As a musician, social media can be a painful process to work through.
Without access to a lot of the resources that even some independent labels have, making an attempt to supply content that’s relevant to your genre can be a headache. However, even if you’re not exactly digitally savvy, there are still many resources and methods you’ll be able to use to not only get ahead, but increase album sales, tours, and merch tremendously. Here’s how:
Establish Where You Fit In
According to ViralRace, regardless of how many records you’ve sold or what reputation you think you have, if you’re going to boost your name on Instagram, you’ve got to have a good grasp on where you fit in amongst your peers. Even if you feel like you’ve gotten a fair amount of recognition from them, we’re willing to bet that there’s still plenty of other musicians in your space getting even more engagement than you on a national level.
The reason why so many independent artists like you are more successful at being active within their community is that they not only know where they stand on who they are, but where they fit into the conversation. As social media is all about talking it up, you’ve got to learn who you can have a conversation with.
For Instagram, conversations are based around hashtags, where the more specific of a niche you can be a part of, the better. For example, if I’m a DJ that focuses primarily on deep house, then following hashtags around deep house, as well as house music, trance, and other genres of EDM can be beneficial, giving you a sense of what type of venues, media outlets, and influencers are a part of these communities.
Though it’s a part of digging in the trenches, seeing these types of accounts first hand will be beneficial in the long run, giving you a chance to build your connections to build off of going on tour and doing PR runs.
In a lot of ways, you should treat this like a tour manager would, keeping a log on your phone of what accounts are going to be useful later, especially when you’re building out a tour.
As a venue and media outlet’s reputation are what’s going to drive half the fans when you visit a city, knowing how to fit in with them early is clutch. On another note of tours, knowing how to research geo-tags of popular venues will not only help you find places to play, but other bands and musicians to play with. Overall, the goal here is to get into a flow of constantly being in discovery mode with your genre, with Instagram as the hub for it all.
Become More Social
The whole point of social media is to be social. At no other time in the music industry’s history have people been able to connect as much as they can now. Past all the social media buzzwords, the most important practice you should be diving into is bringing together people and connecting with them in an organic way.
One thing that’s often true about Instagram that’s constantly ignored is that while almost all of us see how to use the practicalities of the platform, we tend to be shy about what we can do with them. A smart way to fix that, however, is by simply just representing the brand of project day-in and day-out.
Take some time to dedicate to commenting, like, and sharing other bands, musicians, venues, and media outlets content. Try to give a genuine response to whatever it is you’re talking about, including even if it’s just an expressive GIF or short (but sweet) comment. There’s no rhyme or reason to how much you should be posting, sharing, or commenting but rather ensuring that it’s at a level where you’re having fun with it. While it can be a scary leap to take, you’ll be surprised at what the results might be.
Get Into Some Growth Hacks
Growth hacking is a process in Silicon Valley that essentially is all about retesting and iterating a bunch of different methods to see what can work. For your band or project, the first step on social for that would be picking out a range of different methodologies for gaining followers quickly. Whether that’s looking at a way to buy Instagram likes 50 from an organic source or using an agency to connect you with an influencer, the biggest consideration you should make is what ROI is worth it for your music career, as well as how far you’re willing to go with what you’ll represent.
We’ll note that when getting into some of these digital marketing techniques, it can be easy to get duped. Social media is an uncertain place, with not every actor playing a good role. Be mindful of this, as buying likes from a bot or farm is only going to hurt your reputation more than it’s going to help. Instead, always vet whatever tools you’re aiming to use through trusted sources, focusing on what reviews say and trusted influencers.
Go Out And Have Fun
As simple as it sounds, it’s probably the number one thing that will help you keep your efforts consistent. Even if you’re shy or don’t want to get on Instagram very much, remember that this isn’t necessarily about being a popularity contest, but rather a medium for genuine engagement amongst your fans and peers. Embrace it as such, looking to learn and connect with as many people in your community as you can.
Finally, if you find yourself getting stale with your Instagram efforts, try spicing things up a little bit by utilizing a new method. Look at how other people are using the platform and ask yourself how you, yourself, can do the same; for example, with the rise of AR filters, perhaps contracting someone to design one that’s your latest single as a face filter or a reference from one of your songs. Who knows? If you’re not afraid of being ahead of the curve, you can honestly find yourself in a situation where you might go viral.