5 Growth Hacking Tips For Musicians
Guest post by Daniel Hartnett of the Symphonic Blog
This article about promoting your music is written by Daniel Hartnett, aka The Corporatethief Beats. Daniel is a music marketing blogger and beat maker on his website www.thecorporatethiefbeats.com. You can reach Daniel on Twitter @corporatethief.
To learn music marketing efficiently means that music is not the only linchpin of your career as a musician but your online presence as well. With solid online platforms, you as a musician can further strengthen your bond with your existing fans and invariably allow for new ones.
Needless to say, building your fans and deepening your bond with them can be a pain in the ass. Can you imagine? Getting rewarded with only meager likes, views, and downloads after all the struggle just to write, record, mix and come up with a masterpiece. Oh, the horror!
Time and time again you hear the same music marketing tactics that are overplayed and flat out just don’t work. How about “Promote your music on Facebook?” or “Post your music in Facebook Groups?”
And so enters the rolling tumbleweed…
Unfortunately, the obsolete “build it and they will come” system is a failure, and will likely still be in times to come. So if you want to promote your music or passion with such method, it’ll be good—for a start, maybe. But don’t get your hopes up relying on that because sooner or later, you’ll just end up going back to square one.
That’s just another generic music promotion tip that’ll just get you to nowhere! Seriously, this has been what the so-called music marketing gurus always tell musicians.
They’d even suggest coming up with “great music” and sharing it on Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms, and you’ll go viral. Really?! So people will just notice and love what I shared right away?
Nuh-uh! It’s not that simple…
Our generation is fortunate to have major technological advancements by our side and it’s one of the major strong points why the baby boomers envy us. Thanks to the Internet, bringing in new fans from around the world couldn’t be easier.
YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SoundCloud and other social medias paved the way so that independent musicians can have a portion of, or take over, the spotlight. But just like how what we have in mind sometimes fails to tally with reality, embarking on music promotion and getting solid supporters can be challenging.
Bear in mind that not all musicians are blessed with thousands of followers on social media, which can make music promotion as easy as clicking a button. Believe it or not, just like everyone else, they too have to start from scratch.
Why don’t we take advice from Forbes’ 2017’s 5th Billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg—he may not be known as a musician but he definitely nailed it when he said—let me rephrase it:
“People have an impact on people. Nothing makes more impact to people than an endorsement from a trusted friend. They influence people better than the best broadcast message. Someone who can win people’s trust is the Holy Grail of advertising.”
So that just goes to say that whatever it is you’re trying to promote, be it music, a product, or a service, a lot of time and effort has to be spent before you could have a decent amount of followers and an established community. Speaking of followers, followers mean not just followers, but engaged ones.
Social content lockers and other promotional tools can boost your online presence and bring you lots of traffic by creating follow, share, rate, vote, play, and/or download buttons and using Social media tycoons like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google Plus.
However, they can still be inadequate and any bonus from things like growth hacking tips and tools are a brilliant idea to simply kick it up the notch.
Setting a Trap
We’ll be discussing and exploring growth hacking tips and tools here. These will aid any artist to promote their passion, even if they’re only blessed with small followings.
While these growth hacking tips and tools are a boon to any company, fresh businesses and independent entrepreneurs, especially musicians, will definitely find these music marketing strategies an invaluable blessing.
Think about it. If you’re new to the music marketing industry, unless you have all the resources, you don’t get to have huge marketing departments and capitalize on reputable advertising firms for their campaigns.
But what you can instead do is concentrate on becoming known, building a solid fanbase and making sales out of traffic. That is what growth hacking means!
Getting positive results and improving your chops as an independent or fresh music promoter can be done with ease and, of course, be less stressful with the music marketing strategies discussed here.
The idea is to help musicians and other entrepreneurs in their effort to keep their supporters while bringing in new ones despite having a lesser following.
