047 – What to do if You’re Starting from Scratch on Social Media

047 – What to do if You’re Starting from Scratch on Social Media

So, you’re looking to climb your social media mountain. But you’re not sure where to start. What should you do?

In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David shares the exact steps you can take to get started, stay started, and find your footing on social networks.

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Highlights:

00:17 – Figuring out the social media landscape for the first time
00:50 – Determining the right course of action
01:39 – Pick a channel you like
02:52 – Make a daily video
03:37 – Share your stories
04:01 – Covering off the technical details
04:42 – The benefits of posting daily
07:03 – Social media strategy summary

Transcript:

I was talking with someone who was trying to figure out the social media landscape for the first time. She’s in the skincare business, and she wanted to attract people from all over the world to her content because she was convinced, or rather she knew, that she could make a difference for people.

This is one of those questions where… What do you say to someone completely new to all this? Someone who wants to attract attention and knows that there’s a way to do it but hasn’t gotten started with the process?

And I thought about that for a moment, and my mind immediately turned to all these great tools and content distribution and taking advantage of Fiverr. And I’m like, “I don’t think that’s what a beginner needs to know.” That’s just too much. It’s overwhelming.

People make this mistake all the time. They try hard to create a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, and on and on. And that’s where people get scattered.

That’s usually the first mistake. Down the line, yeah, try to post everywhere. But when you’re first getting started, when you don’t even have a team helping you, it just doesn’t work. It’s a tremendous amount of effort. Plus you always tend to find more resonance on one or two channels versus all of them.

The first mistake in social media is trying to be everywhere at once. Share on X

The advice that I gave was “Pick a channel. The one that you like.”

And the reason I say that is because beginners aren’t knowledgeable about secondary channels. They don’t know about Rumble and Odysee. They’ve heard of YouTube and TikTok. Those are the ones they know. And those are the safe ones. They have a significant user base.

And people sometimes go “I need to grow my audiences” and I say, “Yeah, true, but if you pick one of those, you’re safe. For example, you can’t go wrong with YouTube or Facebook.

I get that Facebook is not the cool kid on the block anymore. And some kids are like, “Yeah, it’s only for old people.”

Yeah. Sorry to tell you though, Facebook still has the largest user base of any social network out there. And as other countries come online that haven’t already, sorry to say, I think that’s the first place people are going to be crowding. So, Facebook is not out of the game in any way, shape, or form yet. I’m not a big fan of it or anything, but let’s face facts.

Secondly, I said, “Commit to posting a video on one channel, just one, choose one, every single day.” And I think it took her a while to get this, but eventually, she was like, “Okay, so that’s like brushing your teeth every day. I don’t necessarily feel like it, but it’s a good idea and it’s a discipline and I do it every day anyway.”

Publishing daily is like brushing your teeth. It's a good habit to get into. Share on X

And I said, “Yeah, it’s kind of like that.” Not that you want to make it hard on yourself. Like, you don’t want to hate posting to social media every day.

But there are days when you might hate yourself, right? Especially when you’re like, “I’ve got to make a video again, and I’m going to talk about something again.” By and large, you don’t want to make it difficult on yourself.

This is why the next thing I said was, “What you want to do is show up and share stories”.

Notice how I’m sharing a story right now. I’m talking about something that just happened moments ago. I was on a phone call with this lady.

You want to tell stories in your videos, and you want to keep it to about a minute or two minutes, and you want to film it all on your iPhone or your Android phone. That is good enough nowadays.

That also minimizes the time you spend in editing, which will help you. Minimize time spent posting and coming up with captions for social media and stuff like that, too.

Of course, you could spend an infinite amount of time looking at hashtags and headlines and all that kind of stuff. But the quickest way is to set aside a few minutes in your day to grab your phone, film a video for a minute or two, and transfer it over to your computer.

Or if you prefer to edit it on your phone or mobile device, I know there are apps out there nowadays that can do that. Spend a couple of minutes editing it, and then post, and then do that daily.

What do you get out of this process? Well, you’re going to find your voice. You may not quite have that down yet. There might be a certain tone, there might be a certain style about you that you haven’t quite uncovered yet, and so if you posted every day for a full year and made videos and published them every day for a full year, do you think you would start to find your voice, even if you don’t know what you’re doing at first? Yes, you would.

