When you started your band or brand, you probably never thought you'd have to worry about things like digital marketing and social media. With what feels like hundreds of platforms and ever-changing algorithms, it can be hard to keep up.
"I think the biggest misunderstanding is when people say that 'it just doesn’t work for them' - When in reality, it comes down to the fact that they just haven’t found a strategy that works yet, or they’re just posting content but not engaging with their target audience. It’s called social media for a reason. It’s a fluid, ongoing conversation that your brand needs to be a part of."
The wise words of Jack Longman, founder of Longman Media Co. and former band member.
In this interview, Jack shares his journey within the digital marketing space, as well as valuable insights and tips for successful social media marketing.
First off, can you tell us a bit about yourself, and give us some background context to what led to starting up Longman Media Co.?
Hey! My name’s Jack. The whole journey into me starting my business was basically completely organic and not planned at all. I was in a band from around 2006 - 2017, which although I didn’t realise it at the time, gave a lot of grass roots digital marketing skills/acumen. My love was helping artists make and release music, so I ended up becoming a music producer by trait - working as a freelance social media marketing consultant on the side, serving friends, businesses and some bands, etc.
During the pandemic, like a lot of music producers at the time, my work was seriously affected. Not being able to be together in a studio space meant that my pipeline of projects dried up in a matter of hours.
But, I guess as a result of businesses not investing properly into it beforehand, I started getting more inquiries from businesses to help them out with their social media. So I thought I’d pursue that and see what I could make of it working from home, whilst I couldn’t record bands and produce records.
It replaced my income from music within a month, so I decided to skill up on a few courses and just give it my all. I haven’t really looked back since!
Can you describe your company's approach to developing social media strategies for clients, and how do you ensure that those strategies are effective and align with their goals?
Our approach is effective for our clients, because we don’t kid ourselves. We understand that in order for it to work for our clients, it has to make commercial sense. It has to align with their goals and bring a return on the investment they make with us in a clearly defined way. We keep this in mind as our point of true north in every strategy, piece of content, or message we send out.
In your opinion, what are some of the biggest trends in social media right now, and how would you advise bands and brands to adapt to them?
I’d say video is clearly the biggest thing in content right now, but probably 85% of brands still aren’t utilising it.
We’ve noticed that social media platforms have been putting more focus onto collaboration and building relationships – what are some ways bands can collaborate with other artists and influencers in their niche to amplify their social media?
Depends on what platform you’re using/prioritising, but most of them offer some way of collaborating via video together. For example, TikTok offers you the ability to duet with another user or “stitch” elements of another video into yours. Reels offers the same kind of thing too.
But the simplest way of literally sharing audiences is probably on Instagram, by registering another account as a “collaborator” of a post on Instagram, the post will go to both audiences as if it was posted on both profiles. This feature has recently been updated too, so you can have more than 2 collaborators. This is ideal for bands, where the members might have sizable followings by themselves and want to give the band post a bit more reach.
Other than that, just share the love man! Retweet/share/repost your friends stuff! A rising tide raises all the boats after all.
In your opinion, how can musicians maintain authenticity while still achieving their marketing goals?
I’d definitely recommend the reading test. If you’re not sure about something you’ve created for social media, read it out loud. If it gives you a serious ick, it’s probably not authentic. People can see through fakeness online pretty well, especially with music and musicians.
What do you see as the future of social media management, and how is your company positioning itself to take advantage of emerging trends and technologies in the industry?
I actually think we’re still not even close to understanding how much AI is going to mess with the digital marketing space.
Moreover, I think in about 6 months time, trust is going to be the hardest thing to create online. AI deep fakes, ChatGPT “12 months in 12 minutes” marketing campaigns, fake reviews, etc. It is going to be so hard to decipher who to trust with your time and money online. My advice is that bands experiment with AI as a tool, because it is a fantastic tool… but always remain true to your core values and don’t become lazy, because your target market will pick up on that. How we do one thing is how we do all things.
While we certainly can’t ignore the importance of SMM, it can be quite repetitive and frustrating at times. How do you keep the creative & innovative spark alive when it comes to managing and running multiple social media accounts across platforms?
My team are all super talented and handle most of the “creation” part of the gig, so that my mind can be focused on strategy. Being honest, it’s my favourite part of the job. I love talking to a business owner who might think they have quite a normal, “boring” business and thinking of ways we can inject creativity into it.
For anyone that has no clue where to start and feels overwhelmed by the idea of social media marketing, what advice would you give them regarding first steps?
Honestly, I want to say that that’s normal. It is overwhelming. My advice is to start small and get comfortable. Get comfortable with the platform that feels right for you and your brand. There are no “rules”, there are guidelines. TikTok is one of my favourite platforms for B2B marketing at the moment, and there are some B2C brands that I love to follow on LinkedIn. It’s most important that you feel comfortable and know your way around the platform you want to use, because then you’ll understand the culture of that platform. That’s when your content turns out best because you already know the do’s and don’ts.
On a more personal note, what type of music are you into and what’s one band you have to see before you kick the bucket?
I’m a Dad now so my own free time is pretty much spent catching up on work. I’m kind of going through a “season” of not really checking much new stuff out at the moment. I listen to a lot of Hip Hop beats and Deep House instrumental stuff for focus - otherwise, it’s podcasts.
I’d love to see Failure live. They are a band I got into about 10 years ago and thought I’d never get to see (they were from the 90’s… kind of never really made it out of Nirvana’s shadow) but now they’ve come back and are playing shows again. That’d be cool!
If you weren’t working in the SMM space, what would you be doing?
I guess the easy answer is making records. But if I’m honest, I love making records so much, but not for money. I hated relying on it to pay the bills. It sucked turning down some AMAZING younger bands, because I know they wouldn’t be able to cover my day rate. It sucked even worse having to take a job that I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy just because I needed the money. Now, I don’t have any of that to deal with when it comes to making records, and I just work with the bands and music that I like.
Any exciting projects or collaborations that you’re looking forward to this year?
We’ve started working with an incredible import/export business in the craft beer industry, which is great, because I love beer… 😂And alongside that, we’re working on some incredible sports brands at the moment.