(l-r) Ariel Hyatt, Roy Elkins, Joshua Engroff, Laura Roppé, Tay Zonday
“11am. 3pm. 8pm.” If there was one nugget of wisdom one should take away from the Beyond Marketing: Social Networking and Your Career panel, presented by Billboard Pro and moderated by Ariel Hyatt, this was it. Hyatt explained that these are core times to use social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, since these sites experience the largest amount of traffic during these times.
Social networking, often seen as a quick and easy way to connect with fans by both musicians and managers alike, has the potential to do just the opposite if used incorrectly. Hyatt, a PR veteran and author of the how-to book The Musicians Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter, attempted to clear the confusion surrounding the various social networking tools and platforms. She explained the two core things missing from an artists’ objective in using these sites are vision and strategy.
Tay Zonday, well known for his YouTube hit “Chocolate Rain”, stated that it does not matter how many social networking sites an artist uses, as long as the brand is consistent. One should use the same URL or “name” for all sites, to prevent confusion and provide cohesion.
Laura Roppé, a songwriter and artist, offered valuable advice for those artists hoping to use webpages to promote their brand. “Never be held hostage to a webmaster,” said Roppe. “You should always be in control of your own content."
Roy Elkins, founder and CEO of Broadjam Inc., provided helpful hints for an effective website. From his experience, sites with basic colors and menus at the side of the page instead of the top, provide easy navigation for visitors. “Content should be the driver of all sites,” said Elkins. “Don’t let the site get in the way of the content.”
Other helpful topics covered by the panel included the importance of newsletters and forming personal relationships with fans.
According to Hyatt, 30 percent of all the money artists receive yearly originated from a newsletter, especially among artists with the bulk of their fans in the 18-24 year age category. A prime time to send newsletters through e-mail is weekends; although users will unsubscribe at a higher rate on weekends, they will also respond at a higher rate.
Finally, building relationships with fans is the key to building a successful career. It is equally important to reach out to fans and show them a bit of your personality as it is to promote a new album or single. “Artists should always be asking ‘how can I help,” said Hyatt. “Instead of worrying about getting to 110 million, worry about forming a relationship with ten.”