If you’re an artist today, the quickest and easiest way to build a following is through social media. Ironically, doing so is neither quick nor easy but in comparison to other methods, it is. I feel more often than not that people don’t fully comprehend social media, at least from a publisher’s perspective. It is one thing to be a plain ol’ user, but it’s another to use it to promote your brand.
First, let’s read how Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “social media.”
forms of electronic communication (as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)
Social media is essentially a buzzword. That said, let’s break it down a bit more. The definition of social is:
of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society
The definition of media is:
a medium of cultivation, conveyance, or expression
The reason I posted the definitions isn’t to be condescending nor patronizing, but I feel like the idea of social media can be lost when using it. Social media should never be used as solely an advertising outlet where you purely share your music. You’re guaranteed to not succeed.
There are plenty of social media mediums out there:
The list can go on and on. While I will discuss many of these sites, I want to state that this post is a general view of social media. I shall go into further discussion on some of them in future posts. That said, the advice I’ll give on this post will work on all of the above.
Every artist should have accounts on every possible related social media website even if they intend to use the service or not. The idea behind this is that no matter what, you’ll have control of your username to prevent any potential misrepresentations that could cause harm. There are plenty of sites that will inform you wherever or not there is an availability on your stage name such as namechk. Considering all the accounts are free, all you need to do is dedicate some time to establishing the accounts. I would also highly suggest in purchasing your stage name’s domain name with private whois information in order to avoid a scenario of buying an alternative or paying a premium in the future. At about $15 a year, this is more than affordable and you can set up auto-pay and pay for up to 10 years in advance if you so choose.
Now that we’ve established getting your account, let’s talk about the content. If you plan on using all your social media accounts as an outlet to just share your tracks and copy and paste the same thing throughout, you’re going to have a terrible time. Let’s reverse engineer it. Would you click on a link from an artist to their track with nothing else? As a fellow artist, you’re more likely to. If that artist is your favorite or one of your favorites, yes. What about an artist that you liked one of their tracks and forgot about? Most likely not.
We are constantly shoved media in our face 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Using Facebook to make this point, there is an average of 1,500 posts that are eligible to appear in a Facebook user’s feed each day. You read that correctly. Between all your friends, all your groups, and all of the pages, there’s an average of 1,500 posts that you’ll see. That means if you have 1,000 friends and countless pages liked, you see only a small percentage. Instagram is similar, but on a smaller scale and others work by chronological order so if you’re not in the moment, you’re behind. This should make you rethink your bland link.
This isn’t something you may want to hear, but if you want to pull in fans, you need to produce content. You need to be a content machine. Once again, you cannot get away with posting the same thing on all your socials. That’s the lazy way out. You need to post similar, but unique content. For instance, what becomes popular on Instagram doesn’t necessarily become popular on Twitter. What people love to see on YouTube is different than Facebook. You need to tailor your content to each medium. Is it extra work? You bet it is, but original content is what will drive home the best fan. You also need to understand what is the priority focus of the media on these different sites. Here are some examples.
Live > video > photo > text
Live video is king on Facebook. There is no other media that will notify your friends or fans that you’re online than live. Video will get the most engagements followed by a photo and finally text.
Live > video > photo
Just like Facebook, Instagram is the same way minus the text. I do not include stories in this as they’re separate and the most recent ones show first.
Video > gif > photo > text
Twitter doesn’t have live, at least not for most. They use Periscope, but there isn’t notifications on Twitter. Video dominates followed by gifs, photos, and finally pure text. This is slightly different though as this service is more chronological than anything.
I want to take a moment and talk about memes. It is easy for an artist to post a meme for immediate engagement and possibly more fans, but I’m highly against it. The problem is that the people who end up seeing it like your page because of the meme and not the music or you as an artist. It is one thing if you make the meme or if it is relevant to the music, but it’s another when for example it’s a political meme or something very irrelevant. Unless you could pull off what Nick Colletti and Getter did and create an extremely viral meme that went global, don’t bother. Although, it could be argued even then they related it to their music. On the complete opposite end of this, I do want to state that if you can do what Mashd n Kutcher do, you’ll own Facebook. They make their memes and funny content through music. It’s genius and they don’t blink at 20 million views.
Creating content may seem hard, but it really isn’t. For example, you can incorporate the behind the scenes of making a track while streaming on Twitch. You can practice your DJ skills while being live on Facebook. Being live is one of the rare times that you can post the same content on multiple social media sites and that’s 100% acceptable. Posting your music on SoundCloud. Mixes on mixcloud. Putting your music to a video and putting it on YouTube helps bring in fans but also potentially gets you revenue. One of the more clever tactics I’ve seen is taking a video, putting their drop in, and posting that. In the comments, they link to the track and those tend to go viral if too funny.
The best example of making content is Dillon Francis. He takes a piñata and through personification, you imagine a coked up party animal. Dillon has created quite a number of characters and just has fun. A different example is Kayliox and Milk N Cooks who do A&R on Facebook live while giving feedback to artists. That enhances their skills while giving back as well as providing content. I know Deadmau5 and Zaxx share their producing methods and makings of tracks. Hell, even responding to people on Twitter is content.
Interaction is content. Social media is about socializing. The biggest way to gain loyalty is to recognize those who are boosting your career. Everyone thanks their fans, but there shouldn’t be a drawbridge to interact. Twitter is built as the world’s water cooler essentially. There are comment sections on everything. Hopefully you get to a point where you’re physically unable to respond to everything, but you should damn well try and at least make it seem like you do. Interaction is the number one way to build a bigger following. Plus, for certain social media such as Facebook and Instagram, interaction in the comment area will also make the post more visible to others. Essentially, this will expand your reach on their socials to build a bigger fan base. This is also another way where you can make a connection – a more informal one compared to the formal ones we’ve discussed prior. Before you state that you don’t want to waste your time and get lost in the chats, that’s no excuse. You can designate a half hour or an hour broken up throughout the day. On top of that, building a rapport with your fans is never a waste of time.
Time is extremely important and certain times are statistically better than others. While there are plenty of guides on Google about when to post, only you know your fans well. The only person or rather person(s) who know them better than you is the companies that provide these social media websites. Thankfully they collect and distribute the data to you through insights in order to make you learn more efficiently. A majority of social media will provide this such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (if you convert to a business account which you should), YouTube, and more. Knowing when the highest percentage of your followers are online will help you accurately post your tracks and other important content. This will give you the competitive edge on having your content appear on their timelines. Know that while timing is ideal, it isn’t the end all be all.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be going into more depth regarding some of the more frequently used social media websites where I’ll give more specific tricks. This post was meant to give a more overview approach to handle social media in order for you to expand your audience where there is the densest population of individuals. While social media can seem at times very lackadaisical, it is perhaps your most useful and powerful tool in your arsenal outside your ability to make music and play music.
Here is the list of all the articles as we put them out week by week:
- Week 0 – Introduction to the Series
- Week 1 – Introductions to Making Contacts
- Week 2 – Receiving Criticism
- Week 3 – Social Media (Current Post)
- Week 4 – Basic Branding
- Week 5 – Planning Your Moves
- Week 6 – Websites
- Week 7 – Fully Understanding the Power of Facebook
- Week 8 – Social Media Sucks, You Suck, Give Up
- Week 9 – Networking in a Social Media Era
- Week 10 – Are Booking Agencies Worth It