In earlier blogs I've identified the power of using social media to build a part of your career in the music industry. Obviously the fact that it's a free platform to promote your music and touring dates as well as day to day life as an artist make it a very appealing method to leverage a fan base through a few keyboard strokes.
But the trick isn't the simplicity of posting every song you make or selfies a the IHOP after a show. There is a reasonable logic behind how to maximize social media for your career.
Marketing in it's most base elements is the promotion of a brand, product or service to the targeted people (consumer) you believe would be interested in buying that brand, product or service. In the music industry, it's songs but sometimes the merchandise representing the brand of an artist too. Social media happens to be a rapid means to tell your target audience about those things.
As owner of a marketing company, I have both learned and had to teach my clients how to approach social media more than recklessly posting about everything they think fans want to know. In fact, that leads to the first key.
1) Know exactly who is reading your posts on each social media app
Like it or not, some apps are antiquated and out of date while others you haven't even heard about yet, but are rapidly making their way to phones of your fans. As such, do some research about who is using the social app and understand the kinds of posts that get attention. Study the trending topics for that app to see what users are interested in. While trying to experiment which app to focus promoting my son Spencer Kane's music, we had a couple thoughts about the users of the apps. Facebook tends to appeal to a more conservative audience that is a little older than teens. Frankly, what started with teens has been overrun by parents who were interested in monitoring their children's social posts. So we realized Facebook was likely an app to post Spencer's Christian music content because there are a lot of Christians using Facebook. We've had more interaction from those songs on Facebook than any of his other songs. We realize Snapchat and Twitter and Instagram and more teen friendly. So we reach his primary audience using those apps. POINT: Make sure you are analytical about engagement (reactions and interactions) with your posts and study who is responding to them most. Work a specific strategy catered to that audience and app so your efforts are more effective.
2) Avoid using automation apps to post for you
While there's a lot of convenient 3rd party apps which will post for you, the social media app makers have gotten smarter about real human posts versus robot posts. It's convenient to use automation, but it can seriously hurt your organic reach of your intended audience. For example, Facebook analyzes if the post came from Hootsuite or another app and it will actually negatively affect your organic ranking and likelihood of being seen by people on their timeline. Facebook likes to see hand typed posts that are entered on the timeline status box by the account owner. In the game of social apps, attention to your post is critical and the method you use can make a huge difference.
3) Content is always King
Basically, "WHAT" you post about will always be more important how often you post. I'm not saying one good post a month will do it, because frequency of posts is equally important but it's a balance of quantity and quality. As a rule, photos and videos will always get more engagement than simply a text of a few sentences of a status update. Finding a theme or angle for your brand and sticking with it for repeated themes of posts over time can build a sticky factor to get fans returning regularly to see what you're talking about or where you are, etc. This is an important point. Selfies are great if you have a nice physical appearance as part of your brand. Showing your band on stage with a video clip 15 seconds long can help build fan insight into what it's like to go to your live show. Broadcasting on Periscope live and answering fan questions is valuable content. Frankly, the concept of seeing yourself as a weekly variety show or reality show is a way to build your content. Give people a consistent creative delivery. If you're not releasing a new song or music video, then why not a fun video showing life between studio and being on the road. Show you are a regular human. It intrigues viewers and helps build your brand. If you're not particularly a funny person, then focus on something that makes you unique. Take someone shopping with you on periscope and ask for fan feedback live on the stream. You are the director of your own weekly or daily variety show. Content is what keeps people interested.
4) Frequency of posts and when
Most social media provide statistics about time of day and gender info that you reach best when you post each day. Try to hit them with posts that are when they ar most likely to be surfing that app. The pro is that you have a possible larger audience. Con is that you may be competing for attention from other posters of content. Ideally, 2-6 posts per day is a safe window for a regular artist.
5) Respond to fans
It's not enough to simply create a one way conversation on social media. You need to randomly respond to fon posts even if they aren't direct questions to you, try to be friendly and engage in a dialog of somekind. Most likely you will earn a lifetime fan but at least you reveal you care enough to stop long enough to show them respect as a normal human. Engaging with fans isn't just about responses, but can be about creating questions in your posts that fans can answer. Tie in a contest with the question and make it possibly go viral. Even taking a great piece of media (photo or video) and offering a question of your fans about it can create a lot of buzz. Always be sure to close your posts with a hashtag that is relevant with that post. Trending a topic is important to gain fan growth.
6) DO NOT BUY FOLLOWERS
Simply, it's a cheap move and you look fake when those followers fall off engaging in your posts with likes or comments that seem proportionate to the quantity being followed. You also risk getting your account suspended if your account is proven to have fake accounts in large percentages following you. Any professional industry representative studying your profiles will see the fake presence and instantly know you are NOT all that.
Once you learn these few rules, you'll experience some slow to moderate growth over time which is more appealing to labels or distributors and promoters who analyze your presence. The last tip is simply to encourage friends and family to share your posts. Going viral starts from that.