How Do I Brand Myself On Social Media?

Artist manager, Melissa Garcia, explains how you can use social media to help establish your artist brand.




Melissa Garcia is a partner at Collective Entertainment and serves as an artist manager and consultant.



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Welcome to our Cartne video titled How Do I Brand Myself on Social Media? Our guest today is Melissa Garcia.

Hi, my name is Melissa Garcia. I am a partner at Collective Entertainment. I’m an artist manager and consultant.

Wow Melissa, that’s a lot. Is there a specific role within the company that you take care of?

So there isn’t a specific role within the company that I mainly take care of. As an entrepreneur, I have to wear many, many hats. So not only looking over our company and strategizing, doing other planning for that, I also work with and handle the careers of my clients. So it’s a role that has many hats, which I’m sure a lot of people can relate to.

I’m very familiar with that. So what does it mean to brand yourself on social media?

What does it mean to brand yourself on social media? It means that you are essentially putting yourself out there, portraying yourself who you are authentically as an artist, as a musician, as a performer, whatever it is that you’re trying to portray. And using social media as a means to connect with an audience. So it goes much deeper than simply putting yourself up on social media and posting about yourself. It’s really honing in on what your message is and finding an audience that resonates with that message.

So why is that so important?

It is important to find an audience that you resonate with for a couple of different reasons. First, you want to be able to find who you are deep down, who you are authentically. And unlike a lot of marketers and brands out there, I’m of the mindset that in order to really put yourself out there, you have to do the work and figure out who you are innately. And by figuring out who you are innately, you can connect with an audience that resonates with that message. 

So it’s also a way to  kind of push away the clutter and push away this idea that I will resonate with every single fan that exists, but more so honing in on the people that really, truly resonate with you, even if it means that you may not be everyone’s cup of tea and being okay with that.

What specifically needs to be branded? In other words, what does branding yourself on social media look like?

I like to think of branding in two different categories that work side by side with each other. I like to look at branding as something that is intangible and something that is tangible. Now the tangible side is what us as audience members are more familiar with. They’re more familiar with the logos, with the colors that are associated with your brand. They are probably familiar with the video content that you use as well, or the kind of photos that you like to use. And those are things that we can visually see. 

The intangible side of it are the emotions that we elicit from within a fan or within an audience. And those are a much deeper element to what is part of your brand. And so it’s one thing to be able to post a photo of you in front of a waterfall or a photo of you on stage. It’s another to have an intangible message that resonates with that audience. So take, for example, you are posting a picture of yourself in front of an audience, you’re on stage. That’s great. And it can captivate a lot of people.

But what is the message actually saying? Perhaps you’re using that photo as a way to tell your story of your journey getting to this place. Perhaps you have a story of how you visited the city years before, and it had always been your dream to play on that stage in that venue. So we’re thinking of it from a tangible and intangible aspect, and you have to find a way to meld those together in order to create a deeper story for your brand.

Your stories, your posts, your music. I call them all touch points. How do you get all of those touchpoints to be consistent with each other?

So in order to have consistency, in order to really know what story you’re trying to tell, I really force my clients and sometimes even the colleagues that I work with to take several steps back. And I like referring a lot to Simon Sinek’s work of the “Why”- figuring out why you’re doing something. So before you even start posting on social media, before you even start putting your music out, you need to understand why I want to do this.

It is one thing to say, well, I want to be famous. I want to tour the world, I want to travel, I want people to listen to my music. But that’s not a very deep why. Instead, maybe you could frame it as when you ask yourself, ‘Why am I doing this? Well, when I was a teenager, I loved listening to music.’

Okay. Why did you love listening to music? ‘I loved listening to music because I was going through some really tough times and music helped’. Why did music help? ‘It helped because it made me feel a part of the community and made me feel that I could see a brighter future for myself’. BOOM! That is such a stronger statement. That’s a stronger why when you are trying to resonate with an audience, when you’re trying to figure out what your story and what your message are.

So now as a musician, ‘I love music because it saved my life.’ That is a stronger story to tell as opposed to, well, ‘I just want to travel the world. I want to be rich and famous. I want to make a bunch of money.’ Now, all of a sudden you’re honing in on an audience of other fans who can relate to that story. So branding, once again, it’s not the superficial layer, at least for myself, when it comes to branding. It is so much deeper. And you have to really put yourself in a place to analyze and figure that out.

And once you have that foundation. Once you have that specific why, everything else will come easily. That is your foundation. All of a sudden, you know what kind of press photos you want to put out. All of a sudden you know what kind of lyrics and kind of songs you want to put out. What kind of genre. What kind of cities and fans you want to attract. All of a sudden, having that, why, sets you up for everything else to come into place.

How do you accomplish that on social media?

Well, the different ways you can do that on social media vary. I like organizing my social media content into different buckets. So, for example, you can have a bucket of content that is on that deeper level of connecting with fans. And then that way, you know, it ties in with your messaging. 

Another bucket can be of perhaps you shouting out to other musicians because you understand that having a community of music lovers is important. That is part of your brand. So you want to be able to show that you have a network of other musicians, other performers, other songwriters that you connect with. So then that’s another bucket. 

Let’s say, for example, that part of your personality is your sense of humor, that you’re weird and quirky and you love connecting with fans that are also weird and quirky. Have a bucket of content that is perhaps not even related to your music. It’s just you being weird with a pet like a cat or dog, or you being weird outside and being silly and goofy. 

