Artists tell me all the time that social media marketing feels like such a burden. I also often hear from artists that they simply have no idea how to grow a following, much less engage with said followers.
Well, you’re not alone!
To “make it” (see what I did there) in today’s music industry, artists have to take advantage of social media. Agents, promoters, record labels - just to name a few - expect artists to have a certain number of followers before even considering them as a worthy artist to work with.
Artists, before you get frustrated… think about it for a minute as if you were on the other side.
When it comes down to it, the goal of each job in the industry is to work towards the best interest of the artist… aka to make the artist money!
Now ask yourself this: how do artists make money? By selling tickets, merch, albums, etc. And guess what… it’s pretty hard to make substantial sales to a small and/or a disengaged audience.
So while it might seem like a pity game of social media numbers, deep down it’s more than that. The industry truly just wants to know if you can tell a story that grows and inspires a loyal fan base. And today, we can easily find an answer to that in social media metrics.
“People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” - Simon Sinek
Now that we’ve got all of that out of the way, let’s talk about what makes up a good social media “story!”
What I consider to be the “basics” are things like press quotes and links, tour announces, ticket links, merch sales, album release info, links to streaming platforms, etc.
All of these posts can (and should) be scheduled in advance. Your Spotify track link isn’t going to change, so there’s no reason for you to be posting that “in the moment.” Sign up for Buffer, connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and schedule out your basics. I personally like to make 6 week plans for artists, but start with what’s comfortable for you. If you’re new to scheduling, start with a week at a time and build up from there!
Once you get the basics on autopilot, I promise you’ll feel much less anxiety about getting on social media.
Behind the Scenes
This is where the fun comes in, and it’s exactly what it sounds like! Behind the scenes content can be you sharing photos backstage, photos from the studio, teasing a sneak peek of your new album, going live from soundcheck, etc.
When your basics are on autopilot, you’re finally freed up to think about fun ways to share what you’re doing with your audience! So now, instead of sitting backstage before your show thinking “I have to go share that press link because someone mentioned me on their blog the other day and I keep forgetting to share it…” your mind can shift to “this is the coolest green room I’ve ever been in, I’m going to do a Facebook Live and show my fans!”
Most artists have the basics and behind the scenes topics covered though. But that can’t be where it stops! Like I mentioned above, social media is all about telling your story! The basics give your followers a way to be involved in what you’re doing, and the behind the scenes gives them a glimpse into those same experiences from your view point. That’s why this last part, your story, is SO important.
Maybe you’re wondering, what the heck is my story and how do I tell that on social media? Well, start by asking yourself these questions…
- What sets me apart from others creating similar music/content?
- What impact do I want to make with my music?
- How do I want my music to make people feel?
- Why am I passionate about music?
Once you answer those questions you’ll be a step ahead of the rest. And when you can implement your story on social media, you’ll no longer feel like social media is a burden and you’ll always know what to share!
Making It Happen
Implementing your story in your social media posts is a lot easier said than done. Telling your story isn’t something that will come to you overnight, or feel natural immediately. But I promise, “followers” (aka people) just want to be able to relate to you! When you share something personal and meaningful that others relate to, they’ll let you know it… and in turn the sharing will only become easier for you.
What does that look like, you ask?
Backstage photos go from “look at me about to play a show” (cool, who cares) to you telling your followers how you feel before performing. Maybe you’re nervous to play a new song because it’s so close to your heart and you really hope others can identify with your words. You might even go on to tell a little bit about where the idea for the song came from and what it means to you.
Now that’s some real and honest sh*t right there! That’s the kind of social media post that leaves an impression… and that’s how you grow AND engage a following (aka community)!
Wondering how to create balance sharing the basics, behind the scenes, and your story all at the same time? Download my free 2-week social media plan here!
Start thinking about social media as a place to tell your story rather than a place to grow and engage followers.
Schedule out your social media basics. (You can use Buffer for free… and no that’s not an affiliate link!)
Mix it up with your behind the scenes content and don’t forget to share what life is like from your perspective.
Your story is the key to social media success.
Growing a fan base on social media isn’t easy… it takes hard work and strategy.
Stop using the “F” words. Followers are actually your people… and a following is YOUR community! And don’t forget to treat them like that!
Katherine Forbes is a Nashville based brand and web designer whose client roster includes multiple Grammy winning and nominated artists. She’s served as co-producer for the International Bluegrass Music Awards, published a marketing workbook for musicians, and hosts a growing community of female musicians and industry leaders.