The music market is an ever-evolving entity. Our constantly shifting infrastructure has created minimal high paying music careers, yet we annually graduate thousands of highly qualified performers and educators.
The election season is creating a national discussion about the expensive cost and seeming ineffectiveness of all higher education. Together these combined currents are indicating we are at the brink of a higher education reform and restructuring in music.
In an attempt to validate expensive higher education, music schools have begun adopting innovative efforts to attempt to rectify the balance between job opportunities and the number of graduates.
Many programs are now creating Portfolio Curriculum Opportunities to assist graduates in Non-Traditional Career Paths that are quickly becoming the archetypal musician’s career. Higher Education has realized that musicians rarely only play in an orchestra, or only teach private lessons, or only teach at a university.
We are now moving into an Era of Entrepreneurial Higher Education for Musicians.
I have been a witness to the cultural educational shift while I have simultaneously been creating my own Non-Traditional Career Path: teaching full-time at Jacksonville State University, freelance performing throughout the Tri-State Area, teaching private lessons in person and via Skype throughout the continental US, and building my own reed making company and educational double reed resource platform, Raffe Reeds.
Although I believe the intent of Higher Education is on the right track I think it’s still falling short by Not Uniting Music Portfolio Curriculum with Business and Marketing Platforms to help students learn much needed career skills like: Creating Materials for a Global Music Market, Small Business Accounting, and Entrepreneurial Marketing via Social Media platforms.
Over the next few months I will be sharing my Tips and Tricks gained from my business experiences, my Successes AND my Mistakes. Be sure to subscribe to not miss future posts.
Today I will focus on How Musicians Can Effectively Navigate Hustling for Work on Social Media.
Every successful musician I have met is attempting to navigate the waters of The Social Media Hustle, most without professional guidance or education from the business world. Yet social media marketing is one of the most effective tools of the trade.
Social Media allows musicians the daily opportunity to stay present in the forefront of people’s minds, it offers a place to find information on the journey to success, and can make a musician more desirable to other gigs whether that is teaching, performing, or otherwise.
Career success in any field has always been a bit of “It’s All in Who You Know” and almost everyone is on at least one of the various social media platforms daily.
Currently 2.1 Billion people worldwide use social media, offering the unique platform to Build Communities and create Global Networking Opportunities. Social Media offers FREE promotion of You and Your Product. It generates 3 times as many leads as traditional advertising and Social Media bypasses Ad Blockers.
In my own career I began following business marketing gurus to help me develop and take my own Social Media Hustling Skills to the Next Level. And I must admit I’ve gained a greater awareness in How well you Post on Social Media can be directly Linked to Your Level of Career Success.
I’ve learned that it is imperative to find the balance of Personal Authenticity and Engaging Content to Help Create Opportunities and Build Communities.
These two key components can “give you a leg up” on our collective Social Media ADHD. The reality that no one wants to talk about: when you’re on social media you are fighting for time in a person’s life. You need to give them a reason to stick around and be part of the community you are building.
Instead of following you, they could be spending their time watching Kittens! We are now in competition with Kitten Twitter Accounts. And you thought professional auditions and interviews were tough. 😉
Higher education has not only failed to teach musicians the value of effective Marketing on Social Media Platforms- higher education has also failed to address the unique challenges the musician faces when attempting to post.
Most musicians are Innate Perfectionists. We chose careers that allow constant growth, personal awareness and evaluation. We strive for art that is perfectly in tune, in time, with an awareness of phrasing and dense with colors. When we achieve this goal, we immediately begin planning our next artistic challenge.
This can lead to hours spent in a practice room all alone perfecting a passage, a demonstration of Introvert Perfectionist Personalities Traits.
The Perfectionism coupled with Innate Introvert tendencies most musicians demonstrate creates a unique challenge for posting on Social Media.
The Introverts (Musicians) are forced into demonstrating Extrovert Tendencies (Posting Details) in order to Effectively Hustle without the Freedom to Make a Mistake.
