It’s important that fans be able to find you, your brand, and also be able to engage. Some social media platforms allow for more engagement than others. Some cater to the basic needs of making announcements to the most followers as possible.
As an independent artist, you should probably focus your social media activities on the most popular platforms and be even more focused on platforms that give you the largest range of engagement. For those reasons, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and even YouTube are still the top contenders.
The popularity and reach of these types of platforms are attractive to indie artists who want to grow their fan base but these are not really where you post your songs for consumption. They can be decent money-makers for some and are definitely great for having fan interaction on. But they should also drive your fans to the appropriate platform for purchase.
You want to make sure your social media presence is always on-point. You never know where your fans might be found, so I recommend the shotgun method. Even if you just post announcements on most of your social media sites and then use a specific platform for community interaction that leads to sales – you’re keeping fans informed and interested.
With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram, which is now owned by Facebook, is a bit more popular than Facebook. Instagram also has the highest engagement rates of all social media platforms. You can post 60-second videos, so sharing from gigs is doable.
It has allowed for picture uploads for ages but also allows for video and short vids, too. So long as you fill your biography in completely, use good captioning, and integrate hashtags into your posts, you’ll reach your target audience in no time. You can put a link in your bio that can lead to more sales and/or videos.
Facebook is not liked by everyone, but you have to admit that a LOT of people still go there on a daily basis. We’re talking 1.4 billion users. So maybe you should be putting your music on Facebook.
You can make a Fan Page or you can use your Personal Profile. But the Facebook Fan Page is designed to incorporate your brand and comes packaged with more tools than a regular Facebook Personal Profile page.
Facebook has one of the cheapest and yet most effective advertising programs out there. Their ads can be targeted specifically to demographics such as location, gender, age-range, behavior, interests, and more.
People can literally purchase tickets through the Facebook Fan Pages or Event Pages that you can set up for your concerts. There is plenty of room for links, pictures, videos, and audience engagement both with you and with one another. And there is a Facebook Live feature as well! And anything you record as a Facebook Live (no 60-second limits on length) can remain on your page.
Though both platforms are important for promotion, Twitter actually may give your music and brand a more tangible result, especially when you’re starting out and when you are promoting new releases or tours. There are fewer users on Twitter – 400 million users give or take (206 million daily active users), but they tend to be more engaged.
Twitter allows you to find and engage with new people more readily. And if you’re all about building a good fan base, that’s what you want to do. The algorithm there is definitely on your side. People are quick to talk to you and other fans on your account and promote (retweet) your information to who knows how many other people.
Twitter does not block your messages from getting seen unless you pay them. Yes – Facebook does do this (at least as of this article writing). So you can reach all of your followers as well as whoever else comes across your information with each announcement.
TikTok is a big one, for updating and for interacting. But TikTok is short-form video-based. So you need to be used to creating video content for using this platform.
If you post a clip of your music, and if a song is particularly well-liked, other TikTokers will duet and share the thing until it’s viral not just on that platform, but on all of their others. TikTok is short form, but there is a comments section available and it’s great for those impromptu catches or teasers that your fans can enjoy and share
TikTok also has a TikTok For Business website that can be informative and help anyone structure a good marketing campaign for their art.
These are the best, most influential social media platforms available today. If your music and announcements are not on these platforms, you might be missing out on some good fan capture. Not to mention, a lot of fans like to interact on these forums about the things and people they love. They SHARE or RETWEET messages and announcements.
All of these forums have decent advertising rates and methods of choosing the demographics you want to advertise to. Facebook has specific tutorials for musicians – Facebook Ads Strategy for Musicians. I didn’t find the same guide on Twitter Ads, but I know (as a writer) that Twitter has marketing forums and tutorials available and there are TONS of references written by other people out there – just Google it!
I’ve even highlighted YouTube specifically in an article – How Important is it to Have Your Music on YouTube?
The platform’s chief business officer revealed in 2021 that 25% of all viewer hours are on music – that’s 250 million hours a day.
We all know by now that YouTube is a massive driver of music discovery, and it can only help you to have your releases available there. People searching for your music online will know that any tracks you’ve personally uploaded to your YouTube channel are the official, high-quality versions.
You can make it even easier on your fans by organizing your uploads into playlists. It’s a great way to seamlessly introduce them to more of your music that they may not have heard yet while building up watch time and increasing your opportunities for monetization.
YouTube has an amazing search engine and background tagging for all of your content. But the use of YouTubeLive promotes more audience engagement. Some artists (grandson, Gyze, Jacob Lee, and others…) use YouTube Live to make that connection.
The trend toward these digital platforms that focus on user-generated content began happening in a world with no touring. Musicians started using these platforms out of necessity during lockdowns.
However, the relationships with the fans that use these platforms make them important now for keeping those fans informed and connected around the globe.
“Ilich Rausa, founder of Milan-based independent record label Rude Records, says that Instagram live is still trending among artists seeking livestream fan interactions. He also mentions Twitch, which, once popular among gamers, has now proved helpful for indie music artists seeking fan donations. Rude Records’ American rock band A Will Away uses the platform Discord to host server-based chats and game nights with followers, and Patreon to engage fans in financially-lucrative virtual music experiences.”Andrea Zarczynski of Forbes – January 2021
They aren’t the only ones. Jacob Lee has created an entire Discord hideaway where he can interact with fans personally.
Rich Medija, the famous DJ, uses Twitch to stream his music and live shows while fans donate to them. In fact, lots of artists today are using Twitch to perform in front of their audience online. The platform was originally designed for gaming and continues to be dominated by that, but music is becoming more and more popular there, especially since the pandemic.
There’s also a platform called Hypeddit. It’s a fan-gating platform to help you convert your downloads on your Soundcloud, YouTube, Mixcloud, Spotify, and so on, into fan engagement! You can give special incentives (a free download) to your fans in exchange for likes on your page. In other words, Hypeddit helps you grow your fan base and boost your streams online.
Whatever you do, once you get started on a social media site or forum, BE CONSISTENT! Keep the branding the same across all social media platforms that you use.
And also, don’t stop posting. If you need to hire a social media manager or assign that role to someone in your band or staff, so be it. The worst thing you can do is begin promoting your music on a social media platform and then simply disappear. You never know where you might pick up more fans.
Use all of the resources available to you. Use all of the platform’s advertising suggestions and make your social media work for you. Use all hashtags that are relevant, be aware of your analytics, take note and move with trends when you can. That’s the name of the game. That’s how you keep followers and fans and people who will support you and your music.
Choosing where to share your music and your time is an important decision. So really consider what you want, what you need, and where you think you can get the best of that list.