There are many different ways to engage your social followers.
So why do so many musicians insist on using a tired call to action (i.e. “come to our show”) as their default standby?
It’s probably because they don’t have a strategy. But if you’re reading this, odds are you’re open to trying different things. You’re looking to grow your following.
I will say upfront that the site you’re using (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) has some bearing on what you share and how often. That’s another part of your plan that you need to figure out.
What we’ll cover here is the different content types you should be using to engage your social followers – here are six.
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1. Textual Content
Sometimes the best thing you can post is a simple question, quote, or tip. This can drive a lot of engagement – I’ve seen it firsthand.
Social media sites are great places to hold conversations. They actually make for pretty poor marketing platforms when it comes right down to it.
I guess I should qualify that. Social media can be great for building awareness, and if you have a particularly loyal following, it can even be good for driving sales.
But there’s still the reality that people are more interested in themselves than in what you’re doing. So unless you do something to draw them in, you’ll be ignored.
If you want to get your fans to interact with you, the simplicity and effectiveness of textual content shouldn’t be ignored.
2. Blog Posts
Your blog is a great place to publish medium-to-long-form entries. Although you could share blog post style articles on sites like Facebook, a) you don’t necessarily get to hold onto that content, and b) there’s no guarantee that people are going to read that much if it shows up in their feed.
With a blog post, you can send traffic back to your website. In some ways, this is becoming less and less effective, but your most loyal fans are likely interested in what you have to share, and if you can craft a particularly interesting headline, you’re still going to get a lot of clicks.
You should also include an interesting image in your blog post. By default, a site like Facebook will “pull” that image from your website and display it alongside your blog post. This can help with engagement.
3. Photos & Images
Photos and images are great for driving up engagement, especially if you make it a point to post photos of your fans.
You can also post photos of your band, of course, but it’s good to have some variety. Take a photo of your latest stop on tour. Capture scenery. Snap a picture of your new guitar.
As for images, there are plenty of possibilities. You can share memes or stylized quotes on fancy backgrounds. You can change your cover art or profile photo periodically (this can serve to keep things fresh on your social profiles).
If you're particularly good at Photoshop, you could even whip up your own customized graphics from time to time. But if you aren't a Photoshop wizard, you could also try PicMonkey.
4. Audio Content
Thanks to SoundCloud, sharing audio content on social media is relatively easy. But you might want to look beyond your library of songs for content to use.
Not that you can’t use your songs or demos – and that can be a part of your strategy – but there are other worthwhile ways of using audio.
For example, you could record a “thank you” message for your fans. You could record a spontaneous podcast discussion fueled by recent events. You could do a commentary on your latest single and offer insights into your process.
If you want people to check out what you’re posting, offer a compelling call to action. Focus on adding value to them and spend time creating the kind of content that will interest them.
5. Video Content
Video content can be hard to do well consistently. But there aren't many musicians out there today that don’t have a YouTube channel and at least a few videos.
Even if you’re not making videos all the time, it’s just another form of content that you can share on social media. It’s good to mix things up.
As for what kind of videos to share, there are plenty of possibilities. You could have a music video or lyric video. You could have an acoustic performance in your bedroom, or even footage from your latest show. You could have a vlog, or an interview with a fan.
Again, you might not be able to film, edit and publish new videos all the time, but do what you can with what you’ve got, and your fans will appreciate the effort.
6. Call To Actions
Yes, call to actions are okay to post, if used sparingly.
I don’t know if there’s an exact science to it. Some say 10:1 is the ratio you should aim for. This would mean posting nine content based posts for every one call to action. Still others say 20:1 is more than enough.
Basically, the idea is to make more deposits into your relationships than withdrawals. If you keep making deposits, when the time comes to make a withdrawal, your fans will be more likely to respond.
Let you fans know about your shows and invite them. Announce the release of your latest single. Ask your fans to vote for you in a songwriting competition.
You probably have a lot of things on the go, so it might be tempting to promote every new thing you do, but if you’re just focused on yourself, you’re probably not going to get a lot of interaction on your posts.
Social engagement isn’t everything. There are certain intangibles that you can’t build without a social presence, but it certainly shouldn’t be your only focus.
Don’t spend too much time creating content just for social. Look for ways to kill several birds with one stone.
Also re-purpose what you’ve already created. If you’ve been around for any length of time, you probably have plenty of blog posts, pictures, videos, songs, and other things to share with your fans.
Keep your social media strategy simple. Just remember to mix up content types, and cut back on those call to actions (just a little).