With approximately 3,810,000 social media users around the world, representing 49% of the entire world population, it makes sense to be present on the various platforms out there. There are just 6 main social media platforms scooping up over a billion of those total users and four out of those six are owned by Facebook.
In today’s post I’m covering 8 of the best social medias that musicians should be using in 2020.
Even though streaming and distribution sites such as Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, etc. are on track to becoming social medias – this post is about the original social media platforms.
Also, I’ve highlighted some future trends that you should be keeping an eye on. Technology is changing and improving at an explosive rate and it can be hard to keep up. This is your guide to staying on top of these changes so you can use these tools to the best of their functionality.
You know now the importance of investing your time to interact with your audience – the days of being an untouchable superstar who doesn’t answer comments and DMs is over. Being accessible, relatable and building a community around your brand is the only way to go.
Many musicians don’t break through nowadays because they’re not engaging with their audience on several platforms. It’s now seen as amateur to not have a strong community online which translates into digital sales, better live shows turnout and a multitude of other benefits.
Investing time, energy and even money into your online presence is key to success in today’s digitally driven world. It’s worth it.
The smartest move you can make is to choose a platform where your fans are already hanging out. You wouldn’t put on a show in the middle of nowhere – because your fans aren’t there – so you should apply this same tactic online.
Just like a successful tour, you choose multiple places where your fans are, you do not just stick to one city. Again, this applies to choosing multiple social media platforms in order to reach as many people as possible but in a strategic manner.
The ultimate goal is to utilise each platform for different purposes and share specific content to each channel. However, being a one wo/man band means that it can be quite time consuming to test out many of these places as well as making music.
This is why I’ve pulled together the best parts of 8 different social media platforms so you can target where to focus your energy and start building up a presence to seek out new fans and satisfy the ones already there.
As I always strongly recommend, you need to have an understanding of who your audience is before you know where they hang out. Use your insights and analytics to start drawing up a better idea of who they are, what they might like, where they might hang out and who else they’re listening to (as a basic starting point).
There are niche channels like Twitch where I’d recommend you create a presence on; if you know your fans are gamers. However, the big channels are a no-brainer – here’s a list of why you should consider creating your own ‘room’ on them:
YouTube is by far one of the best platforms to present on as a musician. It’s one of the biggest and best social medias for people to discover new music and it boasts the best search engine of all the platforms to date.
As YouTube is tied in to Google’s search engine, of course it’s going to be a super powerful contender on the search front.
While YouTube in general hosts billions of videos covering almost every topic and genre possible it’s YouTube Music platform is similar to Spotify with playlists, new music, album releases and much more.
YouTube has heavily invested in the YouTube Music service as well as official artist channels over the past few years. With a platform insistent on growing exponentially year on year, it makes sense why it’s the chosen platform of so many people.=
With over 2 billion monthly active users and over 1 billion music streams on YouTube last month alone – it’s not to be ignored by musicians looking to get their music in front of their target audience.
Whenever my son goes to listen to a song – where do you think he goes? Spotify? Apple? Nope, it’s always YouTube. This is how the kids and young people of today prefer to listen to music. So if you’re targeting music for the youth, you know where to go as it’s how the future wants to consume music.
The great part about using YouTube to share your music is the fact you can use visuals too. Using anything from a pro or amateur music video to a live performance of your song – there’s so many creative ways to communicate visually.
When a listener watches your creation where you can share more value with a visual element to your music, you connect with them on a much deeper level than only listening via streaming services.
If you have the technical know-how and/or the resources to create visuals – YouTube is the perfect platform for you to invest in.
However, only sharing music on a YouTube channel isn’t the best way to utilise it. You need to create a video series or weekly vlog where you tackle a particular subject or keep to a theme. The goal is to give somebody a reason to hit that subscribe button. Music alone just won’t cut it.
Experiment with different playlists, video series, vlogging and any other format that you feel you can consistently share value through. Create something that people want to follow weekly and binge watch.
Create an about you video for your featured video that sits at the top of your channel. It’s the first thing people see when they visit your profile so you want to give them a taste of what your channel is all about.
Another great part of YouTube is the option of live streaming to your audience as well as sharing exclusive content through the Channel Membership option.