Then add in to the mix that Social Media Platform Trends are Constantly Shifting. Once you learn how to comfortably navigate the treacherous waters of Facebook avoiding the pitfalls of political arguments and constant TMI, Instagram steals the spotlight. Perfectly altered images in magazine style layouts grace an artist’s grid. Everyone downloads Facetune and Lighting Apps to Survive and gain followers. Just when you think you’ve got Instagram figured out, it is outdated by our current trend Video like Snapchat, Periscope, Facebook Video and Youtube.
In 2016 Video is predicted to be 74% of all internet traffic. Last year Youtube was the second most used search engine on the internet. If video continues as it has, to trend, Youtube could surpass Google as the number one search engine this year.
Feeling motivated to dig into Improving your Social Media Hustle?
Here are My Five Key Strategies to Improving your Social Media Game
Choose 3 Social Media Platforms that Best Suit You and Your Business Needs
- By focusing on ONLY three platforms you limit the pitfall of over posting and over extending yourself. This can also help avoid the feeling that your Soul has been Sucked into your Smartphone. And it will help you gain authenticity with your followers.
- Plan posts ahead of time. Creating an idea calendar of potential posts can minimize “in the moment” pressure that can destroy your desire to post. And it’s okay to take breaks when you need them.
- By staying authentic you Build Trust and Create Lasting Friendships, allowing people to get to know the Real You. This can build your Personality into Your Business Brand, making you memorable and consequently more marketable.
- It should come as no surprise, who you are is part of why people follow you. Who you are is part of your brand. It’s often the reason people want to buy concert tickets, lessons, reeds, etc. When a person purchases your product they are engaging in a deeper connection with you.
Be Diverse in Your Selection of Social Media Platforms
- Although video is trending I would not suggest choosing three video platforms. This would limit your audience to people who only use video social media. People will follow you on the Social Media format they are most comfortable and like best.
- It’s important to Post Unique Content on each platform, creating a reason for people to follow you on multiple platforms. This allows you to reach a larger audience and increase retention. It also increases Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which can accordingly increase your Return on Investment (ROI).
Know and Engage with Your Audience
- It can be as simple as a thumbs up or returning an email. It’s a sign of respect, allows for greater networking and community building, and makes you accessible.
- Engaging with the audience creates an opportunity to learn about them and what they want. In my own business I was shocked to learn that not all of my Youtube followers are double reeds. By communicating with my audience I’ve found that violinists and trombonists, colleges and universities, and even professional symphony orchestras follow my posts. It has helped me understand the importance in posting a diversity of content.
- Be prepared to give. There is an expectation of free knowledgeable information in the digital age, free live streaming of concerts, masterclasses and MORE. Follow the 80/20 Rule. This motto, learned from following millionaire social media entrepreneurs, keeps posting in perspective. It keeps me from Posting only for Promotion which can feel cheap. And it can cause you to lose your audience. Offer 80% of materials for free and 20% in sales.
Avoid Trolls and TMI
- Be ready to set boundaries: block comments, people and move on from negativity. Do what you need to create your intended environment. Remember confrontation is a form of intimacy, it is how we grow in relationships. You do not need to be intimate with everyone you meet on the internet.
- Keep it positive AKA the audience is not your therapist. It’s better to share struggles AFTER you’ve worked through them. This is a boundary of protection. It can feel emotionally vulnerable to share a moment that is still raw. And a Troll could use this sore spot to further wound you, create safe boundaries.
Thanks for reading and sharing this post. It means a lot to me that you made it this far and didn’t switch over to Emergency Kittens on Twitter. If you have any Social Media Tactics you use to Keep Your Hustle Strong, please share!
If you are interested in learning more about the ideas presented here- Come and Join Me as I Share More Materials like this at the International Double Reed Society Conference at Columbus State University on June 28th at 1:30 in room 1713. Hope to see you there.
Happy Hustling, Everybody!