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It seems like a new social platform launches every few years, and artists are off to the races trying to figure out how to market themselves on the platform.
While it’s easy to buy into the hype, there are some platforms that you should focus on first to keep yourself in control of your music career.
This is why we’ve put together a breakdown of the most common platforms you’ll encounter and what your approach to each of them should be.
Below we breakdown the 10 best platforms for musicians to help grow your brand.
Should you prioritize platforms?
You should absolutely be prioritizing platforms so that you can work smarter instead of harder.
The key here is to focus on owning your audience. For example, social platforms can rise in popularity and then just as quickly fizzle out. If you’ve been putting all your eggs in one basket or platform in this case, then you could potentially lose your entire following.
However, a website or email list, for example, is a very different story. These platforms give musicians more control because you can store audience information safely.
Meaning if a social platform gets shut down or drastically changes its rules, you still have a database of information to help you connect with fans.
This doesn’t mean you focus all of your energy here, but it should be a major priority.
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Should Musicians Be On Every Social Media Platform Possible?
As an emerging musician, you should be present on the platforms that make sense for you and your goals.
For you, this could mean every platform out there. However, it could also mean just focusing your energy on the platforms that have been getting you results.
Once you’ve built a solid foundation, you can learn about and implement other platforms as you go.
While you don’t need to be active on every single platform, we highly suggest that you claim your moniker on the social platforms you might utilize in the future. This will help ensure that your names are consistent across all the platforms you use and make it easier for your fans to find your profiles.
Major Platforms & How To Use Them
Next, let’s briefly cover the major platforms out there and what your focus should be on each of them.
Creating your own website is one of the best ways to take ownership of your fanbase as an artist. Think of it as claiming some real estate in the Wild West that is the music industry.
Yes, all musicians should have a website to showcase their music, photos, videos, sell merch, collect emails, etc.
Website design can seem daunting if you’ve never done it before, but sites like Squarespace make it easy to have a clean, professional-looking website without much prior experience. The process is all drag and drop, with no need for you to learn how to code.
Your website doesn’t need to be over the top either. Keep it simple and make adjustments as you go. Better yet, you can outsource the creation of your website for very cheap.
They both showcase the artists’ aesthetics in an eye-grabbing way and make sure to ask for the emails of visitors.
Your Email List
Your email list is also a great way to take ownership of your following. You can build out your email list by collecting emails at shows, selling merch online, or from traffic on your website, as discussed above.
One of the simplest ways to grow your email list is to have a pop-up window on your website, asking visitors to sign-up for your email newsletter.
You can also direct people to do this from social media or offer them an exclusive song download in exchange for their email.
You can then leverage this list to strengthen your connection with your fans, ask for feedback, and increase sales.
There are many tools out there like Mailchimp that make it easier to regularly create your newsletter and manage your email list.
In case social media fails you–which we will tackle next–you’ll always have your email list to fall back on. Start building it ASAP.
It’s no secret that you need to be utilizing social media as an artist these days. The reality is that the people you’re trying to attract are on these platforms every day.
However, each platform is slightly different in how and why its users use the platform. This means you need to develop a strategy for each of them and understand what type of content works best on each platform.
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Instagram is pretty much considered your digital business card nowadays. After all, the platform reaches over a billion monthly users and ranks among the world’s most popular social apps.
The app, specifically Instagram Live, has been an excellent way for musicians to directly connect with loyal fans and attract new ones. However, artists also leverage the platform to share photos, stories, and videos.
It’s important to remember that sharing more of yourself on Instagram can help you build value amongst your fans.
Followers can ask you questions, get to know your personality, and build an attachment to your music. Like any platform, engagement with your content should be the focus, and Instagram is no different.
As author Marsha Collier stated: “The most successful marketer becomes part of the lives of their followers. They follow back. They wish happy birthday…They grow their businesses and brands by involving themselves in their own communities.”
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Facebook has been an excellent tool for musicians since the site first became popular in the early ‘2000s.
While Facebook is a great place to advertise and share your content with fans, Keep in mind that Facebook has evolved a lot over the years.
What used to be a breathing ground for younger demographics has since shifted. Your audience might be very active on Facebook. However, they could be more active elsewhere.
With that being said, artists have also found a ton of success creating exclusive groups or communities that communicate on Facebook specifically.
Facebook has its place, but it is up to you to figure out where it fits with your marketing efforts.
Like the previous two social platforms, Twitter has become a staple in the world of marketing.
Twitter is all about conversations, whereas Instagram is very focused on the visual. Meaning an identical post on both platforms will not garner the same results in terms of engagement.
Proper consideration should be taken regarding how Twitter users interact with the platform and how you’ll use this information to alter your marketing efforts.
If you don’t let your personality shine on Twitter or get people talking, you might not see the results you’re hoping for. What goes viral on Twitter usually has to do with people resonating with what you’re saying concerning current events and trends.
This is a platform where your brand voice becomes so important, and you should ensure that you’re always in control of the message you are putting out there.
Youtube is built for creators like yourself, and aspiring musicians have been using YouTube to their advantage for quite some time now. There’s no shortage of video content available on the platform, which hosts two billion logged-in users each month.
Your approach to YouTube will need to be different from the other platforms because people go to this platform for different reasons.
With that said, Youtube is an excellent platform to begin publishing your video content and sharing it with potential audiences.
Best-selling author David Meerman Scott once stated that:
“You can buy attention (advertising). You can beg for attention from the media (PR). You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales), or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free.”
YouTube is a world of its own but learning how to navigate the platform is important to your success.
Snapchat can be an instrumental tool to give fans a look into your life as an artist.
You’ll have to determine if this makes sense for you and your audience, but there are many ways you can share content on Snapchat and grow your following.
You could post snaps of you tuning your instrument, warming up, or rehearsing before a big gig. Some artists even use Snapchat to preview new songs they’re working on, while others take fans behind the scenes at shows.
Our favorite example is DJ Khaled, who views Snapchat as an opportunity to show off his luxe lifestyle and share funny and inspirational video snippets.
Twitch has been a go-to streaming service for gamers, but it is also becoming a popular choice for musicians to communicate with fans.
According to Twitch’s Head of Music, Mike Olson, non-gaming content has quadrupled over the past three years.
A great example of a musician who’s made it work on Twitch is Rich Medina.
Rich is a DJ who built a career playing hip-hop, house, soul, afrobeat, funk, and dance tunes for audiences.
He has over 50,000 followers on Instagram, but “these days he is more interested in appealing to his 3,700 followers on Twitch,” he explained in a Guardian interview.
Even artists like Grimes have debuted albums on the platform, hosting Q&A’s with fans in real-time. While Twitch is excellent, it usually works best when you already have a following. However, collaboration is huge on the platform, which can help you get your foot in the door if your following is small.
TikTok is an excellent example of why we say you need to own your audience. At a time when creators had already grown massive followings on the platform, TikTok was almost shut down by the US Government. Luckily, the platform is still alive and well, but it shows that you don’t control what can happen to these platforms.
Don’t let all your hard work go to waste, and make sure you build an email list.
Now TikTok isn’t for everyone, but it might be worth trying to see if your target audience is on the platform.
Artists like Canadian rapper Bbno$ (baby no money) have grown a solid following for themselves through TikTok.
The platform is based on short, attention-grabbing videos that can help you spread your message as an artist. This is another platform where you can let your personality shine and grow your following if you can consistently create engaging content.
Streaming platforms are the music stores of today–You need to get your music to these platforms so that your fans can easily consume your music.
If you’re not already, you should absolutely start using a digital music distributor to get your music on the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, and more. If we can’t easily find your music, chances are you won’t be heard.
However, getting your music on these streaming platforms is only part of the job. You need to make sure that your branding is consistent on these platforms, and you’ll also need to find ways to increase the streams and downloads of your music.
You’ll have to learn how to navigate these platforms’ ever-changing algorithms because not all published songs are made available for listening equally.
Meaning that the top charts on Spotify–and other platforms like SoundCloud–operate by preferring trending content. In a perfect world, if the engagement and interaction on your music increases, this should mean that the platform will present your music to more people.
There’s a lot more strategy that goes into streaming, which we will touch on later.
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Final thoughts on The best platforms for musicians
Not all platforms are created equal, and each will serve its own specific purpose. That’s why it’s crucial to define your own goals to understand why a particular platform makes sense for you to use.
The one thing in common with these platforms is that they all need content to survive. Meaning your success on each platform will depend on your ability to create quality content while keeping your branding in mind.
Music With Flavor Staff
Helping You Taste Success In Music