Earlier this week I met singer song-writer Janet Devlin and her manager Rick Chambers of Insomnia Music Management, who kindly gave up their evening to chat to me about how they use Social Media for Janet’s direct to fan engagement for my latest CIPR csuite podcast.
X Factor fans may recognise the name, as at just 16 years old, Janet came fifth in the show back in 2011.
But, to her credit, as she explains in the interview, rather than take the easy route of accepting the record deals that were on offer to her straight after the show, Janet has instead worked non-stop for the four years since, to produce the music she wants to write. However, she acknowledges that her fans have had a huge influence on her achieving that aim, and that Social Media has enabled it to happen.
I was therefore keen to find out from Janet and Rick about all the channels they use to engage with her fans, and there’s enough of them (channels as well as fans that is) and whether the lessons they have learned can be used by people working in other sectors of PR & Marketing.
Janet regularly uses the usual suspects of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram, and, as Rick confirmed, she is rarely off her phone posting updates! But the areas we explored in more detail in the podcast were how she crowdfunded her first album on Pledge Music, regularly plays live online on StageIt.com, and sells merchandise on Music Glue that she designs off the back of feedback and request from her fans.
I found StageIt fascinating as fans can pay whatever they want to enter the events, so as Rick explained, no one cannot afford to come in and watch. However, they can also ‘tip’ Janet too, which they do regularly for shout outs for example. He also said that it’s a progression coming from Pledge Music and it shows how you can give back to your fans by providing exclusive content who will in return help to fund you, which helps Janet to ‘hit the road’ and put on the live tours.
By the way, Janet’s next live show is on 4th Feb at 11.55pm (I’m assuming that’s GMT)
But with all the channels mentioned already, together with other content outlets such as Vevo, Vimeo and Spotify along with her own website too, there’s a lot of work going on to stay in touch with her fans, which of course, all takes a lot of planning and strategy, or as Rick calls it, choreography.
The key lesson that Rick and Janet said all industries can take from their experiences on fan/client/customer engagement is about keeping the content fresh and supplying them with what they want on a regular basis. What is crucial, however, is not to just take and not give back, but to ensure you give more and more back instead, which could be by way of exclusive videos as that’s how word starts to spread.