And then your audience is going to find you. Now, that doesn’t mean that finding your audience must take a full year. Some people do this for 11 days and suddenly blow up. But it’s an ongoing thing. One day you blow up, but in the meantime, you keep testing.

It’s like, “Oh, this didn’t do as well. This didn’t do as well. Oh, but this one blew up and this one didn’t do as well. And this one didn’t do as well. And this one didn’t do as well.” And that’s the way it works.

The other reason that this is so important is that it’s sometimes missed… you can grow a social media account without content. But at the same time, you’re going to pay for followers who don’t care about you, who aren’t going to regularly interact with your new posts, who don’t care about the specific type of content that you’re publishing, who aren’t likely to come back and aren’t likely to become buyers.

So, at the end of the day, like if you have a YouTube channel sitting at over 1,000 subscribers who never watch your videos, you have no engagement. That doesn’t do you any good.

The problem is content. First, you’ve got to have something to share with people. Publishing every day for a full year or even beyond is not necessarily about the content at that point because you probably hit upon at least a few things that your audience would be interested in by that point.

But you’ve got to have something in your library. It’s not even worth advertising before you have content. It’s not worth sharing your profile with other people. Unless they’re friends and family who are amenable to following you, it’s not worth going and doing that. Unless you have content, it’s not worth promoting your link in description, or any kind of link outside of the platform.

Think about content first, and then we can build an audience, but it’s not likely to work the other way around.

So, that recipe again, for beginners is to pick a platform. Film a video on your iPhone, Android, or other smartphone, whatever you’ve got. Edit it, post it, repeat, do that every day.

And content-wise, tell stories. Always tell stories. Tell stories that help people connect with who you are and why. Like, why did you choose this business? Or why do you do what you do? Create bridges so people understand where you’re coming from.

Tell stories that help people connect with who you are and why. Share on X

People don’t always remember “How to’s.” But they almost always remember stories.

People don't always remember tutorials. But they always remember stories. Share on X
Change to Publishing Schedule

Change to Publishing Schedule

Over the course of the last three years (almost), I’ve enjoyed the exercise of publishing daily.

I took a bit of a break between May and August 2022, but aside from that, I have been writing and posting fresh, daily content since July 2020.

I’ve learned a great deal in that time, such as the fact that:

  • Publishing daily will land you some opportunities. But as with anything else, there are no guarantees.
  • Once it becomes a habit, it’s much easier to maintain.
  • It’s a great way to write a book.
  • Documenting life events makes it easy for you to go into your archives and find those times you burned out, created a new homepage layout, went on a getaway with friends, and much more. Any time you need to recall specific events, dates, and times, you can refer to your archives.

I have not lost interest in publishing daily. But I’ve recognized the importance of producing and publishing strategic content, more than ever. And I admit it is much harder to be strategic about content creation when you’re under the gun to produce daily, even though you squeeze out the occasional search-optimized post.

Ranking in search only becomes harder by the day, though, and while the impact of A.I.-generated content remains to be seen, it does make mediocre writers redundant, and soon, it may make most podcasters redundant as well.

I am busier than ever as a writer, and that’s the opposite of what I thought would happen with the emergence of tools like ChatGPT, but I’m mindful that there are no guarantees that demand will continue to maintain or increase.

To be more strategic, I have:

  • Done my keyword research.
  • Created a content calendar with at least a month planned.
  • Made notes of content opportunities I’ve come across.
  • Decided to make video content my priority above all else. This is my primary YouTube channel.
  • Decided to dedicate more energy to finishing the seven or eight some-odd books that are nearing completion.

When all is said and done, you may not notice a huge difference in output on my part. I may still post the occasional life update or spontaneous news. But I have decided to put an end to the insanity cycle I have been in. When something doesn’t work for a long enough period, you’ve got to adapt and try something else. And, I have been pivoting faster than ever.

I can’t imagine too many people will be disappointed by this change. But you’re always welcome to let me know.

The Surprising Truth No One Tells You About Content

The Surprising Truth No One Tells You About Content

In creating content, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds without ever finding your path.

Here’s the surprising truth no one tells you about content…

It’s Not About the Type of Content

We are often led to believe that content is, first and foremost, about the type of content you produce.

