Category Archives: Social Media Trends

Pictures Speak Louder Than Words – A Musician’s Guide To Pinterest

Remember the good old days when you would gather your favorite pictures, articles and photos and stick them in a scrapbook? Or pin postcards and notes on your kitchen pin board? Well, the art of the keepsake has just gone digital.

Pinterest is a digital scrapbook of your life. A way to tell the world who and what you are with visual snapshots. A way to follow and connect with a community of like-minded people without talking. Digital stalking has just gone artsy, and apparently 10.4 million users have jumped on the bandwagon. 140 characters is just too much. Pictures speak louder than words.

But is this new social media site relevant to the music industry? Can musicians harness the power of Pinterest to their advantage? In a word, “yes.” Below is my guide to Pinterest for musicians.



  • First and foremost, Pinterest is another powerful viral marketing tool for music videos. It allows you to share Youtube and Vimeo videos on your page.
  • Your Pinterest page is automatically public which instantly strengthens your online brand identity, increases your search engine optimization and boosts your viral power.
  • It compliments your existing social media sites by allowing you to share your “pins” on Facebook and Twitter. You can also link to other social media sites in your bio section.
  • It’s a cross-promotional tool that allows you to connect with people in other industries such as fashion, photography, film etc.
  • It gives your fans a visual snapshot of your personality and interests, revealing the person behind the music.
  • It allows you to filter and categorize your interests. Unlike Facebook, nothing gets lost in a timeline.
  • It can be used as a digital resume—you can “pin” tour posters, press photos, album covers, videos and articles to Pinterest. Check out ReverbNation’s page for ideas on pinning.
  • People can follow certain boards on your Pinterest page rather than following everything. This filter function allows you to be more specific about your information stream.
  • Other people can pin to your page, forming a creative, two-way sharing process with your fans.




For a step-by-step guide on setting up a Pinterest account, check out this great article by Sorta Crunchy. Also bear in mind the following:

  • Similar to other social media sites, the success of your Pinterest page is based on authenticity. Create a balance between your personal and professional identity, and don’t create a Pinterest account unless you enjoy it and want to use it regularly.
  • Ensure you create personalized boards specific to you, such as “Bands I love”, “music websites I follow”, “lyrical inspirations”. This personalization of your page enables you to categorize your interests more clearly, allowing fans more freedom to choose what they want to hear about. Check out music biz coach Madalyn Sklar’s page as an example.
  • Utilize the search box in the top left hand corner to search for other people with similar interests.
  • Utilize key words and descriptions in your bio.  This may determine whether someone will follow you. Make sure it is consistent with your branding.
  • Add your website URL and links to your other social networking sites in your bio section.
  • Don’t forget to categorize your pins and use key words in your tags so they appear in key word searches.
  • Utilize the iPhone app for Pinterest to pin photos you’ve taken onto your Pinterest page.
  • For other ideas of what to pin check out these great articles by Gig Masters and Kimbee Jabber.
  • Check out the Indie Ambassador list of musicians and music industry professionals on Pinterest to help you get started building a Pinterest community, and enter your Pinterest contact info in the form at the bottom to be included in the list!




When you first start using Pinterest be aware of the following:

  • Other than videos, there is no other way to directly share your music on Pinterest. Hopefully this will change and the Pinterest team will develop a way to share music via music players on Pinterest.
  • You can’t pin posts from Facebook or Twitter to Pinterest. It’s also difficult to post pins to Facebook without cutting and pasting a link, unless you use the Pinterest iPhone app. You can, however, “tweet” your pins very easily.
  • The Pinning function online only picks up HTML files and videos. This means that text files cannot be pinned to your page. This can make it difficult if you want to pin specific text (such as a press quote) from a WordPress blog.
  • If you want to pin something from another website, the wrong thumbnail picture is often picked up in the pinning process (like an advert). This can be frustrating if you feel that picture doesn’t represent what you want to pin.
  • Currently the social media site has a predominately female user base. You need to evaluate your target audience before deciding whether Pinterest is right for you.

Overall, Pinterest provides another creative direct-to-fan resource for musicians. It incorporates and highlights three fundamental elements of music marketing – the importance of video sharing, the importance of visual branding, and the rise of ADD culture.

So without further ado, get pinning!

Pictures Speak Louder Than Words – A Musician’s Guide To Pinterest


There’s More to a Free Music Campaign than Free Music…

You’ve done it again. You’ve given away a free track from your latest album. It’s on your website. You’ve talked about it on Facebook. Job done, you think. Well think again.

