Let's be real. As a DIY musician, you know that the best way to get your music from your bedroom speakers to people's headphones is through social media. We're all on it. All the time. Platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram wield the power to shoot an independent artist to stardom overnight. To have a platform, you need to take your social media promotion seriously. Gone are the days of artist development, led by labels to nurture an artist from the ground up. Start a successful social media presence and the industry will meet you on the fifteenth floor. You've got to have a platform. But the good news? That's totally attainable.
So, let's get into it. Here's our guide on how to get your socials started (don't worry, it's not as daunting as it may seem) and how to build a following hefty enough to get the industry's attention:
Pick The Right Platforms
Firstly, it's important to decide which social media platform is best for you to focus on. TikTok, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, and Snapchat (it's a long list... let's leave it there) are all great, but they all offer a different target audience. Their purposes vary, so how much attention people spend on them does too. Let's have a brief look into the three social media platforms that are the best for music social media marketing:
"Social Media puts the “public” into PR and the “market” into marketing. ” Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs
Youtube Many artists that dominate the airwaves found fame on YouTube. Back in 2008 when the social media platform was just a baby, Justin Beiber, Halsey, and Troye Sivan were discovered on here. Nowadays, it may seem like this market is much more saturated... and yes, around 2500 videos are uploaded every minute. But, songs are the most watched content on the website, and with the rise of YouTube Music, it's much easier to be discovered. In addition, you can easily monetise your channel, you so can be financially rewarded for your hard work in real-time.
Promoting your music on TikTok is incredibly efficient. The short-form nature of the platform means you can create lots of content from one music video, or recording session. It also allows musicians to connect to fans in a more personal way. It's pretty standard to have talking videos or anecdotal content mixed in with the music-centered uploads. It's much more personal than, say, Instagram. The ability to separate the 'sound' on the video (e.g. your amazing new release) allows others to use it too. Free promotion, anyone?
Instagram is all about the aesthetic. It's the perfect place to build your brand, and when it comes to marketing your music on social media, Instagram is where you can really build a buzz. The behind the scenes pictures, the teasers of upcoming tracks, the press shots, the artworks... all of them deserve a spot on your grid. Instagram encourages a loyal and longterm fanbase, that will actually engage with your well-curated content. As opposed to TikTok, which throws your content out to as many people as
Be Authentic... Be You!
The great thing about social media marketing is that you can truly be yourself. The consumer wants to get to know the artist behind the art. Not only does it create a deeper connection with the music, but fans can feel directly connected to the artist, too. TikTok and Instagram are the go-to's for this. What other hobbies go alongside the music you're making? What other sides of yourself are you happy to share with your newfound fans (friends)? Being yourself helps keep it real. And there's nothing worse than a social media presence feeling like a fake persona. It's too transparent. It won't last long.
“Being yourself is the only way how to stand out in today’s crowded market. So what’s YOUR story?” Magnetic Silvia, CEO of Magnetic Look
Find Your Target Audience
Don't be afraid to do some market research to get your head around this one. Look at artists who you aspire to or bands that are working in the same genre as you - what sort of content are they posting? What hashtags are they adding to their captions? Obviously, we are not saying to copy and paste social media strategies from other artists. But, to begin with there's no harm in seeing what sort of content your target audience is responding to. You'll then know who you're trying to connect with and how to make that connection.
Bonus Tip: Community engagement is an essential part of the social media marketing of your music! Reply to your comments, like your follower's stories, and share other's work. Be part of the community that's forming around your music.
Oh, and tag everyone who's in your pics. The studio, the other artists, the photographer, heck, even the people in the crowd if you know them! They're likely to share it to their profiles and there you have it, a boost in followers and exposure from just one post.
Create Great Content
Different platforms demand different amounts of effort. Creating great visual content will immediately put you in a better position to build a healthy following. Social media marketing is... well, marketing. So you want to make sure what you're putting out into the digital world is the best that it can be. Repurposing content is also a great way to get good content on the fly. Have a music video out? Create as many clips as it can be cut into and there you have it, a month's worth of TikTok posts. Did a show last week at your local pub? Chop the vids up and you have loads of reel-worthy content for Instagram with a lot of people to tag and promote you. Sorted.
Use A Content Scheduler
Once you've made all that content from your recent music video... schedule it! Uploading your content onto a scheduler is a surefire way to make sure you're keeping up with the posting. It's easy to forget to do, life always gets in the way. But by using a scheduler you can upload all in one go and forget about it. Then all you have to keep up with is engaging with the reaction from your fans. Here are some great free schedulers to try:
Facebook's Meta Business Suite Scheduler: You have to go into your Facebook account for this one, but, trust us, it's great. You can post every type of content with no extra fees and links straight to your Instagram.
One thing to remember when promoting your music on social media is to not overthink it. Yep, we know... seems pretty counterintuitive after all these tips. But, being yourself and posting what you find interesting, engaging, and creative is the best way to stay motivated and committed to your music's social media marketing strategy. Once you've got all these set up, remember to include them in your Electronic Press Kit and even do some paid promotion with the platforms themselves.
Remember, you've already done the hard part. You've made the music. Promoting your music on social media is an exciting opportunity to get it out there. So, get posting.