Grab Your Social Media Audience By The Ears












by Wayne Fahy (follow on Twitter @Wayne_Fhtagn)

Clever use of music has been a vital tool in successful marketing and advertising campaigns for the last several decades: it can push brand recognition and brand identity, particularly through TV ad campaigns in a way that no other medium can touch.   Well selected music in marketing is a creator of cool, can crystallise the brands personality to its target audience in one kick-drum beat and aid brand recall long after the ad itself has left our screens.

Over the last five years or so, both marketing (through social media, blogs etc) and music (with digital downloads and streaming) have moved online as never before, so with this great leap forward, has their relationship reached a crossroads?  There are some inventive, effective and fun ways to marry them together being pioneered online today, and here are some of the leading examples…



This simple and ingenious method of social payment pioneered by this site and catching on elsewhere is simple: brands can entice their customers/followers to click a download button on the company’s social media sites that promises them a (mostly) digital product such as a song, eBook or voucher.  Once activated, the user simply allows a short message (created by the brand, no less!) to be posted on their Facebook or Twitter page.  A download link then appears for the user to enjoy the fruits of their labour and in an instant, a brand’s reach into the web of their customer’s social media networks can explode.  With minimum setup and no outlay, the brand and product can go viral.  Check out how this all works on

Within the music industry, in what some call the post-label age (and with music press, possibly the post-paper age) digital downloads and streaming are fast outstripping physical sales as the consumer’s preferred method of buying, so labels, bands and magazines need to gain a large and loyal following, this time online all over again.  What a growing number of small and medium sized music labels are adopting is the ‘pay with a tweet’ method to gain attention virally for the label’s new release, to create a buzz and the grassroots hype that can give a new band or album a life of its own.  At the same time it creates a chain reaction of shares, retweets and attention through Facebook and Twitter to drive sales of the product, an upsurge in followers for the label, which means a larger audience to expose your next release to.  Certainly a win-win scenario for both company and customer…

Many bands such as French artists The Teenagers, labels such as Bad Panda Records have used this to great success but perhaps the most prominent to date is from an unlikely source.  Kellogg’s have gained much positive attention from opening a pop-up ‘Tweet Shop’ in Soho, London in late 2012 to launch a new line of low fat biscuits,  with payment being a simple tweet and their profit, a huge viral social media awareness for the new product.

[hana-code-insert name=’pwat tutorial’ /]



The seminal men’s magazine has embraced the digital age with a truly impressive website packed with features to rival the print edition and have created a perfect outlet for their reputation as a taste-maker extraordinaire with the monthly GQ playlist.  They have recently partnered with music streaming phenomenon Spotify to create a one-click visit to what’s new, what’s hip and more importantly, what is featured in their physical magazine that month.  You can check the latest playlist and browse through older ones at Clever tie-ins, such as allowing their cover star that month to ‘curate’ the playlist (such as with Daniel Radcliffe’s recent feature interview) or a high profile US DJ to create a hi-octane gym workout playlist for their new year ‘get healthy’ issue have been used to great effect.   Their innovative use of music helps to cement their reputation at the forefront of setting fashion and lifestyle trends to their readership and gain that bit extra in further loyalty to their brand.

The playlist is of course hosted and widely shared through GQ’s extensive social media arm such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Youtube pages and several music streaming services like iTunes, Spotify, Grooveshark and Soundcloud.   GQ’s followers can post this to their own networks in a single click and this active sharing both deepens the existing followers interation with the brand and widens their potential audience to new fans, all delivered without any direct advertising.


[hana-code-insert name=’GQ playlist’ /]



Another company that have enhanced their brand image connecting live music and social media campaigns is UK fashion outlet All Saints.  They have created a consumer perception of a company setting trends as a leading urban, high street fashion brand.  All Saints have now merged music and social media in a perfect mix of taste-making and social media buzz with the All Saints ‘Basement Sessions’.

This is a live music event that takes place regularly in their iconic Spitalfields headquarters in London where they invite the UK, the US and Europe’s most hyped bands to play at a private show as a treat for their customers.  These live sessions and interviews  are hosted on the All Saints website and promoted heavily through their vibrant social media network (Facebook alone has built up over 260,000 likes) and this creates a huge buzz for All Saints online through their fans excitement and the many shares, retweets, comments and likes the latest session results in.  The brand has hosted musical royalty such as Fatboy Slim, Gary Numan and Kelis, with emergent artists like Maverick Sabre,  Paloma Faith and Foster The People.  These stylishly filmed events confirm All Saints as a tastemaker in music as well as fashion and the exclusive nature of the show increases their visibility and customer interaction across social media too, all in all a most effective merger of music with their brand image.

The hosting of the Basement Sessions on the All Saints website promotes heavier and more reliable site traffic and more potential customers for their online store,  however the brand does ensure maximum visibility for the shows with a packed Youtube channel that allows easier sharing.  For fans on the move the full playlist from each session is available for free on Soundcloud and iTunes.

[hana-code-insert name=’All Saints FTP’ /]


These are just a few leading examples of brands mixing music into their social media strategy, mainly to enhance their brand image and allow their customers to identify with them through their music tastes in a stronger way and create brand loyalty (in the cases of All Saints and GQ).  Their efforts also increase traffic to the brand’s own website to help drive online sales. are a company that could only exist in the social media age and have taken an innovative approach to drive users eagerness to share content with a virtual ‘purchase’.  Music downloads are seen as a perfect medium for this approach.  Their product is also an early step toward outright sales being made through social media in future, surely a major goal of brands doing business online too.

To stay in touch with the latest news on All Saints next Basement Session follow them on Twitter at @AllSaints_ .  Keep up with GQ and wrap your ears around their next playlist at @GQMagazine or let @innothunder show you the ropes on paying for any product with a simple tweet.  Of course, stay tuned to @socialmedia_ie for more expert analysis of effective social media campaigns and strategies.