To anyone who has ever propagated that artists should spend more time connecting with their fans, the following counterargument should sound familiar: “Artists are good at creating, they don’t want to bother with social media, why should they bother with it?”
As much as I love speaking in hyperboles, I have to resist branding this statement as bullshit. There’s actually a valid point in it. Particularly the middle segment is important to address, because I firmly believe on focusing on what you’re good at and love doing
and strongly encourage everyone to find their Ikigai.
First I’ll address the latter part of the question: why should artists bother with social media if they don’t like it? The key is to stop seeing yourself as a “creative” and to understand that you are an entrepreneur. Thinking like an entrepreneur is the only way you’ll be able to define your career as an artist on your own terms, with integrity, passion and without being exploited.
When you think like an entrepreneur, it means you have your goals (like making as much as exciting music as you can) and are undertaking activities that ensure you’ll be able to best accomplish those goals
. This might mean admin, publicity, or raising money - at least until you’re successful enough to be able to establish a team. This is why artists absolutely should
bother with social media: in this networked age you’re competing for attention and the best way to ensure you are heard is to stay top of mind
. Just ask YouTubers
Reluctant? Still think it’s tedious? I get it. Maintaining multiple social media channels requires consistency and some dedication and it can easily start to feel repetitive. This means you need to make it really easy for yourself
. But how do you make it fun?
You make social media fun by learning to lead your tribe. The reason why it becomes boring is because it’s dull to the point of soul killing to have to broadcast the same things over and over again. Especially when you don’t know if anyone actually cares. So don’t broadcast. Understand that there are people who believe in you and your music. Start talking to them. If nobody reacts to your social media messages, then start writing people directly via tweets, emails, etc. Don’t spam them. Remember: no broadcasting! Instead, try to figure out who they are, what they’re interested in, why they like your music, how they found it, etc. Get a clear picture of who your fans are.
Don’t broadcast; keep your fans involved. Let them know what inspires you, what you’re working on, what’s going on in your life, what you think is beautiful. Let them know what other fans are up to. There’s nothing quite as effective as showing people that they are part of something, than shining the occasional spotlight on tribe members.
Then social media becomes fun. Instead of posting stuff to anonymous people and counting clicks, views and likes, you’re now sharing things that are important to you, to people that are important to you. Don’t get too uptight about it, keep having fun. If you want to post a picture of a horse with a duckhead, then post a picture of a horse with a duckhead.