'Grab people within the first three seconds': Facebook's Vanessa Bakewell on how to make a social media impression

'Grab people within the first three seconds': Facebook's Vanessa Bakewell on how to make a social media impression

It’s the question on everybody’s lips when it comes to music and social media: with so much noise on everybody’s profiles, how does your artist get noticed?

Well, one person who knows is Vanessa Bakewell, client partner for film and music at Facebook and Instagram, and one of the key people in the international music business when it comes to social media marketing. And her message to the music industry is loud and clear: You only get one chance to make a first impression.

“People can recognise an image in a millisecond so, to get people to engage, you have to create captivating video content and make sure that you grab people in those first three seconds,” said Bakewell, in a rare and exclusive interview in this week’s special Music & Technology edition of Music Week. “I used to work on the music press in the past and, if a record label would buy the outside back cover of Q magazine, they wouldn’t have just used half of it. You want to take up as much real estate as possible, so with both platforms we encourage people to use the whole screen and think about the way in which their creative is landing. Make it as compelling as possible.”

Three seconds. FYI, that’s about as long as it took you to read this sentence.

“Grab people within the first three seconds because they’re scrolling so quickly and under-25s scroll faster than everybody else!” Bakewell added. “We work with movie studios as well where we discourage using the studio logo in the trailer break because you just need to get straight to the action now. You can’t build the story, you’ve got to jump straight in and have that compelling intro.”

Bakewell – who is just one of the huge names speaking at the Music Week Tech Summit Together With O2 in London on October 8 – cited the likes of Lewis Capaldi and FKA Twigs as artists making an impact on Facebook and Instagram. But she also noted that the interaction between artist and fan has to be real.

“I don’t think you can fake it,” she said. “I talk to our partners a lot about the importance of identity and knowing your essence. When you are working in digital and social media, it’s important to understand that it’s your personality that the fans and audience really want to see, and having that authentic connection is really important.

“Facebook is one of the only places on the internet where you log in as your real self,” she added. “I’m scrolling through my feed every day and see so much that it is so important to me, from friends and family, so that same level of authenticity and respect from the artists that you love is really important for artists to tell the story of the things they are passionate about.”

Bakewell will appear on the Evolution Of Music Marketing panel at the Tech Summit, chaired by Music Week’s digital columnist, Sammy Andrews of Deviate Digital. For more information and to secure your place at this must-see event, click here.

* For Music Week’s Music & Technology special, including interviews with the likes of Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Amazon Music’s Paul Firth and Ingrooves’ Amy Dietz, see the current print edition of Music Week, available now. To read the full interview with Vanessa Bakewell, click here. To subscribe to Music Week and never miss a vital music or technology story, click here.

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