TuneCore’s Social Media For Musicians Guide [Free Download]

With the recent launch of TuneCore Social Pro – a premium version of our free social media management tool, complete with a mobile app – we think it’s important for independent artists to take an educated approach to how they handle their marketing strategy on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

That’s why we’re introducing the totally free TuneCore Social Media For Musicians guide. Designed for artists at any comfort level and experience using social platforms – and packed full of useful content – the Social Media For Musicians guide is a great tool for any artist who is taking their musical journey to the next level.

How can you find your ‘social voice’? In what ways can you be building an audience? When should you post on certain platforms – and for that matter, what kind of stuff should you be posting?

We all know it’s not enough to simply set up profiles, post once or twice a week, and expect those minimal efforts to have a meaningful impact on the way you build your fan base online. But at the same time, artists and musicians were born to do just that – create! It shouldn’t be expected that every creator is a natural self-promoter or marketer, regardless of how experienced with social media one is in their personal life.

In addition to information on building a sufficient social media strategy and utilizing analytics (gasp!), the TuneCore Social Media For Musicians guide also has some incredible video components to it! We interviewed experts in the field of promotion and PR, social data, and even some TuneCore employees who happen to be independent artists themselves to find out what kind of struggles music-makers need to get over when diving into the brave new frontier of social media marketing.

So – looking for tips to master your social media strategy? Look no further! Download the free guide at Amazon here, and enjoy our six-part video series below or on our YouTube channel.

The Music Industry Belongs to the Hypercreators

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Ryan Kairalla, an entertainment lawyer based in Miami, FL. He recently published Break the Business: Declaring Your Independence and Achieving True Success in the Music Industry and also hosts the Break The Business Podcast.]

 

“You can’t use up creativity, the more you use the more you have.”
– Maya Angelou

A few weeks ago, I was giving a talk at the NAMM Conference in Anaheim, California. After it was over, a musician approached me and asked me what was the most important thing he should be doing to be more successful in his music career.

I succinctly responded: “Make music. Make lots of music. All the time.”

I could tell that this young creative was more than a little unsatisfied with my answer. Perhaps he thought I would give a lengthy discussion on the value of effective social media. Or maybe he was expecting that, as an attorney, I would talk to him about the importance of having good legal structures in place.

Granted, those things are important. But if you’re going to be in the business of making music, there is nothing more important than making as much music as you can. Today’s musicians need to be “hyper creators.”

Let’s lay down some essential truths about the current state of the industry:

  1. It has never been easier or cheaper to create quality music thanks to advancements in low-cost home recording hardware and software.
  2. It has never been easier or cheaper to distribute your music thanks to the digitalization of music and the emergence of low-cost distribution platforms.
  3. It has never been easier or cheaper to promote your music with the advent of social media.
  4. It has never been easier or cheaper to fund your music projects with the rise of online crowdfunding platforms.

Modern technology has removed nearly all of the barriers preventing artists from creating music constantly and sharing that music with a worldwide audience. Being able to make more music means that artists can have more opportunities to connect with their fans. It also means that artists can have a larger catalog of material to sell or license.

The musicians that will succeed in this world will be the ones who are best able to take advantage of these developments. This means creating lots of music—far more than the musicians of previous generations did.

The prevailing music creation model of recording and releasing an album’s worth of songs every two or three years is making less and less sense in the New Music Industry. It is a product of a bygone era where the creation, distribution, and promotion of music was an expensive endeavor, and thus bunching together the release of a small number of tracks was the way things had to be done.

Today, it is a better strategy to (1) make more music and (2) spread out the releases of your music throughout the year so that your fans never have a chance to forget about you. You can still make and release traditional albums if you so choose, but don’t do it at the expense of depriving your fans of a steady stream of new material.

Many musicians have effectively embraced the hypercreation model. Ireland-based indie acoustic artist J.P. Kallio has garnered some impressive success by releasing new original songs every week. Colorado-based Danielle Ate The Sandwich gained considerable fanfare for writing, recording, and producing an album’s worth of songs in just 24 hours (and she’s done this twice).

