I was recently offered the opportunity to sit down and have a one-on-one chat with Matt Bacon, one of the internet’s many wizards who know very well how the big machine works. Among many other topics, we specifically discussed websites in accordance to SEO (search engine optimization), work ethic, and the importance of utilizing Instagram as a brand marketing platform.
Matt spends his time managing bands, marketing social media accounts, and working for various sites online, including Dropout Media and Independent Music Promotions. He is a social media guru who offers his followers influential online marketing advice on his various Instagram pages. Luckily enough for me, upon a basic inquiry regarding some blogging advice, I was offered an hour-long interview opportunity. Below are some of the transcripts from our conversation which are especially pertinent for aspiring bloggers, up-and-coming music journalists, or anyone with the desire to know a little more about social media marketing.
Hunter: Do you have anything to say about SEO (search engine optimization)? I’ve heard conflicting news about such a topic, in the sense that some recommend taking paid courses to educate themselves while others say its not worth it.
Matt: People who have done the courses and don’t know how to do it are stupid, SEO is not that hard. I haven’t dug into it because I understand where the money is, Google ads are down 19% currently. People aren’t clicking on Google ads anymore, Instagram is where its at. Most young people are getting their news and information from Instagram… Regardless, I think that SEO is valuable and I think you can make money from it, at the end of the day there is a portion of the population that Googles “music promotion” and where you fall in the rankings is very important. On the flipside, people can earn more reliable business from building a brand on social media. Brands in 2018 are all about the network.
Your mailing list is worth about 1$ per person per month, you have to try and play on that. Realize where the dollars are and focus on that. This is the other thing with SEO, is that when you say search engine optimization, you really mean Google optimization. I really think it is a bad idea to build your company on the back of another platform and how well they are doing. That’s the reason why you haven’t seen Buzzfeed that much anymore because they’ve built their platform off of Facebook and Facebook hasn’t been pushing them that much.
Investing in the brand is the single best thing you can do. Instagram is where that is right now.
The conversation moved more towards Facebook and Instagram marketing and how to figure out which platform best suits your endeavours. When Matt asked me to look at the difference between my likes on my most recent Instagram and Facebook posts, I replied with twelve on Instagram and 4 on Facebook (I have roughly twice the following on Facebook).
Matt: There you go. You’re 300% higher on Insta. As a general rule, that is mostly correct. People tend to get roughly 300% more traction on Instagram than on Facebook. That being said, I do think Snapchat is going to make a comeback within the next 6 months.
Don’t be afraid to recycle content, but keep exclusive content on both your pages. You want to have some exclusive content so people have to check out the two.
Hunter: See for a smaller blog like mine, I found that when I posted pictures on Instagram I would often lose followers and more importantly, nobody would click on the links in my description. So then I started trying to build up my Facebook page because you can add direct links on your posts there, and now I get at least some clicks when I post a new article.
Matt: You get clickthrough on Facebook, but that’s not what its about. That’s a fundamental mistake, you want to build a brand, and that’s what Instagram is perfect for. You’ll notice on my Instagram I don’t make any direct sales, but from promoting and building my Instagram people notice me and they’ll meet me and will understand that I pull through. Build awareness.
I would just look at Instagram for the top five metal blogs. I’d look at Metal Injection, Metal Sucks, Decibel, Angry Metal Guy, and Metal Insider. Invisible Oranges too. Look at their Instagrams and figure out who understands it and go from there.
Hunter: Is it worthwhile to monetarily promote your posts on Facebook and Instagram?
Matt: Yeah, on Insta especially. Most people promote to get direct sales, but that is a mistake. You need to be building awareness rather than trying to get direct sales. People will eventually notice and start caring, because people are so used to being hyper-targeted, why would you do a better job than some executive who gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to do the same thing. For example, my next ad will be about offering a free customized hashtag service to various bands, any band. Build awareness and eventually they’ll want more.
Hunter: Should smaller entities like my blog bother reaching out to labels for advance copies?
Matt: Absolutely. Email everyone, email labels and PR (public relations) people, don’t bother with bands. If you know labels and PR people, you’ll get somewhere. If you just start emailing PR people and tell them what you’re doing, it costs them nothing and its free promotion for you.
Hunter: Should bloggers be afraid of speaking the negative truth?
Matt: No, but I think you should do it politically. I try to not write anything that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face. I’ll definitely say the guitar solos on this album are really mediocre, but I think it’s a big problem in the music scene. People tend to only talk about the positives. But then again look at Angry Metal Guy, he focuses on the negatives. You’re allowed to be angry if you’re not a dick, which is the case with him. He’s actively working on something, and I think that’s important. You can criticize, but do it properly. PR people talk.
Hunter: Would you mind recommending any books for aspiring bloggers and music journalists?
Matt: How to Win Friends and Influence People, obviously is essential. Everyone should read that book, some people say its kind of scummy but, okay, I guess you don’t want to be successful. There’s also a book called Book Yourself Solid. Also, read The Prince by Machiavelli, if you can read it in Italian do so! If you’re trying to become a better writer read Decibel Magazine and Invisible Oranges, especially for metal. Read the classics, too. If you read enough Lester Bangs you’ll eventually know a lot more about music journalism.
Hunter: Last thing… Could you give any general advice to anyone looking to be employed within the field?
Matt: Write every day as much as possible. I write, last time I checked, 60 articles a month. I also do all the social media stuff for labels and gyms and stuff. I write every day. Writing is the most marketable skill you can teach yourself.
As mentioned above, Matt is keen on offering bits of free information on his socials regarding the topics above. While most pertains to bands, I’ve personally found a lot of his videos useful and insightful, because they are always relevant to the world of social media and promotion. You can follow him on Instagram down below: