Should Artists Consider Facebook/Twitter in their Marketing Strategy?

According to the CTIA (International Association for Wireless Telecommunications) the number of wireless connections in the US Dec 2010 was 302.9million, doubling every 5 years.  One third of the cell phone accounts have a smart phone associated with them.  The Pew Internet estimates 8-10 adults have a cell phone with 1/4 of those in a house with no land line.  Blogging has actually declined from 2005 to 2010, particularly among those under the age of 30 switching to social media sites --73% of teenagers were using social media sites in 2009.  A recent Pew survey suggests over 50% of all adults use some form of social networking with 33% using multiple sites.  42% of cell phone users use their phones for entertainment. Smart phone users rely on online information via their phones for over 20% of their shopping choices, ranging from restaurants, concerts and store location.

Given all these statistics about cell phone usage, it seems business that have a Facebook page and/or a twitter account is at least open to the cellular market place.  Yet according to Facebook there were only 3.2 million business pages in Dec 2010, a small portion of the 7 Billion users.    While smart phones can access the internet for more than social networking, and online directories like will even list businesses which don't have websites or Facebook pages, with the already established portal of Facebook and Twitter, it seems leveraging social media smart choice for businesses of all sizes.

A recent survey by MerchantCircle suggests 70% of all small businesses promote it through Facebook.  However, the survey went out to 200,000 businesses, but had only 8,456 respond.  As the survey was online there is already a skew toward Internet savvy businesses.   Still, the survey does show a strong interest in social media marketing.

In relating this to performing artists, since entertainment is a focus for many cell phone users and shopping is becoming increasingly popular via smart phones, it only makes sense users will be looking for entertainment activities via their phone.  By engaging with an artist's fan base via social media, artists not only build fan loyalty, but can notify their fans of changes in schedules, up coming events or even special deals available only online or via social media.  Not only is this targeted advertising, but an artist's message with 10k fans will be resent potentially reaching millions of people.

All major recording labels have Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Major PR companies have Facebook and Twitter accounts as well.  But is this enough?  Should the artists take control of their future by getting on the social media wave?  


Sarah said…
Yes! I used to work for a band (not classical, but still) as a social media consultant.

People, listeners, like to feel like they are a part of the story of the artist. So, seeing personal statements and thoughts by their favorite performers makes their fandom all the more awesome for them. When artists fill their social networking sites with more than just marketing stuff like tour dates, etc, the listeners really feel like they are friends of the artist. That makes them want to attend shows, buy CDs, and support this person who is their online friend.
Anonymous said…
Artists can also easily create their own virtual record label - and promote via social networking.

I don't think there can be a question that you should have a presence where so many eyeballs are looking and where so many ears are waiting to listen.
Jade Simmons said…
yes, they're already late, but there's still time! Classical artists can build new audiences like never before. The online tools we have allow us to craft, build and maintain our own artistic brands and products. Get to it artists!
Chip Michael said…
Paul -

While I agree it's possible for artists to "self-release" their music. Just posting it on any of the dozens of free websites does nothing for you.

For example: I have posted music on both Reverbnation and Sound Cloud. Because of the cost of promotion on Reverbnation, I've done little to nothing other than post music. The result is basically zero exposure. However, Sound Cloud allows me to post my music to groups and put links to the music up on social media. THESE tracks are pretty popular. Neither of these sites would do anything would do anything if I wasn't putting notifications up on social media.

What I'm trying to convince artists is - they NEED to get active on social media. The should have a facebook and a twitter account. This is particularly true for orchestral musicians whose orchestras are struggling for audience share. If these musicians would get active in promoting the orchestra they play with, I am certain their audience would grow.


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