Often mistaken as a platform exclusively for lip-syncing teenagers, Musical.ly has undoubtedly become one of the hottest platforms of the decade. With reportedly over 100 million downloads, and reguarly in the App Store Top 20, it is certainly a stupid mistake to ignore it. And on that note, I would like to welcome you to a new article series I'm running: Music Industry Marketing.
In order to understand how to grow an audience on the platform and the significance of brand deals, I caught up with Vicky Banham to discuss the importance of Musical.ly within the current social media landscape. Having accumulated over a million followers, it was certainly an honor to talk about this subject with her. We talk about growing an audience, and how to contact influencers. Enjoy!
EDM.com: You're absolutely massive on Musical.ly having accumulated over a million followers. It's one of the biggest social apps out there due to reguarly being in the top 20 within the app store. Is there anything that you wish you knew when starting out?
Vicky Banham: When I started, I wish I had a bit more confidence in myself. I wish I knew the scale of Musical.ly and the opportunities it was gonna have. I wish at the beginning, I knew what the opportunities were gonna be.
Exactly. There are so many opportunities right now. After all, people are getting brand deals, paying to get their music featured by influencers. It's absolutely amazing. So how long does it take you to create a video?
It depends what the video is. I do a lot of body art so that can take up to 6 hours to make a video. After all, shooting, painting, and editing can be between 4-8 hours. But the sketch-style videos are normally an hour. So I can churn out 9 in a day pretty easily.
Wow. Is that your full-time job?
Yeah. I got a job in December, and quit in March. When I got the job, I was at roughly 100k followers. Which was a shame because it was my favorite thing in the world. But that's fine. All good things come to end. But then in March/April, I hit a million. I should have stuck with it a bit longer. So I went full-time.
It's great going all-in on your passion as you can focus all of your resources & energy on it.
Exactly. If it's meant to be, it'll get you somewhere. If it's not, it'll get you somewhere else. It'll only open doors for you.
I agree. There's so much attention on social media right now. If you compare it to a television ad, we'll just blindly watch it without paying much attention. But when a consumer is watching a Musical.ly or Instagram video, you're paying full attention.
They're so engaged. Especially the kids as my audience is quite young. They are phenomenally engaged. I did a live stream about a year ago and said: "iddy biddy poo" or something like that. They still quote it today, and I'm wondering how they remember it. It was so long ago!
You could be sat on a live stream for 4 hours and they'll be listening to every word as if you're preaching from the bible or something.
Wow. I'm trying to comprehend that. So what's been your favorite moment in your social media career so far?
A massive moment was when Musical.ly UK messaged me last August. They said they had an event on, and wanted me to perform which was amazing. And then on a Tuesday, I got a message asking what I was doing during the weekend as they wanted me to come out to Milan.
Was that when you met Celyn Haf?
Yeah! How do you know about that?
It was on your Insta I think!
Yeah, we met in the UK one. She won the UK event so we went to Milan together. It was the most phenomenal weekend. It was so amazing to be noticed. It was really nice for me.
I assume that was all expenses paid?
Yeah, it was all expenses paid. They took me up on stage when the painting was done to show the world. It was pretty nice.
That's amazing. It must be a pretty nice experience getting to travel a little bit.
Exactly. It was awesome. So I'm hoping they have more stuff like that this year!
I can imagine! Is there anywhere you really wanna travel to?
I'd really like to go to New York. But also Barcelona or somewhere interesting and different.
There are loads of places around the world which are absolutely beautiful. So as this is a social media podcast, so what advice do you have for people wanting to grow their following?
Where do I start? I could write a book about this.
The main thing is to just crack on. You're gonna have rubbish days. It will get to where you want it to be. Self-belief and perseverance are the most vital things you need. There have been so many days where I've turned around and said I'm gonna stop. It's not worth it. But the next day, 10k followers can come in out of nowhere. So it can only lead to good things.
Exactly. I always say that you could give up on your ambitions the day before everything went massive.
That's so true! If you're always wondering what if, you might as well just crack on & do it. Especially if you're young. Like I'm 20 years old. I live at home. I have no expenses. So...
You've got time. And so you have the ability to do this whilst you're young. I think that social media & influencers are going to become very prominent in the economy over the next few years. After all, brand deals etc are already taking precedent. So what advice would you give to someone wanting to contact influencers?
So I had a message from someone the other day wanting me to work on their app. They really personalized their email. It was lovely.
Normally I get messages saying "Hi @VickyBanham. We've seen you on Instagram..." and it becomes clear that it's very robotic. So I got on the phone with this guy and said that his outreach is phenomenal. Keep doing that because you'll get a lot of responses. It was obvious that he looked through my work.
Of course. Personalising emails definitely works. It's so much better than copy/pasted templates that are obviously not personalized. Like I don't even reply to emails that have obviously just been done in the middle of a CTRL C, CTRL V email blast.
Yeah. Even the way you emailed me was just lovely to receive. The fact that somebody had taken the time to check out what I did. I feel that if someone is giving you the time of day, might as well do the same for them.
We can both agree that influencer marketing is becoming more popular.
I think it's vital.
People on social media are getting amazing engagement. But what's your take on it? Do you think that Musical.ly will have a lot more prominence? How do you see it working out?
I think that Musical.ly will certainly head in that direction. I think it'll soon be in the place that Instagram was 2 years ago. I don't see how it'll go wrong. They know what works, and what doesn't.
I was involved in an offline campaign where they put our videos on Underground stations around London. They're looking at what's working on multiple apps, and have incredible support behind them with ByteDance.
There's a lot of negativity & question around it, but you've gotta stay positive. If you want it to get to a brandable platform, I think the creators have to pull together. It won't get there magically.
Totally agree. Companies such as Disney & Fox are putting a lot of financial resources into getting influencers on the platform. Even with Slime Videos that were popular, the businesses that made the slime was using influencers to promote their product, and subsequently making thousands (even millions) as a result.
This is a question that I ask at the end of all interviews. If the world was to end tomorrow, what would you want future generations to remember you by?
I think the first thing that springs to mind is my artwork. It sounds obnoxious but it's my favorite thing. I wouldn't mind being remembered by that.
But more personally, my message online. When you have a following, it's important to think how you use it, and the impact it has on those people. My audience is quite young, and I've been through school etc.
You're like a role model to them essentially.
Haha, they're my pals. I help them, and they help me out with what I wanna do. There was mental health awareness week last year, and I was just talking about it. Being able to help people who had no idea what to do would be nice to be remembered by.
Wow. That's incredible. Thank you for talking to me.
Thanks for asking me. It's so kind of you - I'm flattered.
No worries, I'll talk to you soon!