At it’s best, social media connects people. At it’s worst, it’s used to spam people.
As an artist, I hope your goal is to share and move people with your art.
Just like music, social media can be an art. There are countless ways to express yourself. The real trick is to find ways to express who you are and your art in a way that is natural and authentic. People undeniably respond to this.
I’d suggest taking a minute to study your favorite artist’s social media profiles. Is it all about gigs, new releases and promo? Or do they showcase their personality and story? I’d be willing to bet that it’s the later.
My goal is to give you a broad overview of social media and some ways that you can genuinely connect with potentials fans.
It goes without saying that your music and artwork should come first. If the quality isn’t there, don’t even start to fuck with social media. Spend your time and resources working on your art.
Once you are producing quality music, start to develop your voice. Your voice should match whatever persona you want to create to go along with your music.
When you are first starting off, it’s easy to get sucked into the trap of “going for the numbers“. Don’t give into that. Try to connect with just one person. Have a conversation with that person, like they are your friend in a natural way. Avoid the hard sell and push your music too hard.
Treat it like an experiment. Study your stats, demographics, and think about your audience.
First Impressions are EVERYTHING. No Joke. Just stop for a second and think about how many artists you’ve judged simply on their name and brand. It’s a sad reality but we are visual creatures and we are inundated with commercials, text, notifications, emails and requests from every app and screen around us. The bar is high. You are not just competing with other artists but against every form of entertainment and distraction. If you are going to put in the effort to grow your project, please put in the time, money and effort to make sure that it looks the part. If you are just getting starting, I would highly recommend making the investment into your visual brand. You should have the following before setting up your artist social media profiles.
- Unique artist name that isn’t already taken. (Use namecheck.com) – This is a huge step, don’t skip this or you will be kicking yourself down the road.
- A press photo or picture of you playing your instrument
- A short two or three sentence bio
Make sure to fill out your description and that your profile picture is either your face or your logo. If you are an artist, I suggest using your face as research shows that people respond to faces way more than graphics. In short, get your brand locked down before you try to get social. Here are a few artists that have their branding on lock. They each have their own style, goals, and CTAs (Calls to Actions) but their brand is consistent and professional across all their channels.
- Bonobo – FB / Soundcloud / Twitter / Insta / Youtube / Website
- The Glitch Mob – FB / Soundcloud / Twitter / Insta / Youtube / Website
- Tritonal – FB / Soundcloud / Twitter / Insta / Youtube / Website
- Psymbionic – FB / Soundcloud / Twitter / Insta / Youtube
- The Funk Hunters – FB / Soundcloud / Twitter / Insta / Youtube
- Mr. Bill – FB / Soundcloud / Twitter / Insta / Youtube
From what I’ve learned, Interactions create Connections. Liking, commenting, following or tagging people will get their attention. It’s the equivalent of saying hi to them in a noisy bar. Instagress – Good for gaining Instagram followers – DO I TALK ABOUT THS?
Crowdfire – You can follow the followers of similar artists. You can then set up an automatic direct message. This is a big deal and a place where most people mess up. Don’t spam people with your SoundCloud link. It’s offensive. Treat the person like they are in the room with you. My suggestion would be to ask a question about the person. What type of music do you like? or Do you produce music? Asking a question will spark a conversation. If they reply, message them back and maybe link them to your tunes if it makes sense. The goal is not to get people to listen to your music here. The goal is to make a connection with a person. Like I said, this is a lot of work but it’s about connecting and building a relationship one fan at a time. There are no shortcuts here. Another technique that I’ve used with good effect is following people that have recently liked the post of an artist or festival that we are working with. This works with both Twitter and Instagram. If you think about it, it’s
With all that following, you have to keep in mind your ratio. People look at how many people you follow and follow you. If you follow way more people than follow you, people will be less likely to follow back. A ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 is probably a rule of thumb. With Instagress and Crowdfire, you can unfollow any people that don’t follow you back after a certain amount of time on Instagram or Twitter. You can also remove inactive accounts. I know, I know…this all sounds a bit spammy but by having this in place, real conversations and real connections will be generated. Gravitas receives tons of messages saying we are their favorite label and how honored they are to be followed by us. That’s a win! We want to connect with those people. We want to follow them. That’s a big step from not even knowing that fan existed. More so, you can add that person to a twitter list and spend a few minutes a week liking or commenting back to that person.
