Tips for How to be Successful Using Social Media as an Emerging Artist
Social media is now a part of the artist toolkit and it’s here to stay, indefinitely! There have been so many wonder stories about artists who have made it big on social media platforms, such as Justin Bieber and the Weeknd with YouTube or Post Malone and Kehlani with Soundcloud. With the way that the industry has gone digital, there's really a chance for anyone to make it! Of course, there’s a good viral and a bad viral, so don’t think that this downplays the actual talent requirement – You don’t have to sing like Whitney Houston, but you should sound better than William Hung (anyone remember him?).
These days, it’s about having enough talent to carry you through, along with catchy lyrics, banging beats, a good look and a great following to tie it all together. Here are our tips for how emerging artist can have guaranteed social media success!
This one is pretty obvious, as it’s one of the biggest platforms these days. You can post pictures, disappearing videos, tag the other pages you’re associated with in your bio and so much more! With IG TV just being added into the mix, you can even post a whole music video to your profile now. The trick with Instagram though, is to be active but not spammy! Pick a few days a week that you’re going to post on for sure (i.e. #MotivationMonday, #ThrowbackThursday, #SundayFunday, etc.) and don’t be afraid to use the story and live features to make your followers feel like they’re a part of your life.
Because society has become more visual than ever, I would also like to point out the need for quality photos! This means, no grainy pics - your artist page is basically a snapshot into your life and your business, so you should always put your best foot forward.
As an artist you won’t necessarily have something to post about your music everyday (which is fine) so this is a great opportunity to show your fans what you do outside of the studio and shows. No matter what you post, whether that be parties, puppies, playing with your kids, it’s all fine, just make sure that the photos are clear and of decent quality. Most smartphones have great cameras therefore this isn’t hard to achieve, but it wouldn’t hurt to invest in professional shots as you can repurpose them for cover art, website design, press kits and grant applications.
Make sure to keep your bio updated as well with the latest links to your music, website and events, you can even add a link from https://song.link/ that allows fans and followers to find your latest track on all streaming platforms.
A lot of people are saying that Soundcloud is played out, but that’s not necessarily true. There are tonnes of music fans who still use the platform to uncover new sounds and many indie artists who still choose to post on the platform. Soundcloud is great because it’s free to post your music (up to 3 hours) and you can still attract followers. There is now the option to promote your music throughout the site which can definitely help to increase your plays. From a promotion perspective a lot of blog websites still ask for a Soundcloud link when featuring new material. Also keep in mind that not all of your fans are on Apple Music, Spotify or Amazon for music streaming, making Soundcloud an accessible option for all.
Sharing all of your music is made easy as well; you can simply reshare your collaboration with another artist to your page without the burden of having to upload the material, taking from your free 3 hours!
YouTube has always had great potential for helping to break new acts. YouTube is a video sharing platform that every serious artist should be on. Not everyone is funny enough to be a comedy skit star in addition to being a musician, but this is a great way to share more about your life by doing vlogs, behind the scenes videos and sharing your performance footage. YouTube is also a great place to upload home-made lyric and music videos of course! Making these videos may seem pricey and time consuming but we’ve got you covered (insert lyric video article link). At some point you will get a professional music video done by a director who is also on YouTube who hopefully has a large following, but always make sure to get the video posted onto your channel too and not just theirs. It’s great to get views from the director’s following, but you also need to have your content all situated on one channel so that it’s easier for your fans to navigate.
Another piece of advice is to get your music/lyric video done in a clean version as well, that way you can purchase an ad through Google Adwords which will give new fans the opportunity to hear your music and see your videos!
Getting your music on Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, Apple Music, etc. is a step that all artists should want to take. Getting on these sites/apps is not hard, but it will cost you a bit of coin. Any artist (providing that their music is audibly up to par) can get on the streaming platforms by going through a distribution website such as TuneCore, CD Baby, etc. There are more distribution sites out there, but you need to find the one that works for you. Not all sites can get you on to all platforms and each cost is different – you will have to do your research to make your decision. Most of these websites do get you on to Spotify which gives you the unique opportunity to view the analytics of your music through the Spotify for Artists app. The app is extremely helpful as you can see the location of your fans, their genders, other artists they’re into and if fans saved your song to a playlist, not to mention how many plays your songs get.
One of the most important things to do, now that you’ve signed up for all of these social media platforms and apps is to cross promote! Each of these platforms is an opportunity to market your music and your brand so you have to use it to your advantage. In the bio of all of these platforms sites and apps you need to make sure that all of your info matches up; use your YouTube to promote your Instagram, your Instagram to promote your Spotify and your Spotify to lead fans to your Facebook page. Make sure that all of your handles match up, if your name is ‘KingBattleBeast’ on Soundcloud, make sure that’s your name across all platforms as well so that your fans can easily find you. It may be challenging at first, but get into the practice of updating across all platforms when you have something new to share ( i.e. a song or video) to ensure that you’re getting use of all the promotional opportunities.
Most platforms have a system of hashtags or simply tags to help users find you through a search. Try to optimize the tagging system by using those that are most relevant to what you’re doing, for example if you’re a hip hop artist you may want to tag #hiphopartist, #rapper, #houstonrapper, #firebars etc. to let people know what you’re about.
Social media isn’t hard to do, but it is tricky. If you’re new to the game maybe try committing yourself to one post a week at first and seeing how it goes. Be engaged in your followers’ posts as well, if you see a picture that you like then actually like it and maybe even leave a comment - They call it it social media for a reason! It’s usually the profiles who are posting content frequently and actively engaging that do the best. Always be mindful of the story you’re telling for your brand and don’t get discouraged if people unfollow you or you don’t get 1000 likes on every photo, it will all come in due time!