Everyone knows that Social Media is an INCREDIBLE phenomenon that has drastically changed the life of Music Entrepreneurs! Having all that power in your fingertips is tantalizing for anyone looking to grow their online presence, to say the least. There are so many different social media platforms out there. The 2021 Social Media Guide for Musicians is an intro to using Social Media platforms the way they were designed to be used.
Different Platforms – Different Strengths
As you may or may not know, the different Social Media platforms excel at entirely different things. Audiences on each platform expect to consume content in very specific and unique ways. Twitter and Instagram should be used very differently, for example. Knowing what type of content to post where is super important to having an effective online brand as a musician. In this post I will explain how to use the most popular Social Media platforms available to grow your music brand. I’ll look at each platform and provide a breakdown with some pros and cons.
As a Musician in 2021, you want to use Social Media (as well as your website) to fully optimize your online presence. Click HERE to learn why having your own website is still crucial for musicians in 2021.
Make sure to read all the way to the bottom for my 2 Pro Tips to help you step up your social media game!
This is my 2021 Social Media Guide for Musicians! We will be chatting about using:
- Pinterest, &
All of these platforms are super unique in their own way. Lets jump right in:
TikTok: Social Media King
TikTok has been taking the World by storm in the past couple of years with no signs of letting up! It is an app where users can create fun content (often with music in the background). The really cool part of TikTok is that it comes with a ton of editing features for creating posts. As Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, “TikTok’s App is “training Wheels” for future incluencers and content creators”.
According to the Social Media Guru, “TikTok is making it easier for them to become content creators. It 1) allows them to create content that they would not otherwise be able to make as easily on their own, and 2) gives them a framework they can play or create within. The TikTok app gives people tools like filters, control over video speed, access to professional audio and more.”.
It should be used for having fun and being informative. You can reach a young and active demographic by consistently putting out great content. Using TikTok will help you to learn to create great content. The Ideal length for a TikTok post is between 9 and 15 seconds.
Instagram excels for sharing high-quality photos and stories. Think of Instagram as the eye candy portion of Social Media. You can curate your pics and make them look amazing. Instagram allows us all to be great photographers. With a suite of features and filters, Insta is great for creating a wall of colour/brand consistent images that really tell the world what you are all about. The stories feature is amazing for keeping your followers posted on what you’re up to. Instagram even allows you to Pin your stories under categories which you can name and select the Icon for. Instagram also gives you great insights tools and business options such as promoting content and learning how people are interacting with your account.
Pin your stories (with custom icons)
Use Instagram to gain and wow your following with great quality images that tells the world who you are and what you’re all about. Use the stories option and pin stories under thought out titles with nice icons. For my events and wedding music business I have pinned stories for: Weddings, Private Parties, Reviews, Promo Stuff, and more. It’s almost like a virtual resume.
Another great aspect of instagram is instagram live. You can go online anytime and your followers will be able to pop in and see what you’re up to. This is awesome as a musician as you can go on to perform a song for followers, anytime!
Tip for 2021: Instagram’s current algorithms are designed to keep people on the app, so that they can be advertised to. This is a business after all. Insta wants us to always be using Insta. We can use this to our advantage though :).
After uploading a pic try shutting down the app. Instagram will know that you are not on the platform and will begin trying to entice you to return. It will do this by showing your post to more people in order to get you more likes and comments, so that you’ll come running back to check out what’s going on. Resist the urge to quickly check out this new activity. The algorithm will continue putting you in front of more eyes, increasing your reach and comments and likes! It’s all about getting new followers and likes (comments are great too)!
Next up on my 2021 Guide to Using Social Media for Musicians: Facebook, as I also like to call, the place we all go to be shamelessly advertised to. All of our interactions are tracked and this gives advertisers the ability to target us based on our likes and interests, relationships status, age, location, and so much more. This might sound weird and sketch but in turn, this gives us the power to advertise to a demographic of our choosing – a mighty tool indeed. This can be a very effective tool especially since Facebook is all about showing videos and curated content. Facebook is a great place to upload your music videos and share them with friends, family, and fans.
Native VS. Imported Content
I love Facebook as it is a great platform for sharing videos. Facebook wants to compete with YouTube by offering native content. This means content that is uploaded directly to Facebook (as opposed to sharing a YouTube video to Facebook by posting a link to a YouTube Video). Competition is good and we will always use it to our advantage by knowing how to trip the algorithm in our favour. Facebook will always prioritize Native content over third party linked content. Use this to your advantage by uploading your videos and photos directly to Facebook to be given more time in the sun – in front of eyeballs.
Create a Fan Page
You can create a fan page which your fans can like and follow to learn about you and to consume your content. This is the closest thing to having your own website you will find on any of the social media platforms. On your Facebook Page you can upload your own content, advertise or boost your posts. It allows people can get in touch with you which can be great especially if people want to hire you to perform or learn where they can buy your music and merchandise.
Another fantastic feature with Facebook is the option to go Live. This, like Instagram and YouTube is great as it lets you reach your audience live. Facebook Live has about 15-30 seconds of latency though, which kinda sucks. It means there is a delay between what is happening and what your audience sees. The worst part of this is that your viewers comments will always be 15-30 seconds behind :s.
Facebook Groups – Still GREAT in 2021
Lastly, and perhaps my favourite part of Facebook, the Groups. Facebook groups are amazing for reaching people with specific interests in specific niches. For instance, I’ve joined many groups for musicians where I make sure to share the content I create here (perhaps this is how you found me?). In 2021 I still think this is one of the most effective way to interact with people that have similar interests. It’s perfect for targeting your niche. Groups are robust in my opinion. I use groups weekly to advertise my wedding music services and you’d probably be surprised to learn how much work it helps me to book – without even using paid advertising.
Use Facebook to create a fan page, to post native content, share your stuff, to go live, and to join a ton of music groups to interact with.
YouTube is amazing! I swear you can learn about anything on YouTube. In many ways for me, YouTube has replaced Television. Yes there are ads, but it’s free and you can watch whatever you want. It is the number one place to go to find uniquely targeted video content. You type whatever you want and it gives you the best options for that. YouTube can have a bit of a learning curve as I’ve learned.
The key thing is to just get going with it. I know it’s tempting to say “Ya, but I don’t know how to create great quality content”. This may be true, but where I think we make our biggest mistake is in assuming that everyone creating content has it all figured out from the get go. You’d be shocked to see how much great content is produced with a smart phone and a movie software tool like iMovie, or adobe Premier. As you go you will get better and learn more (such as how to make amazing thumbnails, how to improve your lighting, and how to get great video quality).
Going Live with YouTube
You can go live on YouTube, which I find to be higher quality than Facebook (less latency). The downside is that content creators typically have a smaller audience of followers on YouTube. This means you will have to be more active to promote your live sessions on YouTube. Even sharing the link to Facebook gives mixed results as Facebook can recognize that it is YouTube (foreign) content, and the algorithm may not be as friendly to this post.
Google owns YouTube and they are competing with Facebook for being the go to place for Video content. I personally give the edge to YouTube as I just love that platform for so many reasons.
Use YouTube to target your audience with great and unique content. Remember, the ideal length for a YouTube is between 7-15 minutes. Encourage your viewers to LIKE (and subscribe) to your content and offer incentives for them to watch your videos to the end. The amount of time viewers spend watching your videos as well as your likes are the biggest thing to get algorithm support in 2021.
Don’t be intimidated to start. I fully understand how daunting it seems to be good at YouTube. Just YouTube how to be good at YouTube or something like that. It will get the ball rolling for sure!
As Josh Ledgard of Kickofflabs.com puts it:
“Some platforms only show the perfect side of our brand, filters and all (looking at you, Instagram). Some platforms call for professionalism and decorum (hey there, LinkedIn).
Snapchat is the polar opposite. This audience wants to peek behind the scenes. Production value is not as important as simplicity, sincerity, and silliness.
Use Snapchat to share who you are as a brand. On Snapchat, it’s not about the perfectly worded blog post, the perfectly staged photo, or the perfectly scripted video. It’s about sharing an authentic moment with your audience, giving them more insight into who you are as a brand. It helps your audience feel more connected to your brand.”
Show your fans what’s behind the curtain
Snapchat is perfect for showing your audience the behind the scenes of your life as a musician. Are you recording? Great, show your followers what that looks like. Are you filming a new music video? Your followers would love to see a teaser of this and learn about that too. Most people aren’t involved in the creative process which we go through as musicians. Snapchat will make your followers feel closer to you and your brand. I definitely recommend having a Snapchat account for your music brand.
With 8 billion Snapchat videos being shared daily, Snapchat’s popularity won’t be waining anytime soon! Get on the platform to create a deeper bond with your clan, tribe, or whatever you call your fans! You should use it to develop this deep relationship with fans.
This is one of the most rewarding part of the 2021 Guide to Using Social Media for Musicians to nurture. Fans love behind the scenes.
Twitter is a platform that allows you to reach people quickly, with messages up to a max of 140 characters. People use twitter to follow all kinds of people, from politicians and policy makers to influencers, athletes, actors, musicians, and more. It is like a direct link to things like a brief thought someone influential may have, or news updates, or to hear the opinion of your favourite actor.
Twitter allows you to reach a large number of people quickly with your tweets and retweets. You can also share links so feel free to let your followers know that you’ve uploaded a new song to your website which they can come and check out. The small amount of characters (140) forces you to be short and sweet which can be a breath of fresh air!
Use twitter to keep your following up to date quickly with everything you’re doing as a musician/brand. Up next on the 2021 Social Media Guide for Musicians is our pal LinkedIn.
LindedIn aka the consummate professional of the Social Media world. This social media platform is typically used for jobs (networking for employment), company news, and professional content
LinkedIn was always explained to me as “a more business world oriented version of Facebook”. It’s similar to Facebook in that you create your profile and have a wall, and the content of those you follow gets shown on your homepage. Two big difference with LinkedIn is that 1)the content is typically more business oriented and 2)there are more users than there is content. This last point is important. This is the only social media outlet where this is the case!
Most users here aren’t creating content which means your content can stand out more. More people will see your posts as there are less posts being made (which would typically push your latest post deeper down on everyone’s feed). The down side is that people aren’t here for cat videos, or your latest great cover song video. People are here show their professional qualifications or to show off key attributes of a business.
How does LinkedIn fit in?
You can use LinkedIn to talk about your qualifications (did you graduate with a degree in music? Do you have managerial experience? What industries have you been a part of? Use LinkedIn to connect with specific industries (such as recording arts, or perhaps food and hospitality for gigs). I’ve used LinkedIn to show off my performing services for senior’s home performances on a corporate level. This got me booked in to perform for seniors which not only pays decent money – but feel super rewarding as you get to make some old people really happy!
LinkedIn isn’t really a cornerstone of my online content strategy, but I’ve used it at times. Use it to create content that gets left on people’s feeds longer than Facebook and to demonstrate the strengths of your organization (if you start a music company IE. I run a wedding and events music company and I have a LinkedIn profile for my company to show what kind of awesome stuff I am up to as a music entrepreneur.
I’ll be honest…Of all the media platforms we have at our disposal, Pinterest is the one I’ve used the LEAST as a content creator. I know it has it’s uses but I just never really got into it. I do know that it is most effectively used to share infographics and step-by-step photo guides. Pinterest uses a lot of photos like Instagram. A big difference here is that photos on Pinterest are typically Vertical. People do love infographics and so I will be starting to create more content of this type in the future.
That’s pretty much all I have right now on Pinterest. If you love Pinterest please enlighten us by commenting below about how you use this platform effectively.
What would the 2021 Social Media Guide for Musicians be without mentioning Reddit? With billions of visitors per month and over 430 million active users, the platform represents one of the most engaged communities online.
Reddit has been called the “front page of the internet”. How it works is people submit images, blog posts and links to reddit and users vote it up and down depending on how much they like the content. This turns Reddit into a list of the best stuff which people are consuming on the internet at any given time. The really great thing with reddit is that everything is broken down into categories know as “subreddits” ie reddit.com/r/music. Whatever you are interested in there are subreddits that show only that stuff. The main page of reddit will eventually show you content from all of the subreddits you follow. For this reason being active on Reddit is another great way to share your content with people that share your interest for music!
Search for Music Related Subreddits
If you are recording music or making music videos you can visit reddit.com/r/originalmusic for example. If people like what you do they will upvote your content and more and more people will see your stuff. I also generally enjoy reddit as a great place to take part in an online community. Search for subreddits that have to do with your music interests and you will find thousands of other people to interact with.
Use ALL of these platforms for Success!
The trick to social media is using these platforms TOGETHER, with a clear and thought out strategy. By using this guide, you will be able to optimize the release of your content by putting the right stuff in the right place at the right time. You can accomplish great things by using all of these platforms in unison effectively. Develop your strategy, BE CONSISTENT (I can’t stress that enough) and you will see your following grow and grow! The 2021 Social Media Guide for Musicians is designed to give you an idea of how everything work together. Your work is just beginning. You should continue
My Pro Tips
#1 – When creating your online brand try to find a user name (handle) that is available on all the platforms you would like to use. This makes it SUPER easy for your following to track and add you on every platform. When creating your accounts you can test names. I recommend using your laptop to open up tabs for every social media platform you want to join. This will let you quickly test your username (to make sure they are available). Sign up and begin creating great content. Remember you can dive deeper into this stuff on Google and YouTube. I just want to get the ball rolling on this stuff for you
#2 – Head on over to canva.com to format your photos optimally for every social media outlet. It is free and you can select if you picture is for the Gram, for Pinterest, if you want it to be a thumbnail for YouTube, etc. There are also a bunch of great features such as filters, cropping, and so much more! You should DEFINITELY bookmark Canva as it is SUCH a useful website for content creators. Did I mention it’s free?
Social Media is FREE too – Technically…
The big thing to remember with Social Media is that it is technically free to use, but we pay for it in other ways. All of our interactions online are remembered and linked to us basically forever (as long as you remain a user). This is why when you search for something online, or like a certain post, you’ll start seeing a lot more of that. We waive our right to complete privacy when we sign up for social media platforms (who actually reads all the user terms and conditions after all?).
What I love about my website is that I curate and provide all of my own content for you. I’m not going to advertise to you based on how you interact with me web page or on other pages. You can visit any of my pages and it will not affect your interaction on my website. Your experience will be the same as everybody else’s which gives me the power to package myself in a very unique way, without the distraction of adds beckoning for your eyes.
A Pure User Experience
This is kind of an old school mentality way to look at things, but there’s something to be said about purity and creating an honest and stripped down experience for visitors to your website. It is the one place visitors (fans I hope) can come for an HONEST experience, the exact way the website creator envisions. As the creator, you have 100% say over how EVERYONE gets to see and interact with you – something that can’t fully be said about social media.
Check out my article about the importance of having your own website. Social media is great but without a website you may miss out on many things such as selling your music and merchandise independently and interest free (and a lot more).
All the best everyone, this has been my 2021 Social Media Guide for Musicians. I hope it will be helpful to you! Please comment below if you have anything to add to this discussion! 🙂