I’m often asked why artists and presenters should trendy-verb-form of name-your-social-media-outlet. Artists say they don’t have time (“when do I practice?”), while presenters say there’s no way to track results of blog, Twitter and Facebook efforts in ticket sales. Perhaps going forward, I’ll tell people that they should trendy-verb-form of name-your-social-media-outlet because there’s a movie with Justin Timberlake about it.
I could also tell them that, as of today, Facebook has reached 500 million users.
Just as no one who tries really hard to be cool, smart or funny actually comes off as cool, smart, funny, or whatever it is he or she desperately wants to be, no presenter or artist who joins Twitter or Facebook, or who starts blogging, because other artists and presenters are doing it is actually going to be successful. Is there strategy involved? Yes, but the strategy, in my opinion, is how to link together everything a person actually wants to be doing, and drive traffic to that thing that needs to be purchased, be it a CD, a music file, or a concert ticket. Proper Discord sums up the usual performing arts social media strategy nicely:
On June 29th, the Chiara Quartet Tweeted the following from their ensemble account to their 238 followers:
Christina (and others) retweeted, and Jeremy Olshan decided to write a story for the Post a few days later. It ran on page 3 of the print version of the paper, and the news got picked up by the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Toronto Star, and others in the US. Christina then got calls from CBS and Inside Edition, though they didn’t eventually go with the story.
Neither the publicist nor the artist could have known that this much media attention could have come out of one Tweet that took maybe 15 seconds to type. People complain about airlines and just about everything else in the world all the time on Twitter, and yet, in this case, the right follower was paying attention at the right time. If none of the above parties had been on Twitter, could Christina have secured a story? Perhaps. Gregory could have called her to complain, she could have thought to herself that some writers might be interested, made a few calls, sent a few e mails, and given it her best shot. Would she have written a press release about it? Probably not. Did that one Tweet get more press for her client than any one press release she’s ever written for them? Quite possibly.
Conversely, here’s an example of an ensemble using Twitter because Someone Told Them They Should. Let’s call this the “[if someone told you to] jump off a bridge” method. I blacked out the group’s name, venues, and Facebook links all classified FBI document style, but you’ll get the idea:
Each Tweet reads, “Come to GROUP @ VENUE, date, time, program, Facebook link.” Four Tweets in a row at the exact same time, using the name of the group which is supposed to be Tweeting? This feed also has Tweets like, “I uploaded a video.” At the very least, take the time to switch the auto-pronoun if you’re a group! These are the artists (and presenters) who complain about not “getting anything” from social media; they don’t realize that the problem is they’re not giving anything.
Later this week, I’m going to list some top classical artists with blogs, as well as those on Twitter and Facebook, and make some notes about how they use one or both outlets. For now, I’ll leave you pianist Jeremy Denk’s blog, Think Denk: The Glamorous Life of a Classical Pianist, that he started writing without a publicist’s urging in March 2005. Jeremy’s blog is responsible for the most bizarre and awesome New York Times review of all time, in which Anthony Tommassini references a blog post of Jeremy’s in the title (I realize the critics don’t necessarily write the titles), and directs Times readers to Think Denk at the end of the review. Keep in mind, this is a Carnegie Hall concert review, not a feature.
Yet hints of Beethoven the daring improviser also came through in
Mr. Denk’s fresh, risky and, when called for, boldly humorous
Speaking of humor, check out Mr. Denk’s Web site (jeremydenk.net) for his musings on music and the life of a concert pianist. In a recent post he writes an imagined interview with Gov. Sarah Palin,
discussing the “Hammerklavier,” which she calls Beethoven’s “most
maverickyest” song. Giving advice to Mr. Denk in tackling the daunting
fugue, his Sarah Palin says, “Trill, baby, trill!”
While out and about a few Friday nights ago, I met a boy who is an assistant to a relationship specialist. (Side note: he KNEW WHO SOME OF MY CLIENTS WERE, which was exciting. The friend I was with very helpfully and loudly voiced her SHOCK that someone had heard of anyone I work for. Thank you for that, Sara, supportive friend of 16 years.) Of course when you meet anyone having to do with a relationship specialist, you naturally have to ask what the Best Advice is. So I did, and my new friend Mark said that the best advice his boss doles out is to “always give more than you feel like you’re getting.” Good advice, I think, for using social media as well.