One of the biggest struggles with modern social media is balancing selling your work and building a community. It can be hard to find harmony between making friends and promoting yourself, even on community-focused apps like Clapper. But the key isn’t to think of them as one in the same. It might be easier if you separate them into two different goals.
First, you work on getting solid self-promo, on building a platform, and then you work on building a community. It’s like building a house: you need a good foundation and solid walls before you add in windows and a roof.
So when we decided we wanted to cover this dynamic, we went right to the community-building-source: Rob Georg. He has successfully built platforms on multiple social media sites and created communities everywhere he could. Just on Clapper, he’s created multiple communities in his music niche and beyond.
If you’ve never heard of Rob before, we’re excited to introduce you. He’s a country singer from Germany that joined Clapper in March. He had a long career as an equestrian athlete, working with cutting horses up to the World Series level. A few years ago, he dove into country music and hasn’t looked back. He’s won awards and topped the country charts, and gave two special performances at our Dallas Creator Social. On Clapper, he’s helping give other musicians the courage to put their work out there and chase their dreams.
I’m a grandfather. Maybe that’s part of my life on here, too. I’m the grandpa of all the musicians.
And, in case you’re wondering, he absolutely gives off that energy.
We’ll break Rob’s journey and expertise into two parts: establishing your presence and building a community. While the two could go hand in hand (as you’ll see) we suggest doing them in parts. Without further adieu, let’s dive in!
Building Your Presence
Step One: Figure Out the Community
Most social media advice says to just start posting and learn as you go. While this can be a great tactic, it’s not one that Rob used. He took the time to get familiar with Clapper, which made his content even more successful.
Look at what they do and see what works, then develop your own strategy with it. Bring your creative side into it. You gotta feel and see what’s working and what’s not, because most of the things that work on the other platforms wouldn’t really work on here. The community is much more interested in background. You got to tell people what you’re doing, they want to know about you.
When you first get on an app, take the time to get to know the community and the content that’s already there. You want to make sure the community is right for you and that the content you want to create is likely to be successful. If you spend time familiarizing yourself with the platform and plan how you can fit into it, your process will be easier.
Step Two: What Makes You Stand Out?
The key to social media is figuring out what makes you stand out. So, once you know what the community is like, find your own specific niche.
I saw there were a lot of Clapper questions, so I came up with the series Clapper Best Practices. And with music, I thought people would want to hear cover songs, so I started Rob’s Acoustic Covers.
Both of these are series that Rob is well known for – and are how many of his followers found his account to begin with. But Rob didn’t just find what made his content unique. He also found a way to highlight what makes himself unique.
People announce me as the German Cowboy. I have that cowboy background, I was ranching in the US, competing with cutting horses up to the World Series level. And still today, the radio DJs announced me as the German Cowboy.
You don’t expect for such an incredible country musician to be German: we’d all anticipate Texas, Oklahoma, or somewhere else in the southern US. It’s a good hook! “German Cowboy” grabs our attention right away, and we want to learn more.
What makes you unique? Is it something to do with your career, your interests, your experiences? Maybe you don’t have something right away, which is fine! Spend some time creating content and exploring a few different avenues, then see if anything stands out.
Step Three: Share Your Work
A lot easier said than done, we know. But it’s essential for artists of any kind to share their work at some point. Whether you want to wait until it’s perfect or just want to share snippets as you create, don’t be afraid to post. You never know what might happen just from sharing it once or twice.
My first release actually was for my trainer who died. I didn’t have a social media platform back then, and I just posted a video on the YouTube page of the ranch. Then I sent the link to his widow, and she had all these connections in the cutting horse industry. She spread the link around and from one day to another, there were thousands of plays coming in. I thought, dang, I’ve got to do something with this!
It’s happened time and time again: a creator posts a fun video of their art and it goes wild. Someone creates a silly song and it’s suddenly a hit. To be an artist, you’ll have to promote your work. So take a risk, post it, and see what happens.
Step Four: Stay Dedicated
If you’re serious about building a community or promoting your work, you’re going to have to be dedicated. You have to work to cultivate a following, promote your work, and connect with your followers.
Some people think, as artists, it’s enough to just build that profile and not be very active. But you really have to grab your chances. That also means when you say you have a live Wednesdays and Sundays, you’re there. You don’t not go because you want to go swimming or whatever. You’ve gotta work to make these chances happen.
That also means keeping a consistent posting schedule. Whatever you decide works best for you, stick to it. You want your followers to think that you’re reliable and committed to every part of your craft. Plus, algorithms love consistency and reward dedication!
