Social media is NOT a charitable concern! (short rant)

Every month I see characters on social media, whining about why the social media platforns won’t promote their music for free. Below are a few reality check observations, but unfortunately this is a whole new level of stupid, so I don’t expect any change of behaviour any time soon. If you are one of these people, probably best to skip reading this blog, if not, read on…

Customers v Users

On many social media platforms, some individuals confuse the difference between “users” and “customers”

The “customers” of a platform like FB are those who pay for the service and that income allows the platform to fund its services. The “users” (the majority of people) are those who simply use the facility without any financial payment. You could argue that there is a “payment” in allowing access to date, BUT there’s no financial transaction. With that in mind social media is NOT a charitable concern to fund artist’s commercial reach to sell products and tickets for live performances.

One would think this is not difficult to grasp, BUT some artists and especially their super fans endlessley whine about how these platforms don’t promote their art for free! Some super fans even insult the very platforms that they are replying on with insults like “faceache” and don’t even appreciate that FB is allowing them at no financial cost to post such insults on their platform. Amazingly this is a common misconception and of course the irony is that artists (IMO quite righty) expect to be paid for their work, but at the same time expect social media businesses to provide services at no financial cost!

Cough up the cash if you want to make impact

For anyone wanting to promote videos or audio online, the immediate organic reach through family, friends and super fans will have a limit. That’s the reality. Reaching a wider audience means actually spending money! This of course is not a radical idea as historically all advertising works this way, whether on the radio, TV or online. Whining about having to invest money into promoting your own art is quite frankly delusional… The challenge of course is to target spending according to the social media medium you are using. My own experience suggests that FB is great for generating general awareness but doesn’t really drive people towards financial purchases, whether products or ticket sales. Its another case of “Caveat Emptor”

Attempts to ‘game the system” v ethical advertising

There are many ways people can try and “game the system” to reach a wider audience. These include paying companies for increased views, galavanising super fans to crank interest and literally trying to bribe people by offering financial incentives to get fans to make comments and increase viewing numbers. There are dangers with some of these approaches as platforms like YouTube will spot the exact same characters clicking on videos to increase artist stats and those platforms will readjust the stats so the inflated figure no longer appears. I’ve had artists plead endlessley for me to post comments and even offer amazon vouchers to help push their material. The exact same artists sometimes also berate others for paying third parties to help with such promotions.

These are are the companies that partner with YouTube and work with Google ads to ethically promote video reach. One of these is Sprizzy, who describe themselves as –

“a family-owned company, was founded in 2016 in Mount Laurel, NJ, USA. We pride ourselves on being the original YouTube marketing platform made specifically for increasing YouTube channel subscribers. Our mission is simple — to help YouTubers grow their channels safely and effectively by exposing their videos to new potential fans.”

Veefly is a similar service that also uses Google ads, but has a reduced minimum cost to use the service. These are just two companies and I have found both to be effective in building audience reach and increase subscriber numbers. The key is always to do your own research and appreciate that there is no magic wand. Record companies will have people working full time on marketing and promotion and allocate big budgets. Of course if an artist signs to such a company, they get that extra push, but at a cost. Ultimately all such spending comes out of artist monies and in many instances the artists are always in hoc to the record company, so its like having a credit card that never gets paid off!

Playing the long game and work ethic

Promoting any business or service takes time and money. There are no quick fixes and most people don’t have the stamina to maintain momentum in promotions. Some may have the stamina, but lack the financial clout and/or the time to invest in such a way to expand audience reach.

Aas the old saying goes

“You never get a second chance to create a first impression”

Anyone looking at a YouTube channel and seeing a few hundred views will have a different impression to seeing a few thousand views. Such things shouldn’t make a difference, but in promotions perception is everything.

Promoters looking to hire bands will look at online activity and form a view accordingly. My first band “The Small Change Diaries” were hired to play Lagoa Guitar Festival in 2016 purely on the basis of what the promoter saw online. We’d done just two gigs in small venues in the UK before being flown to Portugal, put up in a 4 star hotel and paid nicely for a 45 minute set to a sold out audience. Perception is important in such situations.

The bottom line is that if you want to promote anything in an effective manner, either go and properly learm about how to do this, and/or hire a service to make this happen. Whining about how disadvantaged you are is not going to help matters and highlights an attitude of laziness…