TIP 1: Hip-Hop Artist Bootstrapping 101 — Influencer Marketing
This is best sampled by the collaboration of hip-hop artists in the hip-hop music industry.
Just take the album Watch the Throne by American rappers Kanye West and Jay-Z for example. Their collaboration paved the way for the No. 1 spot on Billboard 200 on August 27, 2011, and sold over 430,000 copies in just a week. Just look at the numbers, it’s pretty solid!
The idea is to get yourself a partner who’s as prominent and influential as you. You can use the fanbase levels as your basis: YouTube video subscribers, Facebook followers, content style similarity, and blog features.
Join forces with another musician to broaden your connection and increase your online presence. It’s a “you use me, I use you” kind of scenario where both parties can bring home the bacon.
Your partnership with other musicians means new audiences for you. You have to keep them interested by using similar maneuvers and your partner’s influence. This is the perfect time to boost your Facebook fan page—capitalizing on this brilliant influence marketing strategy.
Yes, you got a solid connection! Yes, you have a greater following! Well, don’t just stop there! You need to expand, and one way to do it is through guest blogging. You need to visit other blogs with niche or content similar to yours and offer them a FREE blog post.
So if you’re a musician, get on some music blogs, and ask permission to provide them FREE content, be it a product review of a musical instrument, information about it or a how-to. You can even offer them free content such as a vocal or a hook to another artist to make yourself more reputable and highly-valued.
If you’re going to promote your music, make sure you offer to write content on a totally related blog. What we want as a result is to get the right traffic and the right audience.
And mind you, if you want to succeed in the music industry, remember that your role isn’t only as a TAKER but as a GIVER as well. So it’s a give and take and vice versa, and not to take only.
One of the major advantages of having a partner is cutting down each party’s workload. Both will only have to pay attention to one verse. Each musician has YouTube, SoundCloud, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook followers.
Collaborating with another musician gives you exposure to their fanbase and allows you to recruit some their followers. However, the cost and amount of work promoting each account can be limited, depending on each other’s sphere of interest.
Remember when American rapper Kendrick Lamar had a collaboration with pop star Taylor Swift back in 2015 for the music video “Bad Blood?” Even though audiences were divided into two groups—Dot fans and Swifties, they were still under the same age group.
Giving Kung Fu Kenny the spotlight and an exposure to the commercial audience while trying to make Taylor Swift cool to maintain her image as a pop princess was indeed one hell of a brilliant collaboration! Well, it is undeniable that Kendrick Lamar amassed many female fans, and his fans could potentially become Swifties too.
Well, the Lamar-Swift collaboration is just one of the successful partnerships when it comes to music marketing. How the two big fish of the music industry came together makes for an excellent idea to nurture your Facebook page too—capitalizing on the popularity of others to give your Facebook page a boost.
Musicians can grow their Facebook fans without spending on Facebook ads by just having it bootstrapped with influence instead. While giving Facebook advertisement a try for a fee isn’t really a bad move when promoting your music, a lot of music-savvy would rather save money than time. You never know. What you’ve set aside might come in handy in desperate times.
Facebook has done an amazing job with its ad platform. The social media tycoon couldn’t be of any better help to musicians looking to promote their music by lending them its paid ad service. It helped me come up with a strategy to get in touch with a niche relevant to mine in the music industry. Just don’t forget musicians need to build an email list, just like you build your social profiles.
True! Facebook is a powerful tool to aid you in your music promotion efforts but relying so much on it is bad practice. If there’s one thing that we’re sure of, it’s probably the notion that “change” is the only thing permanent in this world. And Facebook isn’t immune to change, so finding a way to direct your fans to your website or blog and getting them to subscribe is essential.
TIP 2: Music Promotion — The Magic of Sniply
In my quest to promote my passion about music online, I stumbled upon this godsend treasure—Sniply.
Sniply is a handy dandy browser extension that lets you add a call-to-action of your own onto any content piece that you want to promote online. It simply enables you to drive conversion via content marketing no matter what the content is.