There’s no doubt about it. Free music is a powerful marketing tool. However, the music industry has become so over-saturated with free music that we’ve become desensitized to the process of consuming, promoting, and thinking about the importance of free music. This age-old debate has become, well, old.

I was lucky enough to revitalize my thoughts on the topic recently when I met the artist Derrick N. Ashong who launched the “Million Downloads Campaign” earlier this year. The aim of the campaign is simple – To give away one million downloads of songs and remixes from the new album AFropolitan by Derrick N. Ashong & Soulfège by Christmas 2012. So far the campaign has been such a success that Derrick witnessed over 20,000 downloads in one month.

“How?” I hear you ask. Well, Derrick did something a lot of artists are forgetting to do – he planned, strategized and philosophized over the process beforehand. So take a step backwards, and consider the following….

Define Your Purpose

Before you even contemplate giving your music away for free, you need to define your goals. We know you want to increase your fan base and drive awareness to your latest musical offering, but you need to be MORE SPECIFIC. How many downloads would you like to achieve? By what date? If your fans know your goal and timeline they may be more willing to help you spread the word. Use your previous download statistics as a benchmark. You can also try something like “If I achieved 5,000 downloads by my 30th Birthday it would be the best b-day present ever!!” You’ll be surprised by how specifics motivate people.

Your goals don’t have to be just physical either. Philosophical and creative goals are just as important. Derrick N Ashong’s goal is to create a movement that connects people around the world; to create a grassroots campaign that will break a band without a corporate label; and to make a statement in the music industry. He explains “We wanted to show that a committed group of creative people can put the power of music back in the hands of artists and fans where it belongs. In the end, we’ve said from the time we started this band that this is about more than just music…it’s a movement.”

Have a Story

Fans aren’t going to listen to your music just because it’s free. You need to attract attention. Nothing grabs people’s attention more than an intriguing and authentic story. Communicate the story behind your music to your fans and you’ll witness more of a reaction – what’s the inspiration behind the giveaway, and why is it important to you? Utilize all of your marketing platforms to do this – feature the exact details in a blog post or on your website and link to it in your newsletter and social networking sites.

Derrick’s story is both political and creative. “It was an election year.” He said “We’d heard a lot of heated rhetoric and some very poor ideas from a number of candidates. A number of us have worked in the political arena in the past and we wanted to leverage our skills not necessarily to sanction a given candidate, but to promote the ideas we believe in. Principles of freedom, creativity, community & empowerment. So we decided to launch a grassroots political-style campaign to “elect a band.”

Derrick had both a PURPOSE and a STORY behind his music. Most importantly he focused on what he could give rather than what he could get “ We reached out to people who had a profound & abiding belief in who we are and what we do – who feel like we are an extension of their own values & interests in the world. So by promoting our success, they are in fact promoting their own, because we articulate what they believe in, in a way they cannot necessarily do by themselves. In short, we offered them an opportunity to be a part of something that advanced their own interests by aligning those interests with ours.”

Harness Your SuperFans

Your social media platforms aren’t always enough to promote your free music. You need to move beyond your own marketing tools and harness the power of others. You can do this by enlisting the help of your superfans, who may just be a small group of close friends and family. This is where Derrick began. “We started by recruiting a small group of campaign “organizers,” each of whom committed to recruiting a team of 10 advocates.” He explains: “Every week we give a campaign action to our organizers who after taking that action engage their team of advocates in doing so too. Using this method, we took a small group of people and rapidly amplified their voices to reach many more.”

Derrick’s superfans are rewarded with exclusive access to the band. Most importantly, however, he has made them feel like they are part of something bigger – a grassroots movement that aims to break a band without a corporate label.

Think big, start small.

Get Something in Return

Free music should never be totally free. Derrick obviously wants to spread the word about his latest album but he has a broader purpose too. You don’t have to be as political or far-reaching as Derrick but you do need to identify exactly what you want in return for your music. An email address? A zip code? To increase your google ranking?

Identify what you want and do you best to quantify it. You need to be able to build on this free music campaign in the future.

The Take-Away

Realistically, your free music strategy can’t always be as ambitious as Derrick N Ashong’s “One Million Downloads” campaign. However, there are things you can learn from his story that should revitalize the way you think about your free music giveaways. In short:

    • Be specific about your goals.
    • Give yourself a timeline to measure your success.
    • Always make sure you are getting something in return.
    • Communicate a story to your fans to inspire an emotional connection.
    • Create memorable branding that will attract the attention of new fans.
    • Be strategic about harnessing the power of your superfan.

Remember. There’s more to a free music campaign than free music!

There’s More to a Free Music Campaign than Free Music…

4 Tips For Authentic Online Engagement by Valerie Buckingham

Valerie Buckingham is Head of North America Marketing for Nokia. She has held various roles at the company since 2002 before taking over all North American marketing responsibilities in July 2011.

If you want your brand’s social media efforts to come across as authentic, you need to know what you stand for and what’s meaningful to you. In other words, authentic social communication requires you to be honest about what your brand represents, what you have to offer, where your weaknesses are, and what’s really important to your audience.

SEE ALSO: 12 Top Community Managers Share Their Tips for Better EngagementIf you’re not listening and engaging in a candid manner, you run the risk of having a message that doesn’t resonate, or worse, creates a backlash, calling into question not just what you’re trying to say via social media, but across all outbound communication channels. For a brand, that’s bad news. Here are four tips for keeping your social-media outreach authentic.

1. Focus On The Individual

Your people are your greatest asset when it comes to social media because they offer a real human perspective rather than a pre-packaged marketing message. The problem is social media can get stripped of its authenticity by strict brand guidelines that mandate an omniscient company voice. Instead, imbue your social channels with the many unique individuals who work for the company.Think of your audience in the same way. Don’t assume that they are a homogenous mass. This will help you develop a social communications plan that takes into consideration whether this audience is just getting to know your brand or if they are loyal followers. As individuals, we speak differently to different people. Remember that a brand is no different.

2. Listen Up!

It’s impossible to tap into sentiment without a system for listening. As brand communicators, we need to constantly have an ear out for changes in the consumer landscape and be tuned into what’s important to our audience.For example, a key group influencing the tech industry is millennials, which loosely includes consumers born between 1980 and 2000. You might think you already know it all when it comes to millennials: that they’re all rebels, that their values are vastly different from their parents, and that they’re obsessed with changing the world. In reality, when you listen to young people today through research, you find that they defy those traditional stereotypes. Today’s millennials actually admit they love their parents and list them as friends on Facebook. They have no strong desire to leave home. They’re not even skewed liberal. This new generation is also questioning consumerism more than ever before, and they’ve proven to have very little brand loyalty. Most importantly, they’re currently defining what is real, cool, and interesting. That’s why listening is crucial.

3. Keep It Real

Today’s millennials are not just good at figuring out what’s authentic, they can also spot what is inauthentic from a mile away. Having grown up in the Internet age, they expect brands to talk to them with a real voice, and they’re not afraid to engage them in a public forum.One great example of authenticity in action is a program recently run by airline KLM. KLM kicked off their social media program by asking, “What do we know to be true about how people interact with our brand?” The conclusion: people waste a lot of time in airports.

Starting with that simple truth, KLM set their campaign up for authentic direct-to-consumer engagement. They decided to surprise passengers that mentioned their KLM flight via Twitter or Foursquare. The teams used social media profiles to learn a little more about these travelers, enabling them to respond with appropriate perks such as a travel book for the hopelessly lost or a sports watch for the casual runner. These random acts of kindness took a little more effort than generic communications, but the response was rewarding. Travelers were only too happy to share their KLM experiences online with others. And let’s face it, what’s more authentic than consumers speaking on behalf of your brand? So don’t be afraid to change your message to suit your audience’s real needs and desires. Then reap the rewards.

4. Follow This Guiding Principle

Given the speed of social media, your message can go from trusted to falling out of favor in the blink of an eye, and it could all hinge on what you say next. That’s why the number one thing you can do to ensure authenticity and trust when connecting with fans, customers, and partners is to think about what your message means to them.Image courtesy of iStockphoto, akinbostanci

4 Tips For Authentic Online Engagement

What Gets Fans Engaged? SXSW Panel Explores Methods Beyond Facebook By Dan Rys


The “Secrets to Fan Engagement” panel at SXSW Music veered from the most effective methods of online engagement (Facebook took number one, with email blasts just below it and Twitter surprisingly far behind) to the ways in which innovative marketing strategies and events can bring in new fans and press.

Moderated by The Knitting Factory marketing director Valerie Gurka, the panel consisted of ReverbNation’s Lou Plaia, Stageit CEO Evan Lowenstein, World Cafe Live talent buyer Laura Wilson, and LYVA Music founder Lynda McLaughlin.

One effective method of engagement came through Stageit’s live-streamed performance platform, where artists can sell tickets to performances that can take place in their bedrooms or kitchens, and allows them to limit tickets to provide an air of exclusivity, while video interactions with fans resonated so well that it represented the third-best method of engagement, ahead of blogs and radio. “I don’t think there’s any way to undervalue a video,” said McLaughlin.


