You’ve most likely seen a new music artist growing rapidly on social media, often with an engaging profile that you’d like to replicate and thousands of followers. But what you don’t know is that these artists are following simple steps to maximise their online music outlet and get the most exposure to their projects as possible.
In this post, we’ll be covering how to promote your music with our social media strategies for musicians. These include how to professionally style your profile, boost exposure by tactfully utilising Youtube, TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, and the importance of creating ties within the music industry.
Alongside this, we have Leeds’ very own Alt-Rock band, Late Night Legacy providing a great example of utilising social media to increase your reach, plus their insight into using social media and their top tips further down.
1. Establishing Your Online Image
The first key step in social media music marketing is to separate your online presence from a personal profile to an artist profile. This will help you become recognised as an artist in the social community and convey to any current followers that this is a serious goal you are setting to achieve.
To make your profile easily recognisable to online audiences, you need to create a personalised theme. A theme can come in many forms, from a unique artist name, a logo, or even a specific colour.
Take a look at Late Night Legacy’s Instagram.
Their lightning heart logo is easily recognisable, and if you saw this logo again, you’d know it belonged to Late Night Legacy without their band name present. Welcome to the power of brand logo exposure!
Having a recognisable logo also allows you to create consistency between different social media platforms, allowing more fans to find, follow, and engage with you. However, you only have a small circle on social platforms to condense your brand, so make sure that your logo is simple enough in its design to look good on this small scale.
Tip: Make sure that your logo is scalable: it should be able to be scaled down and simplified; and scaled up in more detail, such as with your artist name and colours.
Late Night Legacy’s merchandise is a great demonstration of how a logo is effectively scalable. People know this is Late Night Legacy, from a more complex design on the left to a simplified version on the right.
2. Strategically Utilising Social Media
“You can pick up a large number of fans from festivals and good support slots, but it has got to the point now where social media is relied upon by industry professionals to monitor a band’s success and help in the selection process. So even if it’s not directly responsible for building your fan base, it is still pretty integral.”James, Late Night Legacy
Promote your music on YouTube
When asked, “how do you consume music?” 28% of people said they watch music videos on YouTube, placing the platform as one of the most popular places to listen to music, alongside streaming services.
As the world’s second-largest search engine and full of listeners actively searching for music, it is no surprise that the platform is often cited as the place which turns budding new musicians into global artists.
Like any other search engine, getting found is directly linked to topping the search results, and this is where SEO comes into play.
YouTube has an algorithm against which it will rank your content, and what is the purpose of this algorithm, you may ask? To make money.
YouTube makes their money by selling ads, and they sell more ads by increasing the number of videos consumers watch or increasing the time you spend on their platform.
Let’s break down YouTube’s ranking factors:
- Video minutes watched
YouTube wants you to watch more. So, the more minutes a video has been watched, the more it is likely to be shown.
Let’s explore this example:
When watching Ed Sheeran’s latest single, YouTube suggests two videos that are over 1 hour long. Of course, we’re not saying that you need to post incredibly long content because users will not watch it if it’s not engaging.
However, you can experiment with content longer than a typical 4-minute music video—for example, a 10-minute behind the scenes or a Q&A.
Not only will this further help you build your image through the character you portray in your videos, but if it’s captivating content, users will be watching more minutes on your video, and YouTube rewards that.
Equally, YouTube is much more interested in minutes watched over what percentage of a video a user watches. So, for example, if a user watches 8 minutes of a 15-minute video, this is preferable to 40 seconds of a 1-minute video.
- Channel minutes watched
Not only do individual videos matter to YouTube, but your channel does too. YouTube analyses how many minutes are watched on your channel in the last 28 days, quarter and year, and will suggest more of your videos if more minutes are watched. How can you entice your audience to watch more videos (other than having your latest single on repeat, of course!)? Give them more content to watch.
- Session Starts
YouTube favours videos that bring users to the platform. This is easily achievable by promoting your YouTube videos on your other social media accounts. Don’t leave your new video up to your audience to find themselves; tell them.
Furthermore, the more accessible a video is to your audience, the better—a video that is one click on a link away is more likely to be viewed than a video that has to be searched for.
Essentially, produce a diverse range of content for your audience, both in form and length and make it easy for them to locate. In need of inspiration? Have a look at other musicians and see what they’re producing.
Albeit one of the newest players in the social media game, TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform, with an expected UK user total reaching 14.8 million in 2022. Together with its video focus, the platform is perfect for promoting your music.
TikTok’s UK Head of Music Operations, Paul Hourican, says that TikTok “drives music discovery” as the short-form video style “encourages users to go off and find out more about the artists they’ve heard and listen to their music in full”. I’ve personally discovered two up and coming artists through TikTok’s For You page and proceeded to follow them on other socials platforms.
What makes TikTok unique for music promotion is that once you upload your video, users can use the sound as a TikTok sound in their videos. So, say you’ve uploaded a live version of your song, your audience can use this sound in reaction videos or as background music to their content, sharing your music to further audiences.
Video content is the favourite type of content that consumers want to see from brands, and following Instagram’s recent announcement, we see other social media platforms following in the footsteps of TikTok and focusing on video. Interactive content is a music marketing strategy that is fun to create and what your audience wants to consume so, what are you waiting for?
James from Late Night Legacy tells us that interactive content “helps break the wall between the band and the audience [and] the more connected the fans feel, the more they will go out of their way to support you. Video content is an excellent simple way to achieve this as you can really capture the individual personalities of band members.”
Facebook remains the most-used and engaged with social media platform, so it’s a platform you need to use.
A great feature Facebook offers for musicians is the events tab, which allows you to schedule your upcoming events and gigs.
Within this space, you can include details on tickets, location, and through sending invitations to your event to your fans, see who’s attending.
No band’s social presence would be complete without an Instagram page. Alongside using new features such as Instagram reels, and Instagram shopping to promote your band’s merch, it’s also a great place for networking (more tips on this to follow).
By tagging venues, brands you use, and other musicians, your content will be visible under the tagged section of these accounts, increasing your reach to more audiences.
In this recent post, Late Night Legacy tag their management, the festival they played at, the interview publication, the photographer and band members – increasing the reach of this post to 6 more accounts whilst networking simultaneously.
Tip: For all your social media platforms, using the link function is essential to directing your audience to further content. We recommend using Linktree, which allows you to link multiple pages under one link that you can place in your bio.
Take inspiration from Late Night Legacy, who link their merchandise, tickets, social media platforms, latest music video and interview, and more under one sleek link.
Making the most of your platforms with Paid Social
Late Night Legacy told us that they “often use paid advertising, especially with larger posts promoting new music or big announcements” and confirmed “it is very hard to improve your social media presence without paying. We have definitely found it to be one of the most worthwhile ways of investing in your own promotion.” This is where implementing a social media PPC strategy comes in and can hugely increase your reach.
Having curated a large and engaged fan base, Late Night Legacy know how to use paid social efficiently and advised musicians starting out “to be aware of the audiences you’re trying to target, don’t just throw money at paid ads, take the time to understand how they work.”
It can be difficult to create an effective advert for thousands to see if you haven’t professional marketing experience or don’t know what kind of audience to target for the best results. However, establishing and managing a successful pay-per-click social media campaign is something we at Zelst specialise in; we offer effective paid social marketing that is fully customised to the client’s needs.
3. Branching and Networking
Networking is a music marketing strategy that can hugely increase your reach if you act, react and (most importantly of all) interact. If you see another artist making their way on social media and you like what they’re doing, let them know! Creating connections and positive ties is what fuels strong music careers. Along with this, people will see your positive comments and be drawn to your good energy, helping to create a larger audience for your musical pursuits. Simply put, if you network as much as possible within your community, any friends you make will also be supporters that can help you reach your goal.
The number of upcoming artists is abundant, and being seen in the crowd is difficult. So, reach out to like-minded artists that you appreciate and enjoy, and collaborate on a project. You’ll share ideas to create a more impactful project whilst drawing two fanbases to one place, further increasing the exposure of your music!
Top Tips from Late Night Legacy
- Make sure you’re creative; people quickly become disengaged with stale and repetitive content.
- Try to make sure you understand the audience you’re aiming towards so you can make the biggest impact on that group as possible; as your brand visibility grows, your fanbase will organically increase alongside it.
- Be professional but also don’t take yourself too seriously, as the most important thing is that it’s enjoyable for everyone involved.
You focus on the music; we’ll focus on the marketing
Once you have actioned these simple but necessary music marketing strategies, you’ll be on your way to expanding your reach to more fans and establishing communities that are interested in your content.