Visual Storytelling Through Social Media

Visual Storytelling Through Social Media

(Check back for's daily news and blog coverage from South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, including reports on Recording Academy-related events. Meanwhile, visit The Recording Academy on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for more SXSW updates.)

By Lindsay Gabler
Austin, Texas

Music and technology are overlapping in more ways than ever before in today's music industry. Throughout South by Southwest, digital technology and social media in music is a touch point of many panel discussions. On March 12 I participated in A Billion Tiny Screens: Future Of Social Visual, a panel exploring the rise and impact of visual media content on social platforms.

The other panelists were Girlilla Marketing CEO Jennie Smythe, Roc Nation Director of Digital Marketing Megan Healy and Sperry Media founder Scott Perry. As a group, we examined how the consumption of moving images, GIFs and video on mobile devices is exploding.

Additional topics discussed included how to cross-promote content on YouTube; tips for emerging artists using YouTube as a platform; how content should differ from platform to platform; and the potential return on investment from various platforms. The panel agreed that an artist or brand's content strategy on social media should play into larger marketing goals and initiatives. While social media is an ever-changing industry, we also agreed that there will not be any new platforms superseding Facebook, Twitter or Instagram any time soon. Therefore, the panel stressed the importance of artists creating unique content that caters to fans and consumers utilizing each of these platforms.

Taking into account the notion that the music industry can benefit from new technologies, for this year's 56th GRAMMY Awards The Recording Academy focused on visual storytelling to create excitement and awareness across our social platforms. As I shared in my remarks during the panel, below are various ways we engaged fans by creating content that was visually compelling across platforms through Instagram videos and GIFs:

Instagram Video: "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live"
Instagram video was shot and edited in real time and posted to the GRAMMYs account to capture excitement and to drive tune-in to the GRAMMY nominations special, which aired Dec. 6, 2013, and announced nominations in several GRAMMY categories and featured special performances.

Instagram/Tumblr: "Music Unleashes Us" Campaign
To create further awareness for the 56th GRAMMY Awards, special content was created surrounding the theme of our official marketing campaign, "Music Unleashes Us," for both Instagram and Tumblr, helping us tap into fans' emotional reaction to music.

Pink Spot

GRAMMY Sunday: Live GIF-ing
In years past on GRAMMY Sunday, live telecast updates were posted on Twitter and Facebook. For the 56th GRAMMY Awards, The Academy took it a step further by expanding into live GIF-ing. We worked with Mr. GIF to capture top moments from the show and immediately posted them to the GRAMMYs' Tumblr account.

Daft Punk

GRAMMY Sunday: Backstage GIF Portraits
Not only did we create GIFs during the show, we captured GIF portraits backstage after artists walked off stage from their GRAMMY wins. These pieces of content were then rolled out the week after the 56th GRAMMY Awards.


Kacey Musgraves

Each of these examples helped contribute to the then-record setting social impact of the 56th GRAMMY Awards. And, these examples beg the question: If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much are an Instagram video and live-GIF worth?

(Lindsay Gabler is the Senior Marketing Manager, Social Media, for The Recording Academy. In 2012 Gabler ranked in Billboard's Twitter 140, a listing of the 140 must-follow Twitter accounts in the music industry. Follow her @lndsygblr.)



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