5 Social Media Tips to Grow Your Music Fan Base
Social media channels have helped launch dozens of highly successful musicians and stars, including pop stars such as Justin Bieber (YouTube) and Shawn Mendes (Vine). However, pop stars aren't the only music sensations to use social media to grow their brand following. Many string musicians have also hit it out of the ballpark: Black Violin, Twoset Violin, David Garrett, 2cellos, and Hauser — to name just a few.
1. Use the right channels for your audience
In addition to the power of Instagram, which should certainly be at the top of your list for exposing yourself to new audience members, there are other channels worth investing in. Some of the most powerful social media launchpads include YouTube, Spotify, and Facebook.
PLEASE NOTE: If you’re planning to launch yourself as a professional musician (aka, “your personal brand”) create individual accounts that are used exclusively for your professional life. These should remain completely separate from your personal social media accounts. As a post on SproutSocial put it, “an optimized social presence can signal your status as a professional. In an industry where competition is so cutthroat, having pristine profiles out there lets people know that you’re anything but an amateur.”
Read 6 Social Media Do's and Don'ts for Emerging String Musicians to learn how to manage your online social media presence and the importance of separate personal and professional pages.
2. Be authentic
The key message from emerging young musicians who’ve been successful on social media was “be your authentic self.” You’ve probably been using social media already, so it should come as no surprise that you've experienced the difference between a genuine person who’s putting themself out there versus a “poseur” who is faking it and trying too hard.
Industry data shows that people who are themselves — sharing their individual personality, passion, enthusiasm, and unique musical voice and energy — tend to grow their follower base more quickly and consistently. If you’re still trying to find your personalized, instrumental voice or style, read 4 Tips for Interpreting Music Your Own Way. Learning how to express yourself through your instrument is a powerful way to connect with audience members.
3. Use high-quality photos, videos, and content
If your photos are boring (out of focus, poor composition, seem contrived, or are offensive) or your videos have poor sound, people will either not “follow” you or worst of all — unfollow you altogether. Only post the very best you can afford in terms of photo quality and the best in sound when it comes to video. Once again, the data shows that people will click away within seconds from a video with bad sound even if the video is in perfect focus. And since you’re in the business of creating great sound with your music — do not skimp on this. (The most desirable situation of course is to have both excellent visual and audio quality.)
Most new smartphones have just what you need to capture high-quality photos, but for videos be sure to add an external microphone for better sound. Lavalier mics that can clip on to your shirt or jacket are fairly inexpensive (under $30). However, when it comes to your website, official publicity photos, and printed or digital media kits, we strongly recommend finding a professional photographer who knows how to make you look fantastic and bring out your best. Here's an example of a photographer who specializes in headshots for performers.
That said, don’t confuse “your best of the best” with “perfect playing.” Plenty of musicians post videos of their practice sessions (great authenticity), giving their followers an intimate look at their working process. Exposing that type of vulnerability endears you to your fans because it shows that you're secure enough with yourself to show your human side. (Think of your favorite artists and what they post. What have they done that made them so special to you?) Also keep in mind that the quality of your posts and their content matters as much as the quality of the visuals.
Using social media to generate a string music fan base means increased visibility where it matters most.
4. Post regularly
Ideally, social media posts should happen at least once per day. There is so much content being posted every hour — it’s a virtual déluge! Posting daily is ideal when you are growing your following. Having said that, it’s far more important to post on a regular basis — whatever you can manage — than to post daily for a week and then forget about it the next two. (It makes you look flaky and unreliable.) If you can’t do every day, how about every three days or once a week? Whatever schedule you come up with, stick to it as much as you can. You can always increase the frequency once you get into the swing of things. Just remember, the fewer the posts, the slower the growth. The last thing you want is to be out-of-sight — that translates into being "out-of-mind" and forgotten amidst the hundreds, if not thousands, of aspiring string musicians to be.
5. Follow musicians you love / Be polite
Start following other musicians you love, if you aren’t already. And when you see others following you, follow them back. That’s one of the fastest ways you can grow your following. Reach out to musicians you know and ask them to follow you, but be sure you follow them first. As often as you can, when someone makes a comment, respond as quickly as you can. Always be polite and enthusiastic. This is “engagement” and the more you do it, the faster the various social media algorithms will be likely to have you pop up as a suggested person to follow.
Your brand-focused, high-quality use of social media to generate a string music fan base can put you right in front of the agents, producers, and social influencers who matter most as you step into your career as a professional string musician. Happy posting!