This list is designed to highlight a few areas I think a lot of artists don’t put the proper prioritization on at the beginning stages of their careers. This isn’t a complete beginner’s guide, or an in-depth view on digital marketing strategy, but rather a “hey, don’t forget about these things because they are more important than you think”.
- Don’t mistake a like or a follower for anything other than an arbitrary number. The like or follower doesn’t actually have any value to it. What has value is how you convert that like or follower. Are they going to buy a ticket, buy some merch, share your content with their friends, request your song on the radio, stream your song etc…? Having social media followers means absolutely nothing if there’s no conversion from it.
- Balance professional and personal content. Don’t just promote your music and shows on your social media account. Show your personal side. Take people off the stage and let followers get to know you. But don’t make it too personal. More than likely they’re following you because they like your music, so make sure you’re providing them with musical content as well. The key is finding a balance.
- Don’t underestimate the power of cross promotion. There are hundreds of artists in this scene that are in the same position you are, and likely have a small, but growing, social media base. Become friends with a couple of them who have a similar musical style and work together by promoting each other on your social media platforms. Co-write, do a duet, hang out, do runs together, songswap, and have all involved parties make posts about it. Retweet, comment on, and share each other’s posts. If someone digs the music of someone similar to you, then there’s a good chance that artist’s fan base will dig yours too. And the beauty is it works both ways. You can provide other artists the same benefit they’re providing you. There’s something special about artists being friends and promoting each other. For the most part, people dig it.
- Don’t forget to build out your Spotify page. Link your socials, add your tour schedule, ADD YOUR BIO, pin a track etc…There are tons of people discovering new music on Spotify and if you’re not supplementing that experience with easily accessible information, you’re losing out. I promise.
- Cover art is more powerful than ever. More and more people are discovering new music and artists through streaming services; meaning one of the first visual representations of you they’re going to see is the cover art of the song they’re listening to. Solid cover art is worth every penny.
- I’m going to continue to preach email marketing until I’m blue in the face. This is your best way to keep in touch with your loyal fans: the ones who want to stay in the loop with your new music and show dates. Email is reliable, not subject to algorithms, and not going away anytime soon. If a user leaves a social media platform, you can no longer contact them, but people keep email addresses for many, many years. It’s not going to grow like your socials, but it will be one of the most powerful assets you’ll have if you continue to build it over the years and send out content occasionally…trust me. Start building your email list today, work to grow it, put out content every once in a while, and you’ll thank yourself in 5 years.
- I think Twitter video content is one of the most underrated mechanisms you can use to build a social media base. A retweet is much more powerful than a share these days because there’s essentially no algorithm to limit them. Facebook is on the decline, but Twitter keeps chugging along. Sure continue to post the videos of your covers and originals on Facebook, but also post them on Twitter!
- FB Events are still powerful…but mainly because there’s no replacement for them. It’s no secret that Facebook is dying among younger demographic, but there are not Instagram, Twitter, or SnapChat events…so if you’re looking to push your show through socials a Facebook event is still a must.
- Having good promotional photos is important. If you have the money, go get some nice promotional photos done. We live in a world, where most people will see your picture, before they see your live show, and that picture can be difference between a fan wanting to know more, or you slipping back in to the masses of everyone else they’ve come across. I know not everyone can afford a photographer, but in a world filled with smartphones, there is no excuse not to have at least a couple of decent pictures bloggers and venues can use.
- Digital doesn’t do it all. You can use the digital world to start the relationship with fans, but it’s at the show and/or the merch booth were you cement the relationship. Get out there and talk to people, engage them, play shows, give them something to remember, and most importantly create a relationship that compels them to make their own social media posts about your music and/or show. That’s the real power of social media. Not your content, but your fans’.
- Instagram is king right now, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that it will always be. There’s nothing wrong with investing your time and money in to it right now, but make sure you are diversifying your presence.
- Look and learn. The beauty of social media is that it’s all public. Look at the artists who are building a great social media presence and analyze what they are doing that’s working for them. See what fans are responding to and engaging in. Some of the most insightful things you can learn are through the power of keen observation.
*We are planning an all day workshop that focuses purely on the digital landscape (streaming, social media, video content, websites). We encourage you to subscribe to our email newsletter to stay in the loop.
Music addict, a sucker for heartbreak songs, and avid Houston sports fan! I’am also the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Music Pickers.