And then there’s New Jersey’s own Jonathan Mann. Mann has written and recorded a new original song every day for the past eight years—and counting. Mann and his catalog of nearly 3,000 songs have been featured on ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and HuffPost Live.

If hypercreation seems too daunting to you, remember this: Creativity is a muscle. The more you create, the more prolific you will become. Conversely, the less you create, the more that muscle atrophies. Make creation a constant in your music career, as each song you produce gives you one more opportunity for success.

A final word of warning:

As you embrace hypercreation in your own career, you should be wary of business relationships that are not conducive to you being prolific with your art. You cannot hypercreate unless you have complete authority over when, how, and with whom you make music. As a result, you should look upon exclusive recording agreements with great skepticism.

These contracts essentially give someone else (such as a record label or producer) full control over your recording projects. Under such a deal, you would not be able to make music without that someone’s permission, and they almost assuredly will not approve of you creating new music on a weekly basis. Rather, they will favor the old release model: Make an album, wait 2-3 years, and make another album (assuming that the label/producer still wants to record with you).

In the New Music Industry – one in which the creation, distribution, and promotion of music is so conducive to hypercreation — artists should give some serious thought to the significant value in being able to create on their own terms.

Are You Guilty? 4 Ways Indie Artists Are Killing Social Media

[Editors Note: This post was written by Joshua Smotherman, co-founder of Middle Tennessee Music, and it originally appeared on the Cyber PR blog.]

 

In an ideal world I would wake up in the morning to a fresh cup of hot coffee. I would enjoy it as I check my e-mail and skim social networks to check up on friends and my favorite bands.

I would immerse myself in an online community of music lovers, songwriters, and musicians sharing, caring, and building with each other… NOT blasting commands to “check out my new hottest thing”.

I see enough billboards on the interstate.

In this world:

  • Bands would stop acting like rock stars and start acting like leaders
  • They would build self-sustaining tribes
  • They would listen to their fans
  • They would understand that growing organically will always win over view counts

As a music blogger, my inbox would NOT be full of one-liners and YouTube links I only see as distractions. Whatever happened to “connecting” with someone?

Unfortunately, this world does not exist. From where I’m sitting, the average indie band sucks at using social media and its ruining it for everyone else. Most importantly, your potential fans.

What are we doing wrong, you say?

Oh boy…where do I begin?

Me, Me, Me Marketing

You might have been raised in a world of billboards and commercials, but using social media as a one way street is killing your promo game.

It seems too many people are missing the social half of the phrase, social media.

You need to engage with fans and listeners instead of blasting them with links, videos, and nonsense about buying your album.

Sadly, most bands qualify [as what the marketing world refers to] as spammers.

Engaging is easier than you think and should come naturally (assuming you are not a recluse).

  • Share albums, videos, and news about other music you enjoy or local bands you play with. Ask others what they think.
  • Share news related to the music industry or issues that reflect the personality of your band and use them to engage in conversation.
  • Instead of posting links to the same videos and songs repeatedly, post clips of the band working in the studio or upload a demo mix and allow fans to share their opinions so you can take the art to another level. Involve fans in your process(es).
  • Network with bands in other areas to create an atmosphere for gig swapping and collaboration as well as cross promotion of content.

This list goes on but the takeaway here is engage in a way that results in feedback and interaction.

Build a community.

Focusing on the wrong metrics

Your follower count means nothing unless you see conversions.

Huh?!

More important than a follower, view, or like:

  • How many fans have signed up for your mailing list?
  • Do you pass around a mailing list signup sheet at your show?
  • How many people have you met at shows? (You do hang out with the audience after the show…right?)
  • How many people have bought a CD or t-shirt?

Stop putting all your energy into increasing numbers on social sites and focus on converting the followers you have into loyal fans.

Use social media to funnel music listeners to your website where you attempt to convert them into a mailing list signup, song download, or merchandise sale.

Would you rather have 1,000 likes or 100 fans spending $1,000 on music, merch, show tickets and crowd funding campaigns?

Show me the money!

Repeating yourself on every social network

Sending your Twitter feed to Facebook then copying and pasting it to Google+ so the same message appears on every site is a horrible idea.

