How often do you see a friend has shared a music video on their social media? Ever wondered how to make sure it is your music video people are sharing?
This guide will cover every aspect of Social Media promotion for musicians by going in-depth in to concepts used by the biggest marketing agencies in the world to break artists in to the Top 40 charts, with the power of building a loyal fanbase.
I’m sure you will have heard it, not just from us but other music PR companies too that social media is a tremendous opportunity for bands and artists. In 2018, we don’t have the usual gatekeepers who decide whether you receive the mass exposure your music deserves, you can now be in complete control of your online music promotion.
Some of the biggest bands in the world tend to have the biggest personalities, such as Liam Gallagher or Alex Turner. It is these personalities which can shine through and add something that little bit special to a band above and beyond the quality of their music.
We understand that as musicians you aren’t constantly releasing music, and there can be a lot of downtime, so you need to have a strategy which allows you to create content for your audience even when you are busy in the studio or between releases.
Success on social media isn’t just about the content you create and the tips and hacks you’re going to learn in this guide, your mindset is the most important ingredient for the perfect social media strategy. A frequent misconception of social media success is that going ‘viral’ is the ultimate goal, however when was the last time you saw a music video go viral?
It is possible to get thousands of people to share your music video. In order to do this, you need to establish a core audience who are loyal fans and have gotten used to interacting and sharing with your social media content.
This is where the power of your mindset comes in to play, because the amount of work and persistence which is required to undergo a successful social media campaign means you need to be emotionally resilient and have an attitude which can keep creating content even though you may not receive the short-term success you were hoping for. Social Media is a long-term game.
Now that you’re in the right frame of mind to conquer this beast, let’s start talking strategy.
1. Create a strategy
Musicians and bands face an incredibly difficult conundrum on social media, as listening to new music requires the listener to be in a certain mood and in a place where they can listen to music without being disturbed, and these aren’t always the same conditions when you’re surfing social media. Especially as most platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have audio muted by default, so not only do you need people to pause and listen to your track, but you need them to unmute the video, which may not seem like a significant action, but getting people to take notice of social media content is something that corporations are investing millions in to achieving to help sell products, which shows how precise and impactful your strategy needs to be.
I really wish I could tell you that it is the music that does the talking when it comes to the success of your music, but from experience of music PR there is a whole entire realm of factors which can get you noticed, and the first one is your image as a band. I see this point in every music tips blog post I ever read, to “get your image right”, and it’s a very easy point to make but it’s not easy to do. So, let’s go a bit deeper in to this, here’s our best tips for getting your image right on social media.
1) Have the same images across all social media platforms
This is something we see very frequently, where an artist has different profile pictures for each platform, which may show variation, but it does not give the impression of a complete package. Maybe one band member set up the Twitter a few years ago and it hasn’t been updated, another member manages the Facebook and then Instagram became popular and that’s where you put all of your most recent imagery. The result of this can be very messy, especially for potential fans who may be fans on Instagram and have become accustomed to your image, they may immediately recognise you on Twitter as they scroll through recommended profiles and immediately hit the follow button.
2) Make use of Facebook cover videos
This is a new feature, which done well can really make your Facebook page look special. You can upload videos as cover photos, which can be either clips of your music videos, a custom looping video or an animation which advertising your next release or tour.
3) Get professional photography
You can always tell if an artist has attempted to do their own photoshoot, and we are a big advocator for using your own equipment to create content, but when it comes to branding and imagery you really should get it professionally done. There are some amazing photographers out there now who don’t actually charge a lot of money, especially if you find someone who is looking to build their portfolio or is fresh out of University.
4) Pay attention to detail
Once you have an idea of the look and feel you’d like your band to have, it’s important that this flows throughout your imagery, down to your location and clothing. We see mistakes such as bands who have chosen a location with a boring background or clothing which does not look unique and each band member has a style which clashes with the rest of the band.
2. Decide the content should you create
Your social media strategy needs to be implemented in groups of 10, that is 10 pieces of content which have been planned in advance. This is to ensure you have a plan which you stick to and don’t succumb to temptation to change or abandon the strategy before you have produced enough content to have a large enough sample size to analyse your results.
We encourage you to have a consistent image, but that doesn’t mean your content should be the same across all your social medias, in fact it is the opposite. Each social media platform has completely different dynamics, the people who are using Snapchat are in a completely different frame of mind to those on Facebook or YouTube, you need to find a way to tell your story across various platforms and mediums.
The 3 types of content you can create on Social Media
People love to follow stories and tend to take a keen interest in other people’s lives, this is why reality TV shows such as Big Brother and Love Island have become so popular.
