In today's climate, social media has become one of the most effective tools (if not THE most effective tool) to grow an engaged following for your music. Most musicians are using social media in some form or fashion, but many times in an ineffective manner that fails to garner the results they're looking for. People are overly obsessed with the number of followers when the real gem is the engagement and quality of your followers. Through the tips I'm going to share today, I've been able to grow my IG following from 4K followers to over 16K followers with great engagement. No bots, buying followers, or any of that crazy stuff lol! Just solid practical strategies. Hope these are of help to you!
Tip 1: Never Spam
You may have the greatest intentions when you share your music links in the comments section/inbox of other people's profiles/channels, but when it's unsolicited (aka they didn't ask for it) that's considered spamming. Tagging people in your music posts unsolicitedly is also spamming. It can feel like you're forcing your content on people when done this way. Here are better ways to share your music on social media:
- Post your music on your own social media profiles/channels. As you consistently post quality content with the proper hashtags and formatting on your own profile/channel, more and more people will be drawn to your content over time. It's going to take time. Sharing/tagging your links with your friends or people who are personally invested in your music is great! But try to avoid doing that with people who aren't invested as it will be a turn off.
- Share your Music through your Mailing List (that people have signed up for on their own). A mailing list isn't regarded as social media, but you should definitely have a mailing list that your supporters can sign up to and stay engaged with your brand outside of just social media. It's a crucial part of your social media strategy and a great way to share when you have new music. But the key is letting people sign up to your list on their own prerogative. Never add people's emails to your mailing list without their permission. There are laws in place on this matter so make sure the only people on your list or those who actually took time to sign up themselves (unless they ask you to add them). Additionally make sure you're not sending too many emails as well as that can be considered spam. I generally only send 1 email a week (2 max) and always for a specific purpose. I don't like wasting people's time so my list only hears from me when I have something valuable to offer. Mailchimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, etc are all great services to use for your mailing list.
- Share your music when someone specifically asks for links to your music.
Spamming never works (long-term) to get people authentically engaged in your music. The best way to gain engagement is through attraction marketing. The following tips help attract people to your music.
Tip 2: Show Your Skills
Instead of just posting your album cover with a "coming soon" description or a video of a still image with your music playing, you've got to dig deep creatively and let people see you in action! Yes you need to get in front of the camera and show your face! We all have amazing cameras on our phones now so there's no excuse lol! Getting real comments, likes, follows, link clicks, post saves, etc come from you demonstrating your craft on camera. That gives people the opportunity to get to know you and engage with you as a person! Here are a few ways to show your skills on social media:
- Post videos and photos of you working on music or music related activities: People respond very well to content that shows other people actually doing things. People love seeing the behind the scenes process of how things are made. When you’re writing your records, making your beats, getting records mixed, working on designs for your merch, at a photo shoot, getting ready to do a show, mingling with supporters, etc., let people see that! These things are more effective than just playing your music. Everybody makes music now so content like this helps set you apart. Some of my most popular videos are of me sampling unusual items (animals, vacuums, washing machines, cars, etc) and then making beats out of them lol! Showing myself making beats out of those items lead to more sales of the actual beats when I posted them for sale (and increased sales overall in general).
- Post tips/tutorials for other musicians: If you're extremely skilled in what you do, hop on the camera and share a few tips every once and a while! Everybody has their own unique way of creating music so sharing how you do certain things could be extremely valuable to another musician! Things in our process that we consider as "insignificant" can be life changing to another creative's work process. A few examples are tips on writing lyrics, producing beats, mixing songs, performance strategies, how to book shows, sharing chord progressions, and the list goes on! These are things that you're spending time doing anyway so you might as well document the process for others to benefit. If you grow the demand for your skills high enough through social media, you can even translate that into course products which creates another stream of revenue for you. The opportunities are endless really.
- Go Live: Sometimes people need to see you in your element live! Pre-recorded content is amazing but nothing can replace the experience of real-time interaction. People can engage with you real-time and build a deeper rapport/relationship with your craft. Admittedly, I've never went live before so I'm preaching to myself as well here lol! But it's a strategy that is undisputedly effective when it comes to engagement.
