A guide for influencer marketing for musicians
Learn how to utilize influencer marketing to grow and expand your music career.
A guest post from DITTO MUSIC.
Influencer marketing is one of the biggest trending hypes that independent musicians can implement into their social media marketing strategy right now. In a world where social platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube are the main tastemakers for new music, it’s no wonder that influencers have a big say in what’s hot and by default, what’s not.
The rise of influencer marketing in the music industry particularly, has seen emerging artists launch to stardom through viral popularity, create hype around new music and reach large fan followings. Sounds like something you’re interested in? Then here’s your official invitation to hop on the influencer marketing bandwagon. All aboard!
Let’s begin by defining what an ‘influencer’ actually is.
What is an influencer?
By definition, an influencer is someone who can form or shape opinions and possess a certain kind of ‘influence’ over their audience. Usually this person will have a large social media following of loyal fans who will trust their judgement and opinions on certain products or services.
In the music industry, an influencer is a powerful resource for small and emerging artists who want to get their music heard by a large audience. Influencers can help promote newer artists and their music through a number of ways, including;
– Reviewing and elevating tracks, albums or music video releases
– Creating viral moments or trends using an artist’s music
– Increasing an artist’s online following
– Increasing an artist’s streams, no. of listeners, gig tickets and merch sales
How does influencer marketing work?
For musicians looking to harness the power of influencer marketing to promote their music, it’s good to remember that this kind of promotion method is a transactional-based one.
What this means is that often both parties (in this case you, the artist & the influencer) will reap the benefits.
You’ll benefit from getting your music broadcasted to a large audience of loyal and engaged followers, who could in turn transform into loyal and engaged listeners. Whilst the influencer will benefit by raising their profile and more often now than not, making some money along the way (which we’ll get into a bit later!).
Best social media platforms for music influencer marketing
So now the question you might be asking yourself is – where can I find an influencer? Where is the best place for an influencer to promote my music?
You asked and we’ve provided.
Arguably the biggest and best place to get your music to go viral in the current social media landscape, TikTok has seen huge growth over the past couple of years and currently hosts over 1 billion users globally.
When you’re sourcing TikTok influencers to work with, as a general rule of thumb it’s best to target influencers with a 5K – 10K follower base. These are the influencers who are still working to grow their following which means they’ll probably be more open to working with smaller artists to do just that.
On TikTok, the main way influencers can promote music is through making a TikTok video and using an artist’s track as the soundtrack. They might even use it to create a new dancing, singing or lip-syncing trend that could help it stand out and even go viral!
‘Dance Monkey’ by Tones and I: Industry Case Study
Tones and Iis an Australian upcoming artist who rose to fame last year when her song ‘Dance Monkey’saw viral success after TikTok and YouTube personality Brent Rivera created a funny TikTok using the song as the backing track.
Despite the fact that she’s only started releasing music in the past few years, Tones and I has already leveraged loads of publicity from TikTok, most of which has come off the back of the comedic use of her song, which even led to the well known ‘‘Dance Monkey Challenge.’
Watch the original TikTok video here.
Currently owned by Facebook, Instagram has roughly 1 billion active users and holds huge potential for cross-platform marketing, especially if the influencer you’re partnering with has strong followings across various social media platforms.
Stories & Reels are the ultimate powerhouses for Instagram music promo. Like TikTok, when an influencer features a track in their Post, Story or Reel, a link to the track will then be automatically added to the app’s in-house music library.
‘Drivers License’ by Olivia Rodrigo: Industry Case Study
One of the top viral trending songs on Instagram Reels in 2021 was Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Drivers License’ which was released in January of last year and became an instant social media hit.
The song’s popularity rose to new heights when social media personality and influencer Kim Kardashian West, posted it as the soundtrack to her Instagram Story just a month after it’s initial release.
At just 18 years old, with exposure from BIG household influencers like Kim K, Olivia Rodrigo has proven to be a breakout star from her viral success.
Now this one’s probably a given.
Despite being the older of the previous two, YouTube remains a great platform for artists aiming to extend their reach to new audiences. Why? YouTube influencers are some of the biggest major tastemakers for millions of younger music fans.
One of the reasons for YouTube’s individual success is it’s more permanent video quality – compared to the fleeting nature of Instagram & TikTok’s short lived and often non-ephemeral (such as 24 hour Stories) posts.
A video on YouTube can rank for a long time, meaning any content you have on there about your or your music can help generate views and streams for years to come.
‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X (feat. Billy Ray Cyrus): Industry Case Study
Established YouTube music review critic and tastemaker Anthony Fantano, posted a time-lapse of himself listening to Lil Nas X’s (feat. Billy Ray Cyrus) ‘Old Town Road’before sharing his positive review to over 678,000 subscribers.
If this wasn’t enough to send the song viral, Lil Nas X joined in as well, posting a video of some of the track’s best meme mash-ups to his YouTube channel. Through a more innovative approach to distribution, Lil Nas X is an example of how artists can be active players in the promotion of their songs through different YouTube communities and tastemakers.
While Snapchat is less popular in recent years, the platform is still used by over 280 million users. Plus the app is continuing to roll out new features that are geared towards sharing music, such as Snapchat Spotlight and Snapchat Sounds.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 era, live stream gaming has seen a massive influx.
An influencer doesn’t need to be a social media celebrity. They could be a gamer who plays your music in the background while they live stream. Something as simple as that with a shoutout to their viewers while it plays and a link to your track in the chat could be just as effective as any viral vid hype.
How to get influencers to promote your music
There’s an endless number of content creators across the web. So where do you begin trying to source real world and relevant influencers to promote your music?
1. Get online
Use Google and the discovery feature of some different social media to locate a couple of potential influencers that you would be interested in working with.
2. Check out their content
When finding an influencer to promote your music, performing a quick but necessary screening of their content is one of the very first steps in the process of weeding out the ones you want to work with vs. the ones you don’t.
Consider things like: What are they posting about? What’s the overall message they’re using their socials to send out? And more importantly, would you want your music to be associated with this message?
3. Make sure your brands align
Only choose influencers whose branding complements yours.
Maybe the influencer you’ve found is a huge advocate for world hunger or climate change – that’s great! But do either of those things resonate with you and your music personally? If not, it’s time to move on brother.
Although you might agree with their mission, that’s not enough. If your brands don’t directly correlate with one another, the partnership could feel a bit mismatched – and risk confusing your followers and/or any new potential listeners.
4. Do a deep-dive into their engagement levels
Follower counts aren’t everything (and more often than not, they’re bought!).
Having 10 million followers does not necessarily guarantee good engagement levels. So it’s best to look at parameters which depend on real-life user interaction – such as the no. of likes or comments they receive on their content. This will immediately give you a good insight into the success of their engagement, and whether or not their platform is worth your time and effort for getting a decent return.
5. Consider your budget
Nowadays, content creators and influencers tend to charge fees in return for their work. Around $20 – $50 per post is about the going rate for a smaller micro influencer. Bigger influencers will unsurprisingly charge more.
But like a lot of things in the world of social media and fast-moving trends, influencer collaborations are a gamble. There’s no guarantee that you’ll reap the return you’re hoping for.
That’s why it’s better to spread your budget out across several smaller influencers who’re making great content to boost your chances of connecting with multiple different followings, rather than splurging on one single influencer and running the risk of alienating other potential audiences.
Remember – you can negotiate fees with an influencer based on things like…
– Their average no. of story views and swipe ups
– Their average no. of website clicks
– Their average engagement over the past 30 days
6. Create a spreadsheet & start pitching
Once you’ve narrowed down a list of influencers that you know you’d like to reach out to, create a spreadsheet to keep record of all the important info.
Make a note of each influencer’s…
– Social media handle
– Contact no./email address (usually you can find one of these in the bio of their profile)
Start making your way down the list and approaching influencers directly, either by email, their website or through a social media DM.
But a quick tip before you actually contact them – take some time to build a rapport with them. This could be simply liking and commenting on their vids or posts. This means they’ll be more familiar with your username when you do message, and it could always work in your favour when it comes to negotiating prices or even getting some work done for free.
How to measure the success of your music influencer campaign
So you’ve recruited an influencer to promote your music and the campaign’s now in full swing – congrats!
But how can you go about actually measuring the success of your campaign and whether or not it’s worked as well as you’d hoped?
The main marker of any successful influencer campaign = conversion.
And in the case of music promotion, conversion translates to the number of social media followers who turn into active listeners or streams.
So that’s followers clicking the link from the social media platform to your song and searching for the song themselves on a music streaming platform.
A good way to get insights into this is to measure whether the number of new streams of your track is paralleling the posts and trends your influencer is making.
Remember – the ultimate goal with influencer marketing is to promote your music and find new fans.