This is the second in a series of “Do This, Not That” posts regarding social media with special attention to musicians. Click here to read the first post on this subject.
“Support your friends.” It seems like that should go without saying. Unfortunately, this is not always the case on social networking.
Generosity and Reciprocity
I love connecting with people on Twitter. I can understand the draw of the other social and music networks. I even know a few people/musicians who don't bother with Twitter. But in my view, the Twittersphere has a kind of energy and immediacy the others can't match. One of my recent connections there (that quickly spread to SoundCloud, ReverbNation, Instagram, and beyond) is the band Staring Blind. In addition to a clear, rockin' musical style, they have forged into the social media territory with an excellent intention and practice of reciprocity with other acts. Kudos to Matt Carver and the whole band! (2016 editorial: Sadly, Staring Blind web presence is gone as of February of this year, so all links have been removed.)
Another great example is Wild & Welsh, an independent duo from Howden, (England) UK. I can't remember if we first connected on ReverbNation or Twitter. But the social conversation quickly moved to SoundCloud and has continued there. Our reciprocity also includes YouTube. Be sure to check out their great channel there.
The idea of reciprocating is simple enough. If your friend gives you a like/retweet/comment/mention, you can give them one back. My friend Tracy Ready has a great post called “Reciprocate: a simple concept for social media” that I highly recommend.
Some friends are incredibly generous, but act “silently” by liking your Facebook posts, retweeting your tweets, and maybe chatting with you privately. Others are right out there with their “love” by sending you frequent mentions, re-shares, favs, likes, and so on. You should choose your own style of generosity and reciprocity. And do it.
I got this DM (direct message) on Twitter recently: “Thank you for the follow Stan! I scanned your tweets and I look forward to more! Have a great day!” Sounds like someone who wants to be friends, right? Strangely, he did not follow me back. (This DM may have been automated. More on that later in this series.) This means that (a) he most likely won't see my tweets and (b) I cannot reply to his DM to continue the conversation (due to the Twitter rules for DM's). It's amazing how often this or some variation of it happens on social networks. Also surprising are the number of times that people say, “Yes, I followed you back/liked your page/etc.”, but it turns out that they did not.
Support Your Friends
It's that easy. If you “like” other people on social networks, reciprocate with follows, favs, and more. Advertise their gigs, releases, and promotions; chat about the best way to get live recordings; ask questions; and help your friends when they (honestly) ask for it.
It can be fun.