If handled correctly, social media can be one of the best free ways for artists to gain exposure and get their work in front of fans, as well as potential fans. Here we share tips on how artists can maximize the presence on social media without breaking the bank.
Guest post by Lee Jones of Ditto
As musicians and artists, we all want the maximum exposure for our work, and we know social media is the #1 (free) way of getting our creations in front of people. Unfortunately, us musos are also on a budget and need to be very shrewd about how we manage our finances.
There are plenty of essential costs involved with being a musician, such as recording, touring, and making sure you have your music available on all the right platforms. The following social media tips will help you to grow your online presence without having to shell out any of the band’s kitty.
Learn How To Engage & Grow Your Social Media Following For Free
1. Invite ‘likers' of your Facebook posts to like your artist page
This isn’t a widely known function on Facebook (though it is a very valuable one!). It enables you not only to grow your followers, but also make sure that the people that you do invite have already shown an interest in you; meaning it is much less of a ‘cold-calling’ approach.
Acting as your artist page, simply go to a previous (well-performing) post, click on the ‘likes’ and you will be shown a list of all those who people who interacted with the post. If some on the list do not already like your page you can then simply click on ‘invite’. If you weren’t aware of this function before it might be worth spending a bit of time going through all your old posts!
2. Use Twitter lists
Not only are Twitter lists a sensible way of keeping your chaotic life as a musician, manager and PR person a little bit more in order, but they also help you quickly locate the people you want to reach AND help you start and nurture relationships.
If you haven’t explored lists already, the initial process takes a few hours. But it is totally worth it. Go through all the people you follow on Twitter and start adding them to custom lists. They could be producers, labels, music blogs, PR companies etc. It really is empowering to be able to tailor your Twitter feeds depending on what you are looking for at that time.
But the best thing? When you add someone to a list they receive a notification. This is your chance to give them a bit of love and make them aware of you! So when curating your lists you can name them things like ‘Producers I’d love to work with’, ‘Great taste blogger’, ‘Sick bands’ etc. This will definitely encourage who you add to take a look at your page, which is why the next couple of tips are so important…
3. Don’t waste valuable space on your social media profiles
This applies to all the artist pages you have (and for even better exposure why not your personal ones?). We’re talking about header images. This is one of the first things people see when they discover your profile, so make it count. Not only should it look nice (and I’m sure it does..) but this is free advertising space!
If you have a tour coming up you should have a well-designed header image with your dates on, or if you have a new release; you should be pushing it here. And don’t forget to have your artist's website / landing page or a ‘Call To Action’ on there too. Changing your header image regularly is also a good way of getting some engagement from your followers. As everybody has a social media profile of their own, they know that changing your header and then it showing up in their feed is not necessarily "your fault” (ie. you are not intentionally advertising), so they are more likely to throw you a like (try it!).
4. Make use of your pinned posts
This tip is in keeping with the above, and it is amazing how few people actually pin a baller post to their page. If you’re anything like most people on social media, then you probably post a lot of stuff; some good, some bad, some that has high engagement, some that has none. That is only natural.
But when an A&R person, or prospective future fan visits your page (maybe they got notified because you added them to a list?..) what do you really want them to see? Choose the post that best represents you as an artist and pin that to the top of your page. I would suggest this should be an embedded music video with a link to your landing page, and not that picture of you wasted you just posted at 4am that got no likes because everyone else was in bed.
5. Write blog posts
This isn’t as difficult as it sounds, or as it used to be. You don’t need to be a master of WordPress. Use an online program such as medium.com to quickly and easily knock up a blog post. It doesn’t have to be long; it could be just a collection of photos and a bit of text documenting your time in the studio, or about the gig you played last night. Not only does it look good on your profiles but it gives you more opportunities to extend your network and reach by including others in your articles.
Did you play on a killer line-up at the weekend? Write about the show, include some pictures, give the other bands, the sound guy, the photographer, the venue and fans a shout out by linking out to their pages too. Send the post to whoever features in it and you might just find they share the blog post too, which, if you've been clever, will also heavily feature plenty of content about yourself such as an embedded video, tour dates, or a link to your landing page. Not only is medium.com a great platform in itself for networking and sourcing interesting stories, you also of course have some great content for your own social channels too!
