Derek Andrew Safo aka Sway Dasafo is a 27-year-old UK hip hop/grime artist of Ghanaian origins. He is also a full-time producer and the driving force behind DCypha Productions. Since the 2005 release of his debut album This is My Demo. he has been named Best Hip Hop Act at the2005 MOBO Awards as well as beating Blak Twang, Plan B, Dizzee Rascal and Kano by winning a 2006 BET hip hop award for ‘Best UK Hip Hop Act’.
CISION: How important is the use of social media as a promotional tool when reaching out to your target audience?
SWAY: The use of social media is vital. It allows the target audience to feel directly connected to the artist and involved in their success. It also tells your audience that you’re still connected with what’s going on.
What are the pros and cons of using traditional media outlets and social media platforms when targeting and communicating to your audience? How do you think this will affect corporate label marketing?
A pro of social is that you can go direct to your audience with product and have them purchase it straight away with just the click of a button. It’s all instant and brings the cost of promotion down. It also reaches further, being accessible to foreign audiences at no extra cost. Of course, the fans and others are easily able to jump on the bandwagon and promote you at no extra cost.
Traditional marketing through traditional media can be a better way of reaching a new audience. Not everyone is using social media, and they have to be either connected to you or your network or actively searching sites like MySpace to come across you. Then again, with the traditional approach the audience has to make an effort to find your product – with social media, the marketing and selling are one.
There is still a need for – and reliance on – corporate marketing but it’s no longer the big budget teams they used to have and the focus has shifted.
What challenges do you face when positioning yourself as an artist, now that social media plays such an influence in today’s media landscape? How do you feel about marketing becoming a skill required by artists?
For any artist starting out Marketing should already be something that you do because you have to know how to sell yourself to your audience whether you’re looking to get a deal or just hoping to get more sales.
For an artist just starting out the challenge is how to build up your profile initially. For any artist it’s all about standing out, keep your audience growing and staying current with all the new trends. Social media, which makes everything so much more accessible, can help here.
Would you know how to strategically use the variations of social media outlets to promote yourself? How are you involved in the communication process of promoting yourself as an artist?
I’m fully involved. From the beginning to the end. So yes I would know how to strategically use the variations in order to promote myself as it’s something myself and my team have to do as an independent artist.
Which social media platforms do you currently use? And for what purposes?
All the platforms used are to promote myself and keep everyone up to date with what I’m doing now but they differ in their strong points.
On Twitter, I “talk” directly with my fans/followers to keep them up to date and interact on a minute-to-minute basis. Then I use Facebook to promote campaigns in more detail, as well as to bring out more personal elements. MySpace is more for showcasing new music and connecting with other musicians, to update them on what’s going on, upcoming shows etc. And obviously there’s YouTube for music video, promotional videos, campaigns, and features.
In addition, there’s my own blog, Sway.uk, home to radio interviews, new videos, shows, merchandise, new and previously released music.
Stay tuned for more interviews on UK artists.
Next: Producer and Musician Al Shux