Since I completed my master’s in music composition in 1992, I’ve worn many hats and adapted my swing to many of life’s curve balls, like most of us. My goal as a young man was to develop the necessary skills to become a film music composer. So between 1992 and 2005, I ran a business producing, arranging, recording music and sound design for a number of small and local productions; from short to features, television themes to corporate videos and from multimedia applications to websites.

While running my business on the side, I started teaching part time at a vocational school in Montreal where I developed a number of educational courses on digital audio, computers and the music industry, and at the time, an introduction to multimedia production, which in 1998, meant interactive CD-ROMs. Internet existed, but the technology and bandwidth made digital media transfer an exercise in patience.

In 2000, I started a collaboration with Cengage Learning (at the time it was called something else, but the company was purchased and rebranded). Over the 7 years that followed, I wrote a number of “how to” books for them, as well as a number of interactive titles for popular digital audio software applications. MIDI Power and Cubase Power are still being sold today and have been updated several times to accommodate new versions.

In 2005, a mobile content production and distribution company called Airborne Mobile needed someone to help them run their audio operations department. This was before smartphones: the glory days of high-priced ringtones and wallpapers, proprietary formats, and ever changing business models for the mobile industry. A few months into the job, the company purchased another company, Cellus USA, which had contracts with American and Canadian carriers to aggregate audio content from major labels and distribute this content back to them. My experience with audio helped understand the business relationships and the type of content, but it’s my work with multimedia developers that really helped me understand how to optimize processes, make the user experience (for both the business partners and Airborne) better and more efficient. Once the aggregation platform became more efficient, I was able to take on additional responsibilities with the product group and manage the audio and graphics products of the company. It was great to deal with partners such as Fox, NHL, NFL, Iris Distribution, Food Network and many others.

By 2010, the iPhone had sparked several companies into producing similar smartphones, the Android platform was gaining momentum, Airborne Mobile was purchased by another company and I wanted to continue working with partners in the pursuit of better digital content creation. So I joined a digital marketing company called Twist Image as an account supervisor. Twist specialises in social media marketing with Mitch Joel, one of Canada’s top social media evangelist as president. The company’s strongest asset is probably its approach to digital marketing strategy, which provided me with some insights into the thinking and creative process behind a number of big digital marketing campaigns.

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8-Step Guide to Social Marketing Your Digital Audio Career, Part 2

In this article, we’ll look at ways to craft the story you want to tell through your social media marketing efforts and how you can tell it through the different existing platforms.

Develop an Experience

Each day that we live, we go through experiences that help shape us. The next day, we can tell the story and live new ones. Music tells its own story with sound. Marketing, when done well, tells its own story. The more interesting the story is the more people will want to share it. You’ve experienced this online many time and have done so yourself. How many times have you liked something, sent an email to a friend or “Googled” something after finding out about it?

An experience will help you tell the story of your business, service or product. In order to develop this experience, you need to answer a few questions that will help you build that story in a way that meets your strategy’s goal.

  •  If you needed to narrow it down to one important thing you’d like to communicate, what would this be? Keep it simple. The more things you try to communicate, the harder it will be for people to understand quickly. People won’t be willing to spend more than a few seconds before they head somewhere else. This can be as simple as a statement saying “I am a music composer.”
  • The second question you need to answer is “what makes that statement true?” Do you have experience or work that can back this statement up? Are you well known in the field? Make a list and put in order of importance. You’ll want to integrate some if not all of these answers in your story.
  • Place yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask yourself, what might they think of this story? Is it something that might be useful to them? Would it interest them? Is it relevant to their reality or is it only relevant to yours? If you’re developing a story that’s only relevant to you, your audience will go away or not come back.
  • We discussed the importance of identifying the target audience, so you should keep this in mind when developing your experience. Building a fan site shouldn’t look the same as building a showcase for a movie director.
  • Does the story help in establishing your position or point of view, who you are and stand for? It’s important that the story reflects your identity in order to provide your audience with a sense of the person they can expect. This is especially true if you are offering professional services, like music composition, sound design, or arrangement. You can illustrate this through your sound aesthetics or as part of the story/experience. Whatever you do, consistency within the experience will play a great role in establishing your position as an expert.
  • Once the experience is done, what’s next? If you’re investing in your marketing efforts, it’s likely that you want some results. What these results should be in line with the marketing strategy we discussed earlier. How are you measuring the success of these efforts? Will the increased number of people listening to your music be one of the measures for your marketing effort? This is possibly something that you’ll need to think about quite a bit. If you’re treating your creative profession as a business, you’ll probably want to measure the increase in business the experience provides. The number of people listening to your music might lead to this increase in business. If that’s what you are counting, then it should be relevant to your business, otherwise, you’re wasting your time.

 Choose Your Tactics Carefully

Social media tactics, should they be part of your marketing strategy, should help in you achieving certain business goals. There are plenty of discussions about the “cool” and “fun” factor in social media and how it has become omnipresent on the web over the past decade, but if you’re looking at it from a business proposition, it has to help yours out.

Unless you’re name is recognized in the industry (you are a “brand name”), or a small business with substantial marketing funds available, or an individual with time on your hands, the social media tactic you choose to invest your time in developing should be easy to setup and have the greatest reach possible. This is especially true if reach is what you are going for. When choosing a social media tool for your music marketing strategy, keep the following questions in mind to help you determine what might be the best option for you:

  • Will you need to spend days to figure out how it works or lots of money to get someone to help you set something up? Most social media tools are easy to setup and have great reach. If you’re already savvy to the options available, you might want to setup profiles on different social media platforms. If you’re not savvy and don’t want to spend time learning and sharing, go with what you know and fits with your strategy.
  • Do you need to learn how to use the interface being proposed or an application in order to use a tool? If so, does that tool really help you to reach your target audience or does it help you reach others that share the same passion? The latter might be fun, but it might be less effective at bringing additional business. The former makes more business sense only if the resulting business outweighs the efforts you need to invest initially.

If you’re spending more time doing other things aside from being creative or doing your own thing (be it writing lyrics, songs, designing graphics, writing a column, or building a custom motorcycle), you’re wasting your time.

Tell me if this helps or if it brings upon additional questions. If you have some advice to share, please free to leave me your comments below.


Manage Your Business Separately in Social Media

Once you found the social media sites that you feel offers the best solution for your “creative business,” manage it as a separate entity. In other words, family pictures, weekend party videos with your buddies, or your favourite recipes shouldn’t be part of this space. They are part of your personal/social space. Google+ even uses the concept of “Circles” in order to segregate content by interest. Let’s take the example of a punk music band. You have tours or concerts to promote, pictures and music to share, albums and t-shirts sell, fans, promoters, sponsors and labels to thank. All of your postings in the social media space should be around and feed these pillars of interest. Posting about these topics will help build your band’s image, promote your shows, help sell tickets and merchandise. If wild after-show parties are part of the band’s image, go for it. The pictures of your last fishing trip with uncle Buck, not so much.

There are no rules that say you can’t mix and match, but it will make it easier for you to manage your business separately from your public profiles.

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