You’ve created some music that you are proud of, and you want to share it; how do you go about putting it out into the world?
These days, it’s more complicated than ever. You’ve got a lot to stay on top of.
There's blogs, Spotify playlists, local media, and physical publicity. That’s a lot, though sometimes it can be handled by a publicist.
Live shows are still incredibly important and are one of the surest ways to make genuine fans.
But in 2019, your social media channels are the primary way to promote your music, your brand, and yourself as an artist. And that’s all on you.
There are bunch of different ways to approach social media, and the right strategy for you largely depends on your genre and whether you enjoy using social media.
I feel there is a perceived pressure to post a lot. A lot of mid-level artists tend to get it in their heads that they need to post every couple days – even if they’re not posting anything of substance.
Posting often and trying to maintain your brand is a lot of work and you shouldn’t necessarily burn all of your promotional and creative energy like that.
But if you enjoy crafting posts and spending time on social media, go for it. You probably have a good idea of how to market yourself.
In this guide, I want to take you through the basics of promoting your music on social media. Spesifically we’re going to focus on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
If you’re at a loss, this is the place to start.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
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Some Social Media Basics For Musicians
Before we get into specific social media platforms, I just want to cover some basics.
One of the main things I want you to think about is consistency.
Pick a name and a handle that you can use as a domain name and use across all social media platforms.
The first thing you should do is register your domain name, Instagram handle, Twitter handle and Facebook handle.
You should also create a YouTube channel and consider creating an email address.
If you can, keep the handles the same across all platforms. My handle on all platforms is @songsfromliam. On Facebook, that’s the domain – facebook.com/songsfromliam. It’s also my domain name and my email.
This sort of consistency allows people who are trying to find you to easily find you on any platform.
Now that you have all of your channels set up with a consistent handle, it’s time to outfit them with branding pieces – profile pictures, cover photos, a few posts, etc.
Consider using the same profile picture across all platforms – it makes you more recognizable.
Try to match the color scheme of your profile picture to some of the other content on your page. This gives your profile a vibe.
Also, keep the tone of your posts consistent.
This has to be genuine. You shouldn’t force a tone on your posts. Write however you want to write, and let that develop into a tone.
All this will eventually work itself into an online brand.
Using Facebook To Promote Your Music
Facebook is no longer the primary or only way people connect with artists – in fact, many artist’s Facebook pages are more impersonal these days.
That said, Facebook still matters.
Here is some advice for promoting your music on Facebook.
Direct People To Your Facebook Page – Not Your Personal Profile
It’s natural to have more friends on your personal profile than on your artist page when you start.
This does not mean your personal page should be your primary means of promoting yourself.
Keep the two separate and try to send people to your artist page.
From an industry perspective, it looks unprofessional to be constantly posting to your personal page, and it makes your artist page look less active and interesting.
Post Pictures Of Your Face (If It's Consistent With Your Brand)
Pictures featuring your face have better organic reach than album art, tour posters, etc.
This is just the unfortunate reality of Facebook’s algorithms, and of the human brain being wired to respond to pictures of people.
If your brand relies on more mystery or more artful shots, that’s fine. Stick to your guns and stick to your brand.
Just know that pictures of your face will tend to do better.
Use Facebook For Important Updates Only
On Twitter and Instagram, it’s okay to post more real life stuff, especially on your Story.
Facebook is inundated with content. There is no space for these kinds of posts.
Use Facebook for major updates only. Tours. Albums. Singles. Announcements. And so on.
Don’t even use Facebook to tease big announcements. There is a lot more room for that on other platforms, but Facebook just doesn’t have space for it.
Do not worry about posting every day or even consistently on Facebook. Your posts will do much better if you only post content that people want to engage with.
Facebook events are one of the primary ways live music is shared and organized.
Facebook events are used by most promoters and venues, and they will often ask you to co-host events.
This is one of the primary reasons to get familiar with Facebook.
Initially, artists were very annoyed when Facebook basically forced pages to pay to reach their audience.
But as far as advertising dollars go, Facebook takes your dollar far.
Boosted posts are regular Facebook posts that you’ve decided are important enough to boost.
Boosting posts basically forces your post into people’s newsfeed.
You can set the post to be boosted towards people who like your page, people who like your page and their friends, and you can set it to be boosted towards people in certain geographic areas or people with certain interests.
It’s basically a Facebook Ad “lite”.
To make a proper Facebook ad, you need to use the Facebook ad manager.
Using the Facebook Ad Manager is slightly more involved and probably requires a full guide of its own.
Basically, you can create the same ads that you are bombarded with, but it’s your content being advertised.
You can create all sorts of ads.
If you have a video to promote, you can create a video ad that will appear when people are scrolling through endless Facebook videos.
You can create ads that will end up in newsfeeds, or in the sidebar on the side of the newsfeed.
There are even ads that go in Facebook Messenger and appear in Facebook Marketplace.
