Seeing that many musicians and music marketing industry people use Twitter to discuss and promote music, I thought it might be useful to provide an overview of one of the most commonly used tools for managing social media accounts with an eye to what features musicians might find most useful.
Hootsuite is one of several free social media dashboard applications, like Buffer or Tweetdeck, that can help you manage Twitter and other social media channels, all in one place. Hootsuite interfaces with most social media platforms, like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram and many more – although not Pinterest, as of this writing.
I find Hootsuite to be most helpful for me in managing Twitter, and less so for managing my Facebook or LinkedIn posts. For those bands with a public Facebook fan page to track and analyze, it would probably be much more useful. I also haven’t hooked my Instagram or website Google Analytics up to Hootsuite yet, but I’m planning to. It’ll be nice to see them all in one place.
I recently attended an “intimate” Saturday night show with 100 other people in a secret location at a dance studio on the north side of Seattle. From the outside, it looked sketchy upon arrival. The entrance was in an alley behind a restaurant. There was no sign to indicate you were in the right place. But here’s the thing: the performances were real and the audience appreciative. They listened with respect. Mostly quietly. Often raptly. They chatted with each other and with the musicians during breaks. And then they applauded vigorously. Repeatedly.
There was no proper stage, just about 50 folding chairs in front of a makeshift stage area in a corner, the rest was standing room only. If you hadn’t arrived an hour early and put your coat on a chair to claim it, you were out of luck to get a seat. White curtains were strung up over the wall mirrors behind the artists, and Christmas lights combined with two intense soft box lights to illuminate the performers. This experience was not for the nervous artist who prefers to be at a remove from the audience. The lineup consisted of a solo musician (Jason Dodson of The Maldives), a duo (Shelby Earl), and a small group (Ghosts I’ve Met – this was actually their CD release party as well), performing amplified acoustic music with hand drums at the loudest. OK, well maybe a small kit. This was, indeed, an intimate experience, despite the fact that the space held more people than I’ve seen in many local commercial music clubs or bars. Half of the 100 people packed in this relatively small space stood through the entire three hour show holding their plastic wine cups, beer bottles and paper plates of veggies and nacho dip.
YouNow is a website that acts a bit like a collection of open mic lounges where performers queue up to perform online. There are no pre-set show times like with StageIt, YouNow is more like a public stage, where viewers watch and interact with a stream (no pun intended) of performers as they broadcast fairly short (generally 10 minutes or less) sets from their living rooms or bedrooms. Some performers perform repeatedly over the day, or queue up to re-broadcast their prior recorded shows.