As well as that, YouTube are now testing out their own version of TikTok/Instagram Reels where users can share 15 second videos dubbed by viral audio/music. This is clearly a format of communication that’s here to stay for the long haul.
YouTube’s monetization capabilities also makes it one of the top services musicians to choose to use. Think about how many YouTube millionaires there are now.
With the introduction of the Channel Membership alongside ad revenue on videos – they’re making it easier than ever for content creators to make money.
“What many people don’t understand, in the amateur economy, in the bubbling-up economy, Instagram is where you get noticed. People think it’s YouTube, but much less so these days.” Bob Lefsetz.
As of July 2020, Instagram has a slick 1 billion monthly active users. That’s a lot of thumbs scrolling at any given time. Why wouldn’t you want to be active there, right?
When it comes to starting up as a musician and tackling the social media world – Instagram is the easiest channel – due to the requirements of sharing value through content being very low in comparison to YouTube.
Images and videos don’t need to be professionally edited in order to share value on Instagram. Plus, you can share photos too. Also, YouTube requires pretty long, super engaging videos in order to gain traction and get good viewing numbers.
Many of my musician students have used Instagram as a testing site for trying out content ideas. Once they begin to grasp the process they then move over to tackle YouTube once they’ve got a better idea of what their audience enjoys.
Instagram is also heavily investing in video so it’s a wise move to move as much of your communication and content to video as soon as possible.
With the launch of IGTV and most recently Instagram Reels, the platform has its eyes focused on video content. Essentially, they’re going to push more traffic, more visibility and better performance on to any user who is sharing video content. Don’t miss out on the gold rush.
Video communication is the present and definitely the future on Instagram. You must begin to grasp how to document everything that you do. Having lots of footage to cut up and share is a lot easier than trying to shoot something in one shot.
Train yourself how to use free video editing tools and software that have flooded the app stores. If you can use DAWs or set up a studio to record music, you can easily learn how to edit video.
Using Reels and IGTV can generate some crazy traffic right now – reaching more people than just posting an image.
Running ads on Instagram is also one of the cheapest options of advertising (as it’s owned by Facebook). Nothing beats the low costs – not YouTube, Google or LinkedIn.
Instagram are also rolling out monetization options so content creators can soon make some money through ads that get played over IGTV videos. Similar to how YouTube and Facebook operate.
Also, they’re introducing digital ‘badges’ for Instagram Live which enables viewers to give money to their favourite broadcasters.
If you want to fine tune your Instagram strategy and prepare your online presence for success in the music world, register for my 5 week Instagram masterclass for musicians that starts in October 2020.
It’s tried and tested and has fantastic reviews!
The monolith of the social media world with its staggering 2.7 billion active monthly users and a further 500,000 new users signing up every single day. Who said it was just parents and grandparents using Facebook?!
Facebook is where this new age we’re living in started. Where TV networks, newspapers and advertisers have all had to change the way they operate. The music world has both benefited and lost out thanks to Facebook.
Through building communities on Facebook; musicians are able to share their music, thoughts, lives and processes to people they know and people they’ve never met.
I know we had MySpace, Friendster and all of the other dead platforms before Facebook came about but the difference is the global shift in media consumption that Facebook brought in.
Recently though, I feel that musicians are focusing mostly on Instagram because they’re not getting much reach. While this is true as Facebook has almost completely killed off organic reach; pushing users to use ads to gain visibility amongst your own followers as well as prospective fans.
The Facebook audience is getting “older and older” but there’s still over 76% of 18–24 year olds who use Facebook. 84% of 25–30 year olds who use Facebook. 79% of 30–49 year olds who use Facebook and 68% of 50–64 year olds use Facebook.
Just like Instagram, Facebook is going through some pretty drastic changes. They’re also focusing on video sharing and if you upload longer videos you can get some decent views.
I mean, Facebook is going in hard against TV and internet TV, so they’re pushing video content. But, you need to upload directly to Facebook rather than sharing a YouTube link. They are trying to keep the traffic on the platform for as long as possible – so videos hosted on Facebook keep people there longer.
