Raise your hand if keeping your social media channels updated and compelling feels like an overwhelming task. It’s okay, I understand! It’s a lot of work to keep your online presence fresh and engaging. Especially if you’re also trying to create music at the same time.
That’s why a lot of musicians hire someone to take that work off their hands – a Social Media Manager (or an SMM for short), will work with you to create content that attracts more fans and supports your brand. An SMM will also post regularly on your socials so that you don’t have to get into the daily tedious grind.
Our team at Cyber PR manages social media for a wide range of artists and entrepreneurs, and we often find ourselves explaining what a social media management campaign actually entails. Many are wary of letting someone else post for them, with good reason. You put a lot of work into gathering your tribe of fans – you don’t want to confuse them with posts that don’t sound like they came from you!
In this post, I want to assuage some of these fears, and give you an insider’s look at WHAT WE ACTUALLY DO for our clients during a social media management campaign. And if hiring someone to do your social media is not your bag, there will be some helpful hints on how to get better at your own daily posting and content strategy.
Laying The Groundwork
The most critical part of any social media management campaign is what happens before a single Tweet or Facebook post goes out. We have to get to know you – as an artist, and as a person – before we can start to post for you.
The Intake Process
Our SMM campaigns are handled by a team of one or two social media managers. We start by sending an in-depth questionnaire that asks dozens of questions about your current social media strategy, what types of content you like (and dislike), and what your fans are reacting to currently. We ask you to share your favorite artists, videos, quotes and content (even if it is unrelated to your music). After you return the questionnaire, our whole team meets to analyze it and create themes, content ideas and a personalized content calendar. Next, we set up an in-depth meeting (phone, Skype, or in-person) with you, in order to go over the questionnaire and begin to really understand your voice. Together, we go deeper into your interests, influences and what kind of content you want us to add to your current posting schedule. We also look deeply at your analytics to identify other social media users it might be fruitful for you to engage with, and what online conversations you might want to join.
Dropbox & Pinterest
We encourage our artists to make a Dropbox folder to gather personal and professional photos we can use for various posts (Throwback Thursday, promo, Travel Tuesday, etc.). We also encourage our artists to make private (or public!) Pinterest mood boards to capture photos and themes we can use to get a sense of your preferred aesthetics, graphics and color schemes. This is an easy way to curate content that you like (recipes, memes, photos, quotes, videos, Soundcloud playlists, etc.). This not only gives us appropriate fodder for posts – it also gives us greater insight into the brand image you want to portray.
Social Skinning & Special Graphics
Next, we make sure your brand is cohesive across all channels, and all sites are optimized and skinned. It is important to visualize releases, blog features, show announcements, crowdfunding campaign countdowns and social channels. Our SMMs create unique visual content that fits with each individual artists’ brands. To do this we use Canva, but there are many great, easy-to-use apps that will help you create awesome graphics.
The SMM Organizer
Once we have the basics down, we start to prep some posts on a what we call the SMM Organizer which is stored in the cloud as a Google Sheet, and when posts are approved we use a social media scheduling system like Hootsuite or Buffer. You have full access to everything we are doing, and we ask our clients to give feedback and make changes at any point. Your level of involvement in the process is completely up to you. Some of our clients like to leave everything in our hands, and some stay very involved, even continuing to post themselves. This all depends on how much you like social media and how much time you have to get into the action. Below you will be able to download the template that we use here internally!
Social Media Channels
We choose five THEMATICS for each artist, and we try to keep the content tight and not stray too far from these 5 thematics. Topics that interest you or define you in some way are great thematic options (ie. your music, charitable causes, sports, outdoors, animals, hometowns, etc.). That way, your Twitter feed stays coherent, and new followers can immediately get a grasp on who you are and what you stand for.
I did an in-depth interview on how we create thematics, and general best practices for Twitter on the Twitter Smarter Podcast – Listen in for an in depth dive: http://bit.ly/TwitterPodcastAriel
Our goal is to make sure that when WE post something, it sounds exactly like something YOU would say. We want to make it so similar that not even your besties will be able to tell the difference.
