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Getting Social Series: Caitlyn Smith’s #ChristmasWithCait Holiday Party Tour

Here at the TuneCore Blog, we’re dedicated to providing helpful advice, industry news, and sharing insight from our hardworking artists at all career levels. Social media strategy is an area of promotion and marketing that our artists have expressed interest in learning more about, which is why we’re introducing our “Getting Social” Series. Several times a month, we’ll share blogs that help you shape the way you build your social communities, engage and interact with your followers, and inspire out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to sharing content on your social channels.

Whether it’s an interview with a TuneCore Artist who’s doing social right, a shared blog from other sources, or a guest blog, we hope our “Getting Social” Series helps provide some insight around the importance to social media when it comes to promoting your music and getting heard. This week, we asked Caitlyn Smith back to the blog to share some details of her #ChristmasWithCait initiative.

In late 2014, Caitlyn and her team organized a tour by hitting up her biggest fans on social media and allowing them to ‘apply’ for a chance to have her play at their holiday parties! By using the hashtag #ChristmasWithCait, fans got a chance to have the concert-going (or hosting!) experience of their lives. Read our interview with Caitlyn to learn more about the tour and how she has used social to elevate her career and connect with her fans.

Tell us what spawned the idea to kick off the #ChristmasWithCait Tour – how long did it take to plan?

Caitlyn Smith: Well, another artist friend of mine did something similar last summer where he went around to people’s backyards and put on private concerts. When I heard about it, it sounded like a brilliant idea…being able to connect with your fans in that way is killer! So I sat down with my team to plan out the end of 2014 and it took us about a month to pull it all together. My super smart lawyer thought of the name, and then we got the ball rolling on sending blasts to fans, accepting/reviewing applications, routing, booking travel and making it all happen!

How many stops did you make along the way, aside from just the holiday parties?

We had eight #ChristmaswithCait stops, 2 Skype shows, a performance at the White House in Ellipse Park and an NYC gig at the Mercury Lounge. It was way too much fun!

You certainly took a risk putting yourself out there on social media in terms of building a tour. What were your expectations going into this?

I set a goal to book at least a couple of concerts and committed to doing as many of the submissions as I could physically do. I was honestly surprised when all the submissions started rolling in! We got a ton of applicants from all over the US and even one from Canada! It was an incredible way to see where my fans are.

How would you describe the fans within your social following across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube?

Dedicated and diverse. I find I have fans of all ages and they are all extremely passionate about music.

To that point, over the course of your career, what steps have you taken to build such a dedicated and engaged social community of fans?

I do my best to reply, favorite or acknowledge in some way when people tweet something at me, or if they take time to send me a message. It’s such an honor when a fan takes time out of their day to say something nice to you. Also, I try to post content that is interesting, like videos and photos, to help keep people engaged.

Aside from coordinating these parties and actually showing up, what did you do to offer your fans a truly unique experience each time?

Our application process was fairly detailed and we made sure to get people’s favorite holiday treats and songs on file. I spent a few days baking cookies and treats for people and learning their favorite Christmas songs! It really got me in the holiday spirit and helped me create a special experience at every show.

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(From Caitlyn’s Instagram)

How did you continue to engage those fans who wanted to see you but couldn’t logistically make the cut?

I called and emailed a few fans and we set up Skype concerts with a few of them, too, (since they were too far). The Skype shows were fun and it was like a party over the internet!

What lessons has the whole #ChristmasWithCait taught you about your social media tactics?

Social Media is powerful.  You can have a direct connection to your fans daily, which in my opinion is the key to making life-long fans. They love to follow your journey, but also love to share when you become part of theirs! So they post pictures at shows, post pictures they’ve taken with you, or Retweet your new song because they love it and want their friends to love it… it’s the best marketing tool in the world.

It obviously takes a certain level of followers to kick off a tour like this, but what advice would you give to an independent artist looking to elevate their social media game?

Creative content is key. People love to share and Retweet videos and photos, day-after concert pics, and things that are visually exciting. Also, making sure to personally engage people that post about you or to you is key. It really helps in creating lasting fans.

What is your favorite social platform for engaging your fans and why?

All social outlets are fantastic for different reasons. With Facebook, it’s easy to comment back or like your fan’s comments. Twitter is super easy to reply (Twitter Parties are an incredible way to do an interview and let your fans be involved). I personally love Instagram. When a fan takes a picture at a show or you take a selfie or something, it’s so easy to just comment on it or like it! I love looking through photos and being able to show people what I’m up to instead of just updating a status!