So is auto play on audio embeds but that’s for a different time.

You are not expected to know marketing, you make music! Allow me to guide you on this train of thinking…

People who use Twitter are different than people who use Facebook and the people who use Google+ are not like the others.

It is imperative you consider these facts when developing a social media strategy and act accordingly.

Make sure you actually use social media as a music fan before deciding how to market your music using these tools. Follow bands who are in a position you would like to be in and see how they use each network. Notice what works, what doesn’t work, and then perfect your plan of action.

Posting several updates to Twitter every hour (depending on the nature of the updates) is more acceptable than posting to Facebook every 15 minutes.

When you over saturate a person’s FB News Feed, they hide you from their feed. Or worse…unlike your page or mark your posts as spam.

A general guideline is try to retweet, reply, comment, and share relevant content from others more than you broadcast and peddle your own wares.

Sell Without Selling

If you focus on building a community around your band instead of acting as a bulletin board, you will start noticing the true power of social media.

You will not see overnight results.

The key is to stay consistent, focus on creating great music, and communicate directly with your audience.

If you create a community of loyal fans, they will want to support you.

Your community will become your sales force and all you need to do is be yourself and continue giving fans a band worth loving.

Consistency allows you to reach a tipping point where fans begin promoting your music for you by wearing t-shirts, playing CDs at parties, and recommending you to their friends.

It is hard to conceive this when you are starting at zero, but 6 to 12 months down the road you will notice things happening simply because you remained persistent.

While fans are busy promoting your music, you need to seek out gig opportunities, blog reviews or interviews, and other chances to put yourself in the presence of tastemakers who can expose you to their audience.

Bloggers, journalists, booking agents, and other industry personnel will not give you their attention unless you have proof of a loyal, engaged following.

Buying followers or views might help you manipulate chart rankings and other metrics, but they will never replace the power of community. If you have 5,000 page likes but no one is liking, sharing, or commenting on your updates; we all see right through you.

So can the people who can expose you to bigger audiences of music fans.

In closing:

  • Build your tribe
  • Nurture your community
  • Stop acting like a corporate sales machine

You might also be interested in this panel discussion concerning Marketing, PR, and Promotion on a Budget hosted by Indie Connect NYC which discusses mores things indie musicians are doing wrong online.

How Have You Avoided Killing Social Media?

Let us know below what you have done to overcome these four social media killers above (or any others that you’ve experienced) in the form of a comment below!

Drive Traffic With These 5 Social Media Hacks

[Editors Note: This post is written by Payman Taei and it originally appeared on Hypebot.]

We use social media all the time; on our way to work, in our downtime, even early mornings.  Naturally, businesses can take advantage of this; having your own Facebook page or Twitter feed can increase interest in your company and boost user interaction but as with all things, it’s not that simple.

With all the different pages out there, it can be quite difficult to make yours stand out.  These easy-to-follow social media hacks can help you gain–and keep–new followers, as well as spreading word about your product around the web.

1. Consistent Updates

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Having high-quality updates is obviously a priority for any business.  However, if those updates are few and far between, people will likely lose interest in the product.

Updating often is obviously a great way to generate interest and make sure your name and product is remembered, but you can easily go further than that.

Having specific days or times that you post content can help drive traffic, as well as giving potential customers something to look forward to.  If posts are always made on a certain day or at a certain time, then followers will get into the habit of checking your social media to see if anything new has appeared, creating a more dedicated base.

What days and times you chose depends on your audience.  If your audience is mostly made of standard shift workers, then try updating in the afternoon on weekdays, when they’ll just be getting home and wanting to spend more time on social media.  Want to appeal to teenagers and young adults?  Try mornings on the weekends, where they won’t have classes and will have more time to look at their feed upon waking up.

Scheduling when to post doesn’t have to be particularly rigid, either, as you can post a few random updates between the normal to surprise and delight your watchers.

Take it one step further: Using missinglettr

Ian Anderson Gray—as shared by Lisa D. Jenkins—provides a helpful tip for those who have trouble finding the time to schedule posts.  “I used to create a series of tweets for each of my articles and schedule them in a scheduling tool,” he states.  “This took a huge amount of time and to be honest, I rarely managed to get around to it.”

With the help of missingletr, Gray’s work is significantly decreased, while he still gets the benefits of consistent Twitter posts.  Missinglettr creates several posts based on the content in an article connected to it.  You can use the application to your advantage by allowing it to make several posts for you while you focus on other aspects of your work.

2. Maximize Your Use of Visual Content

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It’s no secret that visual content attracts a potential follower’s attention quicker than text.  While scrolling on Facebook, which are you more likely to scroll back to: a block of words, or a vibrant image?

Mastering visual content on social media can greatly increase traffic to your page, especially since users are significantly more likely to share pictures or videos.

A great way to use visuals in social media is to take a picture.  Jay Baer points out that the use of photographs as visuals has greatly increased, and it provides a wonderful opportunity to show your product in action.  Images of people using your product in real-life can increase viewers’ interest in the item.  You can also create your own graphic for social media using an online visual tool such as Visme.

Take it Further: Link to Your Site

Since one of the purposes of adding images is to generate traffic, it’d be remiss not to leave a link with the image—or, if possible, make the image itself into a link.

Donna Moritz, in an article by Cindy King, points out how useful visual content can be as a “gateway” to the rest of your business world.  Let the visual content catch interest, and leave longer posts to the site they lead to.

3. Master Hashtags

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Hashtags first started with Twitter, and have quickly become one of the best ways to locate a specific sort of information.  Businesses can benefit from this across social media by using them to their fullest extent.

Jumping on popular subjects to tag is a great way to attract outside attention.  All the same, Peg Fitzpatrick warns that having a variety of random hashtags isn’t advisable, even if those tags are trending.  “Use a good hashtag to tie all of the pieces of your campaign together,” she informs readers.

Using hashtags strategically—by tagging relevant popular items without random extraneous bits—can not only attract attention, but keep it.

Take it Further: Make Your Own

Having a unique hashtag can distinguish you from others who might have a similar product.  Your audience will quickly be able to identify your brand from your tag, and will be able to tag experiences related to your company in turn.

One of the best ways to go about this is to create a short, easy-to-remember tag that sticks in people’s minds long after they log off.  Clever use of alliteration or wordplay are great ways to go about this.

4. Engage Your Followers

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Actively encouraging your audience to participate can not only help generate traffic, but can also be a way to endear you audience to you.

Showcasing the work of fans or followers automatically makes them more invested in talking about your product.  For example, you might want to share posts you see when someone talks positively about your product.

Promoting contests is a great way to go about this.  Offering a reward means that more individuals will be talking about your product and generally vying to get the prize.  At visme we created a socially engaging contest called “Visualize Me” which was a perfect example of social engagement driven by an incentive.

Of course, taking the time to personally respond to those subscribed to your page can increase engagement, as well.

Take it one step further: Offer Private Streams

Many individuals would like to have personal relationships with the companies that provide for them.  Having private boards or groups where you can converse with your customers is one way to provide that relationship.

Many Patreon users have taken this into account.  The site has different reward tiers based on how much a patron pledges users each month.  In turn, the owner of the individual campaign can offer specific incentives, one of which can be private streams where patrons can watch them work, or Q&A’s only available for pledges.

Of course, you don’t have to use Patreon to provide the same feature. Martin Shervington talks about having private hangouts on Google+, where you can talk individually to those invited to join.  If you’re a Pinterest user, you can also use group boards to your advantage.

You can even combine private conversations with contests.  Whoever wins for the company will get a private audience with different members.

5. Make a Safe Space

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If followers appreciate having their work and words shown off, then they’ll be equally appreciative of having a space where they don’t have to worry about being looked down on for their opinions.  Keeping watch over your social media to make sure everyone’s getting along can not only foster trust and appreciation for your company, but also make others more likely to visit your page and be honest with you.  With how aggressive parts of the internet can be, it can be an immense relief to find anywhere that’s decidedly not.

Speaking to individual on a personal basis—as mentioned above—and answering them politely and with general concern is one way to help users feel more welcome.

