THE BLOG

Social Media and the Music Industry

14/03/2014 11:17 GMT | Updated 14/05/2014 10:59 BST

I've always been really passionate about social media - it's my nerdy guilty pleasure and if I wasn't doing what I'm doing now I like to think I'd be working for one of the big social networks. Since the first video my brother and I put up on YouTube, and sitting there watching the view go up from two to 20 to 'not just family and friends' anymore - I was hooked.

It's not unrealistic to say that I can probably track the last ten years of my life in terms of what social network I was most active on; there were 'the Bebo years', then getting a Facebook account and later a Facebook page, to setting up our YouTube channel, and many an evening when I should've been studying for exams instead spent singing to strangers on BlogTV - to finally creating a Twitter account and not having a clue what I'd ever do with it at the time.

Despite that initial reluctance, in recent years it's been mainly Twitter, both personally and professionally that I gravitate towards - but Instagram, Tumblr and Vine are on my radar more and more these days.

In terms of my band, making sure we manage our digital presence in the right way is massively important to me - there are some people following us who have been there for almost the entire progression I just described and I definitely feel an obligation to ensure that we always speak in our own voices so that they know that it's still us behind it all and how grateful we are for their support.

At the same time, we want to be able to be accessible as possible to any new fans and allow them to reach us and our content on as many different platforms as possible, it's about having respect for anyone who makes the effort and takes the time to engage with you online.

I read somewhere that a good rule of thumb is to never post anything anywhere as a brand or business that you wouldn't post as yourself on your own profile - I think that really makes sense and I try to adhere to it as much as possible. I've always got one eye on what other artists are doing in the realm of social media as well - it's taught me so much - although it's important to remember that what works for one artist might not work for another and dedicated fans are always the first ones to spot something that doesn't feel genuine.

We were lucky that YouTube was a starting platform for us as musicians. It meant that we connected and became friends with other 'YouTubers' like Orla Gartland and Gabrielle Aplin - who have both got such a natural ability for leveraging social media to connect with people on a really down to earth level - I'm constantly inspired by them.

It's also really interesting to me how certain social networks have been changing over the last few years in terms of the profile of people using them and the content that that gets responded to the most - it's important to be able to recognise and deliver on that if you want to keep people engaged.

That said, as much as I grew up with these social networks, there are new ones exploding in popularity all the time, and I'll admit that I don't necessarily have the same natural understanding of how they work as I once would have done with the ones I used religiously myself.

Tumblr is a great example of this. Our band has a small following on Tumblr, but within that there's this amazing little community of posters who create all these weird and whacky gifs and eCards. I personally love the stuff they do, the creativity and effort they put in just wows me every time I go on there - but funnily enough, I recently came across a conversation between a couple of them where they were saying that apparently my little trips to Tumblr when I like to post and commend their work actually completely freaks them out, they feel like they can't express themselves as they'd like for fear of discovery! This made me smile of course, but I also took a lesson from it - social media is about community, and communities are made up of lots of different people who share their lives and interests with each other in different ways - just because you 'join' or have a presence in these communities doesn't automatically make you part of them (even weirdly enough when they're actually dedicated to you!)

Hudson Taylor release their new single 'Weapons' on Monday, March 17th. Watch an exclusive live performance of 'Weapons' filmed at Academy in Dublin below...