Social Media Marketing For Musicians
At Reload we’ve always said that you can be the best musician in the world, but if no one hears you play then your talent is wasted. Social media has changed the game and is even giving bedroom musicians & artists a platform to showcase their talent to the masses. It’s so easy to create an online social media account, everyone has an opinion and everyone has something to promote to the world. With a total of 320 million active twitter accounts online, how do you break away from the crowd and get your voice heard?
We understand that it is hard to get your socials together and can be tricky to figure out the right strategy to help grow your fanbase. But this blog post can help you with that problem, we’ve broken down the key points to social media marketing - showing you how to take your online presence to the next level. These strategies are applicable to musicians, music artists and any creative individual who is trying to grow their exposure and online presence.
Before we begin talking about all the best tips to social media marketing, it’s important to understand why we need to take advantage of social media. The benefits to the online world are endless. To all the young millennials reading this, you have been surrounded by social media since a young age, you may have had a general understanding of what social media is but did you fully understand how it could be utilised to your advantage?
The Major Record Labels
Before social media, the power mostly sat with the major record labels. Sony BMG, Universal Music Group & Warner Music Group were, and still are the top dogs in the music industry. Getting signed to a label was the end goal (don’t get me wrong it still is for some artists, but now not as much). They would decide your fate as an artist, whether you would make it in the industry, and whether your music would get published and distributed for the masses to hear.
With the introduction of social media, the power slightly shifted to the individual. For argument’s sake, let’s say there was an independent artist called ‘Artist A.’ Artist A worked on her social media marketing and accumulated over 250,000 followers on her YouTube account. With Artist A already having her own following there isn’t as big of a need to get signed to a record label to get her music heard. With a click of a button Artist A can share her new music to 250,000 fans all over the world.
If you can get your social media marketing right, if you can command a following and the power is in your hands. There is no need to depend on an external entity to get your music heard, you have control and you don’t need to share any copyrights or any monetary value along with it.
Connecting all over the world
Social media allows you to connect with fans all over the world. No longer are your fans locally based, your music isn’t just being heard in the local pubs, clubs and small live shows. It can be listened to by people from South America, Europe and quite possibly even Antarctica. (If you do the latter, then you’ve definitely made it as an artist!) If you’re smart with your social media marketing, you can look over your metrics and find out which country you’re most popular in, then strategising and implementing an effective plan to boosting your social media with your targeted audience.
With social media comes the ease of developing a relationship with your fans. Everybody loves interaction, especially with an artist or creator that they admire. With a click of a button you can reply to a fan's comment, you can make them feel appreciated, make them feel loved. Building a true relationship with your fanbase is so important - it’ll be discussed further in the article.
Record Labels vs The individual
This part of the article isn’t to prove that that the record-label route is wrong. we’re not saying that. What we’re trying to make each artist and creative understand is that with the introduction of social media you might no longer need to rely on the labels to make it as an artist. There is a possibility to do that yourself. The system of a record label has been working for many years, it still has its place in today’s climate, many artists still see the record label as an end goal. At the same time I’ve come across many artists who’d prefer to be independent.
There are examples in the music industry where artists used social media to build their following and brand with the intention of getting signed. These days labels like to see that you already have a following before they sign you. Even Justin Bieber started his music career on YouTube before getting signed to a label, we all know how that went.
Building A Fanbase
As an artist, building a fanbase is so important. If you can command a community based around you, your community will help you develop and grow as an artist. A very interesting article by Kevin Kelly talks about the importance of building 1000 true fans, a true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you produce. They will purchase every album you release, drive to every gig you perform in and purchase every single piece of merchandise you sell. If you can build a community of 1000 true fans, mathematically speaking it should fund your career and you would be sorted for life. Let that sink in for a moment!
Understanding your audience
So how can you build your fanbase and generate these 1000 true fan you ask? Well it starts by understanding who your current audience are right now. Do you have a YouTube account? Are you posting your music online? Have a look at the analytics of your videos. What are the top 10 videos being played right now? Geographically, where are your videos being consumed the most? Are the majority of your audience male or female? Where are you your sources coming from? Does your audience prefer you to watch/consume your work on their phones or desktop? How old are they? Did your traffic spike three months ago? What video did you put out when it happened? What is the retention rate of your current audience?
There are lots of questions but all of these can be answered just by looking at the analytics section on YouTube, and you can do that for almost every social media platform. What you want to do is build a picture of who is listening to you right now. You want to gather as much data as possible, this can give you an understanding of your fans. This can help give you ideas on how to strategise your social media marketing. Let’s say you find out the majority of your audience are in the 13-17 years bracket, it doesn’t make sense to generate covers that were released in the 60’s, unless it’s an all-time evergreen classic. It’s not relevant to that age group, none of them were born in that era or and the chances are that none of them have any idea who Frank Sinatra is.
Get to understand your audience, find out as much as possible to allow you to paint a picture of your listeners. This will help the decision making in your social media marketing.
If you’re just starting out then don’t fret. Get your music out there, on as many platforms as possible. Upload it on YouTube, stream it on Spotify, announce it on Twitter. Then every month review your metrics on each platform, collect as much data and see whether what you’re doing is right. If not, experiment and review the data in a month’s time.
The main thing is get here is to understand your audience.
The Best Social Tools Available For Musicians
So what are the best online platforms for a musician? There are so many available to you, try to diversify as much as possible and get your music seen and heard on all the major platforms. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Every minute, more than 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, with music videos being one of the most popular viewed videos online. Not only do people love to listen to music, they also love to watch a well made music video. A music video is a visual representation of your music, it gives your music a face.
You don’t have to only upload music videos, you can even upload acoustic sessions as well. Sometimes a raw strip back session is just as powerful as a music video, there are some great examples of a live sessions here.
Let’s take it one step further, with vlogging on the rise, audiences love to be a part of one’s journey. Why not take them behind the scenes of your gigs? What are rehearsals like with your bandmates? Let us share your world and let us join in on the fun.
You can be as creative as you want on YouTube and it’s a platform that you should take advantage of immediately. If you don’t have an account, generate one and start posting content. Be consistent in your posts and always keep your audience in mind. With the data you collected, what is it that they want to watch from you? You’re effectively building a small team of fans by relying on data and audience reactions.
Make sure you optimise your artist/band page, you want to represent the best version of you. Use high-res images, make sure they’re relevant to you as an artist, and post often. Keep your post short and snappy, we live in a world where consuming 6 seconds of video is almost too long to hold your attention. Facebook is a great platform for you to interact with fans, you want to build genuine relationships, remember the 1000 true fans? Like their comments, occasionally respond to a few, or if all of them if you have the time. It’ll mean a lot to the fan, trust me.
Just like the two previous social media platforms, Twitter can be a great way to connect and build relationships with old and new fans. With social media marketing, you need to make sure every platform you use is optimised. You need to make sure all the contact information is correct, you’re using high-res images and you’re posting often.
Remember that with Twitter you only have 140 characters to say what you want to say, just like Facebook keep your posts short and sweet.
Go and follow artists that inspire you, check out what they’re doing. You can use it for inspiration for your own work. Twitter is a great platform to respond to fan, I’ve seen occasions where artists and fans become real friends through Twitter. Update your fans with your work in the studio, remind them of any gigs coming up, but be personal too.
As humans we like to consume information visually, Instagram is a perfect social media platform for that. Post relatable photos on Instagram, photos of you and your band mates at rehearsals, your new guitar or your new album cover work. Similarly to Twitter you want that balance of work and personal content. You want a balance otherwise fans will switch off to your salesmanship.
The use of hashtags are quite important, make sure you’re using the right ones. Who’s your target audience? What do they like? Can you add similar hashtags to your posts to help boosts its exposure? Make sure you research the right hashtags to include, it might take a while but it’ll pay off in the long run. Sift through popular posts or posts which you see are receiving engagement and look for the hashtags used on that image. Creating your own collection of hashtags for different posts can really strengthen your engagement allowing new people to connect with what you do.
Commenting and liking other people’s photos will potentially help you attain new fans, but don’t overdo it. It’s not about building your numbers, you want to be building genuine relationships with your fans. Would you rather have 100 people who genuinely like your music and are interested in your latest project or 1,000 who just don’t care about your work?
I get it, managing all of these social media accounts can be quite overwhelming. That’s why we use a tool that consolidates everything, we’re able to manage all of our social media in one place. Being able to schedule posts is very useful, especially when on the road. With it’s real-time analytics, it allows you to spot trends as they develop. Giving you more insight on your content and allowing you to strategise better. Sign up here to get on top of all of your social media accounts - you won’t regret it!
Soundcloud is a global online distribution platform, it allows artists to post their music for all the world to hear. If you don’t have an account, sign up immediately. Soundcloud makes it easy for you to share your music to your fans (paid or unpaid), this platform focuses on the music side so you don’t need to worry about status updates and what photo to post etc - it’s music-centric and has always been that way.
Make sure you post high quality versions of your tracks on Soundcloud, no one wants to listen to a recording made by your iPhone - is a low quality recording the best representation of your music? That said, it can be a great place to put demos and working projects, whether they’re public or private that’s up to you. You can also follow other artists on Soundcloud, that should give you inspiration with your own work, but also help get new fans.
Spotify is another great platform for sharing your music to your fans, getting your songs on there is never easier.
Similar to YouTube you can track your metrics and understand your audience, you can see what tracks are successful and what isn’t really working. Having information like this available to you is important and very useful to your growth as an artist.
Curating playlists and adding your own songs in there can help increase your online exposure as well as it draws in fans of a specific style/genre/playlist and is a shoe-in to sharing your own music.
iTunes is a great platform for your fans to purchase your music. Once you’ve built a community and have genuine fans around the world, you will have fans that want to support you financially. Directing them to your paid music is essential to keeping your artistry going. So many artists are afraid to make the sale, if you’re offering something of value don’t be afraid to ask for a monetary exchange.
Your own website is one of the most important platforms to have. It is an online space that should have all of your social media outlets in one. It should have all of your bio information, dates, information on how audiences can connect with you and of course your contact details.
Visitors to your website should be able to know what you do, what you offer and how they can get hold of your product (whether a download, a gig ticket or merchandise).
A lot of artists overlook having their own website, it’s important for you to direct fans to your ‘online shop’ which could even just be a link to iTunes or a similar website.
Email marketing is huge, you don’t understand how important it is to build up a mailing list. If you gave us a choice of 1000 followers on Instagram or 1000 followers on my mailing list, I’d take the mailing list any day because you have a direct contact method with their email address. Emails are still an important part of communication between artists and fans, email marketing has been shown to be as much as 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined. Having an email address allows you to directly contact the fan and promote your latest work.
Whenever you’re performing at a gig, or if you’re attending a networking event, make sure you are collecting emails. With your website add a newsletter form, to allow people to opt-in, be creative with your email collection. Run competitions, give out your music for free for their emails (believe us it is worth it!). Whatever you do make sure you’re constantly building that mailing list.
The 70/20/10 Rule
We briefly spoke about this rule with the different social media platforms available for artists and musicians. What you don’t want is to bash your fans with everything about your work, what you’re releasing and all the music that you’re selling. There needs to be a balance with your personal life and your work life. You’re not an artist 24/7, fans want to know who you are as a human being. What do you eat? What inspires you? What’s your workout routine in the morning? Fans can easily detect when you’re selling constantly and switch off, have a balance of personal and work. You don’t want your fans to get bored and switch off completely.
Here’s a helpful formula for you to stick to when you’re posting on your social media platforms:
60% Build your brand
Promote your artistry. What are you working on right now? Promote your latest album and make that sale. Use this time to announce what your music is about and grow your overall brand as an artist.
10% Talk about Artist that inspires you
Show your fans that you appreciate other musicians as well, go and show some love. Fans love to relate to who they love, you could be growing the relationship if you can find some common interests.
This is where you talk about your own struggles, your thoughts and what you’ve been doing in general. Be vulnerable and genuine, your fans want to relate, give them a reason to.
Here’s a video that explains why it’s important to have that balance. Keep this in mind with your social media marketing, as this technique can help you go a long way.
Track Your Posts & Results
With all of your different social media platforms it’s important to be keeping track of the metrics. Without quantification how do you know whether you’re progressing as an artist and building a positive community around you? Make sure you consistently track your data. At the end of every month sit down and find any patterns, growth spikes or any peculiar anomalies amongst the data. You can’t ask too many questions about the numbers but eventually after consistently practicing this you’ll be able to read the health chart of your community. You’ll know which numbers are critical to your artistry and which ones are not.
Hopefully with all of the information provided you’ll get a great starting point with your social media marketing. The important thing now is to just start, don’t worry about not having enough of a following or if it’s overwhelming. Don’t even worry about opening 20 different accounts from different websites. Any move forward is a positive action. Take everything into consideration, take your time and build that community around you. We wish you well in your social media journey.
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