Social media is a great way for musicians and bands to grow their fan base and spread the word about their music. Increasing your following across the different platforms can increase your potential of booking more gigs, getting signed, and selling more merch.
Social platforms are cheap and relatively easy to use, but creating a strategy to get the most from them can be overwhelming. We’ve put together a few social media tips for musicians that will help you assess your goals, revamp your plan, and get the most out of social media.
Step One: Assess the audience
Who is your audience? Who is listening to your music? Think about the ideal audience and who is likely to listen to your music. Consider where these people may be spending their time online, and when they would be online. Consider potential work schedules and free time, etc. Another helpful exercise is to think about if your music were played on the radio, which stations would be playing it?
You’ll want to consider these insights as you start crafting your plan.
Step Two: Create some promotional materials to support your online presence
A little bit of work upfront can go a long way. The creation of elements ahead of time means you can instantly put information in someone’s hands, whenever and wherever they’re ready for it.
Take a good look at the assets you already have available and consider updating them, or creating new ones.
You should have:
- Strong website with samples of music, biography, social media links, videos, newsletter sign up, photos, and links to any press or promotions your band has been involved in. Each of your social media profiles will have a link to your site.
- Gig cards – these are easy to hand out to anyone or set in a public place. They’ll direct people to your website and social media where they can hear your music and learn more about you.
- Electronic Press Kit – This should include a multitude of things. EPKs allow music pros to check musicians out on their own time, and don’t require them to access a website. The EPK should include a biography, HQ photos, videos and recordings, reviews or testimonials, any upcoming events, and contact information. A good strategy is to have the EPK available in many different formats: on your website, hosted in the cloud somewhere so you can email a link, and even in PDF format.
Step Three: Plan your social media use
Everyone’s plans will look different from one another. Depending on how you narrowed your audience down in step one, some ideas will be more beneficial than others. Below you’ll find a list of social media tips for musicians that will get you started with a social media ramp up plan. Make sure to keep track of what works well and what doesn’t, so you can adjust your strategy.
- Create a bucket of content to post before you need it. You’ll want to mix in timely and more organic posts, but having a content reservoir to draw from will prevent long periods of silence when you’re busy, or can’t think of anything to post. These are sometimes referred to as “evergreen posts” and can even be queued up on a post scheduler like Buffer ahead of time.
- Develop a rhythm of posts, so that people know what to expect. For example, you may always want to post a cover song on Friday, or a full-length original for Music Monday. You may find it helpful to actually create a calendar with reminders to post at specific times each day. Using something like Google Calendar, which can push reminders to your phone can be super helpful until you get in a natural rhythm.
- Create a reservoir of stock photos that you can overlay gig info or lyrics to post on social media. If you don’t have PhotoShop but have some great ideas for creating these images, a tool like Canva is ideal. You can also find tons of free images on sites like Unsplash.
- Create short videos of unplugged versions of original songs for Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Snapchat. You can upload full length unplugged songs to YouTube.
- Post photos and/or videos of playing songs in unique places. Think: at the beach, on a mountain, in a boat, on the top of a building. An example of this is Young The Giant’s “In The Open” series
- Use several relevant hashtags. Practically every day already has its own hashtag, and you can create your own, too. #musicmonday #newsong #flashbackfriday #tuesdaytunes #newmusic #singersongwriter #originalmusic #originalsong) If you’re having trouble coming up with hashtags, see this article on how to use them effectively.
- Record covers of current popular songs and post on YouTube. Staying with your style of playing to cover songs in different genres. Boyce Avenue has made an art form out of this practice. Take advantage of how popular a top 40 hit is. When someone lands on your video, you can add links to your original music to increase exposure. Just make sure you take the appropriate legal measures and get your licenses.
- Post behind the scene videos or photos of gigs or recording sessions.
- Host a fun interview type Q and A video.
- Post a variety of content. Retweet quotes, other musician’s stuff, pictures that may be relevant to you, current songs/artists you like, a book you are reading, an art show you attended. This builds a personal interaction with followers as well as a commonality with people that have not heard your music yet that are interested in the same book or art.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for followers to retweet or share your posts.
- Take advantage of the auto-post feature on Facebook, or tools like Buffer. You can schedule a post to go out ahead of time in case you get busy or are dealing with cross time zone posting.
- Live video or stream. Utilize real time chats, replying to followers comments, and polls that get fans involved. As an example, the audience can request songs directly in the live chat window. Take a look into the platform Concert Window, which lets you host concerts over video stream. You can set a “cover charge” and the audience can also contribute to a tip jar.
- Post a lot of photos: of yourself, of your music equipment, of your gigs, of your fans. People want to feel as though they really know their favorite musicians.
- Know what times are best to post to which social media platform to maximize exposure. Consider time changes here, especially since they’ll be so drastic. CoSchedule has a great article on this topic.
- Use analytics tools to help you keep track of likes, shares, and comments that you get for each post. Utilizing a tool like Buffer can help track these in one place, as well as schedule posts for US time zones.
- Remember to check in with your social accounts frequently. Don’t just create posts and then leave them unattended. Since your band is developing a fanbase, it is highly important that you respond to any and all interactions on your accounts.
As you’re creating and implementing your social media plan, remember what your overall goal is. Odds are, you want to connect with people who can help you spread the word about your music. It should be obvious when you find a type of content that seems to really resonate with your fans. Pay attention to what people seem to like, and what proves beneficial for your band, and create more content like that. Using this method, you should find your posts gaining more momentum and attention over time.
Do you have social media tips for musicians to share? Post them in the comments!