The most drastic changes that are happening are the community building efforts. Facebook Groups are one of their main investments and they’re pushing the function by giving Groups lots of real estate on the platform.
People love Groups. They’re very engaging places and there is something for absolutely everyone. If there isn’t something, it can easily be created.
Musicians should strategically join Groups that align with their brand through their artist profile and start engaging in the groups. People are super inquisitive if they see a good post or comment and will naturally click through to look at your profile.
The Group function doesn’t exist on Instagram or YouTube so this is one of Facebook’s strongest advantages.
Engaging in Groups is one of the best marketing strategies for a musician right now. You can both network and be visible to a very large audience that meets your niche(s). The super high engagement rates that happen in these groups is something you should take advantage of immediately.
Another huge investment that Facebook is making is the Messenger section. This is really interesting because Instagram and Facebook are merging both their chat functions together to create a super Messenger.
There are 1.3 billion Messenger users globally and it’s expected to grow to over 2.4 billion users by 2021. That’s a lot of messages exchanged every second.
What’s even more interesting is the next step in the integration process. WhatsApp is also owned by Facebook and it’s merging with the super Messenger in the not so distant future.
WhatsApp is considered a social media and it has more daily active users than Instagram and Twitter (more info on how to utilise WhatsApp on the next point).
As these 3 chatting giants come together, the future of community building will revolve around the use of this mega chat app. Musicians should really consider using ‘chatting’ in your marketing strategy as it’s a personal, one-to-one experience.
Chat bots naturally are exploding in growth and availability as a result of the growing number of users. Huge brands as well as independent businesses are seeing the benefits of having a chat bot provide all the information a person needs as well as capturing valuable data and pushing promotions/sales/enquiries.
Oh, and Messenger marketing leads to 70% better open rates than email marketing. Now you see why it’s booming.
Yes, WhatsApp is a social media. There are more than 2 billion WhatsApp users in 180 countries. Over 2 billion minutes of voice and video calls are made on WhatsApp on a daily basis. Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion six years ago and a massive 1 billion people use WhatsApp every day.
As a musician, you should download WhatsApp for Business which gives you a range of different options outside of the regular WhatsApp.
By doing so, you are able to embed your WhatsApp for Business on your website which offers a way for people to message you directly from the site.
Text marketing is swiftly becoming a very useful tool to market your brand and products. Begin moving your communications over to chat and text in as many places as possible. Auto replies, bots and lots of other great tools make it a lot easier than sending messages one by one.
Sending out chat blasts or creating different groups where you share relevant content will become the new posting a status update on Facebook.
A smart idea could be to create a product whereby you offer the opportunity to talk one-to-one with you through chat? There’s going to be some really clever things coming out of the rise of text marketing – what are you going to do with it?
As I mentioned before, chat marketing has a 70% higher open rate than email marketing and with the integration of Messenger, Instagram Chat and WhatsApp – the power of this will be astronomical.
So for now just create a Whatsapp for business account (as an artist) and start getting people to chat you and message your profile and collect their digits.
5. Tik Tok:
The biggest teeny sensation in years, TikTok has over 800.000 monthly active users and has quickly become one of the big dogs of social media now.
The main function of TikTok is users recording videos over music and creating dances that go viral beyond belief (among other things too). Now, these videos can amass crazy high viewing numbers and each of those views has likely heard the sound that accompanies it.
The best thing that could happen to a musician in 2020 is for a song to go viral. With TikTok, this is a reality that’s not impossible to achieve.
Even just collaborating with influencers and getting them to use your music has the potential for your track to be heard by a lot of people. It doesn’t have to go viral to be a success.
Using TikTok as a user and connecting with your audience is easy if that’s the kinda person you are. Filming yourself dancing or doing something silly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, if it is yours, then the loyalty and connection you build with your fans will be very valuable.
Sharing TikTok videos across other platforms is very common and is another way to kill two birds with one stone.
Encouraging your fans to do the same dance or challenge that you’ve done is an easy way to create some good user generated content and potentially spark a new trend that sees lots of users following suit.
Even though the USA is planning on banning TikTok, it’s a great place to be if your audience are younger and spread across the world.