Blog posts, infographics, podcasts, videos. Pick one.

Picking one and sticking to it is good advice. Choosing one that’s matched to your preferences is even better. Even with a team, it can be very difficult to publish blog posts and make videos, as an example.

But you will not automatically be more successful because you publish a certain type of content…

It’s Not About the Platform

Secondly, we are told, publishing is about finding the right platform to publish to.

Facebook. Instagram. YouTube.

All things being equal, it’s a good idea to go where your audience is. And there is no mistaking that you’ve got to tailor the right kind of content to the platform you’re publishing to.

But publishing in the right place will not guarantee success. If you’re delivering the right kind of content, people will come to you.

It’s Not About When You Publish

Having figured out what type of content we want to publish and where to publish it, we start looking at when to publish it.

It’s funny because it’s mostly replacing one obsession with another.

Emails should go out between 9 AM and 12 PM EST on a Thursday. Facebook posts should be published between 8 AM and 12 PM EST on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or whatever it is.

Look, you can find this information anywhere, and nowadays Facebook will even help you schedule your posts at a time they are more likely to be seen.

It doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as you think it does, though, because people will still tune into their favorite show at 1:00 AM on Monday if it’s the only opportunity to catch it.

The Surprising Truth – It’s About the Personality

Personality, or what marketer Russell Brunson calls a certain “attractive character” in his book, DotCom Secrets, is what creating content is all about. This is a foundation on which you can build.

People will still occasionally stumble across your content if it’s valuable and optimized, but if there’s no personality in it, it’s unlikely you will be remembered and be able to get people on your list and create long-term engagement with them.

Think about it. Oprah can draw an audience and sell to them any time she wants. You can probably think of plenty of others – Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Fallon, or otherwise.

If you were to pay attention to your own consumption habits, you’d notice that large chunks of it are based on people you know, like, and trust too.

So, what personality will you establish?

3 Content Tropes That Inspire 0 Sense of Connection

3 Content Tropes That Inspire 0 Sense of Connection

Let’s just say that, if you’re planning to create content designed to help you grow your artistic career at any level, there are certain tropes to avoid, because they inspire little to no sense of connection in your audience. And these phrases are so prevalent these days that they have been repeatedly reinforced through the content you watch, without you even knowing it.

Here’s what to look out for…

1. “Hey Guys…”

“Hey guys” and all its permutations like “hey everybody,” “hey everyone,” “what’s up y’all,” inspire zero sense of confidence and connection in others who see themselves as individuals, and not as a nondescript, amorphous collective.

Think of it this way. Your name is not “guys.” My name is not “everyone.” Who are you talking to anyway?

I recognize that some men were blessed with the name Guy, good for them. But even they are not “guys.”

Wonderful that you’ve gone to all the trouble to greet your audience, unfortunate that this type of greeting doesn’t leave people touched, moved, or inspired.

Last year, I heard a speaker who repeatedly used the word “guys” as a filler word in her presentation, and however impactful her speech, it was clear the audience wasn’t lit up by it. She would have done well to observe this bit of media training.

“Because the internet is different” is not a valid excuse.

It’s fine to address a group as “guys”, work the term into everyday conversation, even drop the occasional “guys” in your content. No problem! We just don’t want to make a habit of it.

Talk as though you’re talking to an audience of one. No need for “hey guys” when a simple “hello” or “what’s up” would do.

And watch out, because that “guys” wants to keep cropping up, even when you make this seemingly simple correction in diction. It usually shows up like this:

Hello, and welcome to my channel GUYS…

Get it out of your vocabulary if you can, because if you talk to your audience as though they are a group or a collective, they will rarely if ever connect with you personally.

Treat them as though they are valuable, unique individuals, and you will create a deeper sense of connection with them.

Treat your audience as though they are valuable, unique individuals, and you will create a deeper sense of connection with them. Share on X

2. “Welcome to My Channel…”

This phrase has also so seeped itself into the cultural landscape that people don’t even hear it when it’s being said anymore.

But let’s address the concrete facts here.

When people are watching a video, they are watching a video. They are not watching a channel.

Let’s get this sorted once and for all…

This is a video:

YouTube video

And this is a channel:

YouTube channel

And anything short of that doesn’t constitute a channel.

