I Offer Idols Advice: A Social Media PSA

I’m going to start this post by reiterating that I am a “digital media professional,” and content strategy, social strategy, digital outreach, audience engagement, etc., among others, are all things that I do for a living.* I’m not bragging, just trying to say that I know what I’m talking about.

You may have noticed that, despite this being a website and blog that tries to be inclusive around some rather poorly defined parameters, there are favorites. Yes, some of that is because I, as the owner and administrator and content producer and marketer and and and, am going to favor certain personal favorites over things that I like less; I try to be fair, but I’m going to be drawn to some idols more than others, and I’m going to like some music more than other.

However, even including that, there’s a simple little thing that I really honestly wish I could effectively and cleanly communicate to many groups’ management, and it is this:

Your social strategy is awful. For real.

Do you know why Hug Me could fart and yield a post on this blog? Because a blog needs content, and Hug Me farting would not only be tweeted out by her and by anybody with her at the time, but @BiSHidol would retweet it and it’d get a whole bunch of funny comments that include “www” for reasons that I barely understand from Japanese fans and I would eventually see it show up in the @homicidols stream. And if I didn’t see it, Pure Idol Heart or Idol 2.0 or another fan site would pick it up and run with it, and maybe I’d notice it from them.

What I’m saying is that an idol’s fart is newsworthy BiSH has very good, very deliberate and very smart social strategies in place. The whole you-won’t-know-who-the-members-are-until-they-get-like-all-the-followers thing from last year seemed like a weird gimmick, but the fact remains that it built a Twitter audience that BiSH’s staff cultivated over time, and they encourage the members to engage with their fans, too. In the end, they have a big, broad network to share their content to quickly. That demonstrably large-and-growing fan base probably had something to do with the Avex signing.

I won’t name names, but there are some legitimately really good idol groups who are featured on this site and are completely underappreciated, and I mean right at home in Japan, let alone internationally. Some of that is out of their control, and maybe they don’t aspire to do much more than they already are, fine. But if you have your eyes on something bigger than Shinjuku Loft every now and again, a crappy website and very little on YouTube and a Twitter account that does the same things over and over again to the same small group of followers — these things aren’t good enough.

Anyway, I don’t say this to disparage, but to encourage. I started this site out of real, honest love. I WANT you all to succeed. I WANT there to be a reason to hold a touring mini-festival for homicidols that can actually count on tickets being sold ahead of time and plenty of merch being sold during. I WANT it to be completely not out of the question for so-and-so to eventually do a North American tour at least on the level of Babymetal’s in 2015.

So get your houses in order, idol managers. Social outreach is almost completely free and at decreasing levels of time investment as you get smarter with your data and bring various tools to bear. Websites are a little bit trickier, especially if you’re selling your own merch, but the total one-year cost of this site will come in under $200 U.S. If you want help, I’ll gladly do it, or you can literally take an online course for less than a nice dinner and at least learn the basics. It’ll do wonders for your business and for the wider homicidol world, and I’m sure you’re all aware by now that there is a certain amount of in-it-together in the scene.

Cool Japan, the interest around the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Babymetal: These are all things that are going to be putting international eyes on your artists and your work over the next few years. Don’t miss the opportunity.

*”So why do you suck at it here?!” Get bent.