Something that a lot of people have brought up to me recently has been my Facebook presence, hell, my social media presence n general. It’s extremely different from a lot of other peoples out there and not just because I have a weird super intense lifestyle. Rather it is because I direct my social media with the simple rule of “Only post achievements” and this has guided me to new levels of success. It’s a lesson that took me a while to learn and which I definitely had to learn the hard way. It’s not a rule I follow a hundred percent of the time but it does define something like 95% of my social media outreach, especially on Facebook (My only other main platform is Instagram) Yet by taking my Facebook presence seriously I have been able to cultivate something powerful that increases my personal brand and makes people take me a lot more seriously than they might otherwise. In a world where I’m younger than almost everyone else I need every help I can get.
See – I wasn’t always so serious about my social media posting. I used to post silly statuses all the time and most of all pictures of my cat. That got me into a lot of trouble with industry people who were encouraging me to take myself more seriously. I got called a ‘stoned teenager’ and a ‘weird cat person’ and when it comes down to it I was. To some extent I still am – but I also understand that if I wanted to be taken seriously in a milieu that heavily relies on social media I needed to be able to step up and above that in order to create something greater. At first it came in steps, and we are going to look into those too, but once I stepped away from posting constant statuses I felt a lot freer and a lot more able to direct my career and my image in a way that not only was profitable but helped the various musical projects that I am involved with, and that, more than anything else should be a priority for people out there reading this blog.
The thing is – in an industry as cut throat and small as music you need to prove that you are someone with singleminded dedication. It’s those people who end up getting the opportunities because people realize that they are going to make the most of the opportunities given to them and they aren’t just going to waste their time and chances for stupid bullshit but instead work to create something truly special that elevates everyone involved. People who post about their various projects outside of music are great, as are people who post about politics (usually) but that’s not the point, if your social media profile is supposed to be how people evaluate you it’s only by presenting yourself as a steely eyed professional that people are going to take you seriously. Let’s be real – in the arts people check out your social media before they check out your resume. They want to be able to see that you’ve been working on substantive projects, and if you haven’t been then they are going to doubt you. They want to see that you have mutual friends with them, and odds are their friends are only adding serious people – as should you.
Now you might be used to posting willynilly on social media – I get that and that can rapidly become problematic especially if you are trying to get people to take your band seriously. There are steps you can take bit by bit so that you can have a professional looking profile so people realize you are the real deal though. First and foremost I would encourage you to stop posting about politics. Even if you are a political artist – save that for your band page. If you post about politics all the time on your personal pages you are making people worry that you are hard to work with. The thing is that most political opinions on the internet aren’t super well developed and you run a high risk of looking silly. Tied into that it’s not smart to post about being sad or generally emotional. Again – you’re a steely eyed musician trying to make a living on the mean streets. People don’t need to know that you feel sad. People need to know that you are going to be there to fight for them. That might be tricky at first – but perception is reality.
Realize that social media is a tool and a tool that defins who you are in a world increasingly defined by social media. You need to be able to use that tool to communicate a clear message about yourself. It means that you need to constantly be pushing personal branding and I know that sucks. I know a lot of people feel disingenuous about this sort of stuff. But again – aren’t you the one trying to be an artist? You can’t just pot about you r depression all the time if you want to get gigs. You need to post about times you were reliable and helpful so that when people think of you they don’t think “Person with weird political opinions who is frequently depressed” but instead think “That person is involved in a lot of cool projects and seems to be super reliable, I should talk to them about if their band needs a label”. You can still have fun with it and post fun stuff now and then, I’m not saying you need to be super serious, but you also need to realize the image you are portraying and make sure it’s something other people are going to want to affiliate with.
Social media is inherently a fun thing and the temptation is certainly there to be like all of your deadbeat friends and post about random bullshit or even worse admit to drug use on the internet. Instead just use it as a place to share things you are excited about and use it to make sure that you are driving towards something good. Highlight your fancier moments and remind people that you are constantly working on cool projects that they want to be a part of. Selfies with famous people are encouraged, as is fucking hustling. Put your head down and work – you have an amazing tool at your disposal, it’s up to you not to mess it up.