Sloane Skylar is a 25-year-old singer/songwriter from Chicago. After attending Berklee School of Music, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career as both a singer and a behind-the-scenes digital media manager. Now working for Crowd Surf, a company that focuses on utilizing social media, interactive marketing and creative services, Sloane works on both sides of the coin.
I get artists because I am one
I am a musician. Around the 5th grade I told my parents I wanted to sing and they said, “You sing?!” so I sang a song for them. I started singing lessons and stuff in school like chorus and school plays, but I wasn’t really into acting. I just wanted to sing pop songs. When it came time for college, I went to Berklee College of Music in Boston. I studied singing and music business. I found that I liked helping other artists accomplish their goals because it gave me the chance to see things from another perspective.
After graduation, I moved to Los Angeles and started gigging. I was clear that I wanted to work in music so I got a job as a telemarketer, selling music programs. That wasn’t really for me; my next job was at a small company who had one very big artist that I worked directly with. I liked it, and loved the artist, but I wanted to work for a bigger company, so that’s how I ended up at Crowd Surf, a digital agency that helps music artists with social media, among other things. I am still doing my own thing, music-wise, and just put out an animated lyric video called “My Sweater.”
When I have a new client, I always check out their socials first – I look at their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tik Tok. I usually end up writing down an optimization report on what could be done to make things better.
I find that a lot of artist profiles aren’t completely filled out – they’re missing bios, or links, or tags. Sometimes their search optimization isn’t maxed out. For instance, people don’t tag their YouTube videos, and that’s easy to incorporate.
New artists versus established ones
There’s definitely a difference between how you handle one versus the other. With some bigger acts, it’s less about asking them to do things and more about utilizing what they already have. An established artist will have a lot of history to choose from, so you can use that and optimize the content available to you.
With a developing artist, I ask them for a lot! I want them to record new assets for me so we can use them to make their accounts more engaging to fans. It’s so much harder to get noticed online than it was even a few years ago. There’s not just one reason – algorithms change, channels are overcrowded. Also, while it’s still a smart spend, you need to allot marketing dollars in some places. The more popular a channel gets, the harder it is to stand out. I really push my younger acts toward TIK TOK because Instagram is really hard to stand out on now.
Managing expectations and trends
I think benchmarks are good. Clients want to see how much our work is impacting their socials, and I get that. Everyone thinks if they hire an agency, they’re going to go viral with something, but that’s not how it works. Reporting helps show your client what you’re doing and how it’s helping them grow. Proof is in the pudding.
I work with an artist called Charlie Wilson, who was the lead singer of the GAP BAND. His song “You Are” was used in a TIK TOK trend and a lot of influencers ended up making TIK TOKs with the song. That was just good luck (and a great song).
Social media seems to be more trend related nowadays, and that’s greatly due to TIK TOK. When things blow up, I always think – how can we jump on the trend, be relevant and stay true to the artist? It’s really important to think about how to approach releasing content and how your artist can stand out, when so many people are on the platform.
I’ve worked with musicians who have a lot of money, so they can afford services, but they sort of have nothing to say. It’s harder, but I always work to come up with fun ideas and ways to enhance an artist’s strengths even if they’re not able to be a part of generating it.
I’d say to just try things out, check out the trends, see how your content could possibly apply. You’re more likely to have success by jumping on to an existing trend rather than trying to start your own. I tell new artists to check out TIK TOKs Trend Page, which changes weekly. Right now, TIK TOK is the easiest place to grow and gain new followers. That being said, it’s important to be represented across social channels, so I make sure an artist has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TIK TOK and YouTube pages. I wouldn’t be intimidated by what other people are doing, I would find my lane and own it.