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Swn Conferences (Week 4)

This week, as part of Swn Festival (a festival held annually in Cardiff across multiple venues, now run by Clwb Ifor Bach), a series of conferences and panels were set up to allow those in the industry to visit the University and give us some tips on how to establish ourselves. It was run by Sam Taylor and Phil Nelson from Complete Music Update, a business designed to keep everyone up to date on daily happenings within the music industry.

I am going to give you a quick overview of one of their seminars, the one I felt that I took the most from and can utilise in my own music career, whether that be through my own project or the management of others. It was the talk entitled 'Top Five Social Media Tricks'.

Of course, this featured more than just five simple tricks as it would have been a very fast paced and arguably boring lecture, however opened our eyes to some of the things we may have not thought of when it comes to promoting a band and getting word out.

One of the most important things is to find which platform suits you best. Whether this be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, SoundCloud or otherwise, it is important to recognise what works best for you as a person and as an artist. It is also worth noting which platform your fans are most likely to use, which could depend on how alternative you come across as an artist and what your aesthetic is. For example, if you are mostly concerned with your brand; your image, aesthetic, fashion etc. then you are most likely to choose Instagram as your primary social media platform. Whereas if you are more inclined to regularly update your fans with short, snappy posts that are quick to type out and easy to digest, then Twitter is more likely to fit your style.

Despite finding which platform is best for you, it is also important to ensure your fans can have access to the others too. An example of this might be to release some music onto Spotify without doing so on Apple Music or another streaming site. If a link is left only to Spotify and an Apple user clicks on it, it is unlikely that they will download Spotify just so they can listen to your music, or vice versa. Make sure that each of the popular sites is accessible, so more people are likely to find you.

Also important is making sure that each social media platform has links to others. This way, a potential new fan can find you easily and have access to other platforms. The example used by Sam within this was the way he finds bands on socials; he begins by, for example, finding a new band through suggested artists on Spotify, whether this be through Discover Weekly or featured on a similar artist's page. He will then go straight to Instagram and follow them there. The likelihood is that the Instagram page will have a link to their Facebook, which is where he will explore next along with Twitter. He will then check these platforms to see if a website has been embedded anywhere, and if not then he will do a Google search for them. Having each of these social media platforms linked to the others not only makes the artist more easily accessible depending on people's site of choice, but also makes it more likely for fans to see content.

We spoke about the change in algorithms, particularly within Instagram and Facebook, which means that timelines are no longer in chronological order and moves posts further towards the top that it thinks the user is more likely to enjoy seeing and therefore engage with. Because of this, many posts are not getting seen and sometimes even taken off timelines for lack of recognition, meaning it is more important than ever to have other ways of getting in touch with fans. If something has been posted on multiple platforms then it is more likely to be seen on at least one, and if it is seen by the same person more than once in various places then it is more likely to stick in their heads and be both recognised and remembered.

The other top tips we were given in terms of social media sites included:

- NEVER buy followers.

- ensure that there is a build up to a release of music - post regular updates, maybe even a countdown, but find a way to get people excited about it.

- don't say 'link in bio' as this is being highly recognised on Instagram and taken off many timelines.

- create a mailing list - this will ensure you can keep in contact with your 'true' fans, and is very easy to do! Thinking of fun ways to obtain these emails such as giving out cupcakes in exchange or leaving a QR code on beer mats.

The number one rule is to engage with your fans as much as possible WITHOUT being overwhelming - there is nothing wrong with plugging your music and being excited about it but don't be too full on or you'll be even worse off!

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