a deep dive into what all goes into building a brand, check out Casey’s training How To Create Your Brand!
Your brand is not just a logo or color pallet–it’s the sum of all your parts and how that sum makes people feel when they encounter it. Know what you want that sum to add up to for your potential fans and make sure the way you’re using social media reflects that. Your vocabulary, the colors you use, the hashtags, your pictures, it all adds to your overall brand feel, so it’s important to be intentional.
Thing To Consider Number #2:
Treat your business like a real business would.
If you want to make enough income from your music for it to be your living, you’ve got to make the switch mentally from being a starving artist to being a business. Which means taking your business seriously.
Making sure your profiles are on point, that your links are up to date, that everything is consistent across all your platforms, and to execute your social media strategies like a brand would–with intentionality and consistency.
Sometimes social media can feel like feast or famine. One day you’ve got a post or video blowing up organically and then the next three posts you make barely make an impact. While this can be frustrating, it’s important to not let your social media habits wax and wane with your social media success. Building good habits and sticking to them is what will ultimately help you grow your following. Things like posting regularly, responding to comments and messages, and interacting on the platforms are all solid habits that should be part of your regular routine. Don’t disappear from your business when things aren’t going well.
In summary, social media is a place where fans can:
- Discover or find you
- Get an introduction to you and your music
- Learn enough about you in a short period of time to know if they align with you
Introduction and education are very important parts of our Buddy Systems and social media is a great place to execute both of those phases.
In the next lessons in this module we’ll go over the elements of your profiles and some best practices, as well as how to look at data and analytics from your social media and how to use it to improve your content and your strategy.
Social media is an incredible free tool available to us, so let’s use it wisely and intentionally!