6. Google Alerts
Google alerts are so easy, so valuable and so underused! Set up a dedicated Gmail account (don’t use the one you may already have, as you will be getting a lot of daily alerts!). This can be used for two very important functions for you as an artist:
* You can set alerts for your band or artist name and the names of your singles, EPs or albums, which means whenever you're mentioned anywhere on the web you will be notified. For instance, this could be a blog from the other side of the world you’ve never heard of picking up your latest release (always good to know!). Getting these alerts not only provides you with something cool to post (and tag the writers in), but makes you feel pretty good too!
* You can set alerts for interesting 3rd party content you think would entertain YOUR audience, so your feed isn’t just all “me, me, me”. This could be news about bands that you and your fans love, articles about your political persuasion, ‘funny’ posts (dank memes are still the most engaging content out there, I’m afraid…) or just general interest stories. If your audience trusts you as an authority of cool content distribution they are much more likely to engage with your own self-serving posts.
7. Use inbound advertising
Sounds technical? Not at all. Basically, inbound advertising just means driving people that visit you at a certain touchpoint (in this case your social media posts) back to your landing page. As mentioned above there are opportunities to do this (by posting your own blog content and providing plenty of opportunities to send the reader to your website) but I also wanted to touch on a great free online tool called snip.ly.
Using this you can take 3rd party links (remember how you set up Google Alerts to get them?) and embed your own ‘floating ad’ that links the reader back to your landing page of choice. You can add a custom tagline and a Call To Action button. So if you were, for example, posting an article about Green Day, you could create a banner that says “Like Pop-Punk music? Check out this new band” that links to your site. Another bonus is that you are provided with all the statistics about how your posts perform, so you can see exactly what content is getting you the most engagement and fans.
8. Landing Page
This is a phrase I have already used a lot in this article and you may be thinking “what does he mean, landing page?”. Basically, this is the page you want your audience to land on. This would, ideally, be a page on your website where your audience can hear (and purchase!) your music. Make sure all your social posts have a link to this one page.
This would, ideally, be a page on your website where your audience can hear (and purchase!) your music. Make sure all your social posts have a link to this one page. On this page you can also have links to connect to your social profiles! (like on Facebook, follower on Twitter etc.) You can also embed your streaming profiles and live Twitter and Facebook feeds on your landing page.
9. Check out the #TrendingHashtags of the day
You don’t have to do this religiously, and should probably avoid specifically tailoring your content to suit the trending topics. But before you post, take a look at the trending hashtags. If your content is somehow related to one of the hot trends of the day (or can easily be adapted to include the hashtag) give it a whirl!
This can put you in front of a whole new audience. If you can create something original and clever that stands out from the crowd you will see a lot more re-tweets, which creates a snowball effect and makes you more visible to a LOT of people who never previously knew you existed.
10. Don’t cannibalise your Facebook posts
This means; don’t make your posts compete with each other, or allow them to affect each other negatively. If you’ve made a great post that has your audience really engaged, make sure you follow up with something well thought out to capitalise on your recent victory.
The way Facebook’s algorithms work means that if people are actively engaging with you, your posts become more visible in your fans’ newsfeeds (yes, you get ‘rewarded’ for your content's performance!). On the flipside, if you are posting regularly and not getting any likes or shares, you will be a lot less visible full stop.
With this in mind try to be aware that the content of your Facebook posts really does matter, and if you can, try to make them as valuable to your fans as possible and don’t just throw out whatever. I like to think of it like getting a strike in bowling, and then throwing a gutter ball on your next go - it’s almost like the strike counted for nothing and now you’ve got to get another strike.
An extra tip to increase engagement on your posts - TAG TAG TAG! Tag all the people who are involved in your pics or videos and any companies or establishments (venues etc.). This will increase the reach of your posts by appearing on the newsfeeds of the friends of those you have tagged.
Have you had success on social media using any of these tips? Or do you have any more advice to share about making the most of Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. Let us know in the comments!
Lee Jones is a social media specialist, freelance blogger on music and tech-related subjects, a music producer and the Creative Director of his own start-up: TAD: An iOS cover-art app for DIY musicians.