If you look at the history of showbusiness, each new technological advancement has brought about a colossal shift in how the performing arts are both created and consumed, not to mention who benefits economically from that transaction.
When film came along it changed stage performing. When radio became widespread it caused a massive shift in film consumption. Likewise when television grabbed the market share previously held by radio. The internet has taken a long time to become competitive, largely due to the speed with which moving images could be channelled, but with widespread faster broadband connections this is changing.
Social media is making new content available at the speed of light for very little money and entertainment consumers have more choice than they’ve ever had before. There is no doubt that internet/social media are going to have a long-reaching impact for performing artists. Do you want to be part of that or left behind? For not much money you can create your own showcases and tell your own stories.
This doesn’t have to replace your live performing, but can bring it to a much greater audience and also put more of the power both to create and to make money from your talents into your own hands. You don’t need to wait for someone to give you a job anymore. You can create anything you want and find ways to monetise it. That’s creative entrepreneurship in a nutshell and social media is facilitating much of it.
It might be scary to get started, especially if you are completely new to social media, so start small. Pick one application and just play around with it. There’s very little that can go horribly wrong, so dive in. Once you get the feel of one social media platform you will find it quite easy to move to another one.
Social media isn’t just for young people either. The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is the over 50 set. A Nielsen study released in June 2011 shows an 84% growth in the over 50 users on Facebook between 2009 – 2011 compared to only 41% growth within the younger set. Advertisers are taking notice of these trends. In 2009 there was $700 million worth of paid advertising on Facebook; this shot up to $2 billion in 2010.
To give you an idea of the potential market of social media, let’s look at some statistics for Facebook as of August 2011 (from Facebook’s own statistics pages):
- there are 750 million active users
- 50% of active users log in every day
- people spend over 700 billion minutes on Facebook each month
- there are over 900 million pages, groups, events and community groups and the average user is connected to 80 of these groups
- the average user creates 90 pieces of content per month
- more than 30 billion pieces of content are shared each month
Let’s look at the reach of a few other popular social media platforms. Twitter reports that approximately 140 million tweets are sent every day. LinkedIn reports on 30 June 2011 they stand at 115 million users. While MySpace has lost a lot of ground to Facebook, they still have 125 million users, so they shouldn’t be considered dead yet.
Besides the huge numbers of individuals who are on social media, it’s worth considering the companies who also have a social media presence. Some basic searches will reveal a vast number of theatre companies, producers, music festivals, record labels, casting directors, choreographers, directors, etc who all have a social media presence. By meeting them in the social media sphere you greatly expand your networking possibilities.
Whichever social media platforms you choose to use, you will be in good company. However while such large numbers of users give you access to an amazing audience, it also means that you can’t just fire things off into the ether and hope to achieve any results. There’s never been a greater need for a social media strategy.
Don’t get left in the dust in the social media race. Follow this blog while we explore some of the various strategies for Social Media success for creative people.