Not to mention, it is all owned by YouTube (or any other platform you happen to be using), and in no way, shape, or form belongs to you.

Big tech has made it abundantly clear in the last couple of years that anything that goes against mainstream narrative is dangerous (terroristic even), and the anti-human Davos catchphrase “You Will Own Nothing And Be Happy” couldn’t be as clear in this situation than in the most blinding of daylights.

You don’t own YouTube (or any other platform). You will never own YouTube. And that is the dark side of living your life as though YouTube will be here forever, using it as your platform, when it’s clearly the furthest thing from. But I’ve already flogged that horse.

“Welcome” is a great thing to say to start off a piece of content. But chop off the end and you’d be hitting a little closer to the bull’s eye, both in terms of the reality of the situation, and better media training overall…

3. “Welcome BACK to My Channel…”

It would seem we’ve made another colossal misstep in the development of humanity, because for some reason we think everyone and their flea-riddled dog is coming back to watch our videos, when it’s far more likely that viewers hearing this phrase are watching your video for the first time. And how confusing do you think this is for them?

“Oh, was I watching another video from this creator a moment ago? I don’t think so. I don’t even recognize them.”

What I learned in my media training is that “welcome back” is never an appropriate thing to say unless you’re returning from a commercial break. Then, it’s fair game to assume whoever just tuned in was watching a commercial or flipping through channels.

But that’s not how we consume video is it? It’s available on demand now. We generally watch from top to bottom (linearly), and barring that, we skip around to the parts we want to watch before clicking on another clickbait thumbnail.

Again, why make things more complicated than they need to be when a simple “hello” would do?

I’m not saying you need to re-establish who you are every single time. People are smart enough to dive into your archives if they want to learn more about you. What I’m saying is “welcome back to my channel” is factually erroneous, AND it doesn’t inspire any sense of connection. Be forewarned.

How to Get Your Live Streaming Concert Game Down Pat

How to Get Your Live Streaming Concert Game Down Pat

With most of the world on lockdown, musicians everywhere have been looking to live streaming as a possible alternative to performing live.

Live performance has been a mainstay and a dominant source of income for many musicians, and never have we seen an all-pervasive force shut it all down in a matter of weeks.

But if you’re looking to live stream, and want to make the most of the opportunity, here are some tips that will help.

Determine What Platform to Stream on

Live streaming platforms

There are plenty of platforms to choose from, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Periscope, Twitch, StageIt, Zoom, Concert Window or other.

For many artists, this will be a simple decision revolving around which platform they have the biggest following on, and where they get the most engagement.

To me, the second piece is far more important, as a disengaged viewer base isn’t going to do much for you. Better to go where fans are more likely to like, comment, share and tip.

Better to go where fans are more likely to like, comment, share and tip. Share on X

If, however, you’re in any doubt as to which platform to utilize, there are a few things you can do.

#1: You Can Ask/Survey Your Fans

If you’ve already got an email list, or a sizable social media following, you can ask your fans where they’d like you to stream. Their answers might just surprise you and may even lead you to new platforms you weren’t aware of.

Not to say that your fans are always right, but if it seems like most of them are leaning one way, you may as well cater to their inclinations.

#2: You Can Experiment

This is more of a trial and error approach than anything, but if you’ve got the time, patience and willingness to explore your options, there’s no reason not to experiment.

As you’re experimenting, keep an eye on which platforms helps you get the greatest reach and engagement overall. Then, you can home in on the one that gives you the greatest ROI.

#3: You Can Take a Data-Based Approach

Music Entrepreneur News recently reported on some stats via Bandsintown that give you a good sense of how fans feel about live streaming.

Bandsintown found that the top three most favored streaming platforms are YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, in that order.

So, you could always plan your activity around this data.

Prepare Your Stage (Room)

Orgazine your room

Choose what room to live stream from and make sure the surroundings are conducive for your performance.

I’m not going to tell you to whether to clean up or organize, as that may be a matter of branding more than anything. If your brand would be enhanced by playing in dark, dank, messy basements, then do that. If a neat, clean environment is going to make the best impression on your fans, then do this instead.

Either way, it’s a good idea to prepare your stage before you go live. Make sure you’ve got the space required to be able to comfortably sing and play your instrument, and don’t forget to find a comfy chair if you’re going to be sitting.

