Lisa Redford: Using social media
Columnist Lisa Redford is a British singer-songwriter based in NYC. This month, she looks at promoting yourself via social media
he great modernist poet TS Eliot wrote that we are “distracted from distraction by distraction”. With social media such an integral part of our lives, his words have become very prophetic. Whether it’s posting updates to Facebook, tweeting, snapping Instagram photos, adding gigs to Songkick or uploading videos to YouTube, it’s hard to concentrate on one thing at a time.
Once, you had one website and one email where people could contact and correspond with you. Then, with the advent of MySpace, there opened up a whole new approach to promoting and sharing your music. Now there’s such an overwhelming amount of websites to maintain and update, where do you start? And more importantly, find the time to actually write songs!
Engaging through social media has become essential for artists these days but how do you best use all these tools? Today everything is instantaneous and moving at such a rapid pace. You might have a great new release but promoting it right is key. Here I’ll share some things I do and hopefully suggest some good ways to utilise the popular sites.
“It’s essential to engage and interact”
I’m a list maker and always find having a daily to-do list really gives me a focus for the day. It reminds me what e-mails I have to respond to and the latest updates to share. Facebook is great for keeping connected and I regularly share a mixture of posts: new live performance and promo videos, photos, links to articles and new songs, but it’s also essential to engage and interact. You need to make sure you respond to comments, ask questions to create a dialogue and offer cool things such as a unique giveaway. I’ve done a free Friday download, offering special tracks whether it’s a new song or a remix. Obviously visuals are important and I often find when I post photos they get a lot of response.
I also engage with, and link to, other Facebook pages that I like. For example, venues and festivals I’m playing, artists I’ve supported, blogs or magazines that have reviewed me. You can link to them in your wall posts and create genuine interaction. Also, keeping your ‘About’ section up-to-date and interesting is important: include any great quotes from promoters, journalists, DJs and links to your other websites.
All this can be time consuming so Facebook has a useful tool where you can schedule all of your posts. I often try to think about what to share in a particular week and there’s also HootSuite to set times to post updates. I’d love to hear how often you like to post. Facebook is a great marketing tool so use it consistently to your advantage and hopefully you’ll generate new fans.
I’ve found Twitter a great way to interact and gain new followers. I tend to add slightly different updates here. As well as my music news, I tweet about music blogs, radio shows I listen to, music articles and records I’m listening to. I like that it’s succinct and I’ve connected with DJs, photographers, writers, blogs and radio shows as a result of retweeting and replying to them. I like to acknowledge and thank those who are sharing my tweets and it’s important to network with the people who might potentially be interested in your style of music. Retweet them, favourite and reply to their tweets and genuinely engage. As with Facebook it’s useful for building engagement in your followers and there are tools to help you such as the ‘who to follow’ tab.
“Soundcloud is good for keeping focused on making music”
Using SoundCloud regularly is good for keeping focused on making music. There’s a huge community of musicians there and I regularly post new songs, live radio sessions and remixes of my songs. Giving feedback and interacting with others has resulted in some great collaborations with producers from around the world. I like that you can see the audio file, leave comments along its timeline and that you can create sets. For example, I keep my vocal stems together, which an array of producers have worked with.
As with all the social media sites you use most it’s important to maintain it, keep all the information on there updated and add as many useful links and info as you can to each song you upload (the buy, video links, tags, plus a cool photo) so that when you share to your other networks it will be easy for them to access all the key information about your track.
“It’s crucial to get email addresses at gigs”
Alongside these I maintain my website and blog which I update with WordPress, and I also have a Tumblr blog as I like that it’s quick to update and I can share interesting articles, photos and follow other blogs. I continue to send a monthly email newsletter to my fans as it’s crucial to get email addresses at gigs and invest time in your loyal and existing fans. Now it’s also about sending them to your social media links and have all platforms working together. As well as the key sites, there are so many other platforms around for sharing your music so it’s worth using the ones you spend your time on creatively.
It can be overwhelming, but the cool thing is that there are a lot of helpful music sites and blogs around to provide relevant and up-to-date advice and also news on the latest social media developments. Keeping a lively online profile combined with entertaining content is great but it’s also essential to get out there, play good gigs, meet people in the industry, get radio play and blog features as this is key for gaining real exposure and buzz and for building a dedicated fan base. And of course, this all helps for having interesting news for your online updates!
It’s all about interacting, getting a nice balance, distinguishing yourself and finding creative ways to keep in people’s minds and build momentum. I’ve only skimmed the surface in this article, and would love to hear what you do to promote yourself via social media.
Regular Songwriting columnist Lisa Redford has been described by BBC Radio 2′s Bob Harris as “one of our finest singer/songwriters.” She has earned acclaim for her heartfelt acoustic music with gorgeous melodies, stunning pure and soulful vocals. Lisa recently released an EP called Reminders, recorded with musician and producer Jeff Hill who has worked with Rufus Wainwright and Teddy Thompson. It has received glowing reviews and BBC radio airplay.