Leveraging Social Media for Your Artist Career


 

How to rethink social media strategy for 2020

This article is especially meant for new musicians and singers who are beginning to show their presence on social media platforms and who expect to start growing their fanbase. Remember that growing a fanbase is a PROCESS and in most of the cases, it takes TIME, EFFORT, PATIENCE, LEARNING and DETERMINATION. To avoid discouragement, although your music and talent may be phenomenal, you better forget right now to expect instant success like what you see on these big TV shows, for example The Voice or American Idol! The owners of these shows invest a lot of money on promotion and these shows get a very large audience. When you start as an independent artist on social media platforms or as a band, you get none of this help! You need to start from 0, so it is important that you start the right way, that you take the steps one by one and that you avoid common mistakes delaying the growth process.
My name is François Rocheleau, I live in the Montreal area in Canada and I am a mastering engineer mostly helping emerging artists from all around the world to optimize the sound of their music, most of the time recorded from their home studio. In this article, I share with you 5 great tips that will help you progress faster on social media, as an emerging artist, and allowing you to grow your fanbase the right way. Today, Here’s:

5 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Today 

1. Fans vs Followers (subscribers)
Learn to make the difference between fans and followers/subscribers, which may look like similar terms at first glance, but can be surprisingly, they often have totally opposite meanings. Having big numbers in terms of views on your content is way more significant than big numbers in terms of followers/subscribers but very few views. Having both is obviously the best scenario. In most cases, people viewing your posted content on social media are existing fans or potentially new people who just discovered you, which means that the NUMBER OF VIEWS truly matters! Use the analytic tools of each social media platform to get more information about who is viewing your content and see if adapting it may bring you more views and more sharing of it. If you realize that you are actually building a “followers/subscribers” base rather than a “fanbase”, take a moment of thinking about how you did get these people to follow you or to subscribe to your YouTube channel. 

Many people will follow you back just because they noticed that you first started to follow them or because you write comments under their content. A LOT of new artists on social media fall into this trap of believing that this is the way to build a fanbase.

Ask yourself: are they REALLY FANS? Adapt your strategy consequently, otherwise you may waste precious time and delay your progression by investing a lot of energy to get people who will subscribe to your YouTube channel or follow you on Instagram or Facebook without even listening to your content! Is that what you REALLY want? Also, if you perform in gigs and shows, allow as many of these fans to know about your presence on social media and encourage them all to subscribe and follow you! They may be the ones sharing your music the most and following you unconditionally!
Summary Tip #1: If your goal is to build an authentic fanbase on social media, do not fall into the trap. Avoid bartering relationships with others (e.g. others post comments under your videos just because you post comments under their own, same for subscribing/following)… unless this is clearly what you want?
2. Share your content on various social media platforms, diversify it and STAY ACTIVE!
One of the most common mistakes by emerging artists is to start a channel on YouTube only, put their music and videos there and wait for people to come and watch their content, hoping that their empire will build up by itself over time just because they are amazingly talented and producing awesome content. This is the dream we all have as artists! Unfortunately, REALITY is different, and make sure to learn this rule quickly!
Although some singers and musicians are truly exceptional and create musical masterpieces, which may be your case and I have no doubt that it’s real, they wonder why they only get a few views and comments per video even after a lot of time on YouTube. They also wonder why their number of subscribers doesn’t grow fast or at all after months and years uploading great content. First, you need to know that every MINUTE, 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Here are the stats as of May 2019. And NEARLY 40,000 TRACKS ARE NOW BEING ADDED TO SPOTIFY EVERY SINGLE DAY: here are those stats as of April 29, 2019). So, think about it: who will really find your content with a search request performed on YouTube, despite all your talent and video/music quality? The first step that you need to think about is: people must know that you exist first, as they will possibly NOT find you randomly or with a search! 

Use multiple platforms to upload your content to.

Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, etc. Build your own website, etc… Try also to upload your original official music on all major online stores and streaming platforms. Then, use strategies so that your content reaches out to people and does not sleep there waiting to be discovered, because that will likely not happen if you do not make things happen.
The content that you upload on YouTube does not have to be the exact same content as what you post on Instagram or Facebook. Make sure that each platform offers a different and very unique experience to anybody finding you and discovering you by exploring your social media platforms. Remember that your fans want to know your music, but also want to know YOU as a human being. Post photos, music videos, personal videos, messages about various subjects, texts mentioning about you and your personal stories, videos of you performing in gigs, videos of you singing improvised songs or covers just using your cell phone, etc… Have variety in your content. Also make sure that you INTERACT with your fans and that you respond to their comments by thanking each of them individually, especially when your fanbase is still relatively small. Make yourself fully available and open to be discovered by your fans who are curious about knowing more about YOU as a person and not only as an artist/musician/singer! Take the time to figure out the image that you dream to project and make it reality!
Finally, STAY ACTIVE! Avoid taking breaks longer than a week on social media. Remember, this is a highly competitive environment, fans are hard to earn but are easy to lose if you do not keep them constantly stimulated. You are on vacation? Then post selfies of yourself being on vacation! Simply stay active! Post any content to keep that communication channel constantly open with your fans and they will remain with you!
Summary Tip #2: Use multiple social media platforms and post diversified content. BE CONSTANTLY ACTIVE and INTERACTIVE on social media! Take care of each of your fans like GOLD! They are the ones who will be sharing your music with their friends and family, thus contributing to the growth of your fanbase! Do not wait for people to come to you, enlarge your visibility yourself!
3. Invest a few dollars promoting your videos/photos and compare the results with non-promoted content!
It is worth trying to invest a few dollars on Instagram and Facebook so that these platforms automatically promote your videos to a larger audience, allowing these people to click on your links and thumbnails as they will see them while navigating on the platforms. That will attract new visitors to your pages! Do not spend too much money on this initially. Start with just a little investment and do your best to analyze the differences that you get in terms of numbers of views and comments. Notice the growth in regards with new visitors versus similar non-promoted content. See if it also brings new followers. You can, with time, make a budget for this and invest from time to time the amount that you think can help you to grow your fanbase at the pace that you expect.
Summary Tip #3: Experiment with the promotional tools offered by social media platforms and analyze the results versus non-promoted similar content.
4. Do not underestimate the power of a good thumbnail image!
The thumbnail is basically the cover photo that represents your video on the social media platform that you use. It is called a thumbnail because a small version of this graphic will show up in the recommended videos and other search areas of social media.
Remember that someone who does not know you must first reach your content. This person needs a good reason to take his precious time to click on any link reaching your content. A fish must perceive a bait hanging on the hook if you want it to bite! Do not neglect the importance of putting a GOOD and ATTRACTIVE thumbnail image and think about what kind of people you want to attract to your channel! Bring some curiosity and add a bit of mystery! Remember that many social media allow you to upload a customized thumbnail image that is not part of a video! Take advantage of this and put a catchy thumbnail to your video, bringing curiosity, and promote those videos if you can (see tip #3 above)! Try to fully understand the process on each social media that you are using!
Summary Tip #4: Put as much importance to the thumbnail as for the content of your videos!
5. Take care of the visual aspects of your content and take care of your appearance too!
Music may seem to be an audio thing, but with social media development over the last decade, this is no longer the case! In most cases, listening to a song is as much a visual experience as it is an audio listening experience! Make sure to take great care of your image and of the video quality! Show yourself at your best, and make sure that your look brings something catchy to the type of fans that you are looking for! Depending on many factors, use what you think works best for you! Make adjustments along the way based on the results that you get and try reusing what works best over time! And innovate!! Do not repeat the same visual content over and over again from one video to another or from one picture to another, keep changing the visual experience at least from time to time. For example, change the location where you record the song if you upload a lot of live recordings! Be creative and bring different experiences to your viewers! Record inside, outside, make video clips, use visual effects, etc…. Do not be afraid to make experimentations! It must be a great attractive visual experience for anyone listening to your videos or watching your pictures!
Summary Tip #5: In these modern times, music is as much a visual experience as it is an audio listening experience. Pay the same attention to both audio and visual.
😊 Congratulations for making it this far. Here’s 2 bonus tips:
Bonus Tip #1: Make sure to learn from the most successful independent artists that you like and try to understand and observe why they get such success! Try to engage discussions with them!
Bonus Tip #2: Read more and subscribe to advice blogs like VisionQuest Sound. And if you are a blogger or interested in contributing an article, we’d love to hear from you. 👍
I hope that these tips can help for your evolution from an emerging state on social media to a very successful career as a professional artist! Believe in yourself and work hard, everything is possible!
If you want to discuss more about the subject, do not hesitate to reach me directly by email. Kindest Regards.
Article by François Rocheleau
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