You want to increase your social engagement a THOUSANDfold? I’ll tell you how in two words: BE PRESENT.
That’s all you have to do!
Sure, there are more complex solutions for enterprise clients that can really boost your numbers, but there are three things every single artist / venue / promoter / retailer / radio station should do regardless:
1) ESTABLISH an @identity and #hashtag to be used on Twitter & other social media. At this point, almost everybody has an identity, but very few folks in the music / event space use hashtags to steer the conversation.
2) PROMOTE these two pieces everywhere — in your emails, on your social platforms, in your promotional collateral (posters, ads, tickets, etc.), and on site — even from the stage if you must! I still go to a ton of events, music and non-music alike, and wonder @who or #what I should tag if I post a pic.
3) RESPOND to your fan posts. I’m not saying respond to every single post that pings your phone, I’m not saying turn everything into a contest (“Tweet a pic and we might pick you as the Fan of the Day!”). Just make a simple acknowledgement to one or two fans every day, just to let all your fans know you see them.
If all this sounds like 101 stuff, that’s because IT IS — and yet so many entities overlook these basic, tiny steps that start the flow of social communication.
I got an email / ping at 2:45am Sunday morning: “Z-TRIP (@ztrip) just retweeted one of your tweets!” I woke up and was like, “Aw man, that’s awesome!” Of course, maybe only a few hundred of his 100,000 followers saw my tweet since he retweeted in the dead of night, but still — could you imagine the reaction if a 14 year old girl or a 22 year old guy got that ping, and what they would tell their friends?
Ten hours later, another ping: “The Dustbowl Revival (@dustbowlrevival) retweeted one of your Tweets!” Twice in one day, what are the odds? I just happened to get a good pic of them that same night, and they liked it enough to pass it around to their 300 fans.
And why shouldn’t they? Hell, they were too busy playing to take that shot! And them retweeting that pic in the middle of the day makes me want to come back around and follow up with them.
All your fans are taking pictures of you every night. Do something with that stuff! Point your fans to the proper tags, and use a little bit of it every day. Collect tons of that stuff to do a bigger project with it further down the road.
But be sure to control the situation so your fans are paying attention to the show, and not shooting / posting every single moment in hopes of catching your attention online.
And notice that almost all this pertains to Twitter, and in a way, Instagram. Yeah, Facebook is still the largest platform out there, but Twitter’s making some serious headway, as the use of hashtags helps us monitor, archive, curate, and repurpose social visual content in the years ahead.