#CarrieForStevie, Part 2

cfsLast week, I wrote about my thoughts and concerns with Stevie Nicks’s social media presence and campaign. There were so many moments that started strong, but fizzled out. There were many little, absolute must-have best practices that were overlooked. For an artist of her caliber and from a label whom I respect, and have been impressed with their social media presence before, I was shocked.

I have been actively and passionately keeping a close eye on things, my social media nerd coming out far too often. The responses I received after I shared my original report on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Facebook were extremely reassuring. In the past week, my study received praise from not only fans, but social media experts and music industry professionals, as well. I am not the only person who has made note of such things, and feels that the opportunity to do better exists, but I’m the only one who has put together a comprehensive audit and plan.

In the days since my initial #CarrieForStevie post, a few more incidents occurred that I felt were important enough to deem an update:

Facebook Q&A
Although a Q&A is an easy way to engage with fans, the platform it is conducted on can make all the difference. Facebook, unfortunately, is not that platform.

There are several inadequacies with Facebook Q&As. They are clunky, difficult to sort through, and causes a lot of unnecessary confusion for followers and participants alike. Questions are easily buried and irrelevant, but many-times “liked” posts, pop to the top and convolute the pool of answers. Furthermore, and most importantly, Facebook’s demographics skew significantly older, especially at 3:45 on a Wednesday afternoon. From observation, many younger people expressed frustration that they were in school or at work at this time. Additionally, many fans had already bought the album. Engaging with your fans is important, but reaching new ones even more so.

An example of a recent Q&A that utilized best practices would be Bette Midler’s Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA). A challenge with AMAs is driving fans and followers to the community, but frequent driving Call To Action (CTA) posts on Facebook and Twitter led qualified and informed fans to engage.

iHeart Radio Guest DJ
Perhaps the most troubling was basic best practices overlooked with this execution. A guest DJ session on iHeart Radio was a fantastic digital PR execution; the app’s core demographics fall heavily in the 18-34 group, the exact audience that should be targeted for purchase post-release. However, it wasn’t well publicized on social media. Digital and social needs to be tied together. The initial stream of Stevie’s DJ session began in the morning on November 7th. The official Stevie Nicks Twitter handle did not send out a tune-in CTA until a re-airing at 6 PM EST.

Had best practices been utilized, a tune-in notice would have been sent the night before and at air time, with an additional notice mid-way through the airing. Acknowledging digital and media appearances after the fact significantly reduced the potential reach and engagement.

Further, a great tie-in would have been to create a stand alone playlist of  “Stevie’s Picks” on Spotify to seed out to followers on that platform. Pink Floyd is currently promoting their latest album The Endless River on Spotify with ads and promoted content leading fans to custom playlists full of new music and deep cuts. Infiltrating targeted, qualified listeners — not only those who follow Stevie Nicks or Fleetwood Mac on Spotify, but related artists, as well — is a well-calculated and brilliant way to acquire new  fans.

Instagram updates
I had previously stressed the importance of frequent updates on Instagram. What I neglected to mention is that content for the sake of content defeats the purpose. To run an efficient and engaging Instagram, images must be fresh, exclusive, and properly optimized for the platform.

Recent posts have been images that have been widely circulating on the internet, with no exclusive ownership in using them and heavy reliance on Whitagram to add white space to make images fit the square format of Instagram, cheapening the point of Instagram’s square format. Additionally, many recent updates have been low-res scans with low quality production.

Low quality production and non-Instagram spec optimization cheapens the effect of the post.

Fans are not interested in images that have been available and trending online for months. They crave new information and content.

An official Instagram handle should only be seeding out owned, exclusive content, and high quality pieces at that. Otherwise, it loses credibility and becomes little more influential than a fan account. At this stage in the album’s chart life and legacy potential, behind the scenes images, Polaroids not included in the 24 Karat Gold photo book, or personal photos should be utilized to connect with fans and potential fans better.

Again, I stress the importance of strong social media with Ms. Nicks because I believe its importance in maintaining credibility and further cementing her legacy status in the industry. There are a mass of younger fans and potential fans that can be reached, and reached effectively if extremely simple and necessary best practices are utilized next to stronger executions. Older, steadfast fans are secured. No 50 year old is going to say “Gee, I like what this Stevie Nicks is doing on Instagram. I should listen to her music.” That’s how younger fans are reached and acquired, without overlooking or alienating the already existing fan base.

It is crucial that younger fans be acknowledged and gained at this period in time. When older generations fade away, this is the generation that will cement record sales and legacy. They are important. Without them, the music dies.

I’m calling on you to hear me out. I am someone with expert insight into the social media sphere and fan culture. Let’s champion for an icon in the 21st century together.

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