Social Media…If you don’t have it, you need to get on it. If you’re on it, you need to use it…correctly!
Social media is essential for emerging artists and bands. It enables you the ability to connect with millions of people on your own, but it takes dedication and creativity. Posting quotes on your Instagram once a day just isn’t going to cut it. You have a better chance of posting funny cat videos and getting more fans.
Here are a couple of artists that have made it because of Youtube and other social media platforms. Karmin, James Bay, Pentatonix, Shawn Mendes, and of course, Justin Bieber. Now to be clear, this is not the norm. It’s far and wide a lot tougher to make it to superstar status from social media alone, than going the traditional route. However, it is crucial for artists without a large fan base or budget. You don’t need to register for every platform known to man, but there are a few that are all-important.
I will break this up into 2 different blogs. There is an extreme amount of information and I will not be able to touch on all of it, but I will do the best I can. If you came here thinking that in this article I’m going to explain how to get verified through certain platforms, I’m not. The rules and policies for verification through social media is .
Facebook is still the largest and most popular worldwide social media platform. Below is a chart that breaks down users in the millions as of April 2016 by top networks.
Also, here is a great article that breaks down in depth which platforms are growing, which are best for networking, and which are falling behind. New Global Social Media Research.
With Facebook, artists do not generally open a Page to gain new fans, but to cultivating existing relationships. If you don’t have a Facebook account, which is probably highly unlikely, then get one. Create a Page for an artist or band. It’s an extremely easy process and you’ll be well on your way to connecting with fans who already know who you are. Am I saying that a fan base cannot be built through Facebook? No. With the newer features like video sharing, which is taking a shot at Youtube, and Live streaming, trying to counter Periscope, there is definitely a potential to garnering new support and ‘Likes’. But simply setting up the Page and checking it off your list will not cut it.
–Create a Fan Page. This one is simple. Keep your personal page and fanpage completely separate. This page should be filled with posts dealing with you craft. Don’t commingle the pages, unless your sharing a post from your Fan Page to your Personal Page.
–Post meaningful content that will drive people to your page and get them involved. For example, if you’re a singer, don’t be afraid to do covers. If you play an instrument or rap, then share a instrumental or a freestyle. If you’re going to go this route, then it has to be consistent. Set one day each week to do a cover and post the video. Every once in awhile, use the Live streaming feature and allow you followers and fans to watch the process happen.
–Post regularly. Marketing yourself on social media can feel like a job, and it actually is, which is why there are companies out there and handle Social Media Marketing. Once you build a schedule, it becomes quite fluid. Regular updates can be done in a matter of minutes and spread across multiple platforms. If you’re going to put a number on the amount of times you post, it needs to be a minimum of two times a day. Try to avoid posting more than once an hour, and post during high traffic times. Samantha Murphy with CNN & Mashable says, “…Facebook’s optimal posting times are slightly different than Twitter. Links sent between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. get the most traction, with Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. being the best time to post on Facebook all week.” Regardless of what time you post, make it regular and consistent. Followers will start expecting new content at certain times and days and will check for it.
–Interact with your Followers. When you’re an emerging artist, please don’t make the assumption that you are someone special enough to ignore the people that think you’re special. If your fans or followers are responding to your posts or asking questions, answer them…reply back, to an extent. Facebook keeps up with how quickly and often you reply to messages also, so use that information to improve.
–Fill out all necessary information. When filling out the ‘About’ profile, make sure to add as much content as possible. If you have a booking email or phone number, add it, and while you’re at it, add the ‘Book Now’ button to the Page. Of course, only if you’re ready to perform
-Make sure your profile and banner photos are professional, or at the very least are not blurry. Your stage or band name should pop, and be easily visible for first time viewers.
-Unlike Instagram, Don’t use Hashtags. They don’t work well on Facebook. According to slideshare.net, ‘…Posts with hashtags get less interaction than posts without hashtags.’
-Your music should be on your page and easily viewed. Pin it to the top of your Page. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but some many musicians do not have their music on their page, or at the very least a link to their music.
There are a lot of things you can do on your Page that can set you apart as an artist/band, but the most important thing is to use the Page. Be diligent and get to work and make it work for you. If you put no effort into your marketing, you will get nothing in return.
As of June 2016, Instagram has over 400 million monthly users and is on it’s way to 500 million very quickly, and that’s nothing to scoff at. It’s most popular with teenagers and young millennials, so depending on the genre of music you represent, these may be the fans you are looking for. Globally speaking, more than 41% of Instagram’s users are 24 years old and younger, according to Statista.
Instagram’s purpose is to allow its subscribers to take pictures and videos, and share them either publicly or privately on the app. Users also have the ability to link their posts through a variety of other social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr. So what can you do to harness the power of Instagram?
–How you set up your profile is important. Make sure that the name you are using as your profile name is same as your artist/band name, or is as close to it as possible. Make it easy to find. Example…if your band name is Stomach Monkeys and the name is already in use, the try StomachMonkeysUS or Stom@chMonk3ys. If you have multiple social media platforms in use, make sure all the information is the same. Profile photo, Bio, contact info, etc. If I have to take time to look for you, you’ve already lost me as a potential follower. Links you accounts cross-platform. If you post something on Instagram, have it feed to your Twitter and/or Facebook.
–Put out a call to action. If you have other social media platforms, post your instagram link to them. I’m always asked why do I need to have multiple social media accounts? They answer is simple. Not everyone uses every network. There are facebook users that don’t have any other social account, and twitter users who only use that platform and could care less about the others.
–Post meaningful content that will drive people to your profile and get them to like, comment, and/or share. Instagram’s ability to share a post has become a lot easier, so fans/followers are more apt to do it, if they like what they see. Unlike facebook, the video sharing is limited from 3 to 60 seconds. So you need to put your best foot forward, because your time is short to make a lasting impression. Your photos should tell a story, so make sure they are clear. Use filters if you would like, but for God’s sake, don’t face tune yourself, until it looks fake. I can’t tell you how many times I have skipped over a photo without a like because I knew it was faked.
–Post regularly. Like Facebook, build a schedule and stick to it until it becomes second nature. Instagram is very easy to post to, so there should be no excuse for not using the app that is easily accessible on your phone. There are many schools of thought on posting frequency for Instagram. I’ve known artist’s that will post every few hours. I’ve know artists that will post every hour and sometimes more. Matt Banner with On Blast, recommends 1 to 2 times daily. I agree with Matt. You don’t want to overload your followers, but i recommend posting a minimum of 2 times daily, but no more than 4. If you’re linking your content from one platform to the next, your followers are going to get tired of seeing the same thing over and over.
–Share. Do not be afraid to share other user’s posts. If they pertain to your situation or are something you find is relevant with you, then share it. This will be especially helpful beneficial if the posts are from other emerging artists.
–Hashtag, Hashtag, Hashtag. When starting out and trying to gain fans,hashtags are your friend. Use them on every post, but don’t go crazy. Everyday I go on Instagram and look up a hashtag and search through the posts to see what interests me. #Music should always be part of your posts if you are a musician. I also recommend starting a hashtag with your name…#StomachMonkeys, that way once you start getting support, it’s a tag that is already established with content attached. My advice is 5-8 well used hashtags. Instagram gives the number of posts associated with a hashtag. for example #music 114,931,498 vs. #RockMusic 587,745. While both have an impressive amount, if you are trying to limit yourself to a set number of tags, go with #Music. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post. Don’t max it out.. It makes you look desperate. That’s the first thing I think when I see a post overloaded with tags. You want people to like your page because of the content, not the hashtag. If you’re looking for dedicated followers who will become fans, then post a limited number of tags associated with your post. They will find you. If you’re looking for a ton of likes from people who could care less what’s on your profile, overload the post with hashtags.
Something I should have said before. Social Media is a TOOL to market and promote yourself and your music. It should be used in conjunction with other techniques. Email marketing is becoming a huge method and has tremendous advantages. I will touch on this, as well as Twitter and Snapchat in Part 2.