Tip 3: Get Personal
More than what you do, today people have to buy into who you are as a person before they fully support you. You must post content that gives people a view into your mindset and how you see the world. In regular life you're more apt to connect with people who share similar interests/experiences as you and it's the same thing online. It's a people business! Let them see YOU the person. This helps people connect with you on a personal level and also helps them understand your music even the more. Here are a few ways to get personal with your content:
- Show Your Ups and Downs: One of the most powerful things about social media is it allows people to see your journey and growth. Don’t be afraid to share your failures and your struggles. People need to see that stuff because as you continue to grow and evolve, it gives others a front seat view into how possible it really is to accomplish your dreams. In addition, it further cements your supporter base when they can see your growth and feel like they were a part of it. Some of my most consistent supporters were there from day 1. One of my biggest passions is encouraging people by sharing my experiences. My encouraging content is honestly one of the major reasons people follow me, maybe even more-so than my actual music.
- Share Your History: Of course you can't tell everybody everything lol, but within reason share your story with the world! You may not think the town you grew up in, your favorite foods as a child, that college course you flunked, or whatever else is significant. But there's always going to be somebody somewhere that shares the same experience and will feel more deeply connected to you because of these things. Old videos, old photos, etc help people see and understand your roots. Back when I first started I had people connect with me because I like oatmeal, seriously lol! I used to joke about it all the time, even doing contests where if people tagged me in a picture of them holding a container of oatmeal, I'd give them a free beat lol! It's corny I know, but it was authentic lol!
- Show What You Do Outside of Music: Everything doesn't have to be about music. What are your favorite tv shows? What do you do for fun? Do you have any hobbies? Do you suck at sports (like me lol)? Let people see it! One of my best performing videos on social media was of me showing how terrible I am at basketball lol! Some of my others were me just acting silly pranking my daughter lol. It doesn't have to be super thought out/polished just show that you're an actual human lol!
Tip 4: Spend The Money
You should be doing all these things to build a fire with quality content. Once the fire is built, you throw gasoline on it by utilizing paid advertising! If you spend the money the right way, it definitely works! There are generally two ways that I've used paid advertising to grow my following:
- Boosting the reach of my most popular content with ads: On instagram specifically, once I see that a piece of content is growing legs organically, I like to further that by doing a 3 day ad campaign targeting my followers (and people like them) that links people back to my actual instagram profile. That's the main strategy that I used to grow the fastest. Keep posting (not spamming lol) amazing content and then boost the content that is organically getting the most engagement. You could use this same strategy for any social media platform that has advertising capabilities.
- Using ads to direct to products I have for sale: I'm writing this assuming you already have your own actual website to sell your music/music-related products but if you don't, go do that asap! But continuing on lol, with this type of ad strategy if you haven't put in the work to build an engaged following first, your ads will fall flat on their face. People are bombarded with ads daily and have become numb to most of them. Ads work best for people who are already engaged or people who are similar to those who are already engaged with your content. That grandma from Wisconsin doesn't care about your music fam lol so when doing ads, make sure you have your targeting on point by first building an audience of the right people. That way the algorithm will target the right people. You can take that a step further by installing a Facebook pixel on your website which will gather information on who's visiting your site and their actions on your site. Then use that information from that pixel to target specific groups of people with your ads. That's a whole other complex discussion so definitely do your research to learn about the Facebook pixel and how you can utilize it. I use the pixel in my ads every blue moon, but honestly most times I just go off who's already following me and target them and people like them. Experiment to find what works for you!
Tip 5: Be Yourself
Last but not least, the most important part of your strategy is you should always be yourself! Stick to your own natural personality and what makes you YOU. You don't have to be the "What's going on guys!!!" type of social media person (even though there's nothing wrong with that if that's your personality). You don't have to chase what's trending to grow. You don't have to do "challenges" or any of that stuff to get real growth lol! It's all about fully examining your own life, pinpointing the things that make you unique, and then finding your own unique way to share that with the world on a consistent basis (spending money to boost the posts with great organic engagement). That's it! Unless you go viral for whatever reason lol, it's a process that takes time and energy but it's worth it. Don't even focus on the number of followers. Just focus on putting out amazing content and let the chips fall as they may.
At the end of the day, the only way to achieve authentic engagement is through posting quality authentic content. Everything you post is either adding to or taking away from your brand. So before every post, I encourage you to ask yourself these 3 questions: Why am I posting this? How will this post provide value for other people? What do intend to achieve with this post? I hope this blog post has been helpful for you! Time to turn up and show the world who you are! Blessings! -Tone