I was recently interviewed by the fine folks at Brown Paper Tickets for my thoughts and advice on helping indie artists with Twitter. As you know, I’m a big Twitter fan and advocate on a quest teaching people how to become #TwitterSmarter. I’m thrilled to share this interview with you.
Madalyn Sklar is a music business and social media coach. Though her focus is do-it-yourself for independent artists, she creates, curates and shares content that could be a resource for any small business, especially those working in events. Sklar’s over-arching goal in everything she does (and it shows) is: to enable people to “work smarter, not harder.”
Brown Paper Tickets Q: We came across an infographic about how certain bands were “break-outs” at SXSW if you look at the Twitter numbers around their shows. Since you were in Austin for SXSW and have been in the music industry, would you say that musicians use Twitter well? If not, what obstacles or misperceptions do they have?
Sklar: There is a segment of musicians using Twitter quite well; however, I have found that a good number of DIY independent artists have not fully embraced it. It’s because they either don’t get it at all or they are somewhat using it but don’t see the real value or benefit. They are not getting a return for their time spent. I have made it my mission over the last several years to teach artists why Twitter plays an important role in their overall marketing for their music. I show them how to reach new fans and music industry professionals. Once they see the real value in Twitter, they begin to invest time on the platform.
Brown Paper Tickets Q: For bands or musicians you’ve worked with that resisted mightily at first, what finally converted them into Twitter fans?
Sklar: I run a popular Twitter chat (#ggchat) for musicians and music biz. I find that a good number of our first-time participants are new to Twitter. There is such a big buzz about the chat that it piques their interest. They are using the Twitter chat to get their feet wet on the platform. What better way to learn than to surround yourself with like-minded musicians and music industry professionals! And the best part is you make instant connections with people. You see immediate results. The chat is fast-paced and really keeps you on your toes. After an hour of discussion in this format, you start learning how to maneuver in Twitter. This is part of taking small steps to learn. From there I have seen participants really blossom on Twitter.
Brown Paper Tickets Q: How do you coach people to allow for an organic momentum-building route to Twitter success when they are in a big hurry to make their names known?
Sklar: When it comes to social media, you rarely see overnight success. I teach people how to create a social media plan but nothing happens unless you take action. Once you do that the key then is to work it consistently. That’s really the secret sauce in all this. Have a plan, take action, be consistent. You do that, you’ll attain Twitter success. The more you put in, the more you get out of it. Consistency is incredibly important. I started the GoGirls Twitter chat in 2011 as a way to bring people together in the music industry. It started small and grew over time. Three years later we are consistently hitting 18 million timelines each week, reaching over 300K people, businesses and brands. Another key component to Twitter success is to listen. Listen to conversations and find opportunities to contribute. Twitter’s advanced search is one of the most underutilized features and is so powerful. When people educate themselves on how to properly use Twitter, they will see amazing results. I did a recent case study with a rock band looking to organically increase their Twitter followers. I gave them two simple strategies to employ. They saw dramatic results. We recorded a free webinar, which is available here.
Brown Paper Tickets Q: Whether involving social media or not, which are the most painful business and promotion lessons for all bands and musicians to learn?
Sklar: The music business is a relationship business. It’s all about making those key connections with industry professionals as well as fans. There are no short cuts. It’s building one fan at a time. I encourage musicians to attend music conferences and events so they can educate themselves and also make valuable connections with people who can help their music career. Show your appreciation to everyone you meet. After an event, be sure to send a handwritten Thank You card to the promoter or booker, whoever helped you. It’s little things like this that will make you stand out.
Brown Paper Tickets Q: What one thing could almost any indie band do right now to start selling more tickets to their shows?
Sklar: Hustle! So many musicians are waiting for opportunities (and ticket sales) to fall into their laps. The best way to sell more tickets to your show is to get out and spread the word. Generate a huge buzz. Find something that makes you stand out from the masses. Come up with a contest. Find ways to involve your fans. They love to help. Get your “super fans” on board to help sell tickets. Whoever sells the most wins a prize or maybe a private party with the band. Send them your swag. You make them feel special, they will become a driving force in selling tickets.
Madalyn Sklar hosts a GoGirls Twitter chat #ggchat Thursdays at 3 PM and 9PM ET—all musicians and music business people are invited.