Crazy discussions are underway whether to ban TikTok in the US for good. Once again it brings up the importance of creating a personal brand rather than solely growing a channel on social media.
Yes, there are many influencers that have blown up on TikTok but the smartest ones created a brand around it and grew their other channels alongside TikTok fame.
The platform owners essentially own the data and your followers on site but you are in control of your brand and the influence this has – and where you want to push the influence.
History often repeats itself and we’ve seen it happen before with Myspace – everybody was on it – then one day Facebook got popular and MySpace was a no man’s land.
People that put their time into growing their MySpace following had a nasty shock when droves of users stopped signing in day-by-day until there were just bots and companies posting content.
Also, remember SnapChat? I know it’s still around – it’s numbers have slowed by 82% since Instagram Stories came on the scene.
The same goes for the ill-fated TikTok – with the US government trying to shut it down plus the new release of Instagram’s rival functionality, Reels, the future isn’t looking so bright.
If you’ve only established a presence on one channel – you’re in trouble.
Using just one social media to communicate with your fans and grow your following is putting all of your eggs into one basket. You seriously need to reconsider your strategy and invest more time into other channels.
So, what have these influencers been doing since the speculation over the TikTok ban reared its head? Well, they’re frantically trying to move their followers over to other platforms in time for the ban to take effect.
With the launch of Reels on Instagram, the timing couldn’t have been better for Instagram to bring monstrous traffic back to the platform from TikTok.
I’m pretty sure they’ve seen a huge increase in content creation and traffic since the TikTok news came out.
In order to get people to follow you everywhere, you need to give them a reason to do so. This is where you brand comes in!
I’ve already gone over the importance of a personal brand and how to create one in my article here.
When you’re communicating to the world and you’ve got something to show it, us humans have a tendency to just communicate what we do.
The easy tip for you is this, communicate the reason you’re doing it as an extension of what it is you’re doing.
For example, many artists would say “I’m a music producer” – we need to take this general statement and give it an understandable reason for audiences to connect with.
Creating a brand goes much deeper than shouting about what you’re doing – audiences must feel emotion and deep connection to your message and passion.
A great example of why a brand works better than a ‘singular’ business is if Nike opened a hotel, you’d have a pretty good idea what the hotel would be like. However, if Hyatt started a sneaker collection, you’d have no clue what to expect and couldn’t vision it.
This is because Nike has a strong brand and Hyatt simply does not. See the difference?
So, here are 6 strategies to bring your brand to life:
The times of crafting yourself to be like everyone else, appealing for the masses and forming your artistry to fit the appeal of radio is GONE.
Because of social media and the internet you’re able to be super specific about your brand.
The good news is that your brand is simply a reflection of your real identity and personality. You no longer need to try and fit in, the more you stand out, the better.
It’s time to show who you are to the world, unapologetically. Give potential fans and followers a reason to really become obsessed with you.
Remember when you had moments of not having anyone to look up to or be inspired by? It’s because there wasn’t much variety for a long time. Now that is so very different. The more specific you can be, the better.
The more authentic you can be, the easier it’ll help to get fans to connect with you. Tap in to their weirdness and come together.
Give them specific reasons to love following you. For example, look at Lizzo. Her tribe exploded in a short space of time because she was being, well, just her.
She was speaking about specific subjects in her music and content on social media. This all resonated with her audience and skyrocketed her popularity. Her audience resonated with everything she did.
Lizzo translated her personality into content. She didn’t try to be the next Nicki Minaj or Young MA, she was ALL about herself and loving it too.
Due to the internet it’s mega easy to spread content and music; finding niches and tribes.
The days of making music that fits into the radio ideals and rules are over. That one distribution channel used to keep the shackles on the music business but now anyone can access everything and the click or tap of a button.
Distributing through forums of fellow weirdos who have niche interests and personality types such as yourself is easier than ever. Market directly to the target audience and build a rapport through actual communication.
People want these real interactions, humans have flaws and aren’t well-oiled machines, let the fans see it!
For example, I tell my musicians to live stream their music making process in the studio. The first reaction is always “everyone will see my mistakes!”. Yes, that’s how to connect on a real level, mistakes are very common and drive the change to make good art.
Showing all sides of the process, of your personality and even your vulnerabilities is what it’s all about these days.
Deadmau5 blew up because of MySpace and his content went viral – people shared everything he did. His fame on the internet is because he uses social media channels as HIMSELF and not a celebrity. See the difference?
2. Show Different Sides of Your Personality – Creating Sub Brands
There are many different aspects of your identity and personality that you should share with your fans. They are not only interested in you and your music, but also your identity and personality.
You’re probably fusing these different sides of yourself in your music already. But social media is the perfect place to show off these different angles!
Through the content you share, you’re giving people several reasons to become a fan of you. You show yourself in different areas and allow more people to buy into it.
I always use Deadmau5 as a great example of this. He’s a DJ, a gamer, a producer, a funny guy. In marketing talk, we call these ‘sub brands’.
By showing all of these sides to his personality, he’s giving his audience lots of different entrances into his world and his likes.
Through interviews, content marketing and even down to your bio; you can show off these sub brands as individual pieces of you.
Deadmau5 meets his fans across different channels that fall into different sub brands. He uses Twitch a lot to connect with his gamer geeks and Reddit for others.
Jay Z’s brand is so much more than being a musician too. He’s a businessman, a sports fanatic and a father (also husband to the biggest pop sensation in current times!). All of these areas are considered sub brands too.
3. Find Your Format to Show Your Brand
Once you know your brand and sub brands, the next step is to communicate to the world and show off all the goodness.
To do this you need to find different formats to get the word out and keep it flowing on a consistent basis.
For example, one of my students from Beirut (stay safe all) is an electronica music producer but he also loves Arabic music and culture. He wants to fuse electronica with Arab culture. On top of that he’s a funny, entertaining guy by nature so obviously he is creating content for social media around that too.
Electronica mixed with Arab culture with a side serving of humour is what powers his content strategy and displays some great sides to his life and loves.
The more specific, the better. Take a look at how much fun he’s having with content:
Notice how Arab culture is merged with pop culture and a sprinkling of humour all around. His brand is presented perfectly and he’s not even showing his music. He’s entertaining fans, giving them a reason to follow him.
You need to find these different formats that are specific to you – this is how you build a stronger brand.
Cardi B is another great example. Before she blew up as a rapper, she was known for her influence on Instagram. This is her identity. Her format of choice is usually through ranting videos talking about issues that are important to her.
Finding your format(s) will take some time and will not happen right away. This is why testing is key. Search online and see what other people are doing, what’s working for them and start testing it out for yourself.
Through these experiences you’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t. This will be an ongoing process, even when you hit the big time.
4. Document Over Creating
We all know that to create a brand online, we need to be pushing out lots and lots of content. Trying to think up creative ideas for posts and the time it takes to complete some of these things is a lot to do alongside your music work.
The best thing you can do is to begin documenting what you do, rather than creating a fake story.
Try to be authentic, be yourself and don’t overdo it with false claims. A glorified version of what you are will not last long.
Whether you’re browsing through new music trying to find inspiration or setting up your studio to record a new jam – document the process!
With a long form piece of content you are able to cut it down into many smaller pieces of content too. Allowing you to document your process, chop it up, create lots of content and distribute.
Vlogging is skyrocketing in popularity. Artists such as Martin Garrix and Fisher have super popular series where they’re simply documenting what’s happening rather than creating stories for social media.
If you know what you’re talking about, documenting the process of your creativity will be well received. Put some ads on the content and keep pushing it out. The people will come.
5. Smart Distribution of Your Content
Just as I mentioned above, creating large form pieces of content, it’s also important to know how to distribute it to maximise the content.
From one large content piece you can create smaller versions of it. So if you have a long video on YouTube, you could break it down into individual pieces which go on to Facebook and Instagram.
A clever line from the video could be turned into a tweet. This tweet can then be screenshotted and posted to Facebook or Instagram.
The blog post on your website could be turned into the video on YouTube. And the cycle continues.
Make your content work for you. Keep it looking fresh across your channels by presenting it in different ways. This allows you to pull in eyes across many channels with different pieces of content.
Begin with deciding what that large piece of content will be per week and the rest can flow from there.
6. Cross Platform Content Distribution
I often get asked “do I upload the video to one place and share it everywhere else?”.
You upload to each platform individually. Why? Because the platforms will give you more reach if you’re uploading directly to their service vs. linking to another which pulls traffic away from theirs.
The number of views on YouTube shouldn’t matter because by being visible across all the platforms, you open up the content to many more types of followers across different platforms.
Not only that, when you start repurposing the video, breaking the long video into smaller pieces – you share the value over and over again anyway.
Stop worrying about the views and just start distributing content in as many relevant places as possible.
Beyonce just uploaded her whole new music video both on IGTV, YouTube and several other places too. She got lots more views on Instagram than YouTube right away.
It shouldn’t matter that you go to one place to see it, it matters that people are seeing it in general, right?
Going back to the original point of this article – if TikTok does get banned then you need to bank on having your presence shining on many different platforms to distribute your content.
This is not to say share all the same content on all of the platforms, you need to repurpose your content to fit with the status quo of each particular channel.
By being visible in several places you increase the chances of new people finding you.
New people find me daily across Google search, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Podcasts, Medium and so on…
Find the platforms your fans hang out on and make yourself known there!
Start documenting, creating content and distributing everywhere that your fans are.
You personal brand is the important factor here and being visible across multiple spaces that are sharing value is the failsafe way to do so.