Here’s a rundown of our ‘Building A Fanbase: Social & Music Media’ seminar

#industry takeover #industry takeover seminar #Building A Fanbase #Social & Music Media

This month we returned to London’s Red Bull Studios for the third installment of our Industry Takeover series. Hosted by CMU’s Co-Founder and Editor, Chris Cooke, alongside industry experts from Virgin EMI, GRM Daily and YouTube, the seminar aimed to shine a light on how independent artists can use their social channels and media to take their brand to the next level.

Grab your tickets to the next Industry Takeover seminar.
Chris kicked off with a quick-fire session on how artists can build their music business. Essentially, artists need to (1) build a fanbase, (2) understand who they are and then, (3) sell to them (this can be anything from music and gig tickets to merchandise or even something else). But he stressed that, “You might have fans that don’t want to buy records, and who don’t really want to buy t-shirts or tickets. What you need to find out is - what will they spend money on, what gets your fanbase excited, and then you create that product for them and you sell it to them. And it’s easier to do that now than it used t be because you can talk and sell to your fans directly online…This is basically every artist’s business plan.”
Most artists build their fanbase with a mix of two things: performing live and social media. So it’s all about having gigs and then keeping up the contact with your audience through their digital channels. Chris emphasised that in this day and age of digital, every artist needs to be aware of six social platforms, even if they don’t intend to use them, these are; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Soundcloud and YouTube. Ultimately, pick and prioritise which ones work for you. It’s about having a presence on the social media where your fans are already hanging out, but don’t forget that an industry audience uses platforms like Twitter and Soundcloud for music discovery and discussion.

Soon after, the panelists took to the stage ready to share their wisdom. Joining Chris on the top table were Afryea Henry-Fontaine, Marketing Manager at Virgin EMI, Saquib B, Video A&R at GRM Daily, and Jennifer Quigley-Jones,  Partner Manager at YouTube.
“[Social media] is about where the artist is comfortable and where they’re getting the most engagement. That’s always a driver for where we direct our activities but at the same time I think personally it’s important to have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They’re the three key ones; although the rest do play a part, explained Afryea, who headed up Virgin EMI’s recent chart-topping campaigns for Meridian Dan’s “German Whip”, Lethal Bizzle’s “Fester Skank” and Krept & Konan’s album, “The Long Way Home”. 
Having worked at YouTube with brands, labels, creators and musicians to develop digital strategies, Jenny advised artists not to underestimate the power of cover songs and how they can boost your exposure, particularly to those who would’ve never otherwise come across your content. “Some people get really fussy about doing covers, they’re like ‘I just want to be promoting my music’…That’s great…but people aren’t looking for original music a lot of the time”.
When it came to discussing whether or not artists should be using social media advertising, the panel agreed that it’s something that artists should explore, but they should be selective and only boost content that’s truly engaging. “Do it on something that’s going to make you money in the end, so that it’s more like an investment” like a music release or gig, added Saquib, who manages the video selection process at GRM Daily and also runs his own social agency handling the accounts of Disturbing London, Naughty Boy and Emeli Sande.

The night provided lots of insight on how to build a fanbase using social and music media, and in case you missed it here are a few valuable takeaways:
1.    Be aware of the main social media channels. Every artist needs to know about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Soundcloud and YouTube, even if they’re not going to use them all.   
2.    Set out your objectives. You need to have an idea about what you want to achieve, before you can head in the right direction.
3.    Prioritize. Select which social media channels you’re going to focus on. Target the ones that you’re fans are already using but also make sure your comfortable with sharing your brand (and life) on that platform.
4.    Create the RIGHT content. Make content that’s engaging and have a motive beyond getting ‘likes’. If the content is creative and interesting it’s likely to grab people’s attention.
5.    Make YouTube pay. By becoming a Content Partner on YouTube and signing up with Ad Sense you can get paid every time your video is viewed. So you have the potential to make some serious cash once you start hitting a certain number of views. (Learn more about how it all works at our next Industry Takeover seminar ‘Making & Monetising Video Content’).  
6.    Think about what data you can use. Remember that the more you can find out about your fans, the more you can get an idea about what they like. Ultimately, you want to be able to sell them stuff at some point.
7.    Consider using social media ads. With even the smallest of budgets you can get your content in front of more people - potential fans. But, don’t just put ad spend behind any and every bit of content on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram. Make sure your content is already engaging and then boost it. You’ll get better results.
Each month we’ll be bringing you another exclusive session down at Red Bull Studios. Join us on Tuesday 18 April when we’ll be hosting ‘Making & Monetising Video Content’ helping artists to create great videos on a budget and how to make them pay.
Grab your tickets to the next Industry Takeover seminar.
Words: Verbal Vixen