When social media first appeared and spread around the world several years ago, it was billed as a fun way to keep in touch with family and friends. In the decade or so since, however, it’s taken on a life of its own. Social media has become incredibly important for everyone, whether it's used for up-to-the-minute news on Twitter, companies communicating with their customers, or bands promoting their shows. Like it or not, social media is inescapable, and staying on top of your game is paramount.
Making sure your social media accounts are active is a good idea, as it shows everyone watching that you're paying attention, and lets followers know what you’re up to and what’s going on in your world. We’ve all see pathetic pages on Twitter or Facebook that haven’t had any activity in weeks, and it’s not a pretty sight. Even if you’re not especially social or personable on social media – which is an option, though not one I suggest – it’s good to keep things up-to-date by announcing new shows, singles, etc. It used to be okay to go a few days without saying anything, but, these days, a few hours of silence looks odd.
While it's important to be active on social media, that’s not to say it’s easy. Sure, writing a tweet isn’t difficult, but coming up with dozens of them, making sure to post them at the right time, and trying not to forget everything that’s going on can be tough. Social media shouldn’t be exhausting or too troubling. One thing you can do to make your digital life (and your real life) a bit easier to manage is plan as much as you can in advance.
Planning posts for social media is incredibly easy, and can help relieve some of the stress of being a musician. Say you’re going to be playing in Denver next month, and you want to announce the show and remind your fans about it as the date approaches. You can either try to remember to frequently send out posts on all of your channels, or you can plan them in advance.
For your Denver show, announce it manually, then plan several subsequent reminders to go out on specific days at different times, which can be particularly helpful for your fans. Once you finalize the plans for the show, you can immediately write and pre-plan something to go out two weeks before the show, one week, a few days, a few hours, even a few minutes before you go on. Also, make sure to post immediately afterwards and the next morning. Updating all of this yourself is where social media becomes tiring. I bet when I first mentioned tweeting about your show, many of you thought about the first announcement, but not the subsequent seven reminders, right? Hence why pre-planning is a must.
It’s also good to share some items on social media more than once and at different times of the day for fans around the world. This idea might not apply to your show in Denver next week, but works when promoting something like a new single, or for encouraging people to buy your new album. While it’s not hard to write a quick Facebook post and link to your new music video at noon in New York, do you want to stay up all night to remind your fans in Sydney to watch? Pre-planning posts (each one worded differently, of course – have to keep things interesting) to reach everyone possible is easiest with a bit of technological help.
There are several apps or websites you can use to easily set photos, videos, or simple text to post at specific times, but I personally like to use Hootsuite, as I find it’s the best aggregator. I've run social media for several companies and organizations, and it was invaluable during those campaigns. I also use it for my own purposes, making sure to tweet or post on Facebook more often than I’d be able to if I were writing things in real time.
Social media is where everyone and everything is these days, so getting it right is one of the best things you can do for yourself. There are many ways to ensure you’re making the most of your online presence, and posting on time every time is essential. As one of my favorite informercials back in the day preached, “Set it and forget it!”
Hugh McIntyre is a freelance pop music journalist in NYC by way of Boston. He has written for Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, and MTV, as well as various magazines and blogs around the world. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the blog "Pop! Bang! Boom!" which is dedicated to the genre of pop in all of its glory.