So you’ve invested all your savings on the latest dj equipment, spent months learning the craft and have worked tirelessly to break into the deejaying scene. As the door to the deejaying world opens up to you and you take your first step over the threshold, you are filled with excitement. You are glad to have made it thus far, and are passionate about doing everything you can to improve your skills and gain valuable experience. But as you look around this strange new place you’ve entered and begin to take everything in, your initial excitement subsides. The realization of the vastness of this world, and it’s growing population sobers you up quicker than a Hollywood rehab institution. The bottom-line is that you are at the bottom of the line, just another deejay fighting for a piece of that pie. You’ve come to realize that promoting your services will probably be beneficial, but you are still filled with many doubts, so you just throw this idea in the back-burner.
I started deejaying about 8 years ago, and at least for me, the biggest obstacle I grappled with was deciding whether I should actively market myself. I was very aware that the deejay industry where I came from (Singapore) was a rather close-knit one, and I was afraid I’d be seen as being pretentious. I just wasn’t sure if I’d been around long enough to call myself a professional deejay. So I kept my head low for several years, and only made the decision to start my own Facebook page about 2 years back. Even then, I sort of just left it on its own, collecting more cobwebs than ‘likes’. The point I’m trying to make is that before you can get anywhere, you must manage your own insecurities. The climb up is long and arduous, and it doesn’t help if you’ve got a heavy bag of insecurities weighing you down. On the flip-side, if you think you are prone to jumping the gun, and perhaps being a little too overzealous, be mindful that overconfidence can be just as fatal. I believe that fundamentally, honesty is the best policy. It has been said many times before, that you must treat deejaying as a business. As YOUR business, and you have every right to be proud of what you do, and to promote and sell your business. As with all businesses, ethics is very important, and it could be pivotal in your success or failure. So go out there and market yourselves, but do so with the highest regard for ethics and honesty.
Now that we’ve overcome our internal barriers to, we need to turn our attention to some of the external barriers of marketing. Before we get down to it, I’d like to add that I’m not an expert at marketing, and this is just an account of the problems I’ve encountered and the things I’ve learned. I’ll be focusing on some of the problems associated with design, content, and engagement.
The good news is that you have a host of options to market yourself, and you needn’t confine yourself to just a Facebook page. Some of the other obvious ones are Twitter and Instagram, but you could also go a step further and build your own website. The benefits of having a website is that you can consolidate all your content from these various platforms onto one singular page. Regardless of which platforms you choose, you should pay special attention to the design of your page. Having a good design adds value to your page. Even if you just have a Facebook page, spend some time to design a nice cover and a profile picture. Customize your graphics according to the dimensions you have to work with. For example, Facebook cover picture dimensions are set at 851 x 315 pixels. If you’ve designed a cover picture at a smaller dimension than this, it will end up being stretched. Nobody likes stretched and distorted images.
Other matters to pay attention to are colour combinations, choice of fonts, and use of graphics. I can’t stress this enough. Looking at an image with a bright red background, orange text in Monotype Corsiva, cluttered with re-sized, pixelated graphics is just an ocular assault. More importantly, your message gets lost. So the next time you are designing a facebook cover picture, or perhaps even a poster for an event, just step back and consider whether it visually appealing, and whether it gets your message across. Remember, sometimes less is more.
The content you put out is inextricably linked to the engagement you receive. When I first started out my Facebook page, I tried to centre all my posts around my mixtapes and mashups. The engagement I got with these posts were rather low, and I wondered why. Of course it could have been that my mixes were just bad and it made ears bleed, but I decided to go on the assumption that something else was at play. After many days of meditating under my neighbours tree, and many nights of crying in my shower, I came to realize that perhaps it was the very nature of the content that was bad. What I mean to say is that audio is generally not very engaging. I’d say there are two inherent problems with sharing an audio link. Firstly, it doesn’t engage the visual senses. In today’s media rich environment, consumers want something that they can immerse themselves into, something that engages all of their senses simultaneously. Think about it. How engaging has it been reading this article? Wouldn’t you have preferred watching an eloquent man in a suit deliver this entire article in an interactive video on Youtube? Secondly, it takes much longer to consume audio than it does with visuals. The fact of the matter is that we live in a world of instant gratification, and that’s exactly what an image does. It conveys an entire story or message instantaneously. A user can fully consume an image in about a second, but they will take about 30 minutes or more to consume your latest mixtape. So basically in caveman terms, “Audio bad, Visuals good.”
“So how do we overcome this?” you might ask. Well we need to find a way to package our content such that it grabs the attention of our audience. Bare in mind that as users are scrolling through their news feed, you only have about a second for your post to grab their attention. Personally, I feel that images can be a very useful tool for achieving this. So try designing some cover art to replace that boring, generic Soundcloud link, and you might start noticing that more people are engaging with your post. Again, it’s all about adding value to your content.
Also, try diversifying your content. Posting mixtapes and music all day, everyday gets mundane and more importantly it doesn’t engage with your audience on the right level. I read an article some time back about effective marketing strategies, and one point that was mentioned was that effective marketing involves making the customer feel like it’s all about them. It does sound a little manipulative, but I guess what the writer was trying to put across was that communicating and interacting with your audience as opposed to just feeding them with information is a lot more effective. Communication with your followers also gives your page personality, and this is essential in creating relationships with your followers. This ensures that your followers stick around and may even help to spread the word about your page. Another problem many of us are guilty of is spamming. Don’t do it because it just looks cheap. I’d say its fine to share your new mix with a select few people, maybe other deejays you have a working relationship with, but otherwise refrain from posting your mixes on all of your friends’ pages. Another related no-no is riding on someone else’s post. You know that guy who posts “Check out my new mix here” as a comment on someone else’s Youtube video? Yeah… don’t be that guy.
Finally, even if you have great content, sometimes this does not translate to heightened engagement. This can be attributed to Facebook’s filtering mechanism. In a nutshell, when you share something on Facebook, and someone ‘likes’ or comments on it soon after, your post lingers on in the news feeds of your followers and friends. But if nobody interacts with your post in the moments after you’ve posted it, then it’s importance is downgraded and very quickly disappears from your audiences’ news feed. I’m posting a link to a Youtube video below that explains this with greater clarity, but what this means for us is that the time at which we post something can have a huge impact on the engagement it receives. If you post something at 5am in the morning, fewer people are awake, and fewer people will interact with your post. This means that by the time your other followers read their news feeds at perhaps 9am, your post wont even show up. So pay close attention to what you post and when you post it, otherwise you might have to waste money promoting your posts to reach people who have already liked your page.As I’ve mentioned before, these are just some of my own observations. It’s purpose is to hopefully help some of you avoid the pitfalls that I’ve encountered thus far, and are by no means the ‘be all and end all’ of social media marketing. If you do have anything to add, or an alternative view on some of the things I’ve mentioned I’d be glad to hear from you. Thank you and good luck with your careers!
The Problem with Facebook by VeritasiumBy Mato Kotwani You can contact him here