One of the things that I’ve sort of been focusing on lately has been social media hacks that get my projects a little more traction and raise the profile of the bands and people I am affiliated with. These are things that occasionally violate basic marketing principles but mean that we can all have more success. A lot of them are based around the idea that if you act like a benevolent and beloved celebrity on social media then social media platforms are going to reward that. The people who seem to get the most traction are the ones who can illicit the most interaction, even if it is controversial interaction. It seems that now more than ever the ability to get people to engage with you is much more important than anything else – even if you are figuring out artificial ways to stimulate this you are going to rapidly see a sense of growth that you can’t match through common advertisements or constant self promotional posts. You need to figure out what is going to get people to want to talk about you, whether it be good or bad.
Just look at what Kanye West did promoting himself by coming out supporting Trump. It essentially broke the internet, made him bigger than ever and led to him actually GAINING Twitter followers. On top of that, let’s be real – he broke into a new demographic who never would have taken him seriously with that post. He garnered a ton of interaction and ultimately he knows the negative affiliation of Donald Trump is nowhere near the value of the controversy it generates around him. He is now at the center of a national dialog, has brought in new superfans and become an even more fascinating figure. I’m not saying your band should come out in favor of Donald Trump, it’s very easy to just get labeled as a silly Republican. He’s also a terrible person, making that connection was a risky move for Kanye, but he’s so massive he knew he was protected. Instead just realize that sometimes pushing the boundaries is going to get people talking about you.
Of course freely embracing controversy is not the only way to expand your brand. One thing I have become a big fan of this week is the idea of Instagram pods. Now I know that this sounds like a silly bullshit thing for teenagers, but Instagram pods seem to be one of the most effective hacks yet for growing engagement on that platform. Essentially what you do is find some people to set up a group chat with where you all post the things you want to have supported in the chat. Then everyone has to go in and comment and like all of the posts. Once that starts to happen you get some very real traction. Your posts are artificially inflated, but the Instagram algorithm can’t tell the difference. Looking into it, it seems like many Instagram users have obtained thousands of followers through this method. They get a ton of comments and likes on everything, but they are willing to put in the work to give back to their community. That’s a big part of social media in 2018 by the way, being willing to sit down, think and give back.
Now you might be saying, “Well Matt, those people aren’t real fans, you are just exchanging likes and comments, isn’t that the type of circle jerk you hate?” Well yes and no. On the one hand it is undeniably a circle jerk. That being said – it’s a circle jerk that provides tangible results. This isn’t following other people on SonicBids to grow the brand. This is an actionable way to grow engagement on your posts. If you are growing your engagement then you are going to get more relevant followers. Not only that but perception is reality, especially in social media. If people see that you have thousands of followers when they click over to their page, they are more likely to click follow. I mean wouldn’t you? No one wants to follow someone who only has 140 followers. The content they are putting out is probably shit and it probably will just hurt your ratio. You want to be plugged into people actively contributing, and when folks see you have tons of followers this is only going to help.
The other hack I wanted to momentarily address is just going through and following a ton of people. Most of the time if you follow people, especially if they have a 1:1 ratio of followers to following (Or worse) then they will follow you back. This oftentimes is the case for general music fans who aren’t trying to impress people with their Instagram or Twitter accounts. Now you need to comment on some of their things so they don’t immediately unfollow you, but also realize that almost no one checks who they are following and who follows them. This means that you can go through, follow a ton of people, comment on some of their pictures, hope they follow you back and then unfollow them so that you can preserve a strong ratio and also be able to go through and follow even more people. I know that this sounds insane, but that’s just where we are at these days. Making sure you do a lot of following so you looked plugged in is a key way to grow your brand.
I’m sure that I will run more articles like this in the future. There are always more social media hacks that I am learning about and am interested in actualizing. At the end of the day – you need to band together with your friends in order to expand in this fucked up world of ours. The music industry is not a kind place and the FANG corporations are working to make sure that the individuals power is much less than ever before. At some point they will probably figure out who to fuck over people trying to work together to grow something, but for now we can still artificially generate real interest and that’s a very good thing.
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