When someone says that they are a musician, you probably imagine them spending most of their time writing new music, rehearsing for their shows or having an amazing creative time in the studio recording their next hit. Unfortunately, as a self-represented artist you end up spending a lot of time on the business side of your career, and a huge part of it revolves around your social media presence!

We live in a world where social media has a lot of power whether we want to admit it or not. It influences us and makes strong representations on our behalves. It’s the quickest and the cheapest way to advertise and it provides endless opportunities to network if you do it right! Obviously, there’s also a very detrimental side to social media and it’s important to always be aware of it. However, if you use social media in moderation and don’t let it go to your head, I think that strong online presence can make a very positive impact on the careers of young starting out artists like me, who heavily rely on the power of the internet to spread the word about their art!

Apart from scouting for opportunities and negotiating the terms, both of which are mainly done via emails these days, a huge chunk of my time gets eaten by planning, writing and scheduling posts for the social media accounts. Whether it’s a quick update or a huge announcement, it needs to be consistent across all my social media, yet tailored specifically to each platform that I’m using. It no doubt takes a lot of effort and so I thought it might be interesting to have a chat about my favourite social media sites and the ways that I use them for promoting my music.

Before we begin

Before we begin chatting about different social media platforms, I think it’s important to highlight that whatever we post there, we don’t actually own! Therefore if this platform disappears one day, all our efforts would be gone with it, and that’s why I think it’s so important to have your own website. Www.riatimkin.com is the only thing online that is truly mine and that I can control at least to a certain extent. It’s costly, it causes me a lot of pain but I’d never trade my website for any other platform, even if it’s not going to attract as many people as Facebook or Instagram would.

TWITTER  @RiaTimkin

Now when the technicalities are out of the way, let’s talk about Twitter – the social media I’ve been using for the longest period of time. I started tweeting when I was at school to express my very loud opinion on various matters and, to be honest, I still use it for the same purposes with some random gig announcements here and there. Twitter is my only platform where I tell my followers about things I enjoy and things that upset me; it’s where I share my experiences and give shout outs to people that have inspired me in one way or another. Initially, that was the main purpose of Twitter: to share significant and insignificant news in a very concise format. As Twitter evolved, many users chose to stop telling their audience about what their cat was up to and opted into a formal never-ending feed of cold adverts, but I genuinely miss a more realistic Twitter and so my feed is a balanced combination of the relevant updates on the music front and never-ending stories of the mischief.

FACEBOOK /RiaTimkinMusic

Out of all the platforms I use, my Facebook page has definitely been the most popular source of information for my listeners. I get the most amount of views and responses on Facebook and consider it my most reliable way of spreading the word about everything I’ve been up to. This page’s feed is a little bit more formal than my Twitter but it still contains lots of day-to-day pictures and life updates mixed with all the relevant announcements of upcoming shows, new posts and videos.

Each platform adds its own advantages to the way I communicate with my audience, but Facebook has certainly become that one platform that conveys a sense of community around my music the best! I feel like on Facebook, like nowhere else, I get a two-way communication where I put myself out there and get a very clear response from my followers with their feedback, encouragement or a word of advice. Sometimes Facebook’s algorithms that are constantly changing the way people see their feeds try to mess up with this sense of community but as long as you continue to interact with me on my page, I hope my posts won’t go anywhere! (Consider it as a gentle nudge to like my posts more if you can.) 

INSTAGRAM  @riatimkin 

Instagram is the closest thing I will probably ever get to a photo album. I keep saying that one day I’ll print all those pictures I’ve collected over the years but for the time being, I continue to turn to Instagram each time I have an event to commemorate.  I use this platform just like Twitter, in a more personal way, and try to share the highlights of my day-to-day activities with a mixture of most relevant musical updates. This is probably the best place to check if you want to see pictures of my dog or if you’re curious about my out of hand collection of lipsticks!

We live in the world of perfectly curated images, and sometimes just like everyone else I fall into the trap of thinking way too much of how my posts look and getting self-conscious. When this happens, I feel particularly grateful for the Instagram Stories feature, where whatever you post, disappears in 24 hours. I think since the launch of the Instagram Stories, the platform’s become much more interactive and most importantly, real! I wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable talking about certain issues in the main profile but it’s good that I can turn to the Stories and still share my experience with the followers.

YOUTUBE /riatimkin

When I first created my YouTube channel in 2015, I kept posting lots of horrendous videos from my gigs and open mics that were in really bad quality and, unsurprisingly, had under 50 views in total. It didn’t take long for me to realise that what I was posting was really unflattering and so I swiftly deleted all of the videos, ashamed of my own unprofessionalism.

However, good videos take a lot of time to shoot and even more time to edit, and most certainly they require an investment in equipment and editing software. Since 2015 I’ve really made some progress with the quality of my videos but, in all honesty, I wish I utilised this platform better! Perhaps, it’s my unfulfilled dream of becoming a video blogger speaking, but I’d really like to launch a video series of some kind and do more vlogs. There’s been much more movement on my channel recently, so definitely come have a look when you have a spare minute!

Platforms I’ve chosen not to use

There’s only so much time you can spend online without it affecting your real life. I had to make a decision which platforms were most important for my career development and focus solely on them. I don’t use Tumblr because I feel like in a way it copies my blog and my Twitter. I deleted my Snapchat and Periscope because, again, Instagram and Instagram Stories can provide me with all the features I once liked. And I hardly ever post on Google + because quite frankly I don’t understand where it sits in the world of social media.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter where you choose to host your social media empire, as long as you stay creative and consistent, and you continue to enjoy what you’re doing! Sometimes I worry whether what I have to say is relevant or whether I might get backlash for my thoughts but I remind myself that it’s important to be your real self and to never be afraid of putting myself out there! It’s impossible to be liked by everyone and criticism will always be around no matter what but if you take on board constructive comments, and ignore the rest, you’re bound to be a winner!