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Social Media & Email Management for Musicians

social media management

Engaging with fans is fun and rewarding. It can also be an addictive time suck.

If you check your email, Facebook, and Twitter first thing in the morning, you’re doing it wrong!

Better to start your day creating something worth tweeting about. As a self-confessed productivity junkie, I’ve tried dozens of approaches. This one stuck.

What follows is a step-by-step guide to social media and email management, in the form of a daily routine. It assumes you are on Facebook and Twitter, but can easily be expanded to other networks. All tools mentioned are free unless stated otherwise.

best times to tweet

First we need to figure out when to post your content. Because the half-life of a tweet is so short, Twitter requires the most frequent updates. SocialBro determines your best time to tweet by analyzing when your followers are online and when you get the most retweets, with several glorious charts downloadable as a PDF.

The results of this analysis can be exported directly into Buffer, the next weapon in my arsenal. Buffer fires off your tweets on a predetermined schedule, with detailed analytics on each tweet’s performance, including clicks if you connect a bit.ly account. Mine are set for 6:40 AM, 8:40 AM, 10:40 AM, and 12:40 PM PST.

Now we’re ready to begin our daily routine, starting at the end of the work day.

Scheduled Updates

Twitter

I select four items from my list of status update ideas, and add them to Buffer. If an item is particularly important, I’ll reword it and schedule it twice, non-consecutively.

Facebook Page

Facebook allows you to schedule updates from the page itself, with full support for thumbnails and tagging. Enter your update as usual, then click on the clock icon in the lower left corner.

To manage your scheduled updates, scroll to the top and click on “Edit Page” then “Use Activity Log.” It’s clunky, but superior to any third-party tool, for a whole host of reasons that would take another article to explain.

I schedule an update from my Color Theory page at 9:40 AM, and from my Resonance Mastering page for 11:40 AM.

Facebook Profile

If your personal profile is truly personal, you can skip this. My friends and fans are hopelessly intermingled, so I schedule one update for 7:40 AM.

Since Facebook doesn’t support scheduled updates on personal profiles, I use Post Planner. The free option does the job, but I’m in the middle of a 30-day trial of their $14.95/month service, that posts to pages as your own app:

When you click on “Color Theory” at the bottom of the update, it redirects to colortheory.com. Fancy!

I’ve now got seven updates scheduled hourly from 6:40 AM – 12:40 PM, in order to maximize my exposure to fans following me across multiple networks. While I avoid repetition as much as possible, I reword important updates on different networks on different days. I also swap my Facebook update times between my profle and pages to mix things up.

Now sleep tight, knowing that your wit and wisdom will enrich the world while you hone your craft in focused isolation.

Focus Items & Alarms

I start my day by selecting two or three focus items from my to-do list. If I anticipate an urgent email, I configure ifttt to send me a text message when an incoming email matches my search criteria. All push notifications are disabled, on both my computer and phone.

I perform two daily social media and email checks, at a half hour before lunch and an hour before the end of my work day.

The rest of the day is dedicated to project work, like making music!

Social Media Checks

FanMix pulls all my Facebook and Twitter conversations into one clean inbox:

The key word here is conversations. If nobody responds to one of my updates, it won’t appear. If someone replies to Aunt Judy’s status update about brownies, which I commented on last week, it will. It handles both public and private conversations – in short: everything you need to see (and nothing you don’t).

There’s no need to visit Facebook or Twitter, so don’t do it!

I know what you’re thinking: “You selfish egomaniac! You’re not willing to devote one minute of your precious time to others’ thoughts and concerns.” Not true! I schedule time to do just that (Friday afternoons are perfect).

By separating fan engagement from socialization and general time-wasting, I participate in social media on my own terms.

Email Checks

I review my inbox starting with the oldest email, following these rules:

  1. If an email requires an immediate response or can be completed in under 2 minutes, do it now.
  2. If it can wait until a later date, use Boomerang to return it to my inbox at a time of my choosing.

After working through the most recent email, I label and archive everything left as “reviewed.” Inbox zero! Any remaining time before lunch/end of the day is spent replying to “reviewed” emails.

Summary

Two social media and email checks per day, plus scheduled updates.

Unless you get way more email than I do (and I get a lot), it shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half total. If you get too far behind, you can always devote an extra hour on Friday afternoon to catching up.

