Category Social Media

Why should I use social media?

The obvious answer is often the right one — if you don’t know why you should use social media, you probably shouldn’t be using it.

I often speak to people running businesses or trying to make it in a band who tell me they’re on Facebook because someone told them they should be on Facebook, but no matter how often they use the site, it all just seems rather pointless, not to mention fruitless.

Perhaps you’re one of those people who tells others their business or brand should be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Pinstagram, Faceyspaces…the list goes on. It’s a common misconception that we are obligated to engage all the new, shiny objects we hear are “hot” or “the next big thing” in social media. The truth is that you’re likely doing far more damage to your brand by trying to shoehorn social media into a workflow it wasn’t designed for.

That’s not to say that social media can’t help everyone. It most certainly can. However, it has to be done well to do so. If you’re one of those people I mentioned in the previous paragraph, knock it off already!

Brands should be online, and should register all the usernames and domain names necessary on all relevant social media platforms just as a matter of trademark security. How far that brand engages in social media depends not only on the brand but on the stakeholder’s appetite for using the platform or platforms of choice.

I’d love it if all the bands I’ve ever worked with were natural Tweeters or Facebookers. More often than not, it just doesn’t come naturally. They can entertain a room full of hundreds of paying customers for over an hour, but put a smartphone in their hands and they just don’t know what they’re supposed to say. This is not their fault; there is a message and you just have to find the method of transmission that works. Instagram has been incredibly useful for this. Being able to communicate in short, visual bursts is just what many creative people need to share of themselves authentically.

While you’re working on your “why” of social media, take care to understand what works for you and your business, and know you don’t have to do it all. If you’re struggling with the why, and you don’t need the leads or customer service platform or community, you don’t have to do social media at all.

How to make sure no one sees your YouTube video

  1. Give your video a vague title, so the viewer has to work to find out what your message is and whether it’s relevant to him or her.
  2. Edit it so it’s at least 1 minute longer than it really needs to be. The longer, the better!
  3. Don’t worry about poor lighting or inadequate microphones. Potential fans and customers will stick through terrible production values to get your message.
  4. Tag your video with things unrelated to your content. “lady gaga” “justin bieber” “the x factor” on all your videos about cats will help SEO!
  5. Whatever you do, don’t include your website address in the video’s description, ESPECIALLY not in the first portion. Your video listed in a search will only display the first 100 or so characters of the description, so you had better make sure that information makes it as difficult as possible for the viewer to get more information.
  6. You get 1000 characters to make your case in your video description. Use every single one, and remember that the more confusing your description, the more mystery you create.
  7. The less obvious your message, or where you fit into your music scene or business niche, the harder your potential fans will have to work to get to know you. Everyone loves guessing on the internet, especially considering how many other choices there are out there. Play hard to get.
  8. Most importantly, make sure you have nothing to contribute to a greater community.

Why email still matters

Working with bands isn’t that far off from working with small businesses: budgets are tight, and while stakeholders understand that all things online will help their business, they’re frequently looking for ways to get the job done as quickly and simply as possible so they can get back to what they’re best at doing. This is why a lot of businesses and brands stopped growing and updating email newsletter lists in favor of growing followings on Facebook and Twitter.

The problem with having your fans and customers on platforms you don’t own, however, is that you don’t own the online relationship with your fans and customers. This idea started coming home for many of us working in social media at the end of September, when suddenly each post only reached a fraction of the fans we had been reaching — that is, unless we pay to “promote” each post. So how do you continue to reach your customers? Email.

It’s never too late to start an email list if you don’t have one already. MailChimp is a great tool to with a full-functional free version for lists up to 2,000 people. Aweber is a great platform that makes it easy to send mail to highly segmented lists, but I’ve found that for most small business applications, it’s a little more power than necessary.

There are many more email platforms out there, so I encourage you to do some research and see what works best for your needs.