10 april 2017

Creating Community: Foundations


As a DJ, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re doing what you can to cultivate a great community. It’s what brings people together and it’s how you can grow your profile, help to get more gigs, more people to your gigs and be in control. Traditionally, this would be IRL - flyer drops in record stores, street posters, passing around physical mixtapes, word of mouth etc. While this is still important, it’s hard to ignore the time people spend online in 2015. Facebook alone has over 1.4 billion worldwide users who spend on average 40 mins per day on the platform. Almost 1 in 5 people on earth has a Facebook profile :)
While it continues to grow as a space to engage with potential fans, it’s important to understand the amount of content and noise generated… For example, every 20 minutes on Facebook there are 1 million links shared, 2 million friend requests and 3 million messages sent. How can you cut through this and develop an engaged community and fanbase? Here’s a few key principles to remember when thinking about how you use social media to build your DJ profile.
You could think of social media like sync… :D It’s not going to make you a better DJ or gain more fans by itself. You still have to be a good DJ. Time spent on the internet still isn’t as important as time spent practicing :) If you use it well though, it’s a great help!

Have a purpose other than building likes / follows

Would you prefer a slightly smaller crowd going nuts on the dancefloor or a packed bar with no-one dancing or listening to you?
You need to have a purpose in social media. This is the backbone of any successful social media strategy and needs to be quite specific. You may want to get more likes on your page but how does this relate to real life goals? Building page likes or follows should be a sign of success rather than the outcome you are trying to drive.
Do your fans come to the club to see you play? Do they listen to your radio show? Do they buy your tracks? Do you get bookings for parties? You should define what your goals are so you can spend your time (and money) wisely. If you’re a mobile DJ and your goal is to get more bookings for weddings / birthdays your activity will be very different to a DJ trying to get booked in the club. If you are serious about your DJ business, then defining your purpose will let you measure how successful you are and give you something to aim for.

Create value

After defining your purpose you should think about why someone should follow your page. Would you follow someone just to get invited to events and see gig flyers each week? Creating value for your fans is how you build real support. Try a 50 / 50 split between posting promotional and inspirational content so you're not bombarding people with self promo.
Content doesn’t have to be expensive or hard either! Here are some examples of what you could be creating:
  • Mixtapes! These should be your bread and butter.
  • Sharing mixes from other DJs you like / respect. People love commentary and curation and you want to be an opinion leader!
  • Articles and insights (top 10 bangers, opinion pieces on music/tech/DJ culture, production tips etc.)
  • photos! (past events, studio shots, old flyers for #TBT etc.)
  • Videos (video wrap ups from past events, short performances, studio selfies etc.)
  • DJ Edits, remixes or your own productions.
Quality is more important than quantity, but at the same time regular activity is also important in maintaining an online presence. An easy way to manage the need for regular content while keeping the quality is to bring the same content to life in a few different ways. For example, if you make a new mixtape, you could also have a short video of you making it, you could have a blog post about the mix with an embedded player and you could have the mix itself - that’s three pieces of content for the price of one and will also let you target fans who engage with different media formats (articles, videos, music).
Make sure to keep an eye on what works and what doesn’t so you’re relevant. If you’re a radio DJ and no-one is into your photo of the studio before you play each week, maybe think about changing your tactics. Keep doing what works and adjust what doesn’t until you get it right.

Cross-promote

Make sure that social media isn’t your only promotional activity. You should be using every tool you can to build your brand as a DJ. Social media exists to amplify this and help, but it’s not the replacement.
Make sure your social profiles are easy to find. This means choosing a name that people will find (facebook.com/djmickstape rather than facebook.com/djmickstapeworldsgreatestdj), filling out your “about section” on your page and making sure you have clear links and “follow me at…” calls to action from your gig flyers, any online/physical posters and other websites.
You will also want to try and work with any other partners you have to increase your visibility. If you play at a club each week, ask them to share your mixes if you are posting these if they manage their own pages. Ask to do guest mixes for local businesses also and ask other local DJs if they want to make videos with you. Bring your team up with you, it’s way easier!
You might want to start building an email database as well, which will give you another avenue to drive actions such as RSVP for parties, buy tickets, buy new tracks, download mixes etc. with leads acquired on Facebook. You can use services such as Mailchimp to do this which have both free and paid for levels of service.

Talk with your fans not at them.

The best thing about social media for brands and businesses is that it lets you be human. As a DJ you have the advantage of being slightly cooler than corporate enterprises, but you still have to make sure you’re talking with your audience and participating rather than just shouting at them.
Be nice. No-one likes a dickhead. Be respectful of negative opinions (as long as they aren’t offensive) and healthy criticism. Don’t feed trolls, they have a huge appetite. Also be careful about your own opinions...
You should also respond to everyone. Social media is a conversation and making yourself available is a great way to connect with your fans.

Don’t overthink it.

Lastly and maybe ironically after reading this whole article, the best advice is to not overthink it. Usually when you think something is a good idea it is a good idea. If your gut tells you it’s probably not the best idea, it’s probably not. There are a million experts in social media and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the “best practice” and rules. While there are some principles to understand it’s all about just being there and being interesting / entertaining.
Try not to “do social media”, try to be a DJ first and foremost. If you get that right, the rest should fall into place a lot easier.
Sam Stokes

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