I challenge you to go all-in for one week. You’ll be amazed by how much you accomplish, and how clear your head is without a steady stream of interruptions. You don’t have to use every tool mentioned in this article, but at the very least, commit yourself to two checks a day.

There’s so much more I could write, but I don’t want to bog down an article on productivity with clarifications and exceptions. That’s what the comments are for, so let me know what you think!

Tools

Custom drawing by Ben Landis, starring Matt of the chiptune album+comic Adventures in Pixels.

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51 Comments

  • Reply
    Mariea E. Watkins
    July 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Wow Brian, you are amazing!

  • Reply
    Ryan Vegh
    July 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    My oh my, you've really got a whole system going. Good for you! Thanks for sharing. Maybe I'll have to try some of these things.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    July 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    You should have seen all the stuff I cut! This is about 25% of the system. 🙂

  • Reply
    Bernard Van Isacker
    July 12, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Spot on!

  • Reply
    Radio Nowhere
    July 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Excellent post, Brian – thanks! Now how about a quick outline of the rest of the system? 😉

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    July 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    LOL Alan! I'm working on it!

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    July 12, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    If this one gets a positive response, maybe next time I'll write about one of the other facets, like the weekly batch.

  • Reply
    Drew Frey
    July 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Hey Brian. Thanks for including FanMix into your article. We're trying to do our best at making it easier for people to streamline their social media workload.

    This is an absolutely great 'how-to' make the most out of your day with social media article.

    I use all of these tools personally and have a (albeit) eerily similar system in place.

    Thanks again from everyone at Fanmix.

    Drew

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    July 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    My pleasure Drew! I find the similarity of your system oddly comforting.

    Thanks for developing such an awesome service! I tried several others, but all of them were missing pieces of the puzzle – particularly private Facebook messages.

  • Reply
    Eric Mueller
    July 12, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    You are so, so, so much more disciplined than I am 🙂 But I love some of these tools you've found… def way to try FanMix. You know, even though this is a blog about music promotion, this post totally applies to my work on Last Minute Island Vacation.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    July 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Between that, Flashlight Worthy, and your personal profiles, I can see FanMix being really handy!

  • Reply
    Praguebeats
    July 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Fantastic article, this has been bookmarked and I'm sure I'll be coming back to it again and again.

  • Reply
    Radio Nowhere
    July 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Consider this one positive vote!

  • Reply
    Marisa Black
    July 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Do you follow some of the tactics of John Jantsch (Duct Tape Marketing, The Referral Engine).

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    July 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Never heard of him! Can you point me to something specific you'd recommend?

  • Reply
    Grant Thomas
    July 15, 2012 at 11:06 am

    I can't seem to find a link to the free version of post planner. Is it possible that it is no longer available?

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    July 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Maybe there was a technical glitch or something when you checked. You can go directly to the app in Facebook at https://apps.facebook.com/postplanner

  • Reply
    Ciara Mazakwe
    July 17, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Hi there! Thanks for the post, it can be a life-saver, avoiding me to check every ten minutes Facebook-Youtube-Mail. The only problem here in Africa is that almost no one is using twitter, hence the question: is there anything like SocialBro but for Facebook?
    Thanks!

  • Reply
    Ciara Mazakwe
    July 17, 2012 at 6:01 am

    …almost forgetting…what do you think about hootsuite?

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    July 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Facebook has some decent page analytics built in, but as far as I know, nothing that will forecast the best times to post. Crowdbooster calculates best times for both, so maybe give that a shot?

    Hootsuite is kind of handy, but it still required me to log into Facebook. If memory serves, it doesn't handle messages or replies when you comment on other peoples' updates.

  • Reply
    Ciara Lilian Mazakwe
    July 18, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Thanks a lot! Checking now!!! 😉

  • Reply
    Space March
    July 22, 2012 at 2:18 am

    I've found the optimal time for "getting a life" is between 11:30pm – 11:45pm. It's a wonderful 15 minutes – make sure to set your reminder alerts 😉

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    July 24, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Sounds blissful!

  • Reply
    Randy Goss
    July 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Fantastic info – thanks very much Brian!

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    July 26, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    My pleasure Randy!

  • Reply
    Koly Kolgate
    July 26, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Great read man. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Radio Nowhere
    August 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Okay, the dust has settled…how about peek at the rest of the system? Still curious, whenever you've got the time.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    August 7, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    I appreciate that! Well, there's the weekly batch, which I mentioned earlier. That would take an article to explain. And then there's a bunch of subroutines and tweaks to this social media/email system, which I originally had in the article, and decided to cut for clarity. Again, that's probably an article's worth, and would only apply to a small subset of readers. So… that wasn't very helpful, was it?

