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 social media management campaigns are one of the most popular services we offer.
A lot of musicians hire a team to help them bring their artist brand to light and to take the daily work off their hands, but not all Social Media Managers (or SMMs for short) are created equally. 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. This takes effort to pull off well.
Our team at Cyber PR manages social media for a wide range of artists and companies, 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 your music and into gathering your 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. 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, content strategy, and our social media content management tool so you can rock it like we do!
Laying The Groundwork
Setting a strong foundation is crucial for social media success. Sadly, many social media management companies dive in and just start posting – this is NOT a social media management campaign – this is just someone posting to fill your calendar. 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.
The groundwork is designed to help you understand who you want to portray on your socials (your brand pillars) and who your are actually speaking to (your fan personas).
Your Brand Pillars
Your brand pillars each identify an important characteristic of your musical essence and expand upon why this is relevant to your artistry. Each brand pillar answers the question “who?” Our SMMs start by identifying your brand pillars to help you articulate who it is you are, and who you are trying to draw in. Next, each pillar gets incorporated into your social channels.
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.
Your Fan Personas
Each fan persona we create defines in detail the characteristics of your ideal fan. These inform which communities of fans to target and which markets to aim for by answering the question: “Who is your typical fan?” We build them by looking at each of our clients social media analytics and conducting deep interviews about the observations and experiences our artists have with their fans. To download a powerful exercise that will help you figure out what your fans will like, click here. We also look at artists who are similar to you and see what their fan communities are like and research hashtags and location.
Hone Your Narrative & Select Social Media Themes
This is the most important part. Without a cohesive narrative, you really have no social “strategy” just a bunch of posts. As part of our plans, we curate four or five themes for each artist. We keep the content tight and do not stray too far from them. Music is always the first theme and then we add additional topics that fit your brand, including your hometown, charitable causes, the outdoors, the road, etc. This way your feeds stay coherent, and new followers can immediately get a grasp on who you are and what you stand for. Here is an in-depth interview Ariel did for the Twitter Smarter Podcast on how we create themes, and general best practices.
The Social Media Content Intake Process
Our social media management campaigns are handled by a team of one or two SMMs. We start by sending an in-depth questionnaire that asks dozens of questions about your current social media strategy, such as what types of content you like (and dislike).
We ask you to share your favorite artists, videos, quotes and content. After you return the questionnaire, our whole team meets to analyze it, and we begin to build a personalized content calendar. Next, we set up an in-depth meeting via phone, Skype, or in-person, 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 or Google Drive
We ask our artists to make a Dropbox or Google Drive folder to gather personal and professional photos that surround the themes we outlined for them that we can use to create their content calendar. This is an easy way for us to pull content to post.
Social Skinning & Special Graphics
Next, we make sure your brand is cohesive across all channels and that all sites are optimized and skinned. It is important to visualize releases, blog features, show announcements, and crowdfunding campaign countdowns. 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 like Canva that will help you create awesome graphics. To get inspired, take a peep at some artists that have wonderful branding.
Once we have the basics down, we start to prep some posts on our Content Calendar (also called a Social Media Organizer) which is stored in the cloud as a Google Sheet. This is a working document that we and the artist both have full access to. We ask our clients to take a peep when there is new content to approve, and have designated columns for any comments or notes they have, as well as a column dictating approval/disapproval. When posts are approved by the artist and their team, we schedule your posts out for you. This is a working document, so we are always at the ready to replace posts with spontaneous announcements along the way (such as pop-up performances, live streams of your shows or celebratory engagement if your newest single rises to the top of the charts!). You have full access to everything we are doing, and we invite 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.
Instagram is by far the most popular social media channels according to every single artist we know. 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, and Advanced Instagram Tips that are full of advice on how to use Instagram effectively. An SMM will create and post content, utilizing appropriate hashtags and engaging in conversations to get you more followers and engagement. We suggest you post on Instagram every other day. You should also try to post a story 5+ times daily. It’s important to keep in mind that organic engagement is very important on this channel – which is why we do not use any automated bots for engagement purposes, as it hurts your account in the long-run. Fake followers cannot be converted into fans.
Twitter has fallen out of favor with many musicians recently, but it is still a fruitful place to find fans and interact with them. An effective Twitter management strategy has two major components: content creation and audience development. Having a strong personality is also a must, so if you are funny, political or sarcastic, etc. and you can come up with pithy and fast short content or memes, this may be the perfect platform for you. Our SMMs tweet 3 times a day for our artists. We include a mix of RTs, mention’s, and original posts. One of the tweets is almost always about your music or a CTA to follow your other platforms, though it is important to avoid being overly promotional on social media.
If you have a show coming up, or a new single, we may 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 news feeds for approximately 45 seconds. That makes it impossible for us to over-tweet. To brush up your Twitter chops check out part 4 of Social Media House, our free video course that will help you navigate all things social media! You build an audience on Twitter by following people who you think might be interested in you and your music and involving yourself in conversations relevant to your brand.
Ah, Facebook, love it or hate it – you need a Page and posting 3X a week is recommended. However, many of our artists like to post more (it all depends on how active your Facebook Likers 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. We have seen a lot of mistakes. Many studies also show that video and images native to Facebook, meaning posted directly on the source as opposed to shared links from other platforms, and Facebook Live are most effective here, so we make sure to include these elements when posting for you. TIP: Never post a YouTube link. The Facebook algorithm will not show it to a good amount of people, whether they’ve Liked your Page or not.
As you may know, Facebook is virtually all pay-to-play. The algorithms are annoyingly skewed to benefit paid advertisers. Therefore, a huge responsibility of Facebook SMM is creating and managing ads for you. (Note: Ad budget is not included in our SMM Services pricing). We create an advertising strategy that drives engagement and web traffic on promotional posts, 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 most with your target audience. Lastly, in this part of your social media management campaign, we strategize on special activations such as contests, newsletter sign-up drives, Facebook Live, charities, 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.
Your Newsletter List
Many companies who offer social media management campaigns do not focus on emails. We do because 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 when 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 and that you create many series of email drip campaigns. The initial drip campaign you create should to warm up new fans who have just signed up to your list, though there are many other essential ones to build. Your SMM is basically your brainstorming buddy and writing partner. They will help you come up with a sexy name for your newsletter, assist in nurturing your list, and work to gather all of the names and email addresses that may have fallen through the cracks. Lastly, she will show you how to send your emails to your list regularly and consistently.
Knowing When to Post with our Best Times to Post on Social Media Guide
One of the most important components of managing social media is knowing when to post. Here at Cyber PR, we are constantly researching the best times to post, as this is just as ever-changing as the algorithm. Analytics from each platform can be helpful, but there are also general tips that you should take into account.
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 information we use! The Best Times to Post on Social Media guide 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.