How do you conquer the world of social media as an emerging artist or visionary? According to digital marketing expert Nathan Allen Pirtle, you must first conquer yourself. Taking over the internet with more than two million Twitter followers and constant engagement from people all over the world, Pirtle has become a true force in the digital space. After a challenging past, Pirtle now uses his past setbacks to inspire others through his story. It has allowed him to build a powerful platform and to launch his digital marketing company, Work with the Coach.
Imagine that your life could change with the device you hold in your hand every day. The mogul has worked with top artists such as Wyclef John and Nicki Minaj to prove that it can. But most importantly, he continues to transform the lives of others by sharing his life. Rolling out caught up with the social media pro to get his top tips on owning your story and standing out as an artist on social media:
You have such a unique and empowering story. Do you have a background in your field?
Ironically, my background was nothing in social media, marketing or even business. My background involved a lot of robberies, stealing, quick schemes and all the things you do in the urban community when you don’t believe there is [anything] else out there for you. You don’t see your value or believe you can run a business. So nine years ago I ended up in jail for two years. I transitioned into sleeping on my mom’s couch, trying to figure my life out. I went through some college schooling, even receiving a 3.9 GPA. But in 2013 my dad passed away, which was my life-changing moment. I took the last money he left me and moved to Los Angeles.
How did you get to the point you are now?
When in L.A., I worked two jobs but decided to start my digital marketing company. I have always been on my phone and my dad used to say, “If you can figure out a way to make money with that computer as much as you are on it, you will be rich.” That stuck in my head. So I began on Myspace, helping artists promote through social media content. I did that a lot and decided that I wanted to start my own digital marketing company to help people reach an audience and create content that people love. Since then, I’ve worked with top artists and brands. A big campaign I’m proud of was building with Fantastic Negrito and ended up getting him signed to one of the largest entertainment agencies. I started growing and building my team and I never took a course or went to school for it. I learned completely on my own and with trial and error.
How can companies or artists build a following?
You always have to figure out what it is you’re putting out there. You have to figure out who you are, what audience you want to reach, and find your niche. What is it about you that makes you different from everybody else? Find out what makes you different and also do the opposite of what every else is doing. What can you give the people without always having to sell and promote? Most people go wrong because they don’t focus on building relationships and giving back to the people as they come. Be a giver on social media. You look at people like Justin Bieber. He can go away for six years and come back to sell a million records because he has the relationship with his audience. You can’t just show the good but the bad too. Once I started sharing my story that’s when things got better for me. Be honest on social media and show the process and the growth behind your work, especially as an artist.
Is there a way to do that with no audience?
Collaborations. Get the people that you know to share it. Don’t be afraid to tell people to check it out, without being too aggressive or having any negative intents behind it. They also have targeting software that allows you to do key word searches for when people mention certain things or are listening to certain artists who are like you. I started my company on a $40 program. Social media is way easier than people think and when people work with me I fill them in on how to make the process better. Another tip is to retweet yourself and re-pin your tweets. Constantly remind your followers of who you are and your content. It’s your billboard.
What has been your best social media campaign and what did you learn?
One of them being myself. I started off with zero followers and built the brand, watched it grow and it’s still growing. So my favorite projects are the ones that people tend to overlook. For example, the Fantastic Negrito artist. With just a team of six, we helped build him from the ground up. He just won a GRAMMY, signed to William Morris; and I was the only person handling social media for him. I’m not really a bandwagon guy. I like the gritty brands that I can help build from scratch.
What are some of your favorite brands or people on social media who do it right?
I love Amanda Seales. She is unapologetically her[self] and at first it rubbed people the wrong way but she’s just too real that they have no choice but to like her. Her content is always on point, she helps people, and always reaching out. She never asks for anything but she gives you everything. She’s one of the people I wake up and say, “man, what is Amanda talking about today?” The Rock does an amazing job, Kevin Hart, and the way Issa Rae does “Insecure” is brilliant. But my favorite definitely would have to be Amanda Seales.