When I first got serious about my business, I knew I would need to dust the cobwebs off of my social media sites. I started them all with great intentions. Then I maybe got a few negative comments or a few unimpressed reviews, and it deflated my willingness to continue. I left my pages up but completely abandoned them.
Enter Wendy McCance, the social media expert. We met at a recording studio where she was doing social media and I was an intern, and we met up to talk about my social media and her songwriting goals. Her words of wisdom made me realize just how important social media is for musicians. A few quick points:
- When people search for you, your social media will show up in that search.
- If you haven’t been updating, you look like you’re not doing music anymore.
- When you are actively updating, YOU control what people find in a search for you
- Sites like Google+, YouTube, and other major social media pages will rank on the first page
- You’d probably rather have control over what shows up in a search than random drunk college pics and negative reviews of your last shows, right?
With all that said, I interviewed Wendy and got some great advice for musicians on why they need awesome social media sites! She’s also an incredible inspiration and a great person, and I couldn’t be happier to introduce you to her!
My Interview With Wendy McCance
First things first: How would you describe what you do?
I am a writer, blogger, and social media manager. I am self-employed and work for a variety of companies, big and small handling their social media accounts, writing blog posts and web content for their company pages.
How did you start in social media?
Back in 2012, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It was difficult to work a “normal” job because of pain and fatigue. I just couldn’t manage sitting at a desk for so many hours without many of the effects of fibromyalgia flaring up. Out of frustration, I began a blog to write about feeling stuck as to what to do for a job. I realized that a traditional job would be too difficult to manage and needed to do work where I could nap when needed or get up and take a walk if sitting was becoming painful.
As I blogged, I began to receive offers to write for companies. I got lucky. The opportunity to write for a living from home fell in my lap. I decided to explore writing as a career and found ways to promote my blog on a variety of social media platforms. When companies realized I was writing and understood how to promote myself through social media, I became more valuable in their eyes. Most writers don’t know social media and most social media managers don’t write. It was the combination of the two areas that truly launched my career and gave me a way to make a good living from home.
What is your personal favorite and least favorite part of social media?
My favorite part of social media is when I can connect to others and have a good conversation. I enjoy the interactions and learning about what interests others. I am adverse to automated marketing tools. It turns me off to get an automated response thanking me for following or a robotic message to check out something someone is promoting. The whole idea of “social media” is that it is SOCIAL! Why bother trying to interact on a social site if you can’t even be present to do so?
Do you have a favorite social media website? Or a least favorite?
I love Twitter. You can make lists to organize groups of people, it’s easier to connect with the exact audience you are looking to chat with and there seems to be better interaction.
I’m not a huge fan of Facebook. Most company sites sit flat unless you buy advertising to reach out to more people. Even then you tend to get a lot of SPAM comments. You need Facebook for business because people don’t take a business seriously if they don’t have a Facebook business page, but it’s challenging to get a strong response (in comparison to some of the other platforms available).
Where do you see social media going in the future?
Sadly, people are getting bored more quickly and their attention span is pretty much gone. Video and images are areas where social media has headed. Forget about writing a good story. To capture attention, you need quick and trendy or clever presentations.
Do you like where social media is headed?
No, for the reason above. Writing will become a lost art if we continue down the path we seem to be heading.
When you said “writing will become a lost art,” for those of us who love writing or blogging (who aren’t into the webinar and podcast trends) how can we keep writing as a worthy art? How do we make writing something that people still enjoy and consume?
That question is tough. I just don’t know that I have a good answer to it. I wonder if it will take lots of visuals to draw people in (like picture books for grown-ups). I just don’t know. Hopefully, it will be like traditions that are passed down through families and kids will want to continue reading. I also hope schools continue to encourage reading. My kids have summer reading programs through the schools as well as many books assigned to them throughout the year. I have also encouraged reading with trips to the library, bookstore and a full wall of books in our back room.
Why is it important for people to have social media accounts?
Social media is a quick and efficient way for people to learn about each other. It’s a personal footprint. The challenge is to pick the sites that make the most sense for what you are trying to promote. Instagram may be a popular platform (for instance) but it is not a suitable site for all businesses or even for all people to interact on. Can you imagine a law office promoting their company on Instagram? What type of photos would they have to use to make an impact? It just wouldn’t work well. Twitter, on the other hand, would be a great place to target groups that would match the type of law being practiced.
If someone isn’t an entrepreneur, should they still have active social media?
It depends on what they are trying to achieve. If you are looking to be seen as an expert in your field, or if you want to promote a cause you are passionate about (for instance) then social media is still a very smart way to get your message across.
What about people who say they are “private” and don’t like to reveal a lot about themselves?
Maybe traditional advertising is a more comfortable choice for them. I can say that social media is cheaper, you can reach a much larger and targeted audience, what you post stays on the web so you get more bang for your buck and you aren’t looked at as positively if you can’t be found on the web.
What are the biggest DOs and DON’Ts of social media?
Do find the platforms that suit you best and become active on those sites. Don’t use these platforms to get personal. The only place you should get personal on social media is your personal Facebook page or a site set on private.
It can be overwhelming to put a good social media package together. From professional photos, to a cohesive theme, to engaging updates, it’s hard to know where to begin. Where should we put our focus?
I would suggest a completed LinkedIn profile as the best place to start. From there, pick one or two other platforms that fit your message best. Make sure to use the same image on each site whether a professional photo or company icon. Each site should have a completed profile with a link to a company page and your contact information available.
What important steps can musicians take today that will help their social media stand out?
Confidence is key. Promoting is essential. Make sure you mention your accomplishments, press coverage, speaking engagements, the volunteering efforts you have pursued. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself and share the best of what you have done.
Cyber-bullying, or online harassment, seems to be a big problem that stems from putting yourself “out there” on social media. Do you have any tips to prevent this, or to handle it once it starts?
Bullying tends to become a problem when you hit hot-button issues. Politics, religion etc… can bring out the worst in people. These are subjects people are extremely passionate about and sometimes their passion gets the best of them. Avoiding hot-button issues or talking about them in a more neutral way can keep bullying at bay. Unfortunately, some people like to harass for the sake of harassment. Take it with a grain of salt. You can usually block the person who is creating problems. I would not engage with the person. It just fuels the fire as they are looking for a fight.
When should people stop running their own social media and hire you to do it?
I get contacted for help when a person doesn’t know much about social media, has become overwhelmed and needs help or when a person is too busy to keep posting, interacting and keep SPAM at bay on a regular basis.
And where can they contact you?
Thanks so much, Wendy, for giving us this great info! Hopefully, her tips will help you rock your social media and feel more confident online. If you liked her input, please give her a Tweet and let her know!Thanks, @w_mccance for the social media tips! Click To Tweet