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Top Seven Reasons Why Artists Strongly Resist Social Media

Ariel Hyatt founded Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR and her firm has worked with over 1,000 musicians and bands of all genres. Her company is now 100% digital and helps artists increase their online exposure. Sign Up here: Follow Hyatt on Twitter @cyberpr.

It happened a few weeks ago in Australia.  I was standing at the opening cocktail reception for APRA’s Song Summit Music Conference overlooking Darling Harbor in Sydney, and I was chatting with a perfect stranger (who it turns out is a very famous Australian musician with quite a few top 10 hits in Oz).  Noting my foreign accent he asks “What brings you here?” “I teach artists about online marketing and social media.”  I answer sheepishly, because this news is not always met with elated enthusiasm.

Him: Really?

Me: Yes

Him: You know one thing I have noticed about Social Media and marketing…

Me: What is that?

Him: I noticed that you don’t really have to be a great artist or well respected by your musician peers to succeed now a days – you just have to be really good at marketing and you get more success than you ever would have in the past.

Well, he’s right. I’m not saying that his point is fair and he only voiced what 99% of most musicians only think: That guy’s music really sucks but he got good at being pushy on Facebook and so he gets more people to his gigs than me, and he sells more than me.

Really? Is that what you think?

What I would say is: It doesn’t matter if you think that musician sucks. The POINT is that artist managed to identify and relate to enough people who think his music is great and his fans reward his efforts. So, stop judging others and worry about how to make a difference for yourself.

Why?  Because there are 500,000,000 people on Facebook to connect with.

And anyone can connect with a few hundred people, forge great relationships and then market music that those fans who want it and like it. Simple.

What is NOT simple is getting your judgments about yourself and other artists out of the way and justdiving in.

So here I am to debunk a few of your (ahem) resistances and the aforementioned one is #1 on the list of….

Top Seven Reasons Why Artists Strongly Resist Social Media

#1: I don’t want to be pushy and over-hypey, like all those other artists that I hate. (or “I hate the way he markets and I don’t want to market like him!”)

OK – so talking about yourself is icky.  But having people love your music is wonderful. So my advice is: when you use Social Media, take the spotlight off of YOURSELFF and shine it on OTHERS (the people in your community/ fans / friends).

Share things that feel mundane. Don’t even think of marketing yourself or your music for a few months until you get the hang of it; and then 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: 78% of people trust peer recommendations (i.e. the “Like” button on Facebook) for products and services that they BUY.  Only 14% trust TV/radio/print advertising (source: Socialnomics). You need to be one of the artists 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.

Here is what is true: Social media most probably won’t directly put money in your pocket in the short term. But when used in concert with traditional marketing and as part of a plan it can be integral in re-enforcing relationships between you and your fans which will down the line lead them to a point of purchase.

In a recent Top Spin training class I learned that being Googlicious (your Google rankings) and your email newsletter list are two vital components to putting money in your pocket and social media can help you strengthen both.

#3 Social Media and Marketing takes too much time.

I only want to be “an artist” rehearsing and playing.

OK, I never said that this was fair. Being successful does and will take hard work and it always has.  These are a personal questions:  What is your definition of success? How much time are you willing to commit to learning new skills and mastering new tools?

If the answer is “none – I just want to play,” than that that’s OK.

Derek Sivers recently wrote a moving piece ( about this and the comments are very telling (maybe making music for profit isn’t for you)

“Stop expecting it to be valuable to others. Accept it as personal and precious to only you. Get your money elsewhere.”

Wanna Keep Going?  Good!  Read on:

I remember attending a seminar called the “World’s Greatest Marketing Seminar” which was designed to help entrepreneurs market their companies and one of the most successful ones stood up on stage and delivered some horrible news:

To be successful, 70% of your time should be spent on your marketing and sales and 30% working on your business…

There was a collective gasp in the audience.

(Yes this means that as artists you still must balance the creation of music BUT you better spend a lot more time on the marketing side)

#4. “Social” Media isn’t “real” media – or – Social media has no real impact on the “real” world.

Citizen journalists (bloggers, podcasters, Internet Radio stations and people with large followings on Social Media sites) are the new influencers.  Take a good long look at traditional media these days: approx once every minute, TV news broadcasts tell you to go to their Twitter and Facebook pages.  Many of them have a permanent graphic on the screen with Facebook and Twitter feeds (think CNN or Fox).  The “real” media is constantly telling viewers to go to social media and contribute.  And note: There are over 200 Million blogs online.  One or two of them may just want to write about you J

#5. Social media is just for young people – I’m not in “that”generation.

Think Again: The average age of a twitter user is 39.  The fastest growing demo on Facebook is 55-65 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 Twitter Tweets are stupid.Who CARES about what everyone is DOING ALL OF THE TIME???

Many artists only feel that social networking sites are made for promotional use.

And when we all came to the party with the first ever social network – MySpace – that was indeed the case. In fact the GOAL 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 to pay attention to you or that record label to sign you!

There were no personal thoughts or “status updates” in the mix whatsoever.

Therefore, a lot of artists become deathly afraid of Twitter and Facebook status updates because they don’t feel that people want to know their random or personal thoughts.

Since Twitter counteracts that and is more of a community-building tool than a promotional tool, it confuses them on what they are supposed to be doing or saying on it.

Get everyone in your group involved! Maybe one person flourishes on Twitter but doesn’t understand Facebook. Then let them put 100% of their energy into that social networking site alone. You will see when someone is actually doing something they understand you will get the best return on your investment on that site.

#7 I’m not a social person / I don’t want my fans to see my personal life.

If you really are not a social person, Social Media is ideal for you because you’re at a computer screen, not in front of a live human!

You can decide when and how to respond to someone, have time to think about what to say, who to say it to, without the pressure of someone sitting in front of you expecting a response in the moment.

And only show what you want to show – not EVERYTHING is personal – movies you like, books you read, how about talking about other artists you love and respect? There’s a few to start with.

If you want my help in getting over all of these resistances come join My Music Success in Nine Weeks Blogging Challenge

Thanks to Phil (@PhilPutnamMusic) and Christina (@CyberPRUrban) for the help on this post!



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