But the thing that connects all of those different kinds of examples of buckets is that it is something that is ingrained and part of you. It’s not something that is fake. It is not something that is superficial, because the audiences that are out there right now on social media, they can see through fakeness, they can see through inauthenticity. So it’s so important to be your authentic self throughout this entire process.

Does that work across all of the platforms?

I would say that if you are trying to use different platforms, that the messaging itself will be unified across all platforms in that intangible way. However, the tangibility is a lot different because people consume social media content in different ways. So if someone is on Tik Tok, they’re consuming Tik Tok in a very different way than they’re consuming Twitter.

And so you have to remember that your message has a unified front across all platforms, but you will have to tailor what that messaging is. Because for example, on Twitter, there’s a certain amount of characters that you can have. There’s only a certain kind of content that you can post. However, YouTube is a vastly different platform. So when you have a unified message, it does make things a lot easier for you to figure out, okay, ‘how can I optimize my content for each specific social media platform?’

And the other addition to that is when you know what your message is, when you understand who you’re trying to attract as an audience, it also helps you figure out what platforms you should be on and should not be on. Not everyone should be on YouTube. Not everyone should be on Facebook. So you’re really thinking about, okay, my message is for Gen Z-ERS They’re not on Facebook. All right. They’re probably going to be on Tik Tok. And so now you’re starting to use your brand as a way to help you make these very informed decisions that will help save you time and money.

How do you take advantage of having established your brand?

So once you have figured out your messaging, once you’ve figured out who you’re targeting, who your audience is, this is an audience that resonates with you. Once you’ve honed in on the platforms that you want to focus your efforts on, there are numerous ways that you can maximize these efforts. So, for instance, if you have a single or a remix or an album that’s coming out, if you have a tour, you can figure out ways to maximize your time on these platforms.

Perhaps on Tik Tok, you’re going to use it as a behind the scenes platform for you being on the road or you sharing your time within the recording studio. Or perhaps on Twitter, you’re using that platform to get your wierdness and your quirkiness out, or you’re using it to really engage with fans or with other brands. Once you have established your voice on social media, that opens up opportunities to partner with other artists and other songwriters to do Instagram lives with your friends that are also in the scene.

Perhaps it’s also an opportunity to work with a company to do some kind of partnership because you’re a fan of a very specific kind of microphone or a very specific kind of keyboard. And so there are multiple layers into how you can maximize your efforts on social media. 

But it really comes down to, ‘What is your brand?’ Because these companies out there – Let’s say, for instance, you’re trying to find some brand partnerships. These brand partners will want to know how well you know your audience. They’ll want to know how well you communicate and engage with them. They’re going to want to know the analytics behind that. And in order for you to get there, you first need to figure out your messaging. You first need to figure out who you are authentically.

And that’s how you can make these kinds of maximizations. So in terms of when you know who your audience is, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about what kind of merch they’ll like. You’ll understand what kind of music they like. You’ll understand what kind of visuals they like and what kind of content they like on social media.

I worked with an artist named Trifecta. And when we first started working together, one of the first questions I asked him in terms of his branding was, ‘What do you want your fans to know about you?’ And it took some time for him to think about it. And his response was that I want fans to feel like they can hang out with me. Not on stage. Not in front of cameras. Not in front of fans. But feel like they could just hang out with me. And so we took that idea and we also combined it with another passion of his, which was cooking, grilling, barbecuing, exploring different recipes in the kitchen. 

And what we ended up doing is when he was on tour, we did a thing called a meet and greet, but was ‘MEAT’. And so we held contests for fans online and the winner got to go shopping with him. They got to go cook with him and they got to get pictures with him all before the show. 

And when you’re able to have this simple concept of, ‘I want fans to feel like they can hang out with me’, all of a sudden you can come up with these creative ideas that allow you to connect with your fans in that way, while also combining it with something that is true to yourself. And for him, that was his passion for cooking and grilling.

So what is a starting point for an artist who wants to brand themselves?

Okay, the starting point when it comes to branding yourself is really sitting and asking yourself, ‘Why am I doing this? What is my purpose?’ If my purpose is to be the most famous person in the world, then that is your purpose. If your purpose is much deeper, say, for example, before, when in that example you loved music because it did something for you as a teenager, it made you feel whole. It helped heal you. Then that’s a deep purpose. 

But really understanding why you do this for myself as an artist manager, the artist manager role is what I am, but it is not why I do it. I love artist management because I enjoy and love working with people. I love helping people figure out where they want to go with their lives and their careers because it’s something that I grappled with and struggled with and needed help with.

And so that comes from a much deeper place. So, the first thing that you want to do when you’re branding yourself is really understanding why you do it and what your purpose is. And that purpose should be something that’s a single sentence. ‘I am an artist manager’. Why? ‘Because I love helping people follow their dreams.’ Something that’s a very simple statement that stays with you throughout your entire career.

And keep in mind, it may change. So rebranding is a whole other conversation in and of itself, which we could certainly talk about. But just keep in mind that you’re messaging, right, it has to be strong. And then that will be the foundation for everything else to come in line after that.

That concludes our video titled, ‘How Do I Brand Myself on Social Media’. We want to thank our guest, Melissa Garcia, for sharing her expertise and experience with us.

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