McLaughlin also promoted creative events as a good way to generate buzz, noting a friend who ran an unofficial Hooker Runway party at CMJ this year that garnered press in droves, mostly because of its unique cache. “There’s no golden rule of how to do it, but it’s really powerful to do something no one else is doing,” she said.

Wilson, representing World Cafe Live from Philadelphia, also agreed, saying the her venue has positioned itself as one that often offers meet and greets and special events that bring fans and artists together, crafting that into a reputation for the venue in the process. Special event-based shows or concerts also serve as good ways to bring in diverse crowds, such as partnering with local businesses to put a new spin on a concert or help promote a show.

But the most important aspect the panel discussed was having a continuous conversation with fans, and offering them creative content that acknowledges how important they are to artists. “You have to let people know they are part of a 2-way conversation,” said Plaia.

What Gets Fans Engaged? SXSW Panel Explores Methods Beyond Facebook


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Real Industry Talk – Career Development At Its Best

Online Music Marketing

Instructor Mike King talks about his online course, Online Music Marketing: Campaign Strategies, Social Media, and Digital Distribution. This course takes an in-depth look at the tools and emerging technologies artists can use to generate interest in their music, acquire new fans, and sell their music online.

Music Promotions, Marketing – Using Social Media Skills To Get Video Views

Here are a few tips on music marketing, promoting using social media skills like keyword threading and other geo-tagged methods.

“How to Use Pinterest for Business”

Wondering what Pinterest is all about and how it could help your
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Pinterest isn’t just another social media network.

What appears to be the fastest-growing social media site ever has become a huge traffic referral (arguably, more powerful than Google+) for all businesses. An increasing number of companies are leveraging the platform to reach a new audience, increase visits to their websites, and generate leads or retail sales. And guess what? It’s working.

Download this free, 43-page ebook and learn:

  • How Pinterest works and top reasons you should be using it
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  • Examples of how real-life businesses leverage Pinterest for growth

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“How to Use Pinterest for Business”

The Twitter Trolls: How to Deal with Criticism Online BY: Brian Thompson / MTT

It’s impossible to be liked by everyone. No matter what you say or do online you risk the potential of offending someone (or even just rubbing them the wrong way). But for a musician, writer, photographer or anyone in the creative arts it can get even worse. Your soul, your art, is on display… available for anyone to rip it to shreds.

Enter the world of The HatersThe Trolls. The Vociferous Nerds hiding in their parent’s basement behind a bag of half-eaten cheese doodles, whose job is to make everyone they encounter online feel worthless.

The Twitter Troll has taken things to a whole new level. With the speed of delivering a text message, your ego and self worth can be crushed by a simple tweet sent from someone completely unknown to you… and delivered publicly for the whole world to see.

Receiving negative feedback is hard. But if it’s honest feedback, most people can hold their head high and accept it for what it is; an opinion and potentially a suggestion for improvement. But if the tweet you receive happens to be from a gutless troll who does it for sport, your temper will flare quicker than they can lick the cheese dust from their chubby little fingers.

Your first reaction will be to fire off a quick (and probably juvenile) response, delivered in a crude tone similar to that of the troll’s. But you must resist. You must take the higher ground my young tweeter. You must take a moment and breathe deep… and remember these wise words: Think twice. Tweet once.

If their criticism has any value whatsoever (such as, “Your vocals are way too quiet in that song and makes it suck”), then you should respond to it. But… respond to it, not argue or fight about it.

For example I might respond with, “Hey man, thanks for your tweet. It’s tough deciding on that type of thing. I’ll keep your comment in mind during my next recording though.

Even for a hater, that type of response makes it pretty damn hard to deliver a venomous reply. Problem solved.

But if the tweet you receive is clearly from a troll (such as, “Dude, you suck. I hate your voice and the noise that comes out of your head sounds like a wet donut fart.”), all I can say to you is… Do Not Engage. Walk away. 

As tempting as it is to fight fire with fire, there is nothing to be gained. Ignore them. Even if the troll comes back for a second attempt, your refusal to engage will completely take the wind out of their sales and they’ll quickly move on to acquire a new (and easier) target.

Engaging in a war of words online is dangerous, especially on Twitter where your response can be instantly viewed by thousands. A childish reply can irreparably damage your career. You can lose the respect of both fans and the industry. You can come off as being childish and immature. You can come off as being someone who I don’t want to support or do business with. There is nothing to be gained.

Don’t Engage the Trolls. 

 Think Twice. Tweet Once.

The Twitter Trolls: How to Deal with Criticism Online

Musician’s Social Media Pyramid (2010)

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