By Erica Stonehill

I had the privilege of attending this year’s South By Southwest (SXSW) Film, Interactive and Music conference in Austin, TX. My mind was flooded with information about what was next for music, as well as social media and its involvement in the industry.

Instagram and Snapchat: The New Hustle was one of my favorite sessions I attended. This panel featured Julz Goddard, best known for her huge following as a Snapchat influencer, Sheila Hozhabri, Director of Digital Marketing for Crowd Surf/Reign Deer Entertainment, and Aubrey Flynn, Vice President of Digital for Combs Enterprises.sxswpanel2

One of the main things discussed was the difference between using Snapchat and Instagram, and social media in general, as an artist or influencer vs. as a brand.

Goddard explained that as an influencer, she sees Snapchat as a raw and authentic platform that appeals to the public’s need for reality TV. She has found that she receives more engagement and replies from her fans when she pos
ts a snap asking what shoes she should wear, rather than promoting an event or product.

“People just want to feel like they’re a part of what you have going on,” she explains.

Flynn has experience on both sides of the equation, as he works alongside Sean Combs himself, as well as his many brands, such as CIROC and REVOLT.

He says it’s important to create a character for your brand that is in line with your target audience because it brings a personal, relatable touch to the company. This is simple in his case, because Flynn can channel Combs’ voice in his brands’ media.

Another great insight was one from Hozhabri who manages digital marketing and strategy for artists such as Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears and Steven Tyler, among many others. When asked how important it is for entertainers to be on the forefront of social media and new developments, she said that artists don’t need to be early adopters.

“It’s all timing,” Hozhabri says. “You don’t have to be first; it just needs to work.”

Goddard echoed this, saying that as an influencer, she isn’t going to get involved with a new platform if it doesn’t feel right. You can tell when artists feel uncomfortable on certain social media, and it’s clear to fans that they aren’t into it.

There were so many huge takeaways from this panel and many other sessions at SXSW. I could write an entire book with all the notes I took. But I believe this discussion brought up great points, some of which I wasn’t able to touch on.

Many sessions were recorded for either podcasts or livestreams. If you’re interested in learning more of what I did, check out the official SXSW website!