Pete Bassett: “comment on industry news to engage fans”

Pete profile

Pete Bassett advocates creativity and maximum fan engagement for success on social media

As a musician, social media is a key factor in getting you success. The more visible you are, the better positioned you are to promote yourself and your music.

Peter Bassett has been working in both the music and PR industry for over 25 years so knows a thing or to about how artists should promoted themselves on social media.

Having worked as an agent organising band tours across the UK for Dolphin concert productions, Bassett went on to run the press office at legendary HipHop and pop label Jive, moving then to MCA and Polydor where he oversaw labels such as Motown, Geffen, Mother and Fiction .

He then entered the world of corporate communications working for Jackie Cooper PR , now part of Edelman. In the mid 90s he founded Quite Great which encompasses management, PR and brand development.

We talk to Bassett to find out his top tips for musicians using social media to get their message out there.

JG: How should people in the music industry use social media?

PB: Social media for artists needs to be viewed in very simple terms. Do not look at the numbers, look at the involvement. If your social network communities do not actively interact with the artist, or if the artist does not work hard on creating innovative and interesting posts, then their communities will not flourish.

We help our clients to think clearly and act accordingly. It is best to have a small but active community, visualising them as a fan club from days gone by and encourage them to spread awareness on your behalf. In short, if you give generously to your followers they tend to give generously back to you.

JG: What sort of posts do well?

PB: On YouTube the key is virability, i.e. creative thinking, specific professional insights and subject matter that reflects the interests of the bands followers – this will make your fans link you to their friends, which will ultimately make your audience grow.  

Subject related content with music over the visuals that reaches out to a broader audience always works such as: high octane sports, animals, excellent musicianship techniques and so forth. Freerunning or parkour footage always creates an impact, allowing new fans to literally bump into the artist’s music via an interest in something outside of the music. If the music fits the imagery then the YouTube footage will undoubtedly gain traction.

JG: What sort of posts do badly?

PB: Again in simple terms and using an analogy with advertising, where possible there needs to be a call to action – a reason to feedback and get involved. If this does not take place on a regular basis then that is bad.

JG: What’s the best way for artists to engage their fans?

PB: There are no hard and fast rules even though industry experts may say otherwise. It is key for artists to engage and make things feel fresh, not contrived. If it feels contrived and you are trying too hard the fans will know you are not for real. Naturally retweeting, joining in with yahoo questions and contributing to music forum discussions are important, but if you are only doing this interaction because you feel you have to then you will struggle – it has to become part of your world!

The artist should comment on industry news to engage fans, targeting similar artists that fans might pick up on and be interested in too. Another good angle is to run competitions, perhaps to win a CD, signed artwork and so on. They can do this by sharing and liking the post, which will help a larger audience see their posts and the fans will be more inclined to join in if the prize is good!

It’s important for the artist to think about what their fans would be interested in. Don’t continually post statuses, especially if they’re pointless – you are spamming your fans and this will cause them to be less interested in the future! Think about your role as a fan to an artist you like. What would you want to see?

Jack K

Jack K is a writer, lyricist and studio veteran who has a passionate interest for the way modern technology has transformed the music industry. In his own words, "I rock an obscenely aggressive hairstyle, do not believe in monogamy and am rather adept at performing the dumbell benchpress."