“The tools are there for you to compete with any big record label,” says Zach Weinberg, head of new media for Tuff Gong Worldwide and the Bob Marley Estate. Weinberg handles social media for TGW, as well as the label’s founder, Ziggy Marley, and the late Bob Marley, in addition to running the TGW website and working with TGW’s general manager on marketing strategies for releases. He says that his approach to social media strategy varies based on the artist and the campaign.
With Ziggy’s socials, the goal is to maintain the artist’s voice. “We try and give people a window into his life and who he is as a person because he is somebody who lives the life that he preaches in his music.” The team builds campaigns leading up to the release of an album. Fans can follow Ziggy through the process of writing and recording songs. They take a similar approach to merchandise, like when Ziggy’s fans were polled on which designs they like best.
For TGW, the focus is on Ziggy’s family. “We really do try and emphasize that this is a family run business and that it’s almost like the family’s account.” This involves sharing family photos and having Ziggy’s children model merchandise.
When it comes to the official social media presence for Bob Marley, Weinberg thinks of it as a “living, breathing online museum” for the iconic Reggae singer. Here, the goal is “to bring context to Bob’s music and Bob’s message through interviews and stories, blog posts and anything that really goes beyond just like the basic ‘Get Up Stand Up’ kind of a thing.” Since this year marked Bob Marley’s 75th birthday, they worked with Universal, who has the masters of his work, on a series of music videos and a documentary web series.
Weinberg takes different approaches for different social media platforms as well. On Twitter, where frequent daily posts are more common, they use the hashtag #todayinbobslife to dive into the life of the legend. He takes a more curated approach for Instagram and makes use of links on Facebook.
While Weinberg works with artists who were well established long before social media, the techniques he uses can be applied to the socials of emerging artists as well. “Do it on your own, don’t rely on anybody to get a win,” he says. “Don’t wait around for some big press articles to share your single release. Don’t wait around for anybody. You have the ability to control your own music business.”