As I've said before, don't build your band's strategy around "Going Viral". It's a short-term strategy, and speed of adoption is inversely correlated with longevity (The quicker you rise, the faster you fall). Wasting your brainpower and creativity on ineffective strategies instead of building a solid musical catalog will burn you out fast. A music career is built on making superb music, not making superb stunts.
Tim Harford gives us a great analysis of the research work on social media marketing by Duncan Watts from Columbia University.
...we notice the successes simply because they are successful, and overestimate the likelihood of success. And there’s a survivor bias: in our analysis of what works we ignore what fails. “People think it’s all about videos of cats or cute children,” says Watts, “But there are millions of videos that have these attributes but haven’t spread.”
...The first surprise, then, is that the typical Twitter cascade is both rare and tiny. Ninety per cent of tweets are never retweeted, and most of the remainder are retweeted only by a person’s immediate followers, not by those at two or three removes.
The second surprise is that beyond the mind-numbingly obvious, it’s impossible to predict which tweets will start cascades. Simply knowing that a user has started previous cascades tells Watts and his colleagues almost everything they can divine about the likelihood of future cascades – which is not very much. (It is not especially useful to know how many followers a user has if you know about their previous success in starting cascades, because the two pieces of data overlap.)Viral videos are the lottery. High payoffs, but essentially infinite players and loooooooong odds. Doing sustained, fan-focused marketing isn't sexy but it's been working for generations.
Am I saying give up social media altogether? Never! Just remember it's one of many tools in your marketing toolkit. Don't expect spending 4 hours a day crafting "the perfect tweet" is your ticket to becoming famous for your music.
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