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. This is why we handle social media management here.
A lot of musicians hire someone to take that work off their hands but not all Social Media Managers (or SMMs for short) are created equally.
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 handle your social media is not your bag, there are helpful hints on how to get better at your own daily posting and content strategy and our social media content management tool so you can rock it like we do!
Laying The Groundwork
We 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 and you can spend your precious time doing what you love – playing and making music.
The most critical part of any social media management campaign is what happens before a single Tweet, Instagram, Newsletter 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. All of the next steps outlined here are designed to help you hone your narrative. This is the most important part. Without a cohesive narrative, you really have no social “strategy” just a bunch of posts.
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). We also want to know about your fans so, we ask quite a few questions about them as well. To download a powerful exercise that will help you figure out what your fans will like, click here.
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 discuss 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. If you are going to take a stab at making your social strategy more cohesive here is the guide we use internally – It’s called Social Media Tuneup.
Dropbox & Pinterest
We encourage our artists to make a Dropbox folder to gather personal and professional photos we can use for various posts (#TBT, #NewMusicFriday, etc.) We also encourage our artists to make private (or public!) Pinterest mood boards to capture photos and themes so we get inspired and 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 – but 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 have an in-house graphic designer but there are many great, easy-to-use apps that will help you create awesome graphics. To see some artists who have wonderful branding take a peep at this post to get inspired.
The Social Media Calendar 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 to handle the posts we expect. 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 Themes
We choose five THEMES for each artist, and we try to keep the content tight and not stray too far from these 5. Topics that interest you or define you in some way are great 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 themes, and general best practices for Twitter on the Twitter Smarter Podcast – Listen in for an in-depth dive.
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).
Ah, Facebook, love it or hate it – you need a Page and 3X a week is recommended. However, 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 Boosting, and ads). The content of Facebook posts needs to be more in-depth than tweets. Many studies also show that native video and images and Facebook Live are effective on Facebook so we make sure we mix up what we are posting. We have seen a lot of mistakes
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 with your target audience. Lastly, we strategize on special activations such as contests, newsletter sign up drives, Facebook Live, charity, and tie-ins for Ads, etc. We have an entire LAB which will teach you everything you need to know about preparing your own Ads. Watch the preview webinar here.
Your E-Mail List
Your e-mail list 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. Your SMM is basically your brainstorming buddy. She will help you come up with a sexy name for your newsletter, help you with nurturing your list and work to gather all of the names and email addresses you may have forgotten and will show you how to send your newsletter regularly and consistently.
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 including The Musician’s Guide to Instagram, 7 Great Instagram Users To Follow And Emulate and Top Tools and Apps to Optimize Your Instagram Account 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 when appropriate for cross-posting. We suggest you post on Instagram 3-4X a week. You should also try to post a story at least 1X a day (and up to 5 if you can!)
Organizing All Your Posts With The Cyber PR 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 collaborative spreadsheet, which ensures that no social channel is left behind and allows you to get ahead of planning (instead of forgetting and reacting!)
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 (GDoc) will make your life so much easier, and ensure that all your social channels are receiving the tender loving care and consistency they deserve.
Final Note – It’s All About Your Narrative
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.