You should be documenting your journey as an emerging band, creating a story of how you are just beginning, the successes, the setbacks, backstage, festivals. You can pre-plan the story which will be followed, what aspects of this story are important to you and how the content will be storyboarded. Be sure to take advantage of the characters within your band, everyone is individual, and it is the people that your potential fans will relate to.
The great thing about documenting is that it is happening 24/7 around you, there is always an opportunity to document as you are quite literally publishing whatever is happening around you.
People are always looking to learn and if you can provide that, it is a fantastic opportunity to build fans and loyalty. Does someone in your band have a particular talent, or have unique techniques for creating music?
This is a great opportunity to educate people who’d like to learn your skills, who will repay you by helping you promote your music video.
If you have the ability to entertain your potential fans with content, then this is absolutely the option to take. To achieve this, you need to have great personalities in the band, with a content structure which allows you to create a high standard of videos on a consistent basis, we’ll cover more on this later.
Develop 3 Key Themes
All successful social media profiles have themes throughout, whether they are sport related, political, business or music related. But themes don’t just have to be topics, they can be something that you feel passionate about such as a charity, or perhaps you have something to protest against. These themes give people something to relate to your content. Most people on social media aren’t actually looking to learn something new, or be persuaded to change their opinion, they are looking for content which reinforces an opinion they already have. This means you shouldn’t be thinking “this will be my theme because I think a lot of people will like that”, it actually works the opposite, you should decide your theme and let your audience find you. This way you can be sure you will come across as authentic and relatable to your potential audience.
One artist we worked with decided to create cover songs on his Facebook account, and asked for suggestions in the comments for his next song. The rule was that the suggestion which got the most likes he had to cover in his next video, which led to a lot of engagement and loyalty. It also gave the audience a sense of communication with him as they truly felt like each comment may result in a video being created just for them.
Once you have come up with 3 of these themes, you will find you are pulling in fans from each of the three themes as well as the quality of your music. It is important that you stick to these themes as although it may seem a little repetitive to you, people will feel comfortable with your content when they see content which they initially followed you to see.
3. Choose the right Social Media platform to promote your Music
It’s important to pick the right platform for you, and in most cases, it is better to choose which platform you’d like to focus on once you know your content strategy. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and it is up to you to manoeuvre each one in order to tell your story to your audience.
Facebook is the best platform for when you’re just starting out as the advertising functionality is the most powerful and diverse of all the platforms. You can post any form of content whether it is images, videos, text posts or even a live video.
Once you have posted this content, Facebook allows you to pay to advertise your content and page to a precisely targeted audience, which is the most efficient way to reach a new audience
Facebook has significantly changed the way they operate in the last few months, making it even more difficult to reach your existing audience. This means, unlike other platforms, people who are following your page aren’t definitely going to be shown your latest posts. Facebook can also be quite a distracting Social Media to use, with a lot going on at the screen at once with ads, notifications and messenger.
How to build an audience on Facebook
The best way to build your audience on Facebook is using their advertising platform. We explain how best to advertise on Facebook later on.
Twitter is a great platform for allowing you to communicate with your audience and have a conversation with potential fans. The instantaneous nature of the platform allows for short bursts of activity and engagement to discuss the latest trends.
Twitter has now become the worst social media for engagement and click throughs. If you were to build an audience of 20k followers and posted your latest music video, it is very likely that no more than 200 people would click the link. This is due to the fast pace of Twitter where people choose to look at it only when they want quick information, rather than watching a full video.
How to build an audience on Twitter
For short-term results we recommend getting started with the follow/unfollow technique, but don’t get too carried away with this, the easier a follower is to get the less valuable they are to you. You should gain valuable followers by creating great content, which gets likes and retweets, spreading awareness and gaining organic followers.
Instagram is the platform everyone wants to be hot on right now. It is the cheapest and easiest place to build an audience, with use of hashtags to help get discovered and Instagram stories and live videos to keep your fans engaged. Instagram is becoming one of the most important social networks to be posting content.
Instagram has one big drawback, which is that you cannot link away from Instagram itself. If you want to post a link to your latest music video it’s not possible to do without running an ad. One way around this is to add the link to your bio and direct your fans there, but this isn’t ideal for conversions.
How to build an audience on Instagram
Building an audience on Instagram is primarily about the right hashtags. Don’t be fooled in to thinking that the most popular hashtags are the best for you though, just because there are a lot of posts for that hashtag doesn’t mean people are necessarily searching it. There are Hashtag research tools you can use to help you find the right hashtags. Be sure to be posting frequent stories, as this may not gain you followers but the algorithm does favour accounts which are using the stories feature.
