Basic Social Media Tips for Musicians: Part I
For artists and emerging bands, social media plays a key role in reaching potential fans, boosting awareness, and supporting music and ticket sales.
It also works wonders for developing a band brand and image to make your music memorable. Music fans want to connect with the artists behind the music they love, and social media is a great place for them to learn more about where the music is coming from and discover the story behind their favorite songs and artists, with little cost to the artists themselves.
Social media doesn’t have to be difficult — but there does need to be thought behind your strategy. Though there are many platforms to choose from today, using even the most broad platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can help you share music, find fans, and connect with a growing network of companies, artists, and venues to support your music — and ideally, take your art from hobby to career.
The key to finding success on social media is to post exciting, fresh, and creative content. People who use social media want to discover something new from your feed, and developing a unique voice will encourage them to follow and support you. Be thoughtful and genuine when connecting with fans through social media and give them compelling insights into the music, your life, and creative process.
That being said, how you share and analyze content is just as important as the content you’re actually sharing. Plan ahead so content is cohesive and timely; aim to plan ahead for at least one month at a time. Sprout Social and Hootsuite are good resources for helping schedule posts ahead of time and have built-in analytics tools for measuring success.
Ideas for content:
Photos! Photos! And more photos! This is paramount. Think outside the box to not only include pictures from shows, but also footage from recording sessions, life on tour, and daily activities which help tell your story and give your fans an inside look at your life.
Press. Any write ups, from anyone or anywhere, should be shared with fans and then archived. Don’t shoot down a publication just because they are small; any press is good press, and it provides you with valuable samples to share on your site and social media. You can also write about your own experiences on platforms like Medium, or create your own blog on your website using Square Space or WordPress.
Art. This can include any poster work that has been done, a really great photograph that was taken, or a drawing you did yourself inspired by your music. Share it and give credit to the artist. Giving credit and connecting with other artists is an easy and meaningful way to share your appreciation and grow a network of passionate people who will spread the word about you in return.
Video. Short videos of practice sessions, recordings, shows, music video shoots, etc., are super engaging and sharable. Video is above and beyond the most consumed type of content on social media, so figure out how you can work more of it into your content strategy.
Tips for upping your Facebook presence:
Post relatively frequently. We suggest posting at least three times per week.
Promote your shows. Create an event page for your show and encourage your friends and following to share. As the show date gets nearer, share it more often. Always include a message about how stoked you are to play the venue or city and see everyone who comes, so it’s personalized. You can encourage more people to share the event by giving away a pair of free tickets or a meet and greet at the show.
Photo gallery. Make sure this is updated frequently and organized. Fans like to be able to see photos from individual shows and certain venues; it shows you care about every single performance. It also provides an engagement opportunity post-show, letting fans relive the experience. People love to see photos of themselves and are more likely to check out the album if they think they may see themselves in it.
Keep it brief. Try to always include some type of video, photo, or visual content so your post gets noticed, and don’t overwhelm viewers with too much text. Keep super personal things off of your artist page and remember that everything posted should feed back into supporting your brand and your music.
Share the love. With a personal Facebook page, you can friend request and follow people. With an artist page, the equivalent to this is “liking” other professional pages. Go through and like your favorite venues, coffee shops, instrument companies, record stores, friends pages, friends of friends pages… you get the picture. This will only help your reach and help more people find your artist page, and in turn, your music.
Post at least a couple of times per week, but don’t post just to post. Share only high-quality photos and videos and edit them to fit the look of the rest of your feed. Instagram offers another opportunity to extend continuity of your brand across platforms, in a particularly visual way.
Tag other accounts in your photos. Feel free to get creative here, but be strategic. It’s beneficial to tag venues, companies, and brands that are relatable to your post in the photos. This helps reach their followers so your content shows up in their feed or ‘discover’.
Create visual cohesion. The look of your photos should connect viewers with your brand and help users identify with your music. To increase your following, the content should be something that people like to look at visually and look forward to seeing, whether they have followed you for one day or one year.
Link in bio. You have probably seen Instagram users with “Link in bio” in their captions. This is how you share your music on Instagram, since Instagram doesn’t recognize links within captions. Use a shortcode creator to turn your Bandcamp or Reverbnation page to a small link that can fit in your Bio section. Update this as you wish with other links to press, events, and anything else you want to push.
Follow about 20-50 new users per week. You can search these users by filtering through hashtags that relate to your geographical location, genre, brand, venues, etc. Download the app Followers+ to track how you’re doing and see who is engaging with you and/or following you back.
Develop a voice to go with your brand. This is where you can really develop your voice and talk directly with your fans. If you have the time and like to use Twitter, it’s a great place to share your happenings and connect with people quickly.
Engage with your Twitter folks. Twitter moves quickly, so have conversations with fans and be sure to check it frequently to see if anyones reached out to you. If they’re going to connect with you, it’s likely going to be on here. Be mindful of what you reply and avoid having full conversations through your Twitter feed. Encourage them to slide into the DM’s.
Share all of your awesome content. This can be the same content you would on Facebook or Instagram. You really can’t overpost here because the timeline moves so quickly, but as usual, make sure it’s something people and more importantly, fans, want to see.
Twitter is important for pre-show/post-show conversation. This is a good time to engage with the venues and companies who work with you during shows. Retweet them and share their tweets about the event with your followers, before and after. Retweet positive thoughts about your show from fans as well and be sure to thank them.
Connect with other artists you like. Tweet to artists that you like, whose shows you’ve seen, inspired you, or even just dropped a really good song you recently heard. Being supportive of other artists is vital, and if you like them, their fans may like you too.
Social media will help you grow as an artist and discover the network of people who want to support you and hear your music. Setting a strategy ahead of time can keep social media from becoming too time consuming.
Technology makes it extremely easy to streamline the creation and maintenance of a successful social media presence. The platforms are very intuitive, so even if you’re not extremely tech savvy, you will be able to navigate them and help build your own smashing social media network.
In the second part of this series, we give you more information on how to analyze your performance on social media with data and tweak your strategy accordingly — check it out!
By Niki Bates