The dress debate, llama drama and Jared Leto’s hair


Of any week in recent memory, the last stands out for pure cyber-ridiculousness.

Of course, runaway camelids are fun (and, I can attest, quite difficult to grab).  “Optical illusion” is apparently the new label for what is simply bad photography. And the shock and awe of an Oscar-winning musician/actor’s sheared locks has also been all over the web in the last several days, in a series of viral frenzies that are fun, but in the end, a pretty vapid way to entertain ourselves and fill time and space.

What is sometimes puzzling is how many classical musicians seem to want to create the same kind of buzz through their own social media channels.  Sure, we’d all like to go viral, with millions of views and thousands of shares.  But in our smaller world, quality will continue to count over quantity, and if you’re not actually aiming to be the heirs to Victor Borge, do you want to be known primarily as “the singer who did that really stupid thing on YouTube”?  While the arts do get their own hit lists, individual artists still need to keep their eyes on the marketing ball:  reaching the right people as well as enough people, and all with the right message.  To this end, here are a few things to consider as you tweak your own online marketing strategy:

Make it your own

standing-out-1319105-mFirst and foremost, be yourself.  The overabundance of flash mobs in recent years has proven that it takes something genuinely interesting or entertaining to be heard through the noise. The truth is, the best ideas come naturally — just be prepared to act on them when they arrive.  But if you’re having trouble deciding what to post about or which ideas deserve attention as special projects, you may need to spend some time and effort examining what’s unique about you.  (Don’t worry — it’s there.  Go find it!)

More isn’t better

Make sure your goals aren’t too focused on the constant production of content — the numbers can make you crazy, and it’s easy to become obsessive.  It may also surprise you that sending 40 tweets a day, or even 10, may actually reduce your engagement, depending on your audience and purpose.  Develop a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish–sharing news?  entertaining followers?  selling tickets or products?–and keep that mission in mind as you send out your content.  You don’t have to take on the burden of sharing everything.  Pick and choose what is of the most value, then work out a plan to post new good stuff consistently.

SumAll is a newish company that measures activity and engagement across multiple social media platforms, and can even include hashtags in the mix.  Their blog offers a new infographic to chew on as you work out your own social plan:  Your Mileage May Vary: How Often You Should Post to Social Media

Continually expand your circles

abstract-retro-swirls-1341764-mMake building your mailing and follower lists a habit, rather than just a launch activity:

  • Signing up for your email list should be super-easy, whether online or in person.
  • Always, always have business cards at your fingertips.
  • Reach out to other social mavens you admire:  follow and engage with them, to gain their respect as a colleague, and hopefully a mention, so their followers are aware of you, too.
  • Make links to your feeds available on your website, blog, even your business cards (QR codes are great for this).

Your network is your footprint, and cannot be ignored for long without stagnation.

Visuals matter

The llama story in Sun City, AZ would have gotten nothing more than a few passing chuckles if the car-chase-style video hadn’t been available from the local news.  That simple fact even drew additional attention to the importance of net neutrality.  Here’s a sample moment of llama zen:

The lesson is that whatever you’re trying to draw attention to, having video or photos attached is absolutely essential in the modern age.  People need their pics, so make sure your apps are up-to-date and your skills are up to par.  It gets easier with practice.

Hubspot offers some ideas with 12 Clever Ways to Use More Visuals on Social Media.  (Their site is chock-full of free ebooks and guides, too.  Check it out.)

Buffer has collected a massive list of 53+ Free Image Sources For Your Blog and Social Media Posts

Keep your priorities in mind

This should go without saying, but maintaining focus on the important stuff is a constant challenge in an overconnected world. Whether you’re spending too much time consuming fluff or creating (even real) content, make sure neither is getting in the way of your true goals.  Fun is essential, and so is communicating with your audience.  But an hour spent sourcing the perfect meme about a man bun could probably be spent in more productive ways.  (Like, for instance, creating a blog post that combines several sensations to make a point…  Oh, man, am I totally busted.)

Feeling distracted?  This article may help you understand what’s going on and start building your focus muscles.

New research is also using sound games to teach skills of selective focus.  Sounds good to us.

Parting shot

We shall leave you with an homage to the subject of another hot topic this week — the others (or at least their hair) will fade away, but this guy will be sorely missed:


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