It’s no secret that social media is more important now than ever. Everyone is on at least one platform or another. With that being said, it’s a really smart decision to notice where the attention lies and use it to your advantage.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing a series of articles that go over solid strategies to capture and engage your audience on each of the individual platforms. This article will go over some of the principles that will apply to all of your social media efforts, so you may want to bookmark this or save it for future reference.
Before we tackle social media, I really want to stress the importance of having a quality product. If your CD and your band are terrible, great marketing will only expose how terrible it really is. If your live show is slop, great marketing will only lead to more people talking about how bad your live show is. A garbage product is still a garbage product regardless of how much time you put into your marketing plans.
With that being said, let’s get started.
Social Media to be seen and discovered
With so many people actively consuming opinions and stories via their social platforms, it’s a no brainer to think that you might be able reach new eyes and ears. There are so many quick and easy tactics to finding more views.
Firstly, I want to briefly address content. Content is the only thing that matters in the Social Media game. If you aren’t producing content, there is nothing for your audience to find. This could be quick videos, pretty graphics, interesting status updates, etc. However, make sure you are striving for quality, not quantity.
(We will cover Quality Content development in a later article.)
Secondly, we need to make sure that we are looking to create an audience organically and on our own accord. We want people who are genuinely interested in what we have going on. 10 true followers who interact and buy your stuff is worth more than 1000 followers that ignore your content. Again, quality, not quantity.
Let’s say that you are producing quality content. How do you expand your reach via Social Media?
There are three main ways to get your content out in front of more people. #Hashtags, paid advertisements, and shares.
I believe in the power of hashtags, but only if you understand how to use them. These little guys help us group content into certain areas of the internet. We can search for them and/or we can group ourselves in with them to be searched for.
For instance, I use #drums quite a bit. I search for it often to find new things or to geek out with other drummers. I also include it in my posts so others who search for #drums will see my content. It really is quite simple.
Take a few minutes to research the latest hashtag trends to see if you can relate what you do to a hashtag that is gaining a lot of attention. These trends are typically short lived so jump in quickly when you do and don’t hesitate to get into conversations with people also using that hashtag.
On the flip side, don’t bother starting your own hashtags unless you have a huge following that will actually use it. I see too many bands trying to use their band name as a hashtag. This doesn’t typically work. It’s also a waste of characters when you could use more hashtags that already have peoples attention.
Paid advertisements are all of the sponsored ads you’ve seen in your Social feeds. Believe it or not, these work.
The biggest pitfall I’ve seen when using paid advertisements, is a lack of planning.
- Who is your target audience? What are their interests?
- What region do you want to target? This is great for touring bands and out of town shows.
- How long do you want the campaign to run for?
- What is your budget?
- What do you want your audience to do? Visit your webpage? Sign up for your email list? Download your cd?
- What kind of a content do you want to use to entice them to follow through with your call to action?
Once you’ve thoroughly figured out your advertising plans, the only thing left to do is monitor results and make adjustments along the way.
By far the most important of them all. This is the word of mouth for social media. You want to create content that people want to share with their friends. People love to share things that move them in some way. They become brilliant walking billboards. I’m sure that you’ve been a walking billboard at one point or another. This is the ultimate goal for being seen and discovered.
Speaking of sharing, don’t forget to mention your social media at your shows and events. Create some sort of reason for them to want to pull out their phones and follow you right away. A call to action right there from the stage.
Remember that growing an audience takes time. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t see huge growth in the first couple of weeks. Your goal is to just get one more person to click the like button. Once you’ve figured out how to funnel your audience to your Social accounts, now it’s time to engage them.
Engagement and Interaction
The best part of Social Media is the interaction. Getting to know our fans helps us understand how to sell to them better. And more so, this helps them develop a relationship with us and our music so that they will want to buy our stuff before we are even selling it! I’ve come up with some guidelines to help get you started.
Content is the ground on which Social Media is built on. This is every post, every picture, every tweet, etc. Without content, you have nothing for people to comment on or share. You need content. Lots of it.
But let’s not stop there. You need interesting and enticing content. Something that makes people stop and give their precious attention to your post for just a few seconds. The longer you can hold their attention, the more you are on their mind, the more likely they are to comment or share. That’s the goal.
Start thinking about daily posts. But don’t just post junk. This brings me to my next point.
Being a musician, I see all of the Social Media updates for my friends in other bands. Unfortunately, that means I see a lot of really generic band posts. These are the calendar updates shared to your Social accounts from the Bandsintown app. The half thought out, last minute “Hey guys, I’m playing tonight… blah blah blah.” The daily Soundcloud links shared with no context to what or why it’s being posted.
Keep your posts creative and interesting. Start thinking of fun stories to tell around your music, your rehearsals, your gigs, etc. Take fascinating pictures and video of the musical adventures only musicians get to go on. Be original and unique, much like you probably are in real life but let it be seen through Social Media.
In the process of finding a polished product to give our audience, I’ve found that sometimes, we polish a little too much. We try to come up with perfect canned answers and responses to give our fans when they ask questions or start conversations with us but from watching the greatest performers in the world, I can tell you that being a true human pays off greatly.
Your fans are your fans because of you. Not because of the phone you are likely using to read this article, not because of the computer you recorded your CD on and not because of the click track playing live in your ears to help your band stay tight. They are your fans because they like the original thoughts you’ve created for them. The lyrics and stories in your songs. The catchy melodies and dancy rhythms that drive your music. If they can connect and be moved by those things, you’ve sparked intrigue in their mind and now they want more. They want to know you more and to dig deeper into your stories and know why you do the things you do.
Being human is probably one of the most endearing traits an artist can have. That sells more than any polished product ever will.
Some things to remember
If this is your first time digging in to Social Media and thinking about a real way to market your band or project, I’d imagine you might be a little overwhelmed.
Luckily, this is a marathon, not a sprint. There’s plenty of time to practice and try things out. If something doesn’t work as expected, (and there are times that it won’t), take note, make some adjustments and try again. Maybe do a little research and check out what other bands are doing. If they have a super successful campaign, steal some ideas.
Lastly, and before you start this big push to up your Social Media game, remember that to really be able to utilize these tools successfully, your music and your product still need to be your first priority. If you’re songs are terrible, you band is loose, your show sloppy, and CD nonexistent…then you have nothing to create content for. Again, if you have no content, you have nothing on Social Media. Nothing.
Hopefully this has offered you some insight and direction into the world of Social Media marketing. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or contact me via Snapchat at @JeromyABailey.
Don’t forget to share!!
A Social Media Jumpstart for Musicians was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.