Top Seven Reasons Artists Strongly Resist Social Media

by SaskMusic

November 17, 2010 in Marketing & Promotion

By Ariel Hyatt

A few weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure of being a guest presenter at Tom Jackson’s Singers-Bands Bootcamp. I was delighted about this because I truly believe Tom’s Live Music Method is the number one most effective technique artists can use to boost their effectiveness and enhance their overall sales.

I’ve watched in awe many times as Tom has right before my eyes completely transformed artists’ performances that seemed boring and ho-hum into having me perched on the edge of my seat waiting to see what they will do next.

Tom and I are aligned in our philosophies of capturing and engaging fans. He works in live settings, and I work on social media platforms. Tom’s concepts around creating moments on stage are exactly like my concepts of creating moments online. The bottom line is: It’s all about the emotional connection that fans feel.

However this emotional connection can feel very unreal when you get online. This is why most artists don’t do a spectacular job of connecting to their audiences online.

And if you are thinking of working on a strategy around your social media presence, there’s probably a little voice inside your head saying: I don’t have anything interesting to say, or I don’t have time for social media, or this stuff is for kids…right?

Here are the top seven things I hear musicians say the most. They are also the top seven reasons artists strongly resist social media.

Top Seven Reasons Artists Strongly Resist Social Media

#1: I don’t want to be pushy and over-hypey, like all those other artists that I don’t like. (i.e. I hate the way he markets and I don’t want to market like him!).

OK – so talking about yourself is icky. But having people love your music is wonderful, so, my advice is: When you use Social Media, take the spotlight off of YOU and shine it on OTHERS (the people in your community/ fans / friends).

Share things that feel mundane, don’t even think of marketing yourself or your music for a few months till you get the hang of it and then after you do, use it to gently lead people to your newsletter sign-up, your website, and to help yourself with Google rankings.

Keep this in mind: 78% of people trust peer recommendations (i.e. the “Like” button on Facebook) for products and services that they BUY. Only 14% trust TV/radio/print advertising (source: Socialnomics). So, you need to be one of the artists that peers are recommending.

#2. Promoting my music on Social Media won’t put any money in my pocket. I’ve tried it and it just creates more work for me…

Here is what is true: Social media most probably won’t put money in your pocket in the short term but when used in concert with traditional marketing and as part of a plan it can be integral in re-enforcing relationships between you and your fans which will down the line lead them to a point of purchase.

In a recent Top Spin training class I learned that being Googlicious (your Google rankings) and your email newsletter list are two vital components to putting money in your pocket and social media can help you strengthen both.

#3 Social Media and Marketing takes too much time. I only want to be “an artist” rehearsing and playing…

OK, I never said that this was going to feel fair. Being successful does and will take hard work and it always has.

The personal question to ask yourself is: What is your definition of success and how much time are you willing to commit to learning new skills and mastering new tools?

If the answer is none – I just want to play, then that’s OK….

Derek Sivers recently wrote a moving piece and in it he said: “Stop expecting it to be valuable [monetarily] to others. Accept it as personal and precious to only you. Get your money elsewhere.” Derek makes a valid point. You don’t have to create music solely to make money. It can fulfill a different need for you personally altogether.

I once attended a seminar called the “World’s Greatest Marketing Seminar” which was designed to help entrepreneurs market their companies and one of the speakers delivered some horrible news:

To be successful 70% of your time should be spent on your marketing and sales and 30% working on your business… there was a collective gasp in the audience. This means that as artists you still must balance the creation of music, BUT you better spend a lot more time on the marketing side.

#4. “Social” Media isn’t “real” media, or Social media has no real impact on the “real” world.

Citizen journalists (bloggers, podcasters, internet radio stations and people with large followings on Social Media sites) are the new influencers. And even in traditional media, take a good long look: Approximately once every minute, TV news broadcasts tell you to go to their Twitter and Facebook pages. Many of them have a permanent graphic on the screen with Facebook and Twitter feeds (think CNN or Fox). The “real” media is constantly telling viewers to go to social media and contribute. And note: There are over 200 Million blogs online. One or two of them may just want to write about you.

#5. Social media is just for young people – I’m not in “that” generation.

Think again: The average age of a twitter user is 39. The fastest growing demo on Facebook is 55-65 year old women. Why? Because grandma is signing up to look at photos of little Johnny and then realizing that all of her friends and family are actively engaged and… that’s FUN!

#6. Status Updates on Facebook and Twitter Tweets are stupid. Who CARES about what everyone is DOING ALL OF THE TIME???

Many artists only feel that social networking sites are made for promotional use.

And when we all came to the party with the first ever social network: MySpace, that was indeed the case. In fact the GOAL was hype hype hype promote and add add add as many friends as possible, rack up the plays by any means necessary or you wouldn’t get that club to pay attention to you or that record label to sign you!

There were no personal thoughts or “status updates” in the mix whatsoever.

Therefore, a lot of artists become deathly afraid of Twitter and Facebook status updates because they don’t feel that people want to know their random or personal thoughts.

Since Twitter counteracts that and is more of a community- building tool than a promotional tool, it confuses them on what they are supposed to be doing or saying on it.

Get everyone in your group involved! Maybe one person flourishes on Twitter but doesn’t understand Facebook. Then let them put 100% of their energy into that social networking site alone. You will see when someone is actually doing something they understand you will get the best return on your investment on that site.

#7 I’m not a social person / I don’t want to see my fans to see my personal life.

So, if you really are not a social person, Social Media is ideal for you because you’re at a computer screen, not in front of a live human!

You can decide when and how to respond to someone, have time to think about what to say, who to say it to, without the pressure of someone sitting in front of you expecting a response in the moment.

And only show what you want to show – not EVERYTHING is personal – movies you like, books you read, how about talking about other artists you love and respect?

I hope these 7 reasons no longer hold you back from a path to enjoying and embracing Social Media as your new way to connect with fans.

Here’s to your success!

About Ariel Hyatt:

Ariel Hyatt is the founder of Ariel Publicity, a New York based digital PR firm who’s Cyber PR Campaigns place musicians and authors on blogs, podcasts, and Internet radio stations and helps facilitate authentic relationships with key Social Media makers and fans. Over the past 15 years Ariel Publicity has represented over 1,500 musicians of all genres.

Helping creative minds navigate the confusing world of Social Media and Online Marketing is her passion and several times a year, she leads sold-out online and in-person workshops for musicians and music industry professionals and her book: Music Success in Nine Weeks has helped hundreds of musicians do just that.

Her bi-weekly newsletter and weekly YouTube TV series “Sound Advice” has over 15,000 subscribers and she is regular blogger at

Ariel has been a guest speaker at SXSW, CMJ, The Future of Music, The ECMAs, NARAS, The BMI Music Panel Series, and The Taxi Road Rally, and dozens more.