  • Reply
    Gemma D Lou
    August 11, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Nice! The scheduled updates on twitter is a good idea. Repetition is key. I've been finding lots of stuff on the new Bourne movie in my facebook timeline. I'm sure that has definitely helped promote the film. I'm sure bands and musicians can use this too.

  • Reply
    Carla Bean
    August 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Thanks Brian! I'm forwarding this to my other friends in the business. we were just talking about writing daily to-do lists, so we don't get sucked into checking how many likes our last post got. now I have to make east coast and west coast FB lists, so I can schedule posts at different times.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    August 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    You could go really hardcore and write out your entire week's list on Sunday. A little too ambitious for me! I wouldn't bother with two lists though – just go with EST, where the vast majority of users are (I'm in LA myself).

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    September 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Here's another new tool to control your email-checking reflex: Inbox Pause.

    http://inboxpause.com

  • Reply
    Nikki Hoath
    September 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Excellent article – I'm going to try this and see how I get on. I find I get sucked into Twitter and FB too frequently, and then for hours, so I know I need to discipline myself. Thanks for the tips!

  • Reply
    Cosmic Armchair
    September 24, 2012 at 2:45 am

    I wish I had read this months (and hundreds of wasted FB / Twitter hours) ago. Thanks for sharing.And the rest of this site is so useful too!

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    September 24, 2012 at 3:44 am

    Thanks! I love your band name!

  • Reply
    Cosmic Armchair
    September 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks! Hope you like our type of synthpop too 🙂

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    September 24, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    You had me at "synthpop."

  • Reply
    Brad Crowell
    November 15, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Hey Brian, great site, great post. You ever used Hootsuite?

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    November 16, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Yeah, but for Facebook, I prefer to schedule posts directly from the page, so I can add tags and thumbnails. For Twitter, it's impossible to see where you left off, so I prefer TweetDeck and Tweetbot.

  • Reply
    Niko Papasideris
    December 9, 2012 at 2:41 am

    Brian, give me some advise or a link to a blog that explain some info on this…

    Do I use my facebook profile or my facebook page to promote my music most? or both? I have little experience with facebook and am trying to know how to go about this. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    December 9, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Your page, definitely. I wish I'd kept my profile separate from the beginning, but I held off creating a page for a long time.

  • Reply
    Nate Maingard
    February 1, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Hi Brian, I have just read and implemented everything you have suggested! I am so hooked on constantly checking my social network and email updates…massive time wasters! Thanks for this, I'm going to try it! I've noticed that Buffer can also update my facebook profile. Would it be simpler to use buffer for facebook profile and twitter rather than adding post planner into the mix too?

    Thank you for this post, truly simple to read and implement. Lovely stuff! Great drawing by Ben Landis too (who actually just purchased my latest release on bandcamp today, randomly enough).

  • Reply
    Nate Maingard
    February 1, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Oh, and where do you keep a list of status update ideas? I like that idea 🙂

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    February 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    I just keep it in Evernote with my to-do list.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    February 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks for the kind words! I don't recommend updating Facebook with a 3rd party app. There's some debate about whether or not it affects EdgeRank, but you certainly don't have as much control over the thumbnail, and can't tag others. Plus people can see that you posted from another app and aren't actually on Facebook, which could make them less likely to comment.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    March 19, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Today's article: The Weekly Batch! Let me know what you think!

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    March 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    They recently made their whole service free, if what I read on their blog is to be believed!

  • Reply
    Nate Maingard
    November 27, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Hi Again :). Do you have any recommendations now that fanmix is no longer operational? Thanks! Nate

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    November 28, 2013 at 4:48 am

    I've been alternating between TweetDeck and Tweetbot on my Mac for Twitter, my main network. I log into Facebook once a day to catch up.

  • Reply
    Christian Crocker
    May 17, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Wow Brian. You just blew my mind! Crazy that there’s people like me who dig this deep into almost everything. Being a perfectionist is very effective!

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      May 19, 2014 at 11:18 am

      With some things maybe! It’s funny – I use totally different tools now, but the idea is the same. Maybe it’s time for a 2.0 article!

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