Murphy's Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and if you're not prepared for things to go wrong they often seem to just keep getting worse. Unfortunately for a lot of people, bands, and businesses, this can be a difficult and costly lesson to learn. If you care about yourself and any projects you may be a part of then don't be stupid, read this following story, and consider it a piece of wisdom:
A Cautionary Tale...
This summer I was out on the road working with a band for a few weeks. One morning late into the tour I woke up at a gas station somewhere outside of Dallas, TX. to find the entire band in a state of panic. It was the absolute last thing I'd have expected to throw us off track, but at some point the night before one of the members of this band had his Facebook page hacked and was unable to regain access. As a very active member of the music industry losing access to his platform and network of almost 5,000 contacts was disastrous. This was amplified by the fact that we were on the road, needing to contact various bands, venues, management, ect. and additionally halting all the work he had been doing remotely that month.
But It Gets Worse...
Personal cyber attacks happen every day and are becoming more and more dangerous. Shortly after discovering this member's personal page was hacked every other member of the band's team was swiftly removed from their respective admin roles on the BANDS Facebook page, leaving them with no control over their fan page whatsoever. They were unable to inform fans of this situation, do any damage control, or even continue to promote and advertise the rest of the tour. Needless to say, this was a huge situation for a band that had been hustling for years to build their fan base. I'm happy to say that the band was able to successfully recover and secure their fan page, though not without much undue stress. Everyone's not always so lucky, however.
Are You Understanding The Severity of This Yet?
I'm sad to say this isn't a unique story by any means either. Social networking and other marketing platforms are some of the strongest tools for bands, businesses, and entrepreneurs in the digital age... But that's exactly what they are, simple tools. You don't own your fans, the platform does. And if something were to happen (Facebook shuts down, you lose access to your account, etc.) you'll quickly find yourself shit out of luck with no direct line to any of your fans, contacts, or network.
Prevention or Panic?
Some old dude once said “Only a fool learns from [their] own mistakes. The wise [person] learns from the mistakes of others." With that said, I often find there are two ways of dealing with crises: prevention and panic...
Ask Yourself This Quick Question:
What's easier: potentially having to rebuild years worth of work from scratch or spending a few hours ensuring you're never in that position? If you answered the former then you can tab out right now and come back when (not if) things fall apart. There are two major things to consider, digital security and owning your own network, and the good news is neither is that difficult nor do they have to be expensive!
The best digital security advice I can give is this: regularly scanning all your devices for malware, setting up 2 factor authentication and backup codes on any account you can (almost everything has a form of this now), securing your email accounts, and for the love of God please don't make your passwords something stupid and use the same passwords for everything.
Owning your own network takes a bit more work, but is just as important. Remember earlier we asked the question if Facebook were to shut down how would you keep in touch with your network? The simplest, time-tested, answer for many is have a damn website and have a damn mailing list. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are great promotional tools, but an effective web presence is one that centralizes activity and funnels people into your own pocket, not the pocket of another business. If you can get a fan, customer, or whatever to your own website you've pulled them out of the 3rd party realm and into your realm. If you can then get the visitor to sign up for your email list with some basic info like their email address, full name, maybe a phone number, and maybe a zip code (geotarget marketing is amazing for tour promotion) you now have a semi-permanent line of contact with them. Additionally, you can now build a better relationship with them, incentivize them, push sales, or urge them to naturally grow your network for you, depending on your goals.
Conclusion & Resources
A little bit of proactivity goes a long way my friends! Many people live with an optimism bias or simply put the "It wont happen to me" mentality. And maybe they're right, but I'd personally much rather be safe than sorry. If you've made it this far then congratulations you actually care about your security and your network!
Leave a comment down below after the break letting me know your thoughts, your experiences, or even ways you've stepped your security/web presence up to the next level, much love!
- Mailchimp - HTML mailing lists made easy (free and cheap plans available)
- Squarespace / Wix - Stupid simple drag and drop website design (some have free subdomain plans)
- Wordpress - Website design (free plan but more coding knowledge required)
- Malwarebytes - Heavy duty antivirus for PC, iOS, and Android (14-day free trial)
- AVG - Another heavy-duty antivirus (forever free plan)
- Google 2 Step Verification - Just set it up already...
- Your Studio's Website Sucks - Amazingly in-depth e-course designed to walk you through building your first website (the course is free with a mailing list signup)... do you see what he's doing there?
- EPK Creation - An electronic press kit is your band's resume and an important part of your site/web presence (free)