Doing A Whole Lot Of Nothing

Twitter, Facebook and all these other outlets are great ways to reach your audience. But there are limitations. And without a smart strategy, they can become black holes, sucking up all your time and energy. I know people who seem to spend hours a day on Twitter and Facebook, responding to followers, trying to be witty and desperately trying to hit 1,000 or 10,000 or even 100,000 followers. Bless their hearts, they think they're working. And, in a sense, they are. But, in most cases, they are just treading water -- working their asses off and getting nowhere. Like good press, a Twitter or Facebook or email following is not an end in itself. It's a means, an opportunity. And if you don't have a plan for how to activate those followers in some way, then you are just wasting your time. That's why you need a healthy balance of content and promotions.

It's easy to get wrapped up in all the crap. To feel like you're doing something when you aren't actually getting anything accomplished. But eventually that futility will end up killing your good intentions because you can only do something for so long with nothing to show for it. You give up. I understand that not everything has a direct, obvious and measurable return. Ultimately, however, it is a business. And that means that - AT SOME POINT - you need to sell records or tickets or something. With that in mind, here five guidelines for smarter use of your time online:

1. Have reasonable expectations, but ALWAYS have expectations and goals. 2. Create a balance of content and promotions. 3. Set guidelines for what and how often you post. 4. Keep perspective. Don't become a slave to the numbers. 5. Don't ever forget that making music/art is the first priority.

The Difference Between Content And Promotions

When you look at content and promotions on your website, Facebook, Twitter or through other media outlets, they would seem to be pretty similar. But there is one huge distinction: Content is something you give to people with no expectation of anything in return – a photo, blog post, video or a link to an interesting article. Promotions, on the other hand, are built around a specific call to action – sign up for this, buy a record, download a song, come to my show. A good marketing plan has a balanced mix. Content grabs their attention and promotions convert that attention into something worthwhile. Not enough promotions and you spend a lot of time and effort for nothing. Not enough content and people will get sick of you asking them for stuff. It's like all healthy relationships, it has give and take. And when that balance gets out of whack, someone is going to leave.

Expect Less From Your Publicist

... and your manager, agent, label, sponsorship point person and everyone else who purports to represent your best interests out in the world. At a time when everyone wants more, more, more, I would contend that you should judge your team by what they say “no” to instead of how many things they say “yes” to.

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