- 7 Ways to Make Maximum Use of Social Media as a Musician
- 6 – Engage Directly with Your Fans
- Closing Thoughts
7 Ways to Make Maximum Use of Social Media as a Musician
The days of slapping posters on walls or selling t-shirts from the back of a van are long over. We’re living in the digital age. As a musician in the current decade, you have to be a constant presence on social media. It’s more than just a marketing tool; it’s your way of reaching out to the world.
But using social media is one side of the equation, and using it to its full potential is another. It can be easy to know how a platform works without knowing how to utilize it for its full capabilities.
Figuring this kind of thing out demands a hefty time and energy investment. And when your time is split between recordings, live shows, collaborations, and album releases, it’s not exactly the easiest thing in the world.
Luckily, you don’t have to make any dire sacrifices. That’s because we’ll be looking at 7 easy ways to make the most of your social media use.
This will help you get back on track with your responsibilities while keeping a healthy online presence in the process.
1 – Host a Q&A Session
What’s the first thing you do when you want to get to know someone better? You ask questions. And when you have lots of dedicated fans wanting to interact, that means a lot of questions.
That’s why one of the surefire ways of reaching out to your fans directly is by hosting a Q&A session. It’s a place for your fans to be noticed as an individual and break away from just being a number. But above all, it’s an excellent place for you to speak your mind, make announcements, or answer any burning questions.
Platforms like Instagram, Facebook Live, and Twitch are some of the best places you can hold these sessions. They allow for plenty of crowd participation in the form of chat, custom messages, and emotes.
Artists like Herman Li from DragonForce, deadmau5, and T-Pain already use this approach to reach their fanbase. They are even going so far as to make it a supplemental source of income for themselves.
The great thing about holding Q&A sessions is that there’s very little prep work involved. All you need to do is show up and answer questions. You can even do it in the middle of tackling a mundane task like changing your guitar strings or signing some vinyl records.
And if a live stream gets a bit too tiring, you can always go for something like a YouTube video or a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). These will allow you to answer questions on your time, whether it’s on tour, in the airport, or between gigs.
2 – Show Yourself Behind the Scenes
The life of an artist can seem glamorous to a lot of folks. But what really excites people is when you offer them a peek behind the curtain. Not only will it serve to humanize you, but your fans will appreciate your authenticity.
Bear in mind that this doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Even something as small as showing yourself on the way to a gig or your setup and tear down process can offer some value.
It’s a chance for you to show your day-to-day to the average person. It helps demystify the life of a musician, whether it’s getting something done, collaborating with other artists, or meeting with people in the music industry.
More importantly, social media is all about sharing your story. And if you can do that in a way that’s intimate and personal, then you’re guaranteed to connect with a lot of people.
As far as the approach goes, it’s all up to you. You can do it in the form of a full-length vlog, short-clipped stories, a live stream, or even some pictures with written context.
Over time, it’s been getting more and more familiar with musicians. Artists like Ed Sheeran and Dave Grohl are some of the most notable examples of using this technique.
The next time you’re out on the road or spending time in the studio, it might be helpful to capture a snippet of it for your social media page. Not only does it help you reach more people, but it’ll also make your audience be informed about your life.
Feel free to head over and join our brand new private facebook group where we will be giving you weekly tips, tricks, feedback and answering all of your songwriting questions.
3 – Signal Boost your Organic Following
Nothing builds a following quite like word-of-mouth. Even the best marketing strategies can pale in comparison to having people organically spread your music to their friends and family.
Now, although you can’t force something like word-of-mouth to start, you can help it reach out faster and further. Platforms like Twitter already have this feature baked in as retweets. You can use it to retweet anything that talks good about your music, buys your merch or likes your new album.
But that’s not the only outlet to prop your following. You can do it by encouraging user-generated content on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. This means reposting art or music covers that fans make for you.
These gestures help your music leave your immediate sphere of influence to grab a larger audience. Any time someone hears your music on a video, they’ll start asking for the name of the song. This is bound to have some nice organic following link back to you.
Even from a personal perspective, it’s nice to hear directly from your fans every now and then. It will help you out in situations of artistic self-doubt or lack of motivation.
Above all, it’s a better approach towards building your community. Instead of having to focus on selling, all you have to do is concentrate on nurturing your immediate community. You don’t just help bring in new fans; you also strengthen your bond with the ones you already have.
4 – Tease Your Work with Short Trailers
A musician on social media is an artist, and a PR department rolled into one. That means being your own promoter and publicist. And while it might feel a little tack to do, social media has helped the process be a bit more natural.