My advice on Soundcloud, if you are looking to grow, would be to release a steady stream of music. to follow anyone that repost your music. That’s like someone wearing your t-shirt. Recognize and reciprocate the love with a follow. Following someone back on socials can be a big fucking deal for some people. This simple gesture can create a fan out of a listener or a fan to a super fan.
I’d recommend using Follow Gates to grow Soundcloud and Facebook. I would not recommend follow gates for trying to grow any other platform if you are first starting out. The main platforms for follow gates are
Regardless of the platform you use, you’ll need to upload your song to SoundCloud and set the download link to your follow gate URL. I also recommend putting the download link in the description.
As people discover your music and click to download, they will be taken to your follow gate download page and be asked to follow and repost your song.
With the right track and setup, you can gain a significant amount of new followers and reposts.
Obviously, Facebook is the King of Kings.
If you are just getting started, I’d recommend setting up your page and inviting your family and friends to like your page.
My biggest complaint with Facebook is that they don’t allow musicians to easily share their music. SoundCloud and Youtube embeds don’t work natively. Why Facebook? Why?
Some poeople are totally against running ads or boosted posts for their page. To me, there is no good reason for this if you do it right. Facebook has built such a massive platform that it only makes sense for them to do this. If you want to expose your music to more people,
My suggestion would be to create video content for your artist page and boost the post to a targeted audience: 18-35, likely male, with a list of similar and bigger artists. If it’s a local event, geo-target. Right now, there is no better way to reach potential fans than using ads on Facebook. It is by far the best advertising platform in the world for growing a brand.
Another great strategy, if you are gigging regularly is to work with the promoter to do a ticket giveaway from your page. Add the event to your page and have the promoter add your page as an admin to the event. Once that is setup, post in the event to comment on the post and tag 2-3 friends. This helps generate buzz about the event and gets people interacting with your page.
Once the event is over, click on the likes and invite those people to like your page. This is a really natural and easy way to grow your page since these people likely saw your play and are interested in the type of music you play.
You can do this with any posts from your page. If something you post goes viral, try to capture as much of that activity as you.
Video and Live streaming is a massive opportunity. Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Snapchat are all huge places to connect with fans. I suggest learning the basics of video editing; at least know how to put your tunes to an image.
ill.Gates, The Widdler, and Mr. Bill have been crushing it for years with their videos and live streams on Youtube, Twitch and Facebook. If you feel confident enough, I would suggest trying it a live video on Facebook. Everyone that likes your page will get a notification. This is a big signal where Facebook is headed. Recently, the Facebook iOS app updated with a new Video icon on the bottom bar. Facebook is essentially trying to create a trifecta of media power, incorporating Youtube and Snapchat all in one.
If you have video editing skills or know someone who does, I would say start a Youtube channel and post your music there with some type of image. At Gravitas, we have a nice After Effects template that I’ve created that let’s us easily create a video for each track.
Aside from having your own channel, the biggest opportunity on Youtube is to have a song featured on one of the tastemaker channels.
Aside from having your own channel, the biggest opportunity on Youtube is to have a song featured on one of the tastemaker channels. Heroic Academy has a great article about how to send a submission, the process and even a downloadable list of 30 channels. Getting a song featured on one of these massive channels can make a track explode. Look at the 6.6 Million plays on CloZee’s Koto track on MrSuicideSheep.
Also, a lot of these channels are moving to Spotify. They have a submission process, relevant spreadsheets and contact info.
Let’s say Gravitas is working the new Bassline Drift album. I would open the desktop app and look at the related artists for Bassline Drift.
I would then go to one of those artists, let’s say “Of The Trees” click on ‘About’ tab. At the bottom of that screen, you will see playlists where people discovered Of The Trees.
In a lot of cases, these playlists are run by kids. Like this one: https://open.spotify.com/user/22dm2fkdsc2dhmf6khpa4cp6q/playlist/06bdl40vjJCF57Yq4cvg5y That’s some guy that is copying the xKito Youtube channel to playlists. You can pop over to FB and search for his name. Try adding him as a friend and chatting him up. Don’t go hard on questions. Let it build. Again, labels have an advantage with this, especially with the contact it can build.