SMCLA Social Fan Panel

SMCLA’s Ladies Night all-star social media panel with (l – r) Lindsay Gabler, Kirsten Stubbs, Rynda Laurel, Liz Teschler, Karen Civil, and Lyndsey Parker. Photo by Nick LaBran.

It was ladies’ night, Sept. 24, when SMCLA gathered an all-female panel of social media rockstars to give a standing-room-only crowd the inside scoop on the music industry and engaging fans.

The sold-out event, “The Social Fan: How Rockstars Build and Engage Online Communities,” was held at the stunning Regus/Yahoo! Center in Santa Monica during 2013 Los Angeles Social Media Week.

Our superstar panel was curated by Ariel Rainey of PR in the City and included Karen Civil of Beats by Dre; Kirsten Stubbs from Roc Nation; Lindsay Gabler of THE GRAMMYS; Liz Teschler from Alloy Digital; Rynda Laurel from 1968 Media; and moderator Lyndsey Parker, writer/blogger from Yahoo! Music.

Lyndsey Parker of Yahoo! Music headlined an amazing panel, filled with music industry insights. Photo by Noelle Inman.

Lyndsey Parker of Yahoo! Music (at right) headlined an amazing panel, filled with music industry insights. Photo by Noelle Inman.

Here’s what we learned…

For music artists, “social media is a digital form of an autograph,” noted Kirsten Stubbs. “Make it authentic. Make the social engagement sound like the voice of the artist. Fans will know if it’s a third party.”

Lindsay Gabler was in perfect harmony with Stubbs: “The audience is tuning in to hear about an artist’s lifestyle. It can be a problem when the audience realizes they’re not actually connected to the artist.”

How do you avoid disappointing or disengaging an audience when your rockstar only posts sporadically?

Kirsten Stubbs and Rynda Laurel

Stubbs and Laurel share the knowledge. Photo by Noelle Inman.

“Sign the tweets by the artist,” advised Rynda Laurel, especially if an agency is handling the account the rest of the time.

Panelists added that, for some superstars, like Rihanna, it’s absolutely clear when she’s tweeting and Instagram-ing. But, if you’re the agency, don’t push product too much, don’t force engagement with too many calls to action – those are big turn-offs.

As Karen Civil said, “Be as organic as possible. Try to understand the artist’s tone of voice. Fans need to feel they’re interacting with artists.”

How is social media changing the music industry?

“The album is dying,” said Stubbs – a statement that bummed out more than one audience member – but that doesn’t mean rock ‘n’ roll is, she added.

Tweet alert! How much do SMCLA audiences love the opportunity for social sharing during our panels?! Photo by Noelle Inman.

Tweet alert! How much do SMCLA audiences love the opportunity for social sharing during our panels?! Photo by Noelle Inman.

“Music is put out more often today, but in smaller pieces. It’s all about singles and EPs. It’s changing the way music is consumed,” Stubbs explained.

“I agree,” said Gabler. “Fans on social media want it now.”

It’s essential for musical artists and brands to have a presence on YouTube (even more than Vevo, which is not so much about personal content as plain old music videos, the panelists all agreed).

Liz Teschler recommended, “On YouTube, be consistent with the frequency of posting. Lay out a schedule for fans and stick with it.”

And, with all of the channels you’re sharing in, from YouTube to Bandcamp and SoundCloud, go crazy on tags. “If your music sounds like Mumford & Sons or the Lumineers, use those tags, too,” said Gabler. “If someone’s listening to Lumineers, then your video will pop up next to it.”

SMCLA events always offer great opportunities to network. Photo by Nick LaBran.

SMCLA events always offer great opportunities to network. Photo by Nick LaBran.

What about all those channels?

How do you choose the right groove for your artist or brand?

Cue up the authenticity conversation again. “Anything new in tech space has to be true to your artist,” said Laurel.

Stubbs noted that with all of the social channels, the choice “depends on the artist’s personality and fan base. Chief Keef wouldn’t do Pinterest…Well, maybe…”

When new platforms come along, added Gabler, “you need to think long-term affect. You can be too late to the game, but also too early.”

The panel also spun some oldies, but goodies.

Karen Civil with panel organizer Ariel Rainey.

Karen Civil with panel organizer Ariel Rainey. Photo by Noelle Inman.

Civil reminded attendees to “make sure your brand resonates off the Internet, too,” while Laurel encouraged the crowd not to forget about email.

“Email’s a big deal,” she said. “You own your list in a way you don’t own and control social channels. You know engagement is going to be better. Email is your direct chance to craft your message and for fans to read your message.”

Social media, the panel agreed, is marketing, plain and simple. Artists, brands, and the people who promote them need to find a balance across types of marketing and social media channels, focus on a tone of voice that matches the artist, and, above all, be authentic.

With thanks to Regus for donating a top-of-the-charts Gold membership to our lucky raffle winner!

Pico Party Rents

SMCLA attendees got the best seats in the house thanks to Pico Party Rents! Photo by Nicole DeRuiter.

And kind thanks to Pico Party Rents for their generous support of The Social Fan event.

This is the second Social Media Club of Los Angeles event Pico Party has donated chairs for, so please share the love with the City of Angels’ favorite party supplies center and plan your next shindig with Pico.

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