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How I used social media to attract millions

Thought Leader

How I used social media to attract millions

Virgin Media Pioneers invited Harriet Jordan-Wrench, the founder of Secret Sessions, to describe how she used YouTube to turn a creative project into a business.


Name           Harriet Jordan-Wrench

From            London

Business      Secret Sessions – sharing exclusive content from musicians.


How it began…


In 2011, Secret Sessions was a YouTube project for me and a group of filmmakers. We were all working in different companies but decided to set up our own channel for a chance to be creative. We didn’t have a business focus at first; for us it was about creating cool content, and being able to work with musicians that we liked.


At the time, the music industry was changing dramatically. Getting your songs online as an artist wasa big box to tick as a part of an artist’s promotion schedule. Session channels were new when we started, and it meant that we were able to feature some amazing musicians on our channel. It was a mixture of well established artists such as Stereophonics, to artists including Bastille who was up and coming at the time and has now really made it.


We watched the channel grow around our content, and the more hits we got, the more artists we had on our channel.


From a passion to a business…


Our videos were getting tens of thousands of views. One session with Ben Howard gained over a million views, and that’s when we realised that we could do so much more.

Two years ago, I was also running a video production company. After seeing how well Secret Sessions was doing and the value it had to artists and fans, I made a switch and decided to focus my attention full time on turning Secret Sessions into a business. I knew what brands were looking for and had access to the talent they needed.


We’re continuing to publish cool video content and last year we started our live events. With the access we had to these artists, we wanted to be able to give people a physical connection to the music. The future for Secret Sessions is to develop a more self-sustaining site where artists and brands can connect to each other through our platform.


Standing out on social…


At the beginning we were very focused on numbers. But now that’s changing. It’s more important to have 1,000 very engaged fans than 10,000 who click subscribe and don’t interact afterwards.


Remember that it’s not just pressing upload and your videos go viral. Optimise them – tag them and put the videos in the right places so that people can find them.


The use of video is growing across social media, and it can be tempting to feel the need to show off all the cool stuff you’re getting up to on every channel. But there is so much noise on social media - you need to identify what makes you different.



What worked for us was knowing our market and being willing to adapt our plans. During our first year of Secret Sessions I was obsessed with keeping our format identical in each video. We would start a video with the song from the artist, followed by an interview and ending the video with them revealing a secret. It was only when I looked at the analytics I saw that people would stop watching as soon as the song was over. Filming and editing the interview was the hardest part for us and no one was watching it!


Since then I’ve always made the extra effort to find out what is working on that platform. Focus on quality over quantity, and always analyse what’s happening. We started on YouTube at a time before there were thousands of session channels, so by keeping our content regular and with good quality, we’ve been able to stay established in the YouTube world.


What’s next…?


We’re launching a record label element to Secret Sessions this year – but not as you know it. This will be very singles driven, to fit into how the music industry has changed where play listing has become popular over listening to a full album. Our aim is to develop brand offering to fuel the future of the music industry. There are new ways to generate income that aren’t just being signed by a record label.


Success to me is about feeling happy in your current position, and becoming comfortable with failing. It’s important to have ambition, but you need to want what you have before you go for everything else. That way, you can really focus on achieving your ambitions, rather than placing your happiness on the success of them.