Still don’t get it?
To get a better grasp of this little-yet-powerful tool, simply right-click this Sniply link: http://snip.ly/mwupf and it’ll direct you to a webpage. At the bottom left corner of the page, you’ll see the call-to-action link along with the avatar of a handsome chap ???? —ahem!
If the picture of you fails to convince new fans to subscribe, perhaps the call-to-action message will. Ta-da!!! So there you have it, another way to get your followers to engage in your music by using a link. Nice!
Again, Sniply is a powerful tool and here is why.
Did you watch the video above? To sum it up, here are the key features of Sniply that really had me dumbfounded.
A quick navigation of its dashboard lets me fashion my own call-to-action message by adding a text, button, or link, which I can then use to attract my audience and bring them to my music.
There’s more! Sniply also lets you add a form to your snip to get your fans’ contact info or have them register for your email newsletters.
So you don’t like how your CTA or snip appears? No problem! Sniply lets you personalize the domain, code, positioning, design, and theme. The call-to-action message can be an extension of you.
Did I mention that Sniply also allows you to monitor how every page you promoted is doing? Another WOW factor for Sniply. And of course, this powerful app comes in the form of a browser extension which you can add to both Chrome and Firefox. Accessing Sniply and making links just got easier!
Looking for a page in your niche site that can be potential clickbait might take longer than making CTA links using Sniply. Just imagine how much time you’ll be able to save from producing content every day with this amazing tool.
You can actually take advantage of the most talked about and already available content and still get credit for using your CTA to promote pages. Because Sniply lets you customize the position of your call-to-action message, it’ll be sitting nicely on a high authority site that you share online.
Sniply still hoards more amazing features!
Sniply also works with the social media management platforms that you’re using, such as HootSuite and Buffer.
Not to mention Sniply also gives you the freedom to choose from available CTAs so you can experiment and determine what CTA will drive more traffic and bring more fans.
And you know what? You can actually sign up for Sniply. It is free and comes in with up to 1000 free shots of its promotional links. Well, that’s a pretty sweet deal for an independent musician.
For a fee, you could also try Sniply’s pro-level packages to make the most out of it. You get to unlock its key features from better customization to more promotional links. Won’t you give it a try?
TIP 3: IFTTT — Syndicating your Music to Web 2.0 Sites
IFTTT stands for If This Then That. It’s pronounced as ‘ift,’ which sounds like a gift because it is.
It can effortlessly automate web-application tasks, such as tedious posting of the same content on your several social networks. IFTTT even gives you the freedom to syndicate your web 2.0 properties’ (blogger, WordPress blog, Tumblr blog) content.
IFTTT is totally a GIFT because it’s a single web tool that acts as an ultimate automation service for all your internet errands.
Who needs an employee now when IFTTT helps you in countless ways to automate and simplify your work in promoting your music? Check out the video below to learn more about IFTTT.
So here’s why you’ll love IFTTT even more.
Instead of consuming so much time posting the same content in all your social media sites and ending up getting delayed engagements with your viewers, you can now link all your social sites together to trigger the action of another social network site with the help of this amazing syndication too.
Just like when you upload a new video of your song covers, music videos and mixed tapes to YouTube, there is no need to download and upload them again to your other sites because IFTTT will syndicate the video to all your other web properties and social networking websites as a trigger.
Woah! Such a time saver indeed! Thus, cutting the long process of manually linking them all together and delaying possible and positive results of promoting your new music.
So, for instance, you have a new video of yourself covering a song and you just uploaded it on YouTube. What IFTTT does is it activates a social network site like your Twitter or Facebook and uploads your video from mp3 to SoundCloud which is then embedded on your Tumblr blog or to your WordPress blog.
It’s really awesome how it directs your action into a domino-like effect wherein your first step leads to succeeding steps in just a blink of an eye and presto, you’re done putting up your new video to all your other social network sites and websites.
