Social media gets a bad rap for professional use, but if harnessed wisely it can be a powerful tool for connecting with fans and potential employers. Unfortunately, social media (like many other mediums) can be more distracting than useful if you don’t have a game plan going in – but I’m here to help. I’ve coached over 300 entrepreneurs/companies to use social media for landing new business opportunities, new fans, and – my favorite – reduce the overall time and energy they’re spending on social media at the same time. Interested? Read on.
But I’m a video game composer! Do I REALLY need to use Social Media?!
The short answer is: probably. While social media should play a distant second to making professional connections IRL, it’s too powerful to ignore. To make social media even more attractive, it’s incredibly easy and free to use – two incredibly valuable traits to a busy creative professional such as yourself. But what should we be using social media for, and how do we use it without being drowned in all of the noise out there?
What Social Media is GOOD for:
When leveraged correctly, social media can be an excellent source for new professional connections and opportunities. You can connect with your fans (if you have them), share your video game music, and keep up to date on industry news by following influencers in the market. I consider myself a pretty lofty nerd when it comes to game audio, but I find cool new stuff all the time on Twitter – most of which I never would have found myself. You can also connect with big-name composers, as many of them are active on social media and happen to be extremely friendly folks.
In addition to all of that good stuff, you have the ability to connect with potential customers or employers and build relationships with them online before meeting them in person. Notice that I did NOT say “pitch to potential customers or employers,” and mark this difference well; Social media is best used when you’re building relationships instead of pitching yourself or your services.
I find Twitter to be the best social media channel for making new connections. Thanks to Twitter, we can enjoy free and open two-way communication between anyone in the world for the first time in human history. 10 years ago, if I wanted to ask a AAA composer a question I would’ve had MAYBE 1-2 options for reaching them: fan mail (snail mail) or e-mail, if they had a website (most of them didn’t). Because these generic inboxes were catch-alls for EVERY communication from the outside world, I might write a letter and never even know if it made it to the recipient. If I got a response, it may take weeks! I’ve had interactions with celebrities, big-name composers, and major brands on Twitter because we can speak to each other directly. #Awesome.
What Social Media is BAD for:
Productivity. There it is. I said it! Social media can be a total productivity-killer because, like TV, it never runs out of crap to put in front of you. Your Facebook newsfeed is a constant stream of posts from friends and acquaintances, and the average number of Tweets-per-day is about 58 million. In a recent report, Business Insider found that social media is now the #1 internet activity. People spend more time on social media than they do in their email inbox, if you can believe it! The moral of the story? Be deliberate with how you’re spending your time on social media and don’t get sucked into the endless storm of #throwbackthursday and grumpy-cat memes.
Well, maybe just one grumpy-cat meme…
A Reminder about Meeting People IRL…
The best way to make new professional connections in the gaming industry is to get out and meet people in-the-flesh. In today’s digitally-connected world, nothing has come close to beating the good ol’ fashioned handshake. It’s all about who you know, and several professionals I’ve talked to and read about have cited either 1) leveraging an existing relationship, or 2) networking at industry events as their primary *successful* activity for finding new composing opportunities.
If you’re already meeting people in person, that’s great! If it’s not possible for you to network in person right now then I would take to social media right away. Major cities and the surrounding areas can have several opportunities for networking IRL, but if you live in the midwest you may have a difficult time finding a local Game Jam to attend. Connecting online is a strong viable alternative when used effectively.
Have you ever made a successful professional connection online? Share in the comments below to encourage others!