Prepare your stage before you go live. Share on X

Figure Out the Technology

Live streaming technology

You can pull out your smartphone and start live streaming right away. Having said that, there are some things you should be mindful of.

First, you may want to use a proper tripod so you can set your camera at the right height and angle. There are good and bad angles when it comes to filming.

Second, it’s not a bad idea to have a separate device for monitoring and answering comments while live streaming. Good interaction is going to ramp up your engagement.

Third, you may want to use a lighting kit, so your videos look more professional. This is not mandatory by any means. But if you’d like to create a better viewing experience, it’s worth thinking about.

Monetize Your Live Streams

PayPal

Streaming platforms like YouTube and Concert Window make it easy for fans to offer tips. The easier, the better, as we don’t want to assume any level of technical proficiency from fans.

And, if you aren’t using a platform that has built-in tipping, you can still take advantage of services like PayPal and set up your unique PayPal.Me link.

Tips, however, are but the tip of the iceberg (pun intended).

You could ask viewers to become a patron on Patreon, pre-order your next album, contribute to your crowdfunding campaign, buy your new T-shirt or otherwise.

Of course, in these uncertain times, it’s a good idea to be sensitive to others and their willingness to spend. You don’t want to be overly promotional, but you also don’t want to leave money on the table.

Promote Your Performances

You can promote your performances using all the channels you normally would, including:

  • Word of mouth
  • Posters/graphical assets
  • Direct mail
  • Your website
  • Your email list
  • Social media

If no one knows that you’re going to be streaming, or if you just post about it once the moment you go live, you’re unlikely to attract much of an audience.

So, take some time to plan this out.

Consider where your fans are, and live stream at times they are likely to be awake and available. You can easily cater to fans across the world assuming you don’t mind late nights and/or early mornings.

Connect with Your Audience

Being timely and relevant is critical to connecting with your audience.

As I write this, the COVID-19 scare continues, as people isolate and social distance.

By no means is this going to last, so the key point here is to connect with your fans and tailor your messaging to them.

Presently, a lot of people are scared, anxious, frustrated, bored or otherwise. If you can lift their spirts through your music and banter, you’ll connect with them more readily.

Of course, you can also be polarizing and controversial. Ultimately, it will have the same effect of attracting viewers, even if you do alienate some.

Again, this mostly depends on your brand. If it would be off brand for you to be controversial, don’t be.

Generally, be personable and interactive. Answer fan comments. Mention them by name. Send “thank you” notes after the fact. People are starved for connection right now.

Pay it Forward

Pay it forward

It’s no secret that one of the keys to success on social media is being social.

It’s no secret that one of the keys to success on social media is being social. Share on X

When you interact with others, people notice you more. When you add value to them, they begin to see you as a leader or an expert in your field.

So, if you’ve got time on your hands, why not check out other live streamed concerts. Like, comment and share. Tip the musicians you like. Pay it forward.

And, if I were you, I would steal ideas from the best streams I found, too.

Repurpose Your Content

It’s easy to think of a live stream as a one-time event, just as a typical gig would be. But unlike a live performance, your live streams can have a second and even third life.

With most platforms, you should be able to download your live streamed video, edit it (if you wish) and share it out everywhere.

One live stream could easily turn into 12 videos (i.e. 12 songs), for instance.

I used to – and still do – do this very thing. Last year, I did a lot of Facebook Lives with my community project, Your Music Matters.

I took the live streamed videos, edited them, put them up on YouTube and even shared them on Blogger.

I plan to take clips from those videos and upload them to Music Entrepreneur HQ as well.

Whether you do any of this comes down to your brand and strategy, but I thought you might like to know that it’s possible to do more with less.

Final Thoughts on Live Streaming Concerts

If, for whatever reason, you’re uncomfortable with live streaming, but would still like to connect with your fans using the video medium, keep in mind that you can pre-record and edit an entire performance and live stream that!

Plus, you can still interact with fans in the comments. After all, your hands will be free the entire time, so typing up a few responses shouldn’t prove problematic.

Just remember to let your fans know when you’re live streaming pre-recorded content.

I wish you all the best in your live streaming efforts.

Is there anything else I should have addressed here?

Do you have any lingering comments regarding live streaming?

Let me know in the comments below.