Social media and music marketing have become inseparable in today’s modern music industry. Audiences now demand that you maintain a strong social media presence and still, many musicians still ignore this. I get it, social media can feel difficult, daunting even. It can feel like the antithesis of your creative music-making.
You still have to show up. The core purpose of any social media strategy is to captivate your audience and that means truly engaging them. Yes, this is challenging, with an average engagement rate of 1% on Instagram, 0.17% on Facebook, and a mere 0.05% on Twitter, but here’s the silver lining: mastering effective social media usage and engagement, unlike innate musical talent, is a skill that can be learned. The science behind what works and what doesn’t is well-researched and documented; all you have to do is follow directions and be content to experiment a little.
The question isn’t if you have to be on social media or not. It’s have you implemented a system that truly connects with your fans online?
Here’s how to amp up your efforts across all social media channels…
If you want to create a bigger impact on social media, this is your chance. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or just starting out, the key lies in a well-rounded strategy that resonates with your audience. From crafting compelling content that creates genuine engagement to understanding (and delivering on) what your fans want, a strong social media presence is possible.
If you need a little help, we have incredible Social Media Managers on our Cyber PR team who can make a profound difference in your social media. But if you’d rather learn this skill on your own (a valuable one!) there’s still plenty you can do. The only thing I ask? Don’t buy likes and follows! It never ends well.
Social Media Step One – Your Brand
Let’s start with your social media LOOK & TONE. This is the fun part!
Your brand isn’t just about your music; it’s the essence of who you are as an artist. It’s what sets you apart and makes you memorable. Think about what makes you love certain TV characters, musicians, or brands. It’s not just what they offer (music, movies, etc) it’s the way you feel connected to them and why. To start, you want to craft a brand that’s authentic and reflects your unique style and messaging. This is what sets the tone for everything, including what you post to social media and the reason your fans will engage with you. It’s what will resonate. This includes your fonts, colors, logo (optional) and overall writing style—but it doesn’t end there.
What fonts are you using on your socials?
A mishmash of fonts means a confused brand. Cohesiveness is incredibly important with branding and it’s also a really easy way to begin to convey your brand and get clear on the story you’re trying to tell. Think about everywhere you use fonts—headers, newsletters, blog posts, social media posts, etc . Everything should have the same font. A really easy way to do this is to use Canva (free version is ok) and use the “brand fonts” so you always have those at the ready.
Here is an example of an artist who has consistent fonts throughout their socials:
What’s your color story?
Adding color to your social media strategy and overall artist brand can be a great way to capture potential fans’ attention. Like you did when choosing your fonts, you can use Canva to select brand colors and make them part of your “brand kit” so they’re always ready to use. To choose your colors you can use a site like Coolers.co to get you brainstorming. Choose colors that resonate with you and that feel like they align with your vibe and aesthetic (no more than three colors though).
Then, look at your website. Does it reflect the brand you’re trying to share? Next, carry these chosen colors across your social media channels, creating a unified and polished feeling. Remember, the more visually appealing your content is, the higher the likelihood that fans will be enticed to hit the follow button.
Here are some artists who have utilized and expressed their color story really well:
Zack King uses tones from new music coming out. Each post fits the theme and color scheme of the upcoming release.
Aaron uses dark, earthy tones and creates a narrative through his posts. Each carousel of images tells a story.
Jetty Rae uses colorful tones and vibrant, filtered photos to give her feed a festive, yet very professional, undertone.
Is your overall style coming through?
Your social media serve as a way for fans to engage with you beyond just enjoying your music. When fans and industry professionals come across photos of you, they form expectations of who you are both in person and on the stage. It’s crucial to be genuinely and authentically yourself, and branding is a huge part of that. Ask yourself, are you giving an accurate representation of who you are? Are you giving fans a way to connect with you beyond your music? Always remember to provide your fans with ample opportunities to connect with you on a personal level and relate to your unique personality.
Social Media Step Two – Your Themes
Maybe you’ve heard of this before. We call them “social media buckets” and they’re the five “themes” you’ll use when it comes to creating your content. This can really help when you’re feeling stuck, because you can simply turn to your “buckets” and choose a topic. It means not having to ask “But what do I post about?” and instead, having ideas ready to go.
We suggest having no more than five social themes. They should be based on your hobbies, talents, likes/ passions, hometown, and everyday life.
Your first theme should be music, of course. But what about the other four?
Think about what makes you, YOU. Is your location a huge part of who you are? For instance, if you’re a Nashville artist who is really active in the Nashville scene and makes it a big part of your music, maybe that means it’s part of your brand too and you share songwriter roundtables and classic Nashville photos and moments. Maybe you workout at the gym every day or you have three dogs that you are obsessed with (understandably). Your social media themes can be hard to narrow down. But once you do, an entire world of content ideas will be open for you, and the stress of posting will soon be alleviated.
Here is an example of social media themes we created for a client who engaged us to write a Total Tuneup Plan:
THEME #1 MUSIC
This is the most important kind of content you should be posting; and you should be posting this frequently. Just remember to do it in a way that is engaging and note purely sales-y.
THEME #2 ROAD TRIPS/OLD CARS
You had mentioned your familiarity with and love for old cars. Share that! Let your fans know what it’s like to hang out with you for a day when you’d be doing something you loved other than music, like fixing up an old car.
THEME #3 SUPPORTING THE LIVE MUSIC SCENE
Being that your fans are of the age where they go out for live entertainment, reflect that. Connect with them over your love for live performances and don’t just invite them out to your shows – invite them to meet you at someone else’s show!
THEME #4 EXPLORING NEW CULTURES / NYC
Living in a city like NY is enviable for most people. You are also fortunate enough to be able to sample different cultures right in your own backyard. Being that you love new foods and drinks, and exploration of new cultures is definitely relevant within your target market, share photos of the foods and drinks you try while on the road, or simply out for the day in NYC!
THEME #5 FREEDOM SEEKERS
Aside from sharing your music, nothing is more “you” than sharing your experience as a young musician with the freedom to pursue your dreams and make your own rules. While you want to keep your platform about the music, you each have your own experiences and beliefs that make you who you are as people and as a band united.
Social Media Step Three – Your Strategy
So, when exactly are you posting? You have to have a STRATEGY. So far, you have a bit of a plan, but the strategy is what takes it to the next level.
Most of the time, it doesn’t even occur to artists that they can’t just post a picture whenever they want and expect to get the maximum amount of likes. There is legitimate research conducted constantly about the best and worst times to post on each particular social channel but the best time to post is the one you’re going to be consistent about it.
Consistency isn’t just about how often you post; it’s about maintaining a coherent brand identity that ensures your voice, visuals, and messaging align seamlessly. (Basically, everything we’ve been talking about!) Selecting the right platforms and scheduling your content diligently are essential steps. Consistency in posting, engagement, and storytelling is what will help your fanbase relate to you. It’s through this consistent commitment that you start to see an uptick in engagement.
Here are some of the things that we found from recent social media research:
- Facebook users are usually most active during work hours. Having a video that captures the viewer in the first 20 seconds is key, or else you’ll lose their interest (this is really true across most platforms—if not less time)
- Twitter (or X) is the fastest-moving social channel, in fact the average lifespan of a tweet is about 15 minutes, so go ahead and post more often on that platform. You can connect related thoughts within the same Tweet thread.
- Instagram users have been described as most active between 6pm-9pm, so schedule your IG posts later in the day. However, it’s worth looking at your analytics for this one to see when your users are most active, depending on whether you’re aiming to reach new fans or current ones.
Want more key advice on social media trends? Check out our Social Media Tuneup for all the tools you need to improve your social media presence.