Step Five: Show Your Personality
This is an especially important step on a platform like Clapper. Rob said it best:
You got to tell people what you’re doing. They want to know about you. They want to hear you talking and then singing, that’s different from the other platforms.
On Clapper, our community wants to get to know you. They care about your music and are excited to hear it, but they mostly want to form a connection with you, the artist. You’ll have to tell us more about yourself!
But we would recommend that for any platform, too. For one, a wider variety of content attracts a wider audience, which means more people will be seeing your work. This tactic also shows us more of who you are. It will make you more than just your art and strengthen the relationship your audience has with you. You’ll feel more like a friend than a content creator they watch on their FYP.
Building Your Community
Once you’ve built your platform and have a solid social media foundation, you can start creating and building a community. You’ll notice that some of these might go hand-in-hand with building your platform. There’s likely some of these tips that you’ll read and think “I can do that while I build my profile!”
You definitely can, but we’d recommend not! It will be easier for you to focus on one thing at a time. And building up your platform may help you identify what exactly you want in a community – or may show you that what you thought you wanted isn’t what you really want. It never hurts to be prepared and keep the idea of building your own community in mind. But don’t start hanging wallpaper and pictures before you’ve put in the walls.
Step One: Know What You Want
This is the main thing you can keep in mind when building your platform. What kind of community do you want? How do you want people to engage and interact with you, with each other?
Three colleagues of mine, @SGDietz, @Jivemind, and @PianoMike, decided to get our heads together and build a music community. We started out just as for doing Live shows, and then the Welcome Radio on Wednesdays.
There’s a number of reasons why you’ll want to outline your hopes and goals for the community. Mainly it will make building a community much easier. If you know what you want and why you want it, making decisions about your community will be a no-brainer. But it will also make finding people to be part of your community much easier. They’ll know the goals you have for your community and if they aren’t interested in the same thing, they’ll just move on.
Step Two: Find People to Help
This piggybacks off of the tip above. Find people to help you run or manage your community that think like you do. Having a clear idea of what you want will make that much, much easier. And you can begin looking for these people as you’re building your platform.
Rob met his moderators, @NavyChief (now @Vince.Dent) and @FancyNancy, through the Artists Alliance. They both helped with his Livestreams and were part of his Rob and Friends Group chat, and he’d really gotten to know them. So, when there were some issues in the Group and he needed more serious moderation help, they were his first choice.
Navy, Nancy, and me, we totally think alike. So if one of us puts an answer in the Group, it could maybe be in different words, but it would come exactly from the other two. It’s three brains thinking the same, and this made it easy for me to let it go.
Because Rob was so involved in his community, it was easy for him to find people to help run it. And because he had a clear vision, finding Nancy and Navy (and figuring out they were the right people to help him) was easy.
But Clapper, you say, how can I let go and let other people help me? It’s not easy! I built this and I don’t want to make the wrong choice or trust the wrong person. We hear you – trust us, we understand. But you don’t have to give over this power and walk away without looking back.
Sure, you always check those first few days if it’s all you wanted it to be. But if you find out that it’s running, three brains are acting like one, you get comfortable with it. And you let go of the thought that you have to be there twenty-four hours a day to check.
You’re not completely stepping away from your community. But having people to help you moderate and make sure everything is going to plan will make having a community much more enjoyable and manageable.
Step Three: Let it Evolve
Even if you have a very clear picture of what you want in your mind, even if you find the right people to join and have tons of help…your community may change. Depending on how it changes and what you want, that’s not a bad thing!
Rob’s community went through a similar shift. What started off as a place to connect, drop videos, and learn about Rob’s music has become a 24/7 chat.
We have video drops in there, but besides that the chat’s going on twenty four hours a day. You can come in anytime and just jump in there. And it’s about spreading love and light, that’s what we call it. I gathered my moderation in that point of view. Maybe someone is having a hard time and they just want to have a positive area where they can join in. That’s a very important thing, everybody needs that.
Even though this wasn’t what Rob initially wanted for his Group chat, it was a transition he was happy to make. It fits with his overall welcoming vibe, with his and his moderation teams’ goal of spreading positivity, and it’s still a place for people to connect. Now it just serves a slightly different purpose.
I’ve seen people wanting to communicate, reaching out and just wanting to have an ear. They might not find it on the platform so far.
Step Four: Invite People
The key to growing a community is inviting people to join it. It’s intuitive and makes sense, but even we got a little queasy at the thought of reaching out to people. Fear aside, there’s a couple of different ways that you can do this – and they’ll each change the rate your community grows.
