10 years ago you wouldn’t have been reading this blog.
Because even just a decade ago, the digital landscape that we use daily was an entirely different place.
While sure, self distribution and some social media marketing tools were around in 2005 — they certainly weren’t polished and geared towards the self-marketer, and certainly not intended for the DIY musician.
Twitter wasn’t around quite yet, and neither were music-centric programs such as SoundCloud or BandCamp. Facebook was just a year old and restricted to college students– plus there weren’t even Facebook fan pages yet, and certainly not viable Facebook advertising tools. Similarly, a decade ago you wouldn’t find any streaming services, and physical CD’s were still a relatively normal route for artists.
But that’s all changed drastically, right?
These days everyone has a platform to promote their work through social media, stream their music through various channels, and to even build their own websites, and book their own tours. The internet and social media have become very powerful forces in promoting our music, getting our work noticed, and for some, it’s even been an avenue for mainstream success.
This isn’t breaking news. This isn’t a revelation — success via social media has obviously been true for well over a decade.
My focal point though is the effect of these platforms–because with this blessing also comes a curse.
Now with social media and DIY tools, anyone can be an artist, anyone can have a platform — which now puts you into a sort of competition with thousands of other artists. All vying for the same spotlight.
So, how does an artist stand out from the rest? The answer is simple.. but very important: Be Professional.
By having a professional, solid and thorough feel to your social media, website, and all other digital outlets, you’re going to stand out from the static. A solid product and solid digital presence is certainly going to get you more attention than the artist that’s barely putting in any effort.
So, what makes a presence “professional”? And what are the most overlooked components of a professional presence? Here’s a few of my go-to tips that I give clients of all genres on how to clean up their online profiles.
A Proper Content Mix
This is easily one of the most overlooked aspects of an artists digital presence. Think of a major brand that you follow online, any one will do. Go and check out their content.
You’ll notice that it’s typically going to be a combination three content “types”:
- Brand building posts
- Miscellaneous content that may have nothing to do with their brand at all
- Sales posts
Those three elements are the main elements that you want to showcase in your online presence. You also want a good mix of these three. You don’t want to post way too much sales content, and scare fans away with spam, and on the flip side, you don’t want to post so much random/personal content that everyone forgets your an artist.
There is a formula for this, called the 70-20-10 rule which (roughly) says 70% of your content should be brand building.
This is you in the studio, you on the road, photos from shows thanking fans, or talking about an upcoming project.
20% of your posts should be misc. content, or personal posts. These are the posts that fans like to see — it shows your brand in a more personable light. This is you talking about a good restaurant you found in town, talking about the new Jordans, current events, or funny memes.
10% of your content should be the content where you’re actually getting folks to buy your work. These are the download posts, the posts that push your merch, or showcase your presales.
Now, is this an exact science? Not at all. Plus “brand building” can be pretty subjective. Let’s say you post a photo of you and your band at a restaurant with the caption:
“We’re here at Gino’s Pizza in Austin, after wrapping up one hell of a show! One of our go-to spots when we’re in town for late night eats. Thanks to everyone who came out tonight to Joe’s Bar, we’ll be back soon! We’re also in Houston next Friday! Check out the pre-sale info here…”
That post was brand building, because it showcased your recent gig and shows that you’re a touring band. It hit that personal/misc. category because you mentioned how the local spot was a go-to spot for light night food, and you plugged a pre-sale link.
Just in one post just you hit all three of our categories. But it was done in a way that wasn’t in-your-face, or too salesy. The overall point here is to divvy up content topics, and ensure that your posts aren’t too one sided. Give your audience a full glimpse of your work.
Frequency of Posts
Engagement is key to any social media platform. For Facebook, it’s 100% essentially, as you could have 10,000 likes, but if you post something that gets little engagement (likes, comments, shares), only a very small fraction of that 10,000 will even see it.
Similarly, with Twitter or other outlets such as Pinterest of Tumblr, if your work isn’t retweeted (re-pinned, re-blogged), it’s not going to have much of a shelf life.
Being active is incredibly important, and while I recommend scheduling posts in advance via HooteSuite or Buffer App, you should also spend time engaging with fans and showing love to each platform. The sweetspot for each outlet tends to be:
Facebook: 1-3 Posts Daily
Twitter: 3-5 Tweets Daily
Instagram: 1-3 Posts Daily
Twitter and Instagram can surely go beyond the above recommendations. Just ensure your posts are spread out — also ensure that you’re interacting with others on Twitter or Instagram. Finding people to follow and actually engaging with their work.
The idea here is to have an active presence, not only to engage fans, but also to show other influencers such as media and labels, that you take pride in your work.
The Big Picture
One big issue I find in a lot of artist’s online presence is the linked accounts, or the copy and pasting on various outlets. For instance, having a Facebook tied to a Twitter, so every time one posts on Facebook a link appears on Twitter, too.
Not only is this not engaging, it’s also lazy and an eyesore. Most tweets end up looking like this:
“Make sure to order our new album out o… http://fb.com/1237867/page/aiaiajf5454”.
And while taking a tweet and copying and pasting it into a Facebook post is a little better, you should still ensure that every social media outlet has it’s own voice and purpose.
For instance, you may utilize Facebook as your go-to place for ads due to it’s user-friendly platform, Instagram might be your place to really showcase that personal side of you or your branded imagery, where as Twitter is your go-to place to find fans, and be interactive.
Don’t forget other outlets too — an artists website is very important, and should serve as a long-form version of what you feel is too long or intricate to post on social media. Your newsletter is also a great place for fan interaction in a more “fan club” type of way.
Ensure that each channel has your brand, but that it always gives your fans something new and fun to interact with.
These are just three general issues one can find in their digital presence. Though, by being consistent and having a strong presence, you can always ensure that you’re standing out from the crowd and making an impression on potential fans, listeners and media, too.
As a music marketing strategist, Tyler Allen works with an extensive array of artists, labels, music tech, and music retail entities. Tyler began his music industry career with Sony Music Entertainment and RED Distribution, as well as the advertising industry. He is dedicated to giving veteran artists the tools to preserve their legacy, and new artists the tools to begin theirs (as well as everything in between). Learn more at wtylerconsulting.com.