In many ways, becoming a professional string performer means your public life is no longer your own. Everything you do and say, wear or don’t wear, record or publish becomes fodder for fans and critics to analyze, discuss, gossip about and blow out of proportion – without much you can do to stop it. This is why the integrity of your social media presence is so important.
Social media accounts and your online presence are key to packaging your persona, so you want to make sure everything you say, type, and post via these platforms reflect the image you’ve worked so hard to cultivate.
DO – CREATE SEPARATE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS FOR YOUR PUBLIC PERSONA
In the beginning, you used your original Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter accounts to promote your recitals, performances, and recordings. Now that you’re intentionally promoting your public performer’s persona – it’s time to create social media accounts that remain completely separate from the personal accounts/names/tags you use with family and intimate friends.
Not only will this help you to keep those two areas from bleeding together, but creating separate, persona-oriented accounts, protects you from any unconscious gaffes you might make personally that would harm your professional image.
DON’T GET TOO LOOSE WITH PRIVATE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS EITHER
That being said, you should maintain a very similar social decorum on your personal social media accounts as well since your family and friends could unintentionally share or flag something you’d rather keep away from your fans and critics.
DO USE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS
All of your social media profile pictures should be professional quality, publicity worthy imagesnow. The difference between smartphone pictures and professional pictures is notable. Like you, photographers are artists who use a camera as a tool. The real magic happens because of their vision, technique, finesse and artistry. To use a selfie or a good picture a friend or relative took cheapens the overall look and feel of your brand (unless that’s part of your persona brand).
DON’T VIOLATE COPYRIGHT LAWS
Of course, you’ll want – and need – to post videos and recordings of yourself to share with fans and to entice prospective audience members. However, make sure you are 100% respectful of copyright laws. Violating them can not only cost you a ton of money, it can have a negative impact on your reputation.
DO KEEP LANGUAGE G-RATED, A-POLITICAL AND STICK TO “THE FACTS”
A Guardian subtitle about the link between social media accounts and the effects they have on individual careers states, “Don’t swear, steer clear of anything too political…” There are incredible stories online of careers that were ruined or jobs that were removed from the table as the result of amoral, crude and offensive Tweets/posts. Read Ranker.com’s post about 40 Careers ruined by social media to see how social media posts by normal and famous individuals alike changed their professional lives for the worse.
Everything you post becomes published, searchable and a statement about who you are, so take The Guardian’s advice; don’t swear, keep politics out of it (unless that was part of your persona from the get-go), put your best foot forward and let your personality shine.
DON’T POST ANY PICTURES WITH ILLEGAL, NEFARIOUS OR QUESTIONABLE ACTIONS
Images are powerful. They stick in followers’ memory banks for far longer, and with a bigger impact, than most words ever will. Never, ever post pictures that show you in a compromising light.
Take that advice a step further and don’t post pictures that show you in groups where others are participating in questionable behaviors or demonstrating lack-of-judgment either – you’ll inevitably be associated with those actions whether participating or not.
DO LEARN TO BECOME A DIY MARKING AGENT
Until you can pay a PR and marketing firm to handle social media for you, you’re going to need to become a DIY marketing agent. The more you learn about how to use social media to your advantage, the more powerfully it will work for you – and the less you’ll have to worry about snafus that send ratings to the dumps.
Read ClassicFM’s 6 Things Musicians Should be Doing on Social Media, and consider taking an online course, like Berklee.edu’s Music Marketing 101 course.
DON’T BE SHY WHEN IT COMES TO PROMOTING YOURSELF
Your professional social media accounts are some of the most powerful promotional tools you have. Don’t be shy when it comes to promoting your brand image, upcoming performances, recordings, positive reviews (or even negative critiques to demonstrate your humility), thoughts about recent performances you played or attended, music recommendations, your favorite pieces to play, etc.
When used smartly, social media is one of the best tools for rising string performers. Continue to share, share, and share some more, so your online presence creates the positive, high-level buzz required to propel your professional career to the top.