Twitter is one of those platforms that you don’t necessarily need to be on as a musician but with over 300 million monthly active users in July 2020 – it’s also not worth ignoring.
Metro Boomin contacted every single music exec he found that was relevant to him on Twitter by looking up the creds on Wikipedia. Most of the senior music industry folk are still very active.
Label execs, A&Rs, music journalists and other artists are all still very engaged on the platform. This is very useful for musicians as you can easily get involved with the conversations that are happening, provide some value, get people to know your name and then you can approach them directly with business enquiries.
I mean, Kanye West isn’t even on Instagram but we all know his Twitter fingers don’t stop.
If you’re good at making conversation then Twitter is a great place for you to start making yourself known. The networking potential is very good if you know how to do it.
Of course, share some strategic content on there too but the crux of the platform is conversation.
If you follow my Instagram you will see I’m a huge fan of posting Tweet quotes. I tweet something inspirational, educational or entertaining and screenshot it to post to Instagram. It usually gets very good reactions and you’re sharing value in two places at the same time. Work smarter not harder, right?
Let’s take Talib Kweli as an example – though he’s now had his account suspended – he had a show in Norway that he decided to cancel due to the venue booking an allegedly racist band. He didn’t want to share the stage with racists and was very vocal about it on Twitter.
I had something to say on the matter so decided to Tweet him which immediately resulted in Talib Kweli retweeting it and following me. As a result of this, many other musicians began following me too.
If you’re strategic in your networking and have sh*t to say – use Twitter to expand your audience and get credibility from those who matter and grow your audience.
While Twitch is a newer platform, it still has over 7 million active monthly users as of July 2020 and like I’ve mentioned before; it’s a platform that’s more focused on niches than a broad range of users.
Originally a platform for gamers to live stream their sessions, Twitch is fast becoming a favourite for musicians and many other industries to live stream to audiences.
For musicians, if your audience typically enjoys gaming, then it’s a perfect place to start making yourself known.
Twitch for musicians has a wealth of benefits from a generous amount of options for monetisation to the ability to receive another user’s audience in a transaction known as a ‘raid’.
With a strong, supportive community in place, it’s not difficult to get involved with other users and become active amongst the online society.
Because streamers tend to have music playing while they’re in session, they’re usually on the lookout to collaborate with musicians to get new music to play. These people can have huge amounts of viewers at any given time so the potential to reach new fans is amazing.
So you don’t only have to have your own profile and streams to get seen on Twitch, you can team up with other streamers to reach more people with your music too.
If you’re joining the platform to game with other users or to showcase yourself making music; you need to go into it with the determination of conquering the live stream format.
The best feature of Twitch is the multiple monetization options that are available. From tipping to paid channel subscriptions, there’s options to suit most needs.
However, if you’re going into Twitch to build that community and monetize your content; you have to be very consistent. Going live a few times a week and engaging with other users content is a must.
Reddit does such a fantastic job of creating the nichest of niche subcategories that it’s a million niche platforms under one massive channel.
Reddit has a vast collection of forums where users submit content and up or down vote interactions from other users.
What’s interesting is the fact there are no ‘influencers’ and everybody has an equal chance of going viral with good content.
Your visibility can explode with one post that grabs the attention of users perusing the forum you’ve posted in.
Just like anywhere on the internet, you can’t go in all guns blazing without at least making yourself known through interaction with other user’s content.
So begin to hang out on the subreddits (sub-forum topics) that you know your type of audience are communicating and get to know the community before promoting your music to them.
As always, authenticity is the key factor for this platform. You need to engage with real life stories, content and interactions with your fellow Redditors.
Social media is here to stay and its usage will continue to rise. So many industries are dependent on their social media to sell and promote their products and for musicians its the new way of creating a fan club.
Note down what your goals are, who your audience is, where they’re from, what they like and who they listen to and begin your research to find out where the best places are to put yourself in front of them.
The goal is to not promote with every post you do but to build a rapport with your audience and build a network of people that will follow your every move.
Once that trust is established and you’ve given lots of value then you can start promoting your products.
Even collaborating with other artists, PRs, journalists, music industry heads and just about anyone else that can help further your career are all hanging out in these places too.
Just make sure you’re there with them.