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Getting Noticed – Part 2: Social Media

Editor’s note: Damian continues his series on Getting Noticed Out There this week, focusing on social media. Check out Part 1: Your Demo.

Q: I’ve reached the point where I know I need to meet new people to get my career up to the next level, but I don’t know where to start. What do you think makes effective networking in the context of being a musician as opposed to an artist who has written songs? How do you know the right person to speak to and what in your experience is the best approach?

A: In this second installment, I wanted to cover the power of social media.

Getting SocialFirst of all, everything outside of the clubs, recording sessions and jam sessions happens online – and even some of those things happen online these days too. If you want the world find you, you’ve got to have a strong online presence.

Social media can be a fantastic tool, but always remember that social media is meant to be social. It can become a full time job (albeit a fun job, if you enjoy the medium), and one that can pay off big in many different ways.

But don’t be lazy. Remember rule #1: you have to be social.

That means you can’t just simply make a Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube channel and only post gig notices or spam people.

You have to forge relationships with people. That is how you become a part of the community and get people talking.

In my estimation, Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, Google Plus and all of the other social media sites are for exactly that: being social, sharing information, interacting with people as well as posting videos, audio clips, gig notices and anything else that has to do with your career.

For me, it is primarily a networking tool, but a solid 40% of my time spent there is on maintaining and fostering relationships with those in my respective communities. They are the ideal place to market your wares but only after having established yourself as one of the tribe.

I’ve met some wonderful people as well as some peers and heroes as well as developed real life friendships with people too. It’s a win-win!

YouTube is a whole other animal. I think that YouTube is the best thing to happen to artists since MySpace back in the day (and does more than MySpace Music ever did, I think).

Not only can you message anyone and foster the social side of things, but now you can post any glorious live moments captured on film, make videos at home, put out tracks with any kind of visualization (nice track with slide shows will do just fine until you have some real footage). YouTube videos are designed to spread too: via embeds on sites, Facebook feeds, the “related videos” section and so on.

YouTube is where you can begin to foster your musical identity. You aren’t limited to just posting performances either.
I’ve discovered that people are as into (or more into) the instructional videos as they are the performance ones. As a result, I’ve made a bit more of a name for myself as an educator and a guy to ask for advice. In essence, I unintentionally fostered another side of my career, which is that of an educator.

But there is no better business card for your abilities than some great video footage of you at your best! So be sure to have that in your bag of tools. I touched on this in an earlier column on getting recognized and want to highlight one important point: a bad video does you no good. This is not just about your playing, it is also about the presentation. Poor quality audio or video can override a great performance.

Make sure that you have done and continue to do the work necessary to make a name for yourself as a quality player. Don’t put the cart before the horse. If you want to show people that you have something to say and are worth their time, make sure that you are providing them with content worthy of that time.

Be realistic about your abilities and the response you expect. I have met more than one person who expressed frustration that social networking and videos haven’t gotten them the ‘big nod’ from the bass community (or any gigs), but when I went to check them out, many of them were providing an inferior product.

The cream rises to the top – along with time and effort – and you have to focus the most on your abilities as a player before you can expect to make a splash in a pretty deep pool.

That is not to say that there aren’t options! Get creative!

For example, there are countless others who are exactly where you are now musically. You could, for example, start a channel wherein you work through exercises and essentially document your practice sessions. Talk about what you are working on, the challenges, and so on, and get a dialogue going with others. It could turn into a wonderful thing for some people and people might talk about that.

That’s just an example, but you can see that there may be as many ways to use all available mediums to our advantage if we get creative, speak with our own voice (don’t present yourself as something that you are not) and interact openly and honestly.

The online world is the great equalizer. Everybody’s voice has an equal opportunity to be heard. It’s up to you to have something to say.

How are you using social media, including YouTube, to get noticed? I’d love to hear your stories. Please share in the comments.

Photo by Newcastle Wedding Photographer

Have a question for Damian? Submit it to the Ask Damian Erskine Forum. Check out Damian’s instructional books at the No Treble Shop.

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