Take advantage Of Facebook Live
Facebook Live was introduced a few years ago – you can stream yourself live on Facebook, and people can tune in.
Facebook Live has good organic reach, because people tend to interact a lot while using it.
Take advantage of this to interact with your audience in interesting ways.
Promoting Musicians With Instagram
Using Instagram as an artist is different from Facebook.
For one thing, it’s almost entirely visual. That mean you have lots of possibilities for visual branding. Whether you take advantage of this is up to you.
Sometimes, artists will color coordinate all of their posts for a while to help promote a single or an album.
Other times, artists pay no heed to this and just post however they want.
Most of the basics here still apply.
I think you need to be genuine at all times. Keeping an eye on how your brand appears to the onlooker is wise. But first and foremost, be yourself.
Instagram in particular is very personal with lots of interaction, so it’s important to be authentic.
Take Advantage Of Instagram Stories
One of the main things Instagram has to offer is the Stories feature.
Stories are great for brands for a few reasons.
First, when your audience follows you, your story will always be there for them to watch – there’s no algorithm. If you follow someone, you’ll be able to see their story.
Secondly, I love the fact that Stories are gone in 24 hours.
I am not a fan of posting every day on Instagram. I think your feed gets too clogged up when you do this.
But posting every day – even a few times a day – is fine with Stories, because the content stays fresh. There’s also less pressure to post something of substance.
That’s part of what makes Stories great. You can post personal stuff on a Stories and people can interact with it easily. They can send you a message about it immediately, to which you can reply.
Keep Your Captions (Photo Descriptions) Short
Photos with too much info are not effective on Instagram.
The best photos are high-quality photos of you or just high-quality images that suit your brand.
On the other hand, Instagram does not lend itself to long captions, because it cuts them off after a few lines.
Some brands lean towards longer captions, which is fine. I suggest trying to find some middle ground. Grab people’s attention with an image, and hold it long enough with the caption for them to engage with it.
Take Advantage Of Instagram Live
Much like Facebook, Instagram has a live feature that allows you to stream yourself live to whoever tunes in.
These once again have good organic reach with your followers because IG Live streams always appear first in the list of Stories.
Use Instagram For Ads
To use Instagram Ads, you need to use Facebook’s Ad Manager.
You can basically create three types of ads on Instagram:
Ads that appear in your newsfeed while you’re scrolling, ads that promote a post you’ve already made and ads that appear in the Stories section.
These ads can be photos or videos.
To get the most from Instagram ads, I recommend creating them separately from Facebook Ads.
By default, Facebook Ad Manager will create you an ad that goes on every platform. This is not always ideal, because text presents differently on every platform. You also may want to edit the ad based on the platform’s demographics.
Instead, when you’re presented with available platforms, deselect all but the Instagram options and create your ad from there.
Using Twitter To Promote Your Songs
Whether you use Twitter largely depends on your genre and your demographics. The audience I’m accustomed to playing to doesn’t use Twitter. Still, Twitter is home to millions of users and lots of celebrities.
Here are a few tips and tricks for promoting your music on Twitter.
Pick A Simple Profile Picture
You don’t have a lot of room on your Twitter profile picture. Pick something easily recognizable and simple.
If possible, just use your face.
Mix Business With Fun & Don't Bombard People With Show Announcements
Twitter is an odd combination of facts, news and random thought garbage.
Absolutely, Twitter is a tool that should be used to communicate what is going on with you musically. But it is also a place where people share their thoughts in 280 characters. There’s not a whole lot of room for deep thinking there.
Keep things light and have fun on Twitter. Like Instagram, it’s an easy platform to quickly engage fans on.
Also, if you have Bandsintown connected to your Twitter, please do not let it post every show you ever do.
So many bands do this (whether they know it or not) and it’s a mistake. It’s very annoying and I will unfollow you.
Longer Tweets Are More Effective
Twitter is one of the only places where longer posts get more attention.
Since the character limit is so short, this is your time to wax poetic. Kind of.
Spread Out Your Tweets
Nobody likes repeat texters, and nobody likes repeat tweeters.
Spread your tweets out by at least an hour. Let other users have their say!
Put Links Before Content
Conventional wisdom places links after the caption. That’s just how we’re wired.
But marketers have found that, on Twitter, people engage more when links are delivered before the rest of the tweet.
Apply These Concepts To Other Social Media Platforms
All platforms are different. The one covered here are the big three.
The principles that I’ve discussed here generally apply to most social media.
Be consistent across platforms – that doesn’t mean posting the same content necessarily, but it does mean consistent imaging, branding and tone.
How To Promote Your Music On Social Media Conclusion
Be genuine – don’t feel like you have to pretend to be something on social media. People see through it anyways. Be yourself, and turn that into a brand.
Post good content – good content advertises itself, because it deserves to be shared. People will share it.
After that, look into advertising options and read up on some more specific best practices for different platforms.
Social media marketing is huge these days and there is a lot of great information out there for you to apply to your music marketing.