Option One: Do Nothing
You could keep posting and creating content without inviting people or worrying if they’ll join your community. So long as you have a consistent posting schedule and stay dedicated to your work, people will find you. But they may not find you often or know that you even have a community. If you’re not very direct or otherwise worried about inviting people, this is a good place to start.
Option Two: Plug It
We think you should be doing this no matter what, but it’s a good step forward. Mention your community (and how to join) at the end of videos or during Livestreams. You’re inviting people to join you, spreading the word about your community, but you aren’t putting yourself out there.
Plus, people are learning about your Group as they’re enjoying your content. We recommend doing this because it’s a natural way to draw people into your community. Sometimes it only takes an extra five seconds!
Option Three: Find People
Now we’re getting into spooky territory, but it’s the most successful. Figure out who you want in your community and find those people. Whether that means scrolling through videos or using Profile Tags, go into the Wild World of Social Media and invite creators to join your community directly.
With the bio tags, you have the little text: ‘So Libra’, for example. When you click ‘So Libra’, you’ll see all the accounts that use this tag. I can go through them, check them out, and find accounts I vibe with. When I find one, I can DM them, “Hey, I’m a Libra too, I found you through the ‘So Libra’ Profile Tag. You might be a cool addition to our community – join my group!” It works 99% of the time.
If you’ve exhausted the Profile Tags or think you may find a better pool of potential community-members, you can also search hashtags and leave comments on videos. Or even shoot those creators a DM! So long as you’re inviting them and telling them how to connect with your community, you’re doing it right.
But I’m Nervous!
We were too! When Rob told us that nugget of wisdom, we got a little jittery. So we asked what he would tell people that were scared to reach out.
Why should you be scared? Nobody will hurt you. Most likely you will not even recognize when people don’t like that post.
The worst thing people can do is say “no”. If they truly aren’t interested, they likely won’t say anything at all. Even beyond that, it’s important that you engage with new people and find creators to invite into your communities. And if there is some rejection or pushback, you have to get around that.
Not everybody can love you, you’ve got to be aware of this. But you will always find more people who love you than people who don’t like you. So having this in mind, you can’t go wrong with just putting it out there.
Step Five: Keep Connecting
Once someone is in your community, you don’t just stop connecting with them. Well, you can, but it’s not a good idea! They’ve joined because they want to get to know you and the people already in your community, so it’s important to check in and build that relationship.
This is where your trusted moderation team will also come in handy: get together and brainstorm how you can connect with your community. For some creators, that might be continuing (or starting to) go Live. Other creators may drop conversation starters in their Group chat or host more exclusive Live events. Maybe you want to do Radios or get into Multi Lives. Find something that excites you and that you think your community would love to take part in. Bonus points if it’s unique and makes you stand out.
You always have to find ways to bring new, interesting stuff. I think it’s the most important part: look at what’s there, and then just do it if it’s not there.
Final Tips from Rob
We asked Rob to share his top tips for creators looking to build their communities. We’ve already talked about Profile Tags and how helpful they are, but they’re worth touching on again! Especially since Rob gave us a bit of a guide to working with them.
Spend time with the bio tags for fifteen minutes. If you research profiles you’re vibing with, you might find ten accounts in this time. You can really dig deep into these accounts and learn them. If I do these fifteen minutes and just one comes back to the group, that’s a win for me.
Fifteen minutes is nothing!
Rob also suggested having a specific motto or description of the community that you can use when you’re pitching to people. Some creators will check you and your community out on their own, but others may have questions or want to know what to expect.
Have something ready at hand. Have a motto, maybe a hashtag, that you share out to your community. That also spreads through the community once you have members in there. Mine was #SpreadLoveAndLight. That little hashtag says it all about my group, about my community, and people are picking it up and spreading it in their posts. But it has to be a hashtag that’s easy to remember and that tells everything in just that little hashtag.
If you’d like to learn more about Rob and his music, you can follow him @RobGeorgMusic on Clapper or peruse his website. You can also hear his iconic country sound on Spotify or wherever you listen to music.
And if you’d like to be part of one of his Groups, you’re in luck! Every last Saturday of the month, the Artist Alliance goes Live for their Welcome Corner. Rob also goes Live every Sunday at 6pm CST with Rob & Friends. You can also join his Group, Rob & Friends, right on his profile.
We’ve had the pleasure of sitting down with Rob to learn about his music journey before. Check out his Clapper Sounds interview here!