Snapchat is fantastic to get people’s attention. The way people use it means that they are 100% focussed on your content and there are zero distractions, which means that 1 follower on Snapchat is worth more than any follower on other social media platforms.
Snapchat’s user base is severely on the decline, with them focussing more so on established influencers. With no discovery features it makes it very difficult for emerging artists to be discovered.
How to build an audience on Snapchat
Snapchat is the most difficult platform to build an audience. We recommend funnelling fans through other social medias by promising exclusive content on Snapchat.
As this is where you will likely be uploading your music video to, it is the ultimate goal to gain a following on YouTube, once you have a subscriber base your fans will immediately be alerted of your new music video and will likely watch it.
YouTube’s algorithm is not designed for music, it is designed for ‘YouTubers’ who build a subscriber base by creating frequent videos. Therefore, uploading one video every few months means it will be difficult to trigger the algorithm to recommend your video to others.
How to build an audience on YouTube
YouTube is about being favoured by the algorithm. A lot of people think that YouTube suggests your video based on the number of views, but it’s actually based on minutes-watched. So, if viewers are watching your videos to the very end, you are more likely to be ranked higher than those who watch the first 5 seconds and click another video. This is why it is important not to buy fake views.
Twitch deserves a special mention due to the rapid growth it has seen recently. Originally a platform to watch others play video games, Twitch has opened up to other types of content such as music. You can now build an audience entirely by streaming your music composition live.
4. Establish which mediums to use for your content
Remember with all of your content you need to be adding value to your potential fans. Montage videos which show how great your band is, or behind the scenes of the filming of your music video is actually taking from your audience rather than giving, as it is essentially an advertisement for your video. These videos only work with your loyal fans. We’re focussing on how to build new fans for your band.
On most social media platforms, videos are the best converting type of content, they are enticing, and they make people stop scrolling and watch.
Videos are by far the most difficult to get right, you need to have a storyline planned out for the video as well as enough character and energy to keep the fans watching until the end.
Successful videos come with great planning, you need to know exactly what is going to happen in each video, with a compelling beginning, middle and end.
Cover videos, if chosen wisely can provide a fantastic opportunity to attract potential fans to become familiar with your band, by covering a track that they’d like to hear. The selection of the track is the most important part. The primary mistake we see is bands who cover songs that are currently in the charts because they assume people will be searching for that song and decide to listen to their cover, however this rarely happens. It would be best to either choose a track which was very popular around 10-20 years ago which instigates nostalgia with potential fans or create a cover of a track from a completely different genre and make it your own.
Stay local and look for collaboration opportunities which both provide the foundation for entertainment as well as distribution. For example, perhaps the band need to de-stress before their big gig, so they visit the local meditation centre to focus and relax.
Maybe the band would like to perfect their stage presence, so they go to the local theatre to get lessons in theatrical acting.
Has a new cool chocolate fondue place just opened in your town? Take the band with you and check it out and film the results!
These 3 ideas have the grounding to provide great content and allow the entertaining content to form naturally, as well as providing a distribution outlet as the collaboration will likely share the video on their own socials, and also attract attention from various interest groups.
Bonus Tip: Don’t have a camera or have any knowledge of video editing?
There are so many students coming out of film school who are looking to build their portfolio. Many of which would jump at the opportunity of having content to film and edit to make their own and add it to their portfolio, so don’t be afraid to look for volunteers.
Blogs are still very much alive, and once you have your 3 key themes you can actually start a blog on behalf of your band. There are so many distribution channels for text-based content such as Medium, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Reddit. This extra exposure can help you in building a mailing list, which you can then promote your new music video to.
Images are the easiest content to create and post, however unfortunately it is difficult to build your fan-base through images alone.
If you content is going to be primarily image-based, the images need to be a step above other bands. You may need to include text within your images, which follow your key themes, allowing people to interact and comment on each image. If people do comment on your content, you should always respond to each and every engagement, this not only favours the algorithms but gives you a chance of converting another fan.
5. Distribute your content to an audience
Now that you have a content strategy and created your content, you need to know how to get it out there. There are multiple options for publicising your content and you need to have decided which routes you are taking during the planning of your content. Distribution should never be an afterthought.
The most sustainable method of promoting your content is using the resources that are already at your disposal within each platform. So, if you already have an initial fan base you can post your content on your social media, with additional reach using hashtags if you’re posting on a site such as Twitter and Instagram. It is recommended to try to get some organic momentum first before investing money because you want to be able to show that the content will generate engagement as well convincing the algorithms that people are willing to engage in this content.
This is where you find social media users who have previously shared similar content to your own. By finding people who are at a similar (or slightly higher) level to yourselves, you can search Twitter and Facebook to find people who liked the content so much they shared it. You can use websites such as Buzzsumo which allows you to take the content links and reverse search them, so you can easily find people with large audiences who have shared the link.
Once you have found them, you can simply reach out with a message such as:
“Hi [Insert Name], I noticed you shared that amazing video by [insert content creator], we actually made something similar and we really hope you enjoy it”.
As you already know that the person is willing to share this type of content if they like it, there is no need to push them to share it.
Word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing, which means this can be a very effective tool to have in your arsenal. You can find people with high follower accounts to give you shout-outs on social media and share your content. This can cost from between £30 – £2,000 depending on how large and engaged their audience is. Always be sure to choose an influencer who has an audience which is relevant to your content. You can use platforms such as Famebit to find people willing to share your content.
Collaborating with other content creators who have a fan base which may become fans of your band (and vice versa) allows you to get together to create better content than you could have on your own. For example, you could create ‘Battle of the Bands’ videos where you compete with other bands on challenges, it could be music related or something completely different.
These collaborations allow you to both create better content than what you would have been able to alone, as well as exchanging exposure with each other’s fan base, which results in you both gaining more fans.
Facebook advertising strategy
The final option is paid advertising through Facebook and Instagram.
As mentioned earlier, for artists it isn’t easy to get people to pay attention to you on social media, what makes your band worth listening to compared to the last band that invested a bunch of cash in to getting on your newsfeed?
The earlier the stage in the funnel, the more content you need to create. You only get one shot at asking your audience to listen to your track, hit them with it too early and the loyalty won’t be strong enough, or perhaps they listen but don’t share it with their friends. Timing is everything.
The truth is, that cold advertising your music video achieves very little, and Facebook will happily tell that you that you have achieved 100,000 views, however that only means 100,000 people have watched 3 seconds of your video…which is useless to you.
You need to be creating content which engages your audience and encourages people to interact. Social Media isn’t about bragging your successes such as radio play, press coverage or festival spots, you need to create a story for people to follow. Create a funnel which begins with raising awareness of your band all the way down to them listening to your music. It should look something like this:
Objective: Raising Awareness
The objective of this phase is to raise awareness of your band, maybe they won’t actually choose to follow your band at this point, but that’s fine, all we need is for them to know you exist and register your name/brand.
Content: Shorter images and videos
This is the high-volume content which you are able to put out frequently. We haven’t earned enough respect from the audience to be rewarded with a long period of their attention, so this content needs to be impactful from the very beginning. It could best be described as the teasers to the content you have to come soon or bitesize versions.
Examples of content could be short videos or images with text which surrounds one of your chosen themes, clips from previous large pieces of content or something that introduces your audience to one of the key themes
Objective: Familiarising your audience
Now that your audience are aware you exist, they may be willing to give your content a chance as you’ve come up on their social media feed quite often. This is where you begin to retarget your audience to only those who have viewed your previous content as well as people who already like/follow your page. This ensures that your longer and more in-depth content is not wasted on people who have never heard of you, and therefore would be useless to promote your music to.
Content: Longer and more in-depth
As you have the strength of your brand awareness behind you, you can now attempt to add value to people’s lives by publishing the best content you possibly can, this will be longer and more in-depth pieces of content, and I’m not just talking about videos, this could be blog posts or images with detailed text on them, any content which takes a little more time to consume.
Objective: Hit them with your release
This is the moment you’ve all been waiting for, sending out your music to your new fan base. Now that you have created loyalty and added value to your fans, they will now be intrigued enough to listen to the new release of your music, if they like it they will most likely share it, just like they have with your other content.
Content: Promoting your music
This one is self-explanatory, but you can now promote your music to your audience with the confidence that you are likely to get a lot of shares from your fan base. You can either upload your music video directly to Facebook which will result in more views, or you can direct people to the video on YouTube to generate more views and hope to trigger the YouTube algorithm.
This is the same strategy used by major corporations and marketing agencies to convert to sales, you need to build awareness and loyalty, so your fan base is strong enough to share your video. Simply asking people to share the video isn’t enough.
Without a strategy, creating content can be incredibly difficult, an idea or opportunity something isn’t going to present itself every single day, even the best YouTubers in the world admit that their daily vlogs have a script which they follow to ensure they get the footage they need. So, you need to have a structure which allows you to create this consistent content.