I’m not sure what the point of “Social Media Day” is exactly. Do we need a specific day to honor something we do and talk about on a daily basis? In the U.S., holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans Day are there to commemorate the past and the contributions people made for our country (or more cynically, a reason to take off from school or work and take advantage of retail sales). But to get back on topic, regardless of the significance of Social Media Day, what we do know is that social media is a relatively new and important phenomenon. Vadim Lavrusik at Mashable says that Social Media Day is, “A day that honors the technological and societal advancements that have allowed us to have a dialogue, to connect and to engage not only the creators of media, but perhaps more importantly, one another.” Put that way, it’s hard to argue with him. While people can argue the pros and cons of using social media, let’s just assume as professional musicians and amateurs we are all in the same boat and are big supporters of using social media tools to reach our fan base. Rather than discussing the fact that we have to use social media, what are some of the other things we should consider as we make social media decisions on a day-to-day basis?
Voyno of NewRockstarPhilosophy asks whether social media is killing your band. The point that Voyno makes is that before using social media, as an artist you should know how you want to promote yourself using these tools. For example, Voyno mentions that part of David Bowie’s persona is his more elusive and mysterious character—had he been in his prime during the social media boom, either he would have treated his public persona differently or his social media presence would have been a little more cryptic than the norm. How are you going to approach your personal and artistic brand? Some tend to overshare on services such as Twitter and Facebook. With the constant stream and updates going on, sometimes high profile artists might get a little overzealous and reveal things they should not reveal. With video, celebrities might take things to a whole new level (think Tila Tequila stripping on Ustream or Stephon Marbury explaining the virtues of eating Vaseline). Although you might not be a celebrity yet, as an up-and-coming artist, you should think about how you want to approach real-time chat and video because the way you approach things now will set the groundwork for your career years down the road. As much as it probably pains you to read about Justin Bieber, he and his management team seem to understand social media. He actually personally responds to many of his Twitter followers (despite the large amount of noise that appears in his @ inbox per minute). In my opinion, you should follow the 50/50 rule: your Twitter stream should be 50% personal and 50% business. This combination of business and personal will keep you sounding professional and on point while still appearing human. Also, fans get bored just hearing updates about your next tour or when you’re going to drop your next single. Dry facts make for a boring update, so there’s no reason why you can’t write about your day-to-day activities and musings to spice up the more routine business updates.
If you have a large following of fans all over the world, you may want to send out the same tweet or variations of a certain tweet at different times of the day. Some people follow a lot of other people and will only see your specific tweet if you send it out at the exact time they’re on Twitter. If you want to update your fans that you just released your album, sending out a tweet for different time zones can help to reach your followers around the world who are awake when you’re asleep (click for tweet scheduling services). Be careful about tweeting the same thing too many times because some of your followers may get irritated by constantly getting the same information from you if they do read their entire Twitter stream, so be selective about using this method of tweeting. If you think it can be useful for particularly important tweets, just tweet those important things more than once and at different times of the day. Tweeting the same thing in rapid succession is a definite social media faux pas, so never do that unless it serves some real comedic value.
Now that social media appears to be here to stay instead of a passing fad of the 2000’s, the question surrounding social media should change from “should I?” to “how should I?” Social media etiquette will probably become a hot button issue surrounding newcomers to social media who don’t quite “get it” yet. Your fans will more likely respond to you if you truly care about them. Engaging them in a way that is conversational and fun is obviously better than being distant and cold. So don’t bombard your fans and followers with mundane updates constantly linking to the same music page or website, but strike a balance between personal and professional that will keep them coming back for more.