(More like “no social life” media…amirite?? AMIRITE??? Our Vegas-based acappella group, The Sound Collage, filming our version of the NFL on FOX theme song)
My boyfriend is a (non-practicing) lawyer who does social media for the biggest magic shop in the world. When I met him, I thought it was a “nifty” gig—nifty that he could work anywhere with an Internet connection, by merely posting, commenting and developing a “brand.”
But what was he actually DOING all those hours? His workload seemed suspiciously enormous. Why all day long? What’s so important that he can’t just do it during business hours? Why does he have to spend three hours in a café…even when we’re on vacation, for crimminy’s sake??
To me, it looked like he was just hanging out on Facebook.
A year later, I’m a member of a new a cappella group, EATING my words. Building a brand using social media is more than a full-time job. The work is hard. The struggle is real.
My a cappella team knows that we need a strategy for creating content and sharing it. We have to make videos. We have to take photos. We have to invent and record new arrangements of current music.
Then we have to learn how to maximize their distribution in creative and interesting ways, and package them with flawless, hard-hitting language to reel in the viewer and get that blessed, almighty “click”.
In terms of building a presence, the Internet is everything, and the job never stops. There’s always more work that can be done. That’s why there are mediocre acts getting booked every day—they have done the work, and people know them from that One Funny Video.
The good news? When you love your job, it doesn’t feel like work. In fact, I can’t get enough of it. Is there anything I’d rather do than work on my music, build our brand, and drink way too much coffee? No way! I am feeling particularly alive these days!! It’s a whole new world!!! (Sorry for the punctuation. It’s the coffee talking.)
And I’ve noticed along the way that certain things happened once I made the switch from “casual” social media participant, to WINNING at social media.
1. Friends and family don't understand, and they may get bored and frustrated with your new lover, Mister Computer. Look at her. A zombie! Just on her dang phone/laptop/tablet all the time.
Little do they know…we’re at WORK, son! Our JOB is creating relevance, and I can’t create relevance without participating in the discussion. Liking, commenting and sharing are now non-negotiable activities, and a good strategy includes getting loved ones onboard.
You see, ‘likes’, comments, and shares give measurable relevance to the content, and determine quickly if Facebook shares it with a larger audience—or buries it among the other uninteresting drivel. The first ten minutes after an item is posted is the MOST critical. The first hour is also extremely important. Each post must be given a good send off, and each team member must be consistent about replying to comments and shares so that Facebook learns how GOOD you are at engaging your audience.
When your loved ones make this realization, their minds, like mine, are blown.
2. We learn that social media is a game best played as a team. Four is better than one. Five is better than four. When it's time to release a video, we all get together, order pizza, and go on a "LikeNCommentNShareAPalooza". We text friends to solicit more activity! We are all administrators on our group page, and we all work to get the post seen in the crucial first minutes.
Not to mention all of the advanced pro tips the team can apply. There are plenty of hidden and/or ignored functions that casual participants skip on popular social media platforms. It's effective to work as a team, making purposeful advanced moves for maximum exposure of the content (therefore lengthening the workday considerably, but...).
When I was a casual participant in social media, I never considered all of the different ways to go deeply into a video post and customize the settings. I didn’t know anything about the difference between a personal page and an entertainer page, either. And if you have two pages—one as yourself and one as an entertainer—the workload is double. Our team had to learn how to bounce back and forth so that we can ‘like’ and ‘comment’ as both ourselves (Elly Brown, for example), and The Sound Collage. This only adds to your numbers and your relevance. The team spirit works!
Trust me. Soon you'll be all, “Sorry Ma, can’t come to dinner. Gotta plow through hundreds of video shares and like each one as ‘myself’ and as ‘(Insert Entertainment Name Here)’, then comment accordingly! See you at Christmas!”
3. We will work harder and longer than many people with traditional jobs, even though we don’t work in an office, and won’t necessarily be given a paycheck for the hours spent online. My guy is one of the lucky ones, getting measurable financial compensation specifically for his work online. The rest of us have to earn that paycheck providing goods or services advertised in our content. We get to set that alarm for 6am to ensure posts get East Coast viewers in the morning, and then spend all day tending to the budding seed of a post. We can hardly walk away for too long, or we could lose steam!
The other day, my group posted a video we cared deeply about. So we tag-teamed that sucker and shot it around Facebook like the US Olympic Ping Pong doubles team. Around ten am my boyfriend came out into the living room and said, “You have to come back to sleep.”
“SLEEP?! I can’t sleep, I have to comment! Just leave a glass of water and keep turning me towards the sun, dear”.
4. We begin thinking in terms of clickbait. If this a cappella thing doesn’t work out, at least I can get a job with Buzzfeed.
You can do WHAT to get more “likes”??? You’ll NEVER BELIEVE how much time it takes to learn how to write catchy titles, and YOU CAN’T IMAGINE how much it IMPACTS whether or not a VIDEO GETS SHARED!
Yeah, that was a bit. I was doing a bit just then.
5. We find out quickly we are “doers”, NOT “waiters”. I used to wait for someone to give me an audition, an interview, or a job. Not anymore. I know that the top tier of aspiring performers spend most of their waking hours producing content that will get the team noticed, and I am one of them now.
Our agents and managers can only do so much…and they are looking to US to “up” our OWN following. It’s up to us to get ourselves out there, and I could not be prouder of my group for their understanding and efforts to that end.
6. We accept and make a strategy for the reality of FOLLOWERS mattering more than TALENT. We might sigh, “Followers over talent? GROSS!” Yep. It IS gross. Undeniably. And the more time we spend resisting it, the less time we spend perfecting really great content that crushes the haters. OH, YES, there will be haters, so strap on that spiritual Jetpack and get ready to RISE ABOVE! Hallelujah!
On the other hand, what an opportunity. We can interact with almost anyone we want using social media. Fifteen years ago, networking was painfully slow. Now, we can “walk right up” to the industry folks we want to meet, and introduce ourselves on Twitter. Shoutout to Joey Fatone and Donny Osmond for re-tweeting us @TheSoundCollage!
Casting director Danielle Eskinazi compared Twitter to a large, cyberspace cocktail party. What a useful illustration for managing meaningful, brief interactions full of style and grace. Dressed our best (that means having dynamic photos and links to viewable work), we can leave a lasting impression of wit and aplomb.
The biggest ongoing challenge? Convincing my loved ones of the importance of likes, comments, shares, and re-tweets. So if you made it this far and you happen to see our new music video this week...I have an extra paddle here.
Ping Pong, anyone?
Have you “liked” our Facebook page at The Sound Collage? See you online!