How to become a Social Media Guru
Charles Ubaghs is Head of Social Media at Global Radio where he looks after social media accounts and strategies for Capital FM, Classic FM, Heart, LBC, XFM, Smooth FM, and Gold.
Sounds like your dream job? Charles tells us how he got started in the industry and shares his top tips for using social media to promote your music.
How I became a social media guru
I actually have a degree in Philosophy and English and originally came to London to be a music journalist. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about how hard that would be with no connections in London. This meant that when it came to finding work, I had to take what I could to pay the rent. One of the jobs I landed was working as a copywriter for a big retailer’s website. While I worked that job I started freelancing for lots of indie music websites and magazines and began building connections within the music industry.
Meanwhile at my copywriting job, the company had started using social media to promote their products. The digital marketing team was struggling to write in a tone that worked on social media – they were good at traditional marketing but asking them to write in a more casual, conversational manner was not something they were used to. I was able to convince them it would be more effective if their copywriters took over the actual managing of their social accounts as we were writing specialists and could stay on brand while writing in a way that suited social media (I’m probably showing my age here but I’ve been using blogs and social networks since 2001, so had some understanding of how people communicated online).
I continued doing lots of freelance music journalism while all this was happening and even became a part time staff writer at DrownedinSound for a spell. One day while at the retail job, Sean Adams, the founder of DrownedinSound, retweeted a tweet from someone saying that Global Radio were looking for a community editor to help manage Global’s social media. I spotted that tweet, applied and got the job. I’ve since worked my way up from Community Editor to Social Media Editor and now Head of Social Media.
I didn’t train for any of this and there wasn’t any training to be had at the time but the one thing I’ve learned is that as long as you stay flexible and keep teaching yourself, you’ll be surprised by where you end up.
#TopTips on building your social media following
1. Tweet, Post, Upload and engage every single day.
Building a social audience is like building any kind of audience, you need to be doing it constantly for people to start paying attention and following you
2. Be unique
Don’t share the same cat photo everyone else is sharing. You’ll stand out by offering something different. And even if you do end up sharing that cat pic, change the image, tweak it with photoshop, give it a new spin that hasn’t been seen before.
3. Tone of voice
This will make or break you. A good tone of voice will attract followers and fans to you. Make sure you’re friendly, conversational, entertaining and/or informative. Never sound like a sales or old school marketing message. If you do that, you’ll turn people off. If you find the right tone, they’ll start engaging with you. And the more they engage, the more they start retweeting or sharing your updates and that’s when your followers start to grow.
#HowTo: Promote your music using social media
1. Be active on soundcloud & youtube
Both of those platforms are social networks in their own right and they’re free to use. By regularly putting out music on there, you’re improving the chances of someone finding your work and sharing it on their own social networks – don’t forget that both players embed nicely in facebook, twitter, and tumblr, which increases the opportunity for your music to spread.
2. Don’t spam people in the industry on social media
If you find someone in the industry on twitter for example, don’t start bombarding them with tweets and links to your music, asking for coverage, plays etc. This still happens to me and it’s the fastest way to stop me from ever listening to your work
3. Engage with the audience you do have
Instead of bombarding people in the industry, start to build an audience of fans around you. Do this by regularly tweeting, posting, instagramming and sharing good content about you and your music. Actively engage with those fans who are responsive to you and you’ll find that they start to promote your work for you. You should also try and find other musicians like you on social media and IRL. Build a network of them. You’d surprised by how helpful those connections can be. One of the most important things I did for my career was becoming friends with fellow aspiring writers. As we started to make inroads at various publications, we would help each other out with intros to editors. It may seem like a small thing at first but you never know how someone might be able to help you down the line.
If you build your own audience and a network of peers, that’s when people in the industry will start paying attention.