Marketing and the beginnings of a voice
Welcome back, this week my goal is to look at our marketing decisions and how we have started to create our own voice on social media.
Marketing, what a deep and endless subject. For us, marketing is based on what content we can create for free. We are not in a financial position or have a wide enough following for paid marketing to be viable. Social media is our storefront. Yes, we have a website that we try to funnel people to, and the goal of that website is to capture an email address so we can directly attempt to add value to our subscribers music lives but social media is the frontline and that's where the initial impression is made.
Our main content is based on four themes:-
1) creating royalty-free pieces of music (based mainly on pop and hip-hop)
2) a weekly live stream of us using a vinyl and creating music around the sample
3) comedic videos supporting the final products of points 1 and 2
4) celebrating the artist we work with
Point four is the least important (but still vital) when it comes to our personal marketing strategy as the others, especially point 3, feed Instagram's (our platform of choice) algorithm. It's good at this point to point out that all digital platforms want the same thing, content that keeps people on their platform.
At first our content had very little engagement from our very few followers and we couldn't understand why, after all we were following all of the advice on youtube! It took us a moment to stop and think about how we use Instagram and who we were trying to talk to, we didn't want to have thousands of followers and get 10 likes on a photo. The common practices currently fashionable lead to dead accounts where everyone is only there to talk about themselves. This was not our goal. A niche grassroots studio needs to engage with people that care and find us aspirational. Like the accounts we find aspirational, produce like a pro being a good example.
Produce Like A Pro is run by Grammy Nominated Producer Warren Huart. He made his social media career on YouTube by offering in depth tutorials as a currently working (and successful) studio owner. His instagram posts are mainly ads linking to his tutorials, reviews and academy. His (in my opinion) genius use of Instagram and the reason of his 10k plus followers in such a small niche are his seeming random, but long and honest questions and answer sessions using the stories mechanic in Instagram. Now this wouldn't work for us, no one cares about our thoughts as we haven't achieved anything to give us the social proof or authority in our answers.
So what can we do?
Again, what can we do differently?
Giving content (valuable, ever changing, unique content) for free, whilst great, isn't enough. It gets you attention but it needs to be partnered with something more immediate and gratifying. For us this was going out and finding people who we thought would like our content.
We followed a lot of people we felt fit our customer avatar and monitored them for their levels of engagement. First of all we get involved in people's feeds. We like, comment and share when great. It takes time, the conversations get overwhelming with the amount of people, but when you're live streaming with a piano teacher in Canada and talking jazz vs classical its worth it. We unfollowed if they didn't reciprocate the follow and after a month painstakingly went though to see who was engaging with us, those that weren't liking etc we unfollowed.
We learnt quite quickly that percentage of engagement is far more important than gross figures. Like I said earlier all platforms want content that keep people logged in and lost. So by shedding the relationships that are not bearing the fruit of engagement we found our posts were being served to all our followers and then some.
Currently our strategy, whilst a time consuming slow burner, is still being tinkered with. The curation and timing of the post is hugely significant and something that we are still a long way from completely understanding. We made mistakes at the start by blindly applying advice from too many people (very important to listen to them all though). If we would have done the self assessment at the Strat and not after we had made so many posts that hurt our growth we may have hit our money goals quicker.
But more on that next week.