An effective Twitter management strategy has two major components: content creation, and audience development.
Our SMMs Tweet between 3 and 10 times a day for our artists. We include a mix of RTs, @’s, and original posts. One of the tweets is almost always about your music and what is happening in your career, though it is important to avoid being overly promotional on social media. Obviously if you have a show coming up, or a new single, we include more promotional posts than usual.
If you are thinking that this is a lot of tweeting, know this: the average tweet shows up on peoples’ news feeds for approximately 45 seconds. That makes it impossible for us to over-tweet.
You build an audience on Twitter by following people who you think might be interested in you and your music. We take this off your hands, and use professional apps to build your followers systematically and efficiently. After a few weeks of Twitter management, you will see higher engagement on your Tweets from REAL people (not the fake accounts that some people pay for).
In general, you shouldn’t be posting on Facebook as much as you post on Twitter. Once a day is plenty, but many of our artists like to post more (it all depends on how reactive your Facebook followers are and how much money you wish to invest in ads or a promotional strategy). Content of Facebook posts needs to be more in-depth than tweets. Many studies also show that native video and images are effective on Facebook so we make sure we mix up what we are posting.
As you may know, Facebook is virtually all pay-to-play. The newsfeed algorithms are annoyingly skewed to benefit paid advertisers. Therefore, a huge part of Facebook SMM is creating and manage ads for you. We create an advertising strategy that drives engagement on promotional posts, web traffic, and encourages sharing amongst your audience’s networks. We also monitor Ad Insights and analytics to determine which Ads are producing the best results, and which strategies resonate well among your target audience. Lastly, we strategize on special activations such as contests, newsletter sign up drives (a free download in exchange for an email, for instance), charity tie-ins for Ads, etc.
Your newsletter is where most of your engagement and revenue will come from, so getting a professional to help you with it is a great investment. You want to be consistent and regularly posting on all of your social channels, but this is ESPECIALLY important with your newsletter. We recommend sending a newsletter at least once a month. A social media manager will help you organize your mailing list, write, and send emails to your subscribers. After the newsletter is sent we track open rates and work with you to improve them and help you come up with ways to grow your mailing list.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels, and one of the easiest to use. It’s a great platform on which to build your brand, increase your following, and create compelling content. We’ve written several blog posts that are full of advice on how to use Instagram effectively. A social media manager can do all sorts of things for you on Instagram – creating and posting custom graphics and images to support your brand, gathering your approved personal photos and scheduling at least one post a day, utilizing appropriate hashtags and engaging in conversations to get you more followers, and connecting your account to all your other social channels.
Your SMM is basically your brainstorming buddy. She has been working in the music business for years, and have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. She help you come up with blog topics and brand-consistent ideas, and help you with all the backend technical work. She can help you choose SEO-friendly (Search Engine Optimization) titles for your blog posts, and even find you a ghost writer, if blogging isn’t your thing. One of our past clients at Cyber PR was a sociologist with many published scientific papers, and we worked with her to re-work her published papers into compelling blog posts to expand her influence online.
Organizing Your Posts with The SMM Organizer
One of the most important components of managing social media is keeping on top of the daily posts. Here at Cyber PR, we organize posts for our clients in a giant spreadsheet, which ensures that no social channel is left behind. As a reward for getting all the way to the bottom of this GIANT blog post, we’d love to give you a free download of the very template we use! The Social Media Management Organizer will make your life so much easier, and ensure that all your social channels are receiving the tender loving care they deserve. Click below to get your social posts organized!
In the end, our goal in a social media management campaign is to streamline your social media strategy, and build your audience organically. In order to do this, we learn how to use YOUR voice, YOUR interests, and YOUR music to create compelling content to attract new fans and strengthen the relationship with existing fans. If you want help we would love to talk to you – just click below to set up a call and HAPPY POSTING!
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