I get it. You’re a musician and want to make music, and don’t have the time or inclination to mess about tweeting, posting, vlogging or any of that nonsense.
But here’s the truth: if you want your music to go big, you need to. Making music isn’t enough, you need to promote it. Regardless of whether you use social media or not, people love it. Facebook alone has two billion daily active users and Instagram isn’t far behind (one billion users daily). Your audience is there, no doubt.
So here are our top tips for social media marketing. Let’s go.
Best Social Media Platforms for Musicians
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the social media networks out there. Let’s take a look at the ones worth your attention.
Facebook has close to two billion users (that’s nearly a third of the world’s population) so it’s the first one to dabble with as a musician. Used in the right way, it can be hugely powerful allowing you to target and promote your content in a variety of clever ways.
To begin with, you just want to focus on building up a band page. A page allows you to create a hub for your music. Every time you post something to your page the people who’ve liked your page will see your new post in their timeline.
Broadly speaking, use Facebook for sharing informal stuff, seeking feedback, as well as all the usual stuff like announcing tour dates, album releases, etc. Facebook Live is massively powerful too, do spontaneous broadcasts. See below for more tips on growing your followers.
YouTube is the worlds second biggest search engine (after Google) and used effectively, it can be massively powerful for your music.
Use YouTube for sharing music videos, studio sessions, concert footage or just random updates. Video tutorials go down really well if you fancy teaching your fans how to play some of your songs.
It builds engagement with your fans, drives traffic to your website (if you have one) and can be a potential revenue earner once you get a decent amount of views.
While Twitter and Facebook get bundled together, they’re quite different animals.
Facebook is a social network and is great for engagement, whereas Twitter is a micro-blogging tool and works more effectively as a broadcast or news channel. Twitter is where music industry professionals are more likely to hang out.
Just think about how many stories break these days on Twitter rather than by traditional news outlets.
You may find fewer fans on Twitter, but Twitter shouldn’t be discounted as a waste of time.
Use Twitter for announcing upcoming tours, new song or album releases and sharing anything that’s remotely newsworthy about your band.
Owned by Facebook, Instagram is another huge social network that you probably want to consider once you’ve nailed Facebook and YouTube. With over 600 million users sharing millions of photos & videos every day to their network.
Share pics of you and the band in various situations (backstage, in the studio, on a press shoot) is a simple tactic for growing your reach.
How to Grow your Followers and Build Engagement
You know which platforms to start with, but how do you grow your followers and keep them engaged? Let’s take a look.
Optimize your Profiles
First up, you need your profiles to accurately reflect you or your band. No one is going to want to follow you if it’s not obvious who or what your band is.
Spending a bit of time making sure they look great will pay off big time. Here’s what you should do:
Here’s a good example of Wilco’s profile on Twitter. A cool band pic and a mention of their latest album
You’ve got your profiles looking cool. Check. What next? Well, assuming you’ve invited everyone you know – all the obvious people, like other bandmembers (if you have any), existing fans, family and friends. Once that’s done, its time to start engaging people. Here’s how…
Rule of Thirds
What type of stuff should you share? The best advice here is the rule of thirds.
If every time you post something online its promotional, your fans are going to quickly get sick of you. By following this simple rule, you won’t ‘burn through your fans’.
Keep Your Followers in the Loop
Whatever you’re up to, so long as it’s related to your music, or even if it isn’t (but it’s fun or interesting), share it. Any new gigs or albums or singles is obviously fair game. The trick here is not to stay silent for too long. Little and often is definitely better than months of silence and then a barrage of posting cos you have a new album coming out. Scheduling tools help with keeping a steady drumbeat of content hitting your channels without you having to stay plugged in 24/7.
If you’re regularly playing live, posting pics from the gig is a great way to make fans feel part of the experience. But so is encouraging USG, or user-generated content. If you’re lucky to have the kind of fans who take pics at your gig and share them on social media, repost them on your feed and give them a shout out. They’ll love you for it, and it will reaffirm to them that you’re one of them, not some removed musician who doesn’t give too hoots about their fans (because, you’re not that person, right…right?!).
Get in the habit of tagging other musicians, bands, events, venues, even brands. Every time you do this, you increase your chance of them reposting it to their followers, and thus amplify its reach.
Social Media Automation
When you look at social media is tempting to think you’d spend all your time messing about posting stuff. That is, until you’ve found out about scheduling. Social media schedulers (the most popular is Buffer) let you add posts in bulk so you can ‘drip feed’ over a time pattern of your choosing (e.g. three times a day). So all you need is thirty minutes each week to load up the scheduler with posts, and let the scheduler do the rest.
Of course, it’s important to ‘jump in’ every now and again to answer any questions or anything, but run this way, social media can be relatively ‘hands off’.
Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.