This is an excerpt from Ariel Hyatt’s new book Cyber PR® for Musicians: Tools, Tricks, And Tactics For Building Your Social Media House. The book aims to demystify and harness the full potential of social media for musicians. You can find out more about the book here as well as follow Ariel on Twitter at @cyberpr
Top 7 Reasons Artists Strongly Resist Social Media
1. “I don’t want to be pushy and over-hype-y like all those other artists that I hate.”
I know, talking about yourself is icky. But having people respond to you is wonderful. My advice is: when you use social media, take the spotlight off yourself and shine it on others (the people in your community, fans, and friends). This is a theme that will run throughout this book.
Share things. Don’t even think of marketing yourself or your music for a few months until you get the hang of it. After you do, use it to gently lead people to your newsletter sign-up, your website, and to help yourself with Google rankings. Keep this in mind: According to a 2012 study by Socialnomics.net, 78 percent of people trust peer recommendations (i.e. the “Like” button on Facebook) for products and services that they buy. Only 14 percent trust TV, radio, and print advertising. In other words, you need to be an artist that peers are recommending.
2. “Promoting my music on social media won’t put any money in my pocket. I’ve tried it, and it just creates more work for me.”
Social media and ROI (return on investment) are hard to tie together. Social media use most likely won’t directly put money in your pocket in the short term. But, when used in connection with traditional marketing, and as part of a master plan, social media is integral in reinforcing relationships between you and your fans. Down the line, that can lead them to a point of purchase, particularly if you know how to ask. Google rankings and your email newsletter list will be two vital components to putting money in your pocket, and social media can help you strengthen both of them.
3. “Social media and marketing take too much time.
I only want to be ‘an artist’ playing my music.” Being successful does (and will) take hard work and always has. Here are a few personal questions to consider: How much time are you willing to commit to learning new skills and tools? If the answer is, “None. I just want to play,” that’s okay. I have worked with many artists who are pushing and forcing themselves to “succeed” without looking at what success really means to them. My friend, Derek Sivers (the founder of CD Baby), wrote the most powerful blog post I have ever read on the artist dilemma when it comes to success vs. creativity. This just might convince you to think making music for profit may not be for you. In it he says:
“When someone creates something that is really important, powerful, and valuable to them, it’s hard to imagine that it’s not important, powerful, and valuable to others.… But money only comes from doing something valuable to others.… If you stop expecting your art to be valuable to anyone but you, your conflicted mind can finally be at peace. Do it only because you love it, and it honestly doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.… You’ll probably be happier with your art because of this change in mindset. Ironically, others may appreciate it more too, though you honestly won’t care. Stop expecting it to be valuable to others. Accept it as personal and precious to only you. Get your money elsewhere.”
In my philosophy, there’s an in-between value that Derek does not assign, and it’s not so black and white. That value is: How you touch and inspire people along your journey of sharing your art may not have a high financial value at all. It may be deeply satisfying for you to take 10, 50, or 200 friends along your creative journey.
4. “Social media isn’t ‘real’ media. It has no impact on the ‘real’ world.”
Citizen journalists are the new influencers. They include bloggers, podcasters, Internet radio stations, and people with large followings on social media sites. If you doubt their influence, take a good, long look at traditional media these days: approximately once every minute, TV news broadcasts direct you to their Twitter and Facebook pages. Many of them have a permanent graphic on the screen with Facebook and Twitter feeds (think of 24-hour news channels like CNN or MSNBC). The “real” media is constantly telling viewers to go to social media and contribute. And note: There are over 200 million blogs online. I’ll bet my life that one or two of them may just want to write about you.
5. “Social media is just for young people. I’m not in ‘that’ generation.”
Think again: The average age of Twitter users is split pretty evenly over every age demographic. In fact, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is 55- to 65-year-old women. Why? Because grandma is signing up to look at photos of little Johnny and then realizing that all of her friends and family are actively engaged and … that’s FUN!
6. “Status updates on Facebook and tweets on Twitter are stupid. Who cares about what everyone is doing all the time?”
Many artists are wary of Twitter and Facebook updates because they don’t feel that people want to know their random or personal thoughts. And they don’t want to “waste their time” using them. Also, many artists feel that social networking sites are made for promotional use (only). When we all came to the party with the first ever social network (the now all-but-dead Myspace), that was indeed the case. In fact the goal on Myspace was: hype, hype, hype, promote, and add, add, add as many friends as possible. Rack up the plays by any means necessary, or you wouldn’t get that club booker to pay, give you the gig, or get that record label to sign you! There were very few personal thoughts or “status updates” in the Myspace mix. Twitter and Facebook are community-building and sharing platforms as opposed to promotional tools, so it confuses artists when it comes to what they are supposed to be contributing.
7. “I don’t want my fans to see my personal life.”
The empowering thing about social media is you can show only what you want to show; not everything is so personal. Here are a few ideas to start with: movies you like, books you read, and other artists you love and respect, and why.