Being at the right place at the right time does have its benefits. Over the summer, I was at a work event and had the pleasure of meeting the band Girlyman. One of the writers at Slate wrote a piece on Girlyman and the risk that living the life of a musician entails, but that's not actually how I discovered the band. Girlyman also happens to be my girlfriend's favorite band - seriously. For the past two and a half years, my girlfriend has been trying to persuade me to attend a concert with her. Twice I've refused (sorry guys), not because I didn't like them, but because I didn't know them and I don't really like concerts. It takes a lot to get me to a show.
Anyway, at my work event, I used my girlfriend's love of the band to weasel my way over to their table. For hours we sat and talked about their music, traveling, and my blog, as well. I was thinking to myself that my girlfriend was going to be so jealous, which she was.
As I type this post, Girlyman is en route to the UK for their first international tour. I decided to ask them how they were leveraging social media to reach fans worldwide.
Interview with Nate Borofsky of Girlyman
1. What social media platforms does Girlyman currently use to communicate with their fans and to promote their music? Facebook and Twitter primarily. Facebook has had the greatest response, in terms of fans writing back to our posts, photos, videos, etc., but Twitter comes in a decent second. We have a YouTube channel, and we still maintain a MySpace page (because some people apparently still use it) but our fan activity on MySpace has been much less, particularly in the past few years.
2. I know Girlyman is about to tour in the United Kingdom. Is there a social media strategy that they are using to inform UK fans that they are coming? For instance, are you hiring a social media strategist? Do you have a certain number of Tweets and updates you hope to send out daily? We haven't formed a specific strategy for the UK tour, per se. We did set up a Facebook group for the tour, and we've been tweeting/status updating a lot in the last few weeks, but I think that has more to do with our excitement than with a "social media strategy". I'm hoping to keep people updated on this tour, but I don't know how easy internet access will be over there (our iPhones won't work, sadly). Generally, we've always updated things like that when we feel inspired to do so. If we try to force ourselves to tweet, it feels...well, forced.
3. Social media has really given bands a cost-effective way to promote their music. Is Girlyman doing anything or hoping to do something new and innovative in the social media space that other bands haven't done yet? I love using Facebook & Twitter, but I'm not sure they've created any huge promotional opportunities for us. The internet itself has made a lot of things easier for us (we used to have to print postcards at Kinko's with all our upcoming shows and pay for postage to every single person on our mailing list), and internet radio and sites like Pandora have made it much easier for people who like this kind of music to find us. Still, we owe our career thus far more to relentless touring (and our sense of humor), than Facebook or any other site.
4. Every time I meet a musician I ask them this question. MySpace...is it still relevant for the band's promotion or do you rely mostly on Facebook? For a couple years, MySpace provided a unique space for listening to music. You knew if you went to a band's MySpace page, there would be free songs. And you knew where the Play button was. I personally never spent a lot of time there, other than updating band information. I never had my own MySpace page, but I do have a Facebook account that I just use with friends, so I have more experience there. Thus far we're keeping both, but as I said, Facebook is where our fans are writing back to us.
5. Here's a fun one. Can you tell me a little about what it was like working with Margaret Cho on the "Young James Dean" video on YouTube? Margaret was a joy to work with. She got in touch with us about directing the video. We showed up at her house to film our part of the video, and I kind of thought it might be all "Hollywood" (we'd go out clubbing and run into Lindsay Lohan or Cher). Instead, we filmed our part, ordered pizza, and watched "Sense and Sensibility" (the Kate Winslet version). It was pretty much how we spend our time at home with each other, which was probably better than something more tabloid-y.
I'm happy to report that I will be attending my first Girlyman concert this November in New York City with my girlfriend. Not only will we get to see them in concert, but I'll get to introduce her to my new friends.
To discover upcoming tour dates or to join Girlyman's online community, please visit them on any of the following: