BEING STRATEGIC ABOUT YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE CAN BE EXTREMELY IMPACTFUL ON YOUR CAREER.
Whether you are trying to become a successful soloist, run a professional chamber group, or become the most sought-after private teacher in your area, I want to share some of the strategies I have used to leverage online marketing to build my career.
When I finally made the choice to push past my fears and committed to creating a career for myself as a fully self-employed musician, I made the decision to treat everything as though I was running an actual business. Because ultimately that's what we are doing, right? But the thing is... simple strategies that are marketing 101 to any business student tend be overlooked by a lot of private music teachers (cough-deficiency-in-college-music-programs-cough).
Given the growth and effectiveness of online marketing by many businesses (and also the fact that I am very much an introvert 🙈) I decided to pursue this avenue almost exclusively in building my brand and business.
The trick to creating an effective online presence is making sure it is comprehensive and that everything ties together.
USE ONE NAME FOR EVERYTHING
We all know the importance of creating a website, but something I really struggled with was whether to keep my social media platforms private or to switch them to business. Admittedly, it took me a while to hop on board with putting my business out there publicly. All of those negative thoughts pop up like, "It would be kind of humiliating to have all of my family and friends watch me publicly fail if this doesn't work out" or "Are my friends and family going to get annoyed by seeing me post these things?" or "Is anybody even going to care about what I have to say?"
I finally realized that in order to reach my audience, I needed to put it out there. So despite my anxiety and fears, I went for it. I switched my Instagram profile to public, I created a Facebook page for myself, and I started using Pinterest for my business (after a thorough cleanup of course 😬). One of the most important things I learned from the countless hours I spent researching was that it is critical to use the same name across all platforms so you are easy to find.
Think of it this way. If you are going to Instagram to search for Target, you're going to search for @target. Or if you are looking for Kim Kardashian, you will type in @kimkardashian.
If I'm running a blog called The Balanced Musician but the domain name is www.musicianswellness.com and the Instagram is @nicoletheflutist , that will create a lot of confusion for your audience. How will they know how to find you?
On a normal day to day basis we encounter and process an insane amount of information so remembering the 6 different names your brand or business is listed under = not going to happen. You want to make it as easy as possible for your audience to remember you and find you because this will help position you as a first choice. And that's what we want, right? If somebody is wondering to themself I need help on how to build my career as a musician I want them to think I should go to Nicole Riccardo's website! She always has the hottest tips.
Brand recognition + the know/like/trust/factor = first choice advantage.
That is exactly why my website heading is Nicole Riccardo, my website domain is www.nicolericcardo.com, and my Instagram is @nicolericcardo.
GET TO KNOW YOUR IDEAL CLIENT
If you want to reach your exact audience with your message vs screaming into the internet void...
If you want people to like and trust you...
If you want to convert people in your audience to paying clients...
Then you need to know EXACTLY who you are trying to reach otherwise any marketing efforts you put out there will be useless. So before you think about revamping that website or throwing up a new vibe of insta captions, and DEFINITELY before you spend a single penny on advertising... you need to sit down and actually write out and establish who exactly it is you are trying to reach.
Now you may be thinking something like well yeah, I know who I want to reach - flute students. Or other musicians. Or anybody who wants to learn who to play an instrument.
But my friend, I have some news for you.
THAT IS WAY TOO VAGUE.
If you go through this process correctly you should be able to tell me your ideal client's:
Their biggest struggles
Why they would value what you are doing
Any objections they might have to purchasing from or working with you
What social media platforms they use
What kind of stores they shop at
Yes, you really need to be that detailed.
When you are going through this process it usually helps to think of one of your current students or clients and select whoever is closest to your ideal. Go through this exercise and even ask them these questions directly! Listen to the language they use. Paying attention to these small details will help shape everything you do.
It should shape the colors and fonts you use, the way you dress and pose in your photographs, the language you use when you speak and write, the articles and topics you choose to write about, the products and services you offer...literally everything.
If you allow your ideal client to shape what you produce you will begin to attract more of your ideal clients directly to you. #goals, amiright or amiright?
Don't waste your time screaming into the internet void trying to be all things to all people because my friend, I have news for you.
If you are trying to speak to everyone, then you are speaking to no one.
You will not be everyone's cup of tea and that is a-okay. The goal here is to attract the people you truly want to work with. Those who inspire you and motivate you and make you excited to help. Your people!
Train your brain to think about the strategy and purpose behind every single thing you do and if it is not fully in-line with reaching your ideal client, then...
One final recommendation as you build your online presence:
Creating content is an integral part of building credibility and the know/like/trust factor online, whether that is through blogging or simply your Instagram captions. The rule of thumb I live by when creating content is it must either inspire, motivate, educate, or entertain. If you stick to this and consistently provide value to your audience, it is likely they will continue to stick around with you.
As you build that magical know/like/trust factor with every piece of content you produce, when you finally announce your product or service (see: "Now accepting new students!"), your audience will be primed and ready and EXCITED to accept your offer.
If you are interested in utilizing Instagram to grow your career (my personal fave 💁), then make sure you check out my post spilling the exact things I do to help my clients grow their accounts!
If you have any questions, comments, or other topics you would like me to cover, please send me a message here. I would love to hear from you!
If you want to see more articles on how to build your career, subscribe here and follow along on Instagram, @nicolericcardo!
Thank you for reading!