Previously we talked about having a digital “home base” that you own, a website and the importance of constantly collecting interested fans to add to your email list. Another communication layer to add is social media.
This is important because using social media for musicians’ careers offers a method of quick communications that can either be narrowly targeted or widely distributed online, on a regular (daily) basis. Staying seen and heard via text, audio, video, and image posts helps keep you top-of-mind with your fans and increases your ability to be discovered by new potential fans.
How to Promote Your Music on Social Media: Start With Your Content
Post things on social media that are on-brand for your music career. Share things that are relevant to you as an artist as well as your creative process, and do this through the lens of what your fans might find interesting.
A good way to approach this is to think of your favorite artist and what you would think is interesting to see/read/hear from them in terms of social posts that the artist puts out. Likely the same things that you get excited to see in social media, from your favorite artists, will get your own fans excited about your posts.
The things you post need to provide free value to your audience — insight into your creative process, how fans can maximize their playlist listening experience with a few tricks, or even where to get the best deal on concert tickets for your, or others’ shows. In every 4th or 5th post, perhaps you could directly ask your audience to listen to your new track and share it with friends, or pre-order your new album on your website, or sign up on your email list if they’re not already on it.
Take Action: Start Your Music Social Media Accounts
If you’re not already active on social media, get active today.
There are several social media platforms to use, however, if thinking about multiple platforms is initially overwhelming, simply start with one.
Choose the platform that you feel most comfortable with. At the very least, set up an account for yourself or your group in various social media platforms to simply capture the same name/handle for each platform, even if you don’t use those platforms right away. Consistent branding on social media is important.
Once you have a social platform or a few of them to start sharing content on, tell your current friends and fans to go follow you on those social channels.
Then find at least one thing to post each day that will be of value to your fans (or if that seems too much to start with posting every other day). Then pay attention to reactions and comments so you can respond and begin to build a rapport with your social media following. It’s primarily about building relationships online at scale with those who have interest in the kind of music you make to hopefully convert them into a true fan of you and your music.
As you get started promoting your music endeavors on social media think about how you’ll attract new potential fans to discover you and your music, how you’ll help those who follow you on social media get to know you better as a music creator, all with the goal to eventually convert those followers to become true fans who join your email list.
Your email list is where you can more directly communicate with your fans without the other distractions that accompany social media platforms.
Using Instagram to Promote Your Music on Social Media
So, how do you get people to:
- discover you on social media
- hopefully follow you
- and then eventually join your email list?
The answer is in understanding the communication features of the social media platform you’re using.
Let’s use Instagram as an example, which is a really common social media platform for music creators to use.
To get new people to discover you/your music on Instagram, a good strategy is to produce regular content multiple times a week using Instagram’s Reels, Stories, and Posts features.
Let’s break this down…
Instagram Reels = Discovery
Using Instagram Reels (which are short videos often set to music – HINT: you could use your music). The algorithm for Reels goes out to a wide audience beyond your Instagram followers.
That means new people who aren’t yet following you have an opportunity to see and interact with your Reel, and that means more of those people may click through to your Instagram profile to learn more about you and/or even follow your profile.
Reels are an opportunity to reach potential new followers so making a great first impression is key. Reels are the sizzle that will grab peoples’ attention and draw them into your profile. That means your Reels should be thought out and produced with intent to share your music brand in an intriguing and entertaining way.
Instagram Stories = Relationship Building
Next, Instagram Stories are typically also short videos like Reels, but these primarily go to your followers.
Stories are a good way for your followers to get to know you more. This might be where you share short behind-the-scenes videos of your recording session or songwriting session or backstage before or after a performance.
Instagram Posts = Rapid Follower Communications
Finally, Instagram Posts are great for day-to-day thoughts, announcements, and/or various promotions of shows, or other such things.
It’s beneficial to share some of these promotional posts as Reels and Stories periodically to maximize each feature’s algorithmic benefits, but think of Posts as a way to get a quick message or idea out to your current followers.
Your Ultimate Goal on Social Media: To Attract Email List Subscribers
Periodically, you will want to ask in your social media posts for those who follow you to become email list subscribers because once your fan has given you their email address, they’ve signaled to you that they’re interested in hearing directly from you.
That’s where the strategy of having an email newsletter can be useful. In your email newsletter you can provide exclusive content that your social media followers can’t get unless they subscribe to your newsletter. That can be a draw and help your true fans to feel like a part of the inner circle community surrounding you and your music brand.
Because those email list subscribers are more than likely your true fans, they’re most likely to support your music career not only with their attention, but their wallet as well – email list subscribers often are the first to buy your new album or products when you share them in your newsletter.
So that’s how to promote your music on social media. Now get out there and start growing your followers. The sooner you do, the better chance you’ll have of growing your email subscribers too.
Using Social Media to Connect With Other Music Professionals
Social media is also an excellent tool for networking with other professionals in the music industry. If you don’t connect much outside of your circle and have a hard time finding the resources you need to grow your career, you may be able to use social media to your advantage.
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter make it easy to connect with friends of friends, or mutuals. If one of your friends can’t help you with what you’re looking for, chances are one of their friends might be able to. Twitter especially, is an easy place to connect with mutuals about your professional interests.
Have Control Over Your Brand Image
If you haven’t hired a PR agency to help with career growth, you are acting as your own PR person. Therefore, it’s critical to have a firm grasp of your public presence. Think of it this way–if you aren’t carefully writing and sharing your story, someone else is.
Don’t put faith in your fans and followers to give you the reputation you envision for yourself in the music industry. Use social media to push your narrative and tell your story exactly how you want to.
Without a PR professional in your corner, you, unfortunately, risk things getting taken out of context. However, social media is an excellent tool for gathering feedback and using it to define your online presence further.
Enjoy Easy Access to Paid Advertising Tools
Advertising on social media might come in handy for a variety of things. For many, it’s a great way to promote events (both in-person and virtual).
Both Facebook and Instagram ads are managed through Facebook Ads Manager. Running ads has never been so easy with these tools.
Although it would help, getting started with Facebook Ads doesn’t require any previous marketing experience. Not all toolings are intuitive; however, there are plenty of simple, low-level marketing mechanisms that anyone can understand to get started. And for those who would like to take advantage of some of Facebook’s more advanced tools, there are dozens of free courses, guides, and YouTube videos that explain exactly how to do so.
Using Social Media to Showcase Your Work
Putting your music on SoundCloud, Spotify, and Apple Music isn’t enough. You need to use every platform that makes sense for your type of music and audience to reach your potential listeners. Although fans cannot stream music on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, they can indeed discover it there.
Many musicians will share short clips of new songs as teasers to redirect fans to streaming services. You can use any social media platform that supports video uploads to do so.
Should You Buy Followers?
There comes a time during many people’s social platform journeys when they consider buying followers. Maybe your friends are doing it, perhaps you got a random DM from someone promising thousands of followers for a small payout, or maybe you’ve gotten so desperate you think it’s all you have left.
We’re not going to tell you not to buy followers because it’s wrong or cheating. There’s genuinely nothing wrong with investing in your brand and paying whatever that price tag looks like. However, buying followers, in most cases, is a bad investment and will actually hurt you in the long run.
Social platforms, especially Instagram, are infamous for the algorithms they use to promote some content and shut down others. This algorithm is constantly changing and can be difficult to pin down; however, it’s a fact that having fake followers will turn Instagram’s algorithm against you.
Generally, Instagram pushes content with high engagement rates. The engagement rate is calculated by the ratio of interaction from followers to the total follower count. So, an account with many comments and few followers would have higher engagement than someone with a lot of followers and few comments. Fake followers are guaranteed not to engage with your content, deeming your account to have low engagement rates. Instagram will not prioritize your content over content that has better engagement.
It might look great to have a massive following on your social profiles, but quality is much more important than quantity in terms of growth when it comes down to it.
How to Promote Your Music on Social Media: In Conclusion
There’s no doubt social media is an important tool for anyone building a brand or any sort of social presence. No matter which genre space they exist in, a musician is building a brand and selling it to fans. Social media is vital for any musician looking to market themselves and grow a relevant fanbase. In a world where nearly everyone, especially creators, use social media, it can be far too easy to get lost in the shuffle if you aren’t using social media.
Unfortunately, social media can just as quickly become your enemy as your friend. It’s crucial to understand social media and its different platforms and how to use those platforms to your advantage.