Another great way—for Facebook, at least—is to ban inflammatory words.  Holly Homer describes how to do this: simply go to Page Settings, Page Moderation, and type in any words that could be used to insult or attack another user.  Any comments with those words will be hidden, preventing arguments before they happen.

This can also work for provocative comments towards your product or service, as well, if you’re worried about the words blowing up into a full-blown fight.

Take it one step further:  Hide the Trolls

Guy Kawasaki explains his trouble with trolls on his Facebook feed—deleting the comment simply resulted in the trolls commenting again to complain about it, while banning the user resulted in angry emails about being banned.

The solution to the problem was actually relatively simple: hide the comment.

When comments are hidden, the posting individual can still see their comment, but no other fans can.  Kawasaki explains how this works to his favor; not only has he not received any more angry emails, but the comments, even though they’re hidden, actually help to boost his post, meaning the trolls actually end up helping.

While using the word ban hack (mentioned above) can help for specific words, it also helps to search through comments and check for any other sort of inflammatory remark.

You can take this ‘safe space’ even further by talking to the individual’s specifically and trying to allay any complaints or concerns, but simply moving the conversation to a more private medium.  Of course, with spam comments, you’re probably better off just hiding the comment and leaving the conversation.

To Recap

There are many, many different tips and tricks you can use to help boost your social media success.  Some of the best include:

  • Consistent Updates
  • Mastering Visual Content
  • Mastering Hashtags
  • Engaging Users
  • Making a Safe Space

Here’s a challenge: take these hacks (or others) and try and twist them into something unique.  Then, post the results in our comments section, to let us (and others!) know how you’ve put these tricks into action.

Author Bio: 
Payman Taei is an avid technologist and the Founder of Visme, a Do It Yourself platform allowing everyone to easily create, manage professional presentations & infographics right in their browser. He’s also the Founder of HindSite Interactive an award winning web design and web development company.

3 Habits of Artists With a Strong Social Media Following

[Editors Note: This blog was written by W. Tyler Allen and originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

 

There are many tactics that go into a solid social media marketing campaign, but tactics are just theories unless they’re put into action, right? Even then, you need to ensure that these tactics become habits so that you maintain a level of consistency with your social media presence. Wondering which habits you should be forming, exactly? Well, for starters, here are three that artists who have built up strong social media followings all have in common.

1. Embrace new social media channels

Bobby Shmurda may be in prison right now, but no one can forget his track “Hot Boy” (under the clean title), which surged to the top of the charts and even closed out the 2014 BET Music Awards. The track began gaining traction on the video-sharing app Vine, when users began to mimic Shmurda’s dance and the line “about a week ago.” This viral meme turned into a standard radio hit and really blasted Shmurda from struggling rapper to full-blown artist.

The key here is to always be aware of current outlets. Sure, Shmurda’s fans may have taken the effort to create memes, and it seems to have happened organically, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to hop on Vine with your own fun content and encourage folks to remix it, share it, and remake it.

2. Perfect your balance of promotional and personal posts

It’s hard to find ways to promote your work, and it’s also hard to find ways to integrate your personal life in your outlets – but it’s essential. Talking about your day, your life, and your non-musical interests really help fans feel like they’re getting to know you.

My favorite examples of this are 2 Chainz’s food and culinary posts on his Instagram and Diddy’s posts of his family and nights out. Rappers and mainstream artists obviously aren’t the only example of this, either – bands like American Aquarium and Angus & Julia Stone have gotten in the habit of using that healthy mix of posts, too!

3. Network to have the power of social media influencers in your corner

Indie artist Ryn Weaver wasn’t a very well-known name, but that all changed when her single, “Octahate,” was tweeted and shared by artists like Charlie XCX, Paramore’s Hayley Williams, and Jessie Ware. This push from those heavyweights single-handedly assisted in the catalyst to her success.

Whether it’s organic, paid, or squeezed into, having influencers in your corner might be that extra boost you need to get your work heard. Check out paid networks like IZEA and Fluence, or better yet, simply make an effort to build genuine connections with journalists and fellow artists who have that large pull and following to help your work.