In a slight departure from my usual political and cultural commentary, I will pivot to a topic I enjoy writing about; networking. Over the past 28 years here in New York City, I’ve become pretty good at it. I enjoy sharing parts of my journey and the things I’ve learned in order to get to the top levels of my industry.
The advice below isn’t tailored specifically for success as a pit musician in a broadway musical. Anyone can use the information to expand your circle, meet new people, and develop leads for new work opportunities in any field. It worked for me-it can work for you as well.
This is part two of a three-part series.
In my post How To Become Better At Networking, I discussed five ways to begin building your network. Today, I will talk about social media and how to use it to your advantage.
Fun fact: if you are a monster on your instrument but can’t seem to gather the strength and courage to talk to people you don’t know, you may remain that fantastic musician few will ever discover.
That’s generally the case, but of course, there are outliers. Some creatives are so talented, people find them, and very little networking needs to be done. Those people become highly sought out individuals. I feel that is the exception and not necessarily the rule.
When it comes to finding work, especially in a big city like New York, if you assert yourself and ask for what you want, you’ll find work. I’ve also discovered that social media can help expand your network and help get you paying gigs.
Some older musicians refuse to engage with any social media and prefer a good old telephone call. They often frown upon modern means of communication. Some of those people I know don’t even like booking gigs through text or email. While that may be their preference, they might be missing out on a whole lot of money.
I’ve secured work through people who have reached out to me on Facebook or Instagram. It happens quite often. In fact, I remember one of the first times it happened was in 2013. I booked a gig in San Diego by answering a Facebook message from a colleague. He and I worked together in the past. He asked if I was interested in working in San Diego for ten weeks on a musical that might head to Broadway. How could I turn that down? While it didn’t make it to The Great White Way, I learned a lot. I loved the city and fell in love with California. After that ten-week run, I knew where I wanted to spend the rest of my life.
By using social media to keep yourself in front of people, others find out what you’re up to. They know when you may be free to work with them. They may like some of the things you post and might want to connect with you down the road.
I’ve learned that there are limits to what you post on social media. You can post too much, too many offensive things, or be annoying. Some posts can be too political, too deep into activism, and sometimes can be a big turn off. If you like posting those things, it’s cool, but understand that you might rub people the wrong way, and it might affect your work prospects.
On the other hand, you might get a job here or there because of what you say. I find being a semi-constant presence on social media, and posting regularly increases your public profile. It keeps you in the minds of potential employers or referrals. Employers generally think of those who they’ve recently spoken to or heard about. Staying relevant on social media elevates the likelihood of you staying on the minds of those in your professional and personal circles. By posting regularly and increasing your visibility, you gain more chances for employment. Posts that make you think, cover a wide variety of interests, and are humorous can be quite intriguing.
When you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, LinkedIn, or any other platform, it puts you in front of people in ways that going out can’t. You can see people in person, call, or even text, but when you strategically post, engage with your peers and colleagues, you are maintaining a level of “brand awareness.” By putting yourself out there in ways that catch the attention of others, those who might need your professional services will think of you first.
Here is a guide to how often you want to post on social media sites:
- Facebook — Posting once a day, at least three times per week is the optimal amount.
- Twitter — Since most users on Twitter are active between 8 am and 4 pm, post during those times. Five to ten times a day is reasonable. You can schedule posts in advance using a tool like Hootsuite.
- LinkedIn — Many musicians don’t utilize this site as they should. I find it completely different than Facebook but has many of the same features. Posting here once per day is enough — Monday through Friday.
- Instagram — Posting here at least once or twice a day or focusing on engaging with other accounts for about 15 minutes each day is great.
- YouTube — It really doesn’t matter how often you post on YouTube. What truly matters is consistency.
When people see me in person and they’ve followed my social media feed, they often talk about things I’ve long forgotten about. I often wonder how they even found out. I am reminded of the power of social media. It’s great when I get that kind of feedback. People say that they feel like they know me because of what I’ve posted.
Social media can be daunting, but it can be a useful tool. In my many years of experience as a drummer in New York City, I’ve used social media to my advantage. I’ve become a success by using all of these platforms to my advantage. Sometimes, posting can take up time but think of it as part of your marketing plan. When you use social media effectively, you can maintain a steady stream of income over many years. It certainly has worked for me!
This piece was originally posted on my site www.claytoncraddock.com. I talk mostly about musicians, the music biz, fatherhood, and other topics.
Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions, feel free to email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clayton Craddock is an independent thinker, father of two beautiful children in New York City. He is the drummer of the hit broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University’s School of Business and is a 28 year veteran of the fast-paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in several hit broadway and off-broadway musicals, including “Tick, tick…BOOM!, Altar Boyz, Memphis The Musical, and Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Also, Clayton has worked on: Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Spongebob Squarepants The Musical, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q.
Originally published at https://claytoncraddock.substack.com.