One of the biggest utilities that social media has offered musicians is the ability to get their work out there. Many artists have taken to the internet to craft their pre-release campaigns. And it has resulted in some creative and effective approaches.
Where before you would’ve had to rely on someone stumbling on your music in a record shop or the radio, you can now tease it directly to the public. A short 30-second trailer of a song or album you’re releasing goes a long way towards making it garner appeal and hype.
Beyond releases, it’s also a way to show off some of the ideas you’re working on. Rough cuts or sections that never make it to an album can fit nicely here. You can even go all out and show off highly technical playing that looks cool, but you wouldn’t put in a song.
It’s a direction that pays off well for technique focused players like John Mayer and Tosin Abasi. You can find them posting snippets of their work on Instagram. Sometimes they’ll even go ahead with cover or interpretations of famous songs.
By doing this, you’re creating a highlight reel of your work that can draw your fans in. It can also act as a digital portfolio for any bands, gig opportunities, or talent scouts.
5 – Cater Content for the Platform
Starting out with social media can be a rocky ride. There are so many platforms and avenues that it may feel like you’re splitting yourself to keep up appearances. But believe it or not, these platforms aren’t just different flavors of the same thing. They work differently, so you’ll have to treat them differently.
Once you get a good social media tactic going, there can be a bit of an urge to apply that as your cookie-cutter approach. However, that’s not always wise. At best, you’ll pull in a small crowd. At worst, you’ll risk alienating yourself in the eyes of the users of that platform.
Understanding how different platform functions is a big part of executing strategies that work in the long term. Some habits tend to be directly encouraged by the basic design of the platform. For example, Twitter encourages quick posting; Facebook encourages building a personal image. Instagram encourages you to show life through your lens, and so on.
That’s why it never makes sense to treat everything the same. Even if you have fan followings on each of these respective apps, they’re practically different groups of people. They may like your music, but they probably enjoy it in different ways.
Just remember that it pays to research and craft content that you think will work best. The best way to put this idea into practice is to scout out popular personalities on each site. Getting a handle on their posting styles will give you a good mold to apply your own strategies too.
6 – Engage Directly with Your Fans
Trying to build a social media presence without engaging your fans can lead to many of them feeling disillusioned. It’s one thing to be able to sell an album or tickets to a concert. But making someone take time out of their day to want to interact with you, that’s not a skill many possess.
Engagement can come in the form of something like hosting a public poll, sharing a memory, posting an inspiring story, or even cracking jokes and posting memes.
But if that sounds like too much, you can start with something like replying to comments, responding to mentions, and leading your fans to check something out.
At the same time, make sure that you’re keeping your fans engaged with your current content. Don’t just post something and disappear into the ether. You want to keep cultivating your social media gestures. This will stop your fans from feeling like there’s a time limit to your posts.
Artists like Kanye, Post Malone, and deadmau5 make good use of this on their social media channels. They let their personality shine above their work, which makes them likeable in many aspects. And it’s something that you can use for the same effect.
For the most part, it encourages your fans to come out and want to share their experiences and interactions with you. It’s an essential part of dispelling the celebrity syndrome or making your followers feel like there’s a wall between you and them. Instead, you stop becoming a musician with an unattainable life and build a closer personal relationship.
7 – Bring a Guest (Or Become One)
Popular personalities and fan followings can often feel like islands of popularity. Everyone builds up their own communities, but those communities rarely interact with one another. So, what do you do when you want to extend your reach beyond your abilities? You cross the ocean to the other side.
It may not feel like it, but the effect of collaborating with someone can be outstanding. For a brief moment, you’ll have the eyes and ears of two groups of people on you. And that has the potential to bring some of them over to your side.
The trick here is making sure that the collaboration ends up on social media. If you play on stage with another artist but don’t have any footage to show for it, it might as well not have happened.
That’s why it’s crucial to be on top of your game, both as a guest and as a collaborator. Suppose you get featured on a song, post about it. If you end up on a podcast or interview, plug yourself. If you find yourself on a tour bus with another band, don’t let an opportunity for an Instagram story slip away.
If you play your cards right, you’ll end up with a strong presence across multiple fanbases. And that means that you’ll only be increasing your potential opportunities.
Social media isn’t rocket science, even if it is made to feel like it is. You don’t need to be a social media manager or an engagement expert to get a good following. All you need is some proper direction.
Hopefully, the tactics above have helped you demystify the concept of using social media as a musician. As long you build a solid plan and execute it well, you’ll have your very own digital mosh pit in no time.