Using dark social media to grow your music brand
I want to talk about the importance of dark social media. It sounds scary and illegal, but it really isn’t. It refers to forms of social media that aren’t easily tracked. You can also use the term ‘dark traffic’. Their impact, though difficult to measure, can be huge. Examples of these platforms are telegram, WhatsApp, email, SMS, and Reddit. The opposite to dark social media would be conventional social media platforms like Facebook, Tik Tok and Instagram where traffic can be tracked and things are out in the open. Majority of people try to get noticed on these conventional platforms through posts in a hope that people with share it and make it go viral.
There are many applications for dark social media. Studies show larger amounts of traffic are attributed to dark social media. It’d be a good idea to make use of it to build up your audience if you’re starting from nothing. Another study showed that a person needs to spend 15 hours per week on dark social media to have an impact. In general, that means spending 2 hours a day putting together content and interacting on these platforms. You may be confused as to what to send, post or talk about. What’s nice about these platforms is that you can mix and match your content and post whatever you want. Pictures, memes, videos, blog posts, reaction content and opinion pieces are all great ways of expressing yourself on these platforms.
An example of content would be posting interesting information or entertaining memes on your WhatsApp status. After the first week of posting, people will come to expect that type of content from you. You’ll become a micro-influencer to the few people who look at your status on a regular basis. Another example is having a WhatsApp group where you converse with like-minded individuals about various topics. These can be great ways to expand your influence as well as grow a community. These groups are often very strong because they’re filled with people who eventually grow to know each other on a personal level. I started a music producer group a few years ago with a few individuals and it’s grown powerful in terms of a resource sharing platform.
I run a WhatsApp voice note group where I post helpful music industry information every week. The concept of this group spans back to 2016 so I’ve spent ample time trying to grow it. I’ve often struggled with trying to figure out the impact of the group, but I’ve recently realized that this forms part of dark social media. This means there is a definite impact, but it’s often difficult to measure without numbers. I see it most when people arrive for physical studio sessions. During the session, people often bring up the voice note group and its impact on their career. I don’t know any better because I don’t have likes, shares or comments to tell me that what I’m posting is useful. I really do believe that voice note group has been important in building up my business and I’m very grateful to have a platform of about 2000 weekly listeners via WhatsApp. They aren’t vocal with the feedback, but I do believe they’re appreciative of the efforts. If you want to be a part of that group, be sure to reach out to me on +27 74 605 7360. I’m happy to assist with any other questions you have.
I’ve recently become active with my mailing list. I email new subscribers to my list with helpful information. The goal is to use this dark traffic to build stronger connections with my audience. I have a series of emails that go out to each person when they subscribe. I give away free beats and share resources each week. It might seem like an old-school form of communication, but it’s great because I don’t have to fight with a social media algorithm. I have great open rates on my emails that can be tracked using software like Aweber or MailChimp, so I know there’s a bit of an impact.
One of the biggest advantages of working most of my business via dark social media is that I’m not worried about algorithmic changes on any of these social media platforms. If for some reason FaceBook, Instagram or any other platform crashes or their terms of service change then I’m safe as I have my audience’s cell phone numbers and email addresses. Even if all my profiles get hacked, I’ll be able to contact my audience to let them know that there’s a problem.
They say that when everyone goes one way, you must go the other way. If you aren’t having much joy with your career on conventional social media, give dark social media a good go and you might find that you benefit more. Your chances of blowing up via dark social media are tough, but I guarantee your message is more likely to make it to people who need to see it.