Social Media

Social Media Promotions: A Guide for Indie Artists

In today’s microwaved society,  music labels and executives are leaving brand positioning up to artists. As a result, artists are self-promoting, which can be costly and a non-reality for those without management. Whether you’re an artist or music manager, you will need a good strategy to aid in your promotional efforts.

Cyber promoting, or social media marketing, is one of the most effective ways for artists to self-promote and grow their fan base. Since the music industry consists of two sides of the fence, mainstream and indie, social media planning can be tