Social Media Marketing For Musicians
This article is for you if you are taking over an artist’s socials, working with an existing team OR you are the artist.
As a social media manager myself, there are many things you need to be knowledgeable about or have access to. You do not need to know everything, but having resources and contacts available to help solve problems will make you more successful. You will need to come across as organized, confident, and ready for any situation. It always helps to be a Google expert. It’s more than likely others have gone through similar situations you are experiencing. An answer or half-answer is out there on the internet. Your speed to finding the solution and adaptability to a situation will make you indispensable to an artist or organization.
When starting with a new artist, I typically spend a week or so getting familiar with the artist, their music, and personal/business likes and dislikes. Along with their social media accounts, followers, top songs, etc.
If an artist is already established, they have everything in place, and all that needs to be taken over social media-wise is creating and posting content. That is the dream job. But it's rare to find an artist like that.
Typically, you will need to complete an overhaul or assessment of all of the artists social media accounts. The main reason is consistency. Their social media platforms need to look the same. Same picture, bio, overall look. This will allow fans to find their favorite artist on their preferred platform easily. As well as identify the real platforms and not scam accounts. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, and in some cases, an artist’s website.
As someone who primarily works with legacy artists, I have to do a lot of work to bring all of the accounts consistent with each other.
FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM 1 out of 7 people use Facebook/Instagram. Gaining followers on Facebook is a lot easier than Instagram. They are two very different platforms. Facebook owns Instagram, but they have to be treated separately.
Instagram Profile To ensure that your profile represents who you or your artist is, MAKE SURE the link in your Instagram bio actually works! You wouldn’t believe how many artists lose out on sales due to links that are not tested beforehand.
The only links that are “clickable,” on Instagram are in the BIO and Story. Everyone now has the link option in their stories. Previously, you had to be verified by Instagram or have 10k+ followers to enable this feature. It’s great to use it when promoting a new single, merchandise, concert tickets, etc.
Facebook Profile When creating a new Facebook Page for an artist, it’s important to know that you can only create username (@) after the page has more than 100 likes. Filling out the About section with relevant information to the artist (ie,. website,) and photos will make your page more visible to fans over time.
Getting Verified on Instagram Getting verified on Instagram is nearly impossible, but it happens. Most of the time you have to be a celebrity, a well known brand or know someone who works at Instagram to get approved for verification. They are much stricter with verification than on Facebook. On Facebook, there is a simple form you can fill out. If your page has the word “music” in the title, they will not verify your page and you will have to resubmit. Ex: “The Beatles Music.”
Recommendations for Instagram Verification Over the years, with the artists that I have worked with, only one artist was approved without direct contact with Instagram or one of our publicists and/or record labels contacting Instagram on our behalf. The reason this artist was approved is still unknown to us, even though he is a famous singer-songwriter. He was denied about six times in the past, before they finally approved. Sometimes you just get lucky. You can submit for verification every 30 days, the same is for Facebook. But, the most surefire way is through your record label, they should have the connections. If you are an independent artist, read the paragraph below. Let me put it this way, you would have to know someone who knows someone’s cat who knows someone’s fish who happens to be on the desk of someone who works at Instagram. It’s like winning the lottery three times, back to back. It’s not impossible, just less likely. If you are with a major record label, they can usually get you verified instantly. But, if you are not with a major label….Do yourself a favor and hire a publicist for a minimum of three months. This can cost anywhere from Free to $20,000. The average cost is about $750-$5,000 a month. Networking is cheaper, but if you really want to get verified, save up and budget for a publicist or a PR company that has the connections. DO NOT pay for verification service that claims they can get you verified. They are not legitimate and checkmarks cannot be bought.
If you are acting as a social media manager for an artist or a brand, read the next few lines two or three times in a row. Make sure, absolutely sure, that whoever you follow on behalf of an artist or brand, that you get approval first. Representing their brand and personal interests is always #1. Do not follow people who do not line up with their beliefs or values. If you are not sure, ASK. Have them write down a list for you to reference. It is not a sign of weakness, it will show that you want to learn more about them as a person/brand, and in turn, will help them succeed in their careers.
#Hashtags Hashtags help people navigate through millions of posts on Instagram to find what’s relevant or of interest to them.
I would not recommend using too many hashtags on Facebook. Research has shown that using up 20+ hashtags is good, but don’t go beyond that. (It will look like spam). If you put random hashtags without researching each hashtag to see their reach on Instagram, your post will not be noticed by your target audience/demographic. Also, each artist or business uses their own unique hashtag to make it easy for themselves and fans to find their posts. Ex: #elvispresley #elvispresleymusic
Facebook/Instagram Advertising = More Visibility Facebook and Instagram advertising works really well for businesses and artists. No matter how tight your marketing budget may be, it’s well worth seeing what traction you can gain for your business. Plus, you can directly advertise on Instagram from the Facebook Advertising page. There are four formats to choose from — from a simple single image to a 60-second video — and with a choice of banners for your call to action, it couldn’t be easier to start advertising. The typical budget can be anywhere from $20 — $100,000+ a month. It’s money well spent! But, you need to know your audience first. Ask your self these questions below to maximize your ad spend.
Fan Profile Questions What do they look like? How old are they? What is there gender? Type of lifestyle they live? What is their occupation? What is their income? What are the subcultures? How will you reach them? Do they follow similar artists? Which ones?
Don’t neglect Facebook or Instagram Stories Half of businesses/artists on Instagram use Stories. And they’re getting great results: A third of the most viewed Stories are posted by businesses. Stories are a key part of a good Instagram marketing strategy. Stories disappear after just 24 hours. Followers expect them to be more real and raw than your curated Instagram feed. They provide a great opportunity to connect with followers and build relationships.
Best Times to Post on Social Media The highest traffic times were Tuesday and Thursday, 12 to 3 p.m. Posting is an art, the recommended amount of posting is 3–5 times per week on social media. You must keep followers engaged or they will drop off, it’s crazy, but they do! Other posting times include, 10am, 2pm, 5pm, 7pm, 10pm. For established artists, they can post anywhere from 1–5+ ties per week. Depends on the artist and how much content they want to share. Facebook is an extremely powerful social media platform, boasting a market share of 71.2% in the social media strata. This outlet has over a billion active users, culminating a subscriber base that towers over any other site. Facebook allows businesses to target specific groups of people by socio-demographics such as age, gender, location, or specific interests. This kind of targeting allows marketers to achieve greater returns on investments. Once a brand has targeted a group within the segment, it can then position itself for differentiation amongst competitors. By utilizing a unique positioning, an artist can cut through the oversaturated singer/songwriter market and reach potential customers by offering unique services tailored to its targeted audience.
Facebook analytics will be used to identify content that has a high resonance with the subset of the target market present on Facebook. Once this content is identified, an artist will engage with users in a creative and informative way to increase brand awareness and direct potential customers to the new optimized website. One unique strength of the Facebook platform is many users have strong social networks with people they actually know personally including friends, and family, increasing the effectiveness of word of mouth marketing. If a user “follows” an artist’s Facebook page, it becomes a strong positive affirmation within his network.
YOUTUBE Why should you promote your music on YouTube? Well…there are over two billion registered users that log into YouTube each month. This counts as active YouTube accounts, not people who just log in without an account, so the number is much greater. Creating a YouTube channel for your music is the key to building a successful brand. It is also the key for potential managers, record labels, agents, fans, etc to discover your music. Did you know that numerous popular artists were discovered on YouTube? Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, to name a few….
Fans today do expect that they will be able to find you on YouTube. Not everything has to be music videos, new releases or covers. Starting out, you or your management will have to get creative and do things out of the box and comfort zone. I know many songwriters that all they want to do is write, singers that just want to sing. You will be able to do that once you have a hit, write a hit for someone else or start making real money to support yourself. Before then, you or your management have to be able to deliver things that people want to see or hear.
Examples include behind the scenes concert or studio footage, live streams, Q&As, personal hobbies, etc. Social media, including YouTube should be half business, half personal. And always make sure that you can live with the music you are putting out and videos you are sharing with the world. I always tell all of my artists, you may have to sing this song or talk about this video for the next fifty years. And you have to be okay with that.
Checklist for building your YouTube channel
Customize the URL of your channel: www.youtube.com/yourartistnamehere Choose the name of your channel: this is different from your URL. The channel URL cannot be edited once created, remember that. But, your channel name can be edited in the future.
Upload your channel art: This is the banner at the top of the channel (2560×1440 image) Create a channel icon: Similar to a profile picture, your channels icon, everyone will see it. (800×800) image
Write your channel description — This can be found near the art section, you will see “edit links.”
Add social media and website links to the About section — Corresponding icons will be displayed as overlays on your channel art. Include links to your official website, store or product page, social accounts, newsletter signup form, or promotional campaign pages. Youtube’s eligibility requirements for monetization.
The YouTube channel monetization policies are a collection of policies that allow you to monetize on YouTube. As a YouTube partner, your agreement including the YouTube partner program policies require compliance with these monetization policies to potentially earn money on YouTube.
Live in a country/region where the YouTube Partner Program is available. Have no active Community Guidelines strikes on your channel. Have more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months. Have more than 1,000 subscribers. Have a linked AdSense account.
TWITTER The most effective way to maximize customer reach and value for your artist’s account is to really understand your fans on an emotional level. Focusing on building conversions and conversations. You will have to tap into fans’ needs, motivations and concerns with each tweet.
When building conversations, always posting fun content or updates on an artist’s life is not the answer. For deeper engagement, I recommend that you respond to followers’ content, ask questions, use Twitter polls, host audio chats, etc. A healthy balance will guarantee success on Twitter, which is not the easiest platform to gain traction on.
For all platforms, Twitter especially, knowing who your artist is, their story, fans and goals for the future is key for social media managers to understand the brand and target audiences. Taking the time to review analytics across all platforms once a week or every few weeks will save you a lot of time and marketing costs. It will help to shape the artists content, help to drive purchases from fans and strategize for future tours, merch, music, etc.
Twitter Ads: I personally don’t recommend Twitter Ads, It’s incredibly expensive, the minimum spend to get any kind of notice is $500 for just a few days. I recommend Facebook Ads to Twitter or Google Ads, much cheaper with a better click, engagement and return rate.
Your videos do not have to be limited to music, some creators are popular for finance advice, interior design, painting, computers, dancing, gaming or anything else you are interested in. Numerous brands around the world have used TikTok to connect with younger audiences, sell more product than ever before and partner with influencers. TikTok is creating a new generation of influencers, where brands like Calvin Klein, Nike, Sony, Coca-Cola, etc are finding users on the platform with millions of followers to connect with audiences they never deemed possible to reach before. The power is overwhelming. You can do the same when it comes to your brand or music. TikTok’s algorithm is different from other social media platforms. The basics are that through the use of hashtags you can reach a wider audience, similar to Instagram. TikTok curates a user’s home feed individually. The best place to discover new content and what is trending is a hashtag called For You Page. I recommend using #fyp or #foryoupage on every single one of your posts.
Mastering the TikTok Algorithm TikTok shows content on your news feed that is interesting for each individual user, the factors include:
Which country you are located in and primary language Hashtags, captions, music and sounds used Videos you have interacted with, people you follow and engage with. How do artists make money from TikTok?
First, you must make sure the distributor opts in to send your music to TikTok. This would be under “streaming partners,” with Facebook, Instagram, etc. You make money every time a user uses your music on TikTok in a video. So use your own music in your video. That way if it goes viral, more users will be inclined to use it in the future. Also, let’s say you are talking in your video and don’t see a need for your music. A way to still use your music is to keep the original audio and add one of your songs at a volume of 1–5 where it’s virtually undetectable. That way you still get paid for using your own music. There is also a creator fund, you need to have more than 10,000 followers and have over 100,000 video views in the 30 days. TikTok creators make more money off of sponsorships from brands asking them to promote their products or services.
How To Go Viral I personally, do not like being in the spotlight, But, I was successful with a few artists I managed to make them go viral (over 4 million views) and my own golden retriever. If you want your content to go viral, TikTok selects videos that are highly engaging and interesting for their users. Things that have never been seen before, comically funny, just odd in general or incredibly special that they believe will be worthy of being placed at the top of the coveted For You Page. It’s also very easy to gain visibility using a popular hashtag or sound that is currently trending. Do not get discouraged. Sometimes it can happen overnight and other times it happens over many nights. DO NOT GIVE UP.
TikTok originally started out at 15 seconds, then 60 seconds and now you can go up to three minutes. Once you find your audience and review your backend analytics, your fans will decide for you how long your videos should be. You can be whoever you want to be, who cares what others think. You will find your audience and they will love who you are and the content you create.
CLOSING THOUGHTS Growing a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok following takes time and dedication. As for Spotify and Pandora, I will talk about those platforms in the next article. You can treat social media as a part-time or full time job, it’s up to you. Whatever you do, DO NOT buy followers, this will only lower your engagement and not reach REAL people who can make you REAL money. Your posts should be 50% business and 50% personal. Find a passion to share with the world, research others who are doing what you want to do and have fun while doing it. If you aren’t having fun, then what’s the point?
About Liz Kamlet Liz Kamlet is a top music industry professional. Her clients have sold over 100+ million records, 2+ billion streams, 50+ million social media followers, and won/been nominated for multiple Oscar and Grammy awards.