Is it just me? Or this application blowing our minds right now? It’s doing a bunch of work that could totally save us a lot of time. Can you believe it?!
IFTTT’s capability is infinite!
When you’re feeling lazy at home, you could actually use IFTTT (with the right app) to switch your lights on or off without moving an inch. I mean c’mon that’s pretty dope!
And did you know that aside from being completely free, IFTTT has no pro-level pricing or limited trial days?
Just wow! Talk about a lifetime treat!
Possibilities with IFTTT are endless, so although it’s a bit complicated to set up at first, it’s definitely still worth it. Why? Because when it’s ready to use and you’ll get the hang of it, you could have so much more time to work on your videos and you can even set aside some time for more planning, composing or even doing more productive things.
With IFTTT, your benefits are limitless and promoting your music through your other websites will be easy breezy in the long run.
Other Features of IFTTT
Check out IFTTT’s other helpful features that musicians will find beneficial in promoting their music online.
- YouTube videos and blog posts can develop concrete web 2.0 backlinks. It hypes initial viewership of Youtube videos.
- Through initial source of social signals and traffic, your Youtube videos and blog posts will rank higher.
- Connecting IFTTT to Sniply can even promote the call to action links. There’s RSS syndication of some popular blogs.
- Building lists of people on Twitter that use certain keywords.
- Promoting evergreen content like albums, featured blog posts, and press releases at specific times of the day is made easy with IFTTT.
TIP 4: YouTube and Facebook Live Streaming
We’ve probably seen random people like musicians and artists using live streaming on YouTube and Facebook a number of times now, especially when we connect with someone who’s gone viral before, or is someone you get inspiration from, or is someone you idolized and followed for a long time because you admire what they do.
Musicians and artists usually do live streaming because it doesn’t just make them closer to their viewers or followers on Facebook and subscribers on YouTube, but it helps them connect to those people who admire and appreciate their music.
Utilizing live streaming on Facebook and YouTube will give your viewers an impression of how genuine your intentions are to reach out to them through your music.
Your sincerity will not only make your fans love and adore you more but also build a foundation with your new fans who were once just a listener.
Your fans will then become a fandom and will spread your music not just for you but for other people to know how good you are and how passionate you are as an artist.
The people who idolize you will then share your music and the kitsch they’ve felt not just to their family and friends but to the whole community they are in.
After getting all the attention that you deserve considering all the hard work you’ve put into your music, just imagine them leaving positive comments and just expressing how amazing they are. It would probably feel like a dream, right?
Your fandom will support you and your music through buying concert tickets and ordering some of what you’re selling and ultimately be by your side until you reach your goal.
Streaming live on Facebook and YouTube means you’ve opened yourself to the viewers, you’ve let them see the real you without edits or filters. But did you know that when you do live streaming on YouTube or Facebook, you’re not just creating a common ground with your viewers but that it can actually promote your music better?
But how? Aside from increasing your searchability and transcending in the search engine page, your subscribers and followers are actually notified once you’re live streaming!
Isn’t that outstandingly convenient?
Being notified means that YouTube will email your subscribers and Facebook will immediately tap your followers, popping up your name in their notifications.
Live videos are much more powerful than just regularly uploaded ones because it gives the viewers incentive to keep still and watch. For a regular video, you could just save it for later but for live streaming, you need to keep watching because you don’t want to miss a thing, right?
So much for that, the question is how do you stream live?
Well, by using the Quick Live Google Hangouts feature where you can also chat live or interact with your live viewers.
Another way which most people commonly use is through the use of the custom live YouTube Events feature which you will then link to a FREE encoding software like Open Broadcast Software. OBS can be operated with Facebook live as well.
Then you wouldn’t need to worry about sound quality issues because you can stream a pre-recorded video live to YouTube.
Too good to be true? Yeah! Because not everything is perfect, and live streaming, no matter how super it is, is still vulnerable to a kryptonite. Now, the downside with YouTube and Facebook live streaming is that you need a solid upload speed.
Live streaming might not work as what you’ve expected if the upload speed is less than about 1-2MBPS, which can stream at 480p–those numbers give you enough quality to enjoy using YouTube and Facebook live.
TIP 5: Podcasts — Taking Music Promotion to the Next Level
Podcasts have been extremely popular with the younger generations and this revolutionary new means for promoting music has been proven to expand fan demographics over the years.
Many musicians have made an attempt to penetrate into the industry’s market through securing a single article or blog post on renowned websites or popular music sites but struggle to keep afloat amidst increasing competition.
However, few musicians have cut through the noise to get noticed through podcasting. A podcast is like a radio show where musicians and the like showcase their talent which is made by someone and then posted online that’s available for download and listens via iTunes or your iPhone and iPod.
You can search for numerous lists of a podcast to contact via Google or different social networks site like Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, and stitcher.
Outsourcing — Get the Job Done by Someone
Oftentimes, musicians struggle in implementing their music on several marketing platforms because of stereotyping scenarios like not getting any solid supporters. Spending time on their music is what makes them really emotionally attached and proprietorial.
That’s why hiring someone you can rely on to work for you is highly advisable.
Promising results are highly probable when you would hire VAs instead of doing it yourself since VAs will work accordingly, giving their best shot to satisfy you.
Always remember that in order to win podcast owners over, you need to deliver what they want. Pick the right music genre and the right specifications because there are sites who don’t compromise.
It’s not over yet!
What sets podcasts apart from other outlets is that they are easier to create than other music marketing tools that you can use.
A blog post, for example, should not be plagiarized. Also, it may not get steady attention. You’re lucky enough if you get a reader’s attention for a few minutes.
It’s sad but true.
In podcasting, if you’d get your listeners grip then you could hold them down for about 30-60 minutes. And that’s quite a long time to keep your listeners interested and looking forward to future episodes or shows.
Audio’s versatility is podcasts’ edge because it is not only an all-around medium but the connection that it establishes with podcasters is deep and personal —as sarcasm, humor and enthusiasm are easily portrayed and understood compared to reading materials.
Podcast vs Blog — Podcast FTW!
Come to think of it, we can’t ignore the fact that not everyone knows and listens to a podcast. It has reached only a few folks and is not sustainable to reach the benefits of search engine optimization (SEO) unlike textual contents that a blog can offer.
I guess for this round podcast fell short…
On the bright side, creating a podcast that interests you will really exercise your creativity and unleashes your inner Kanye, unlike a blog post which has to be unique to one website only.
Pot of Gold
More choices mean more chances. That’s why submitting your podcast to all major podcasting directories and websites will increase its chances of selection and earlier preview to your fans and followers.
It would be even better if you could record your episodes by batch in one day so you would have content that’s ready for release, such as one podcast episode every month.
Time for you to shine!
These five tips may sound sawed-off but with the right strategies and right attitude with ample creativity, these tips are all you need in building your empire as a musician and a highly sought-after music influencer.
Keep in mind that it takes time and patience to establish your brand. And who knows? After reading this post, you might develop a game-changing plan for promoting your music.
Never stop learning new things and researching new hacks or apps to help you reach the right audience. Because your journey as a musician is a continuous learning process. Although you may struggle at first, your determination will help you reap your rewards in the future.
Never be afraid to try new things and hacks to help you in promoting your music.
When things get rough and hectic, you can always hire someone to assist you with your task like a virtual assistant who will work on your music marketing strategies.
If you found this article to be an eye-opener to you as a musician or promoter, feel free to spread this to others, especially musicians. Break a leg!
Daniel Hartnett, aka The Corporatethief Beats, is a hip-hop beatmaker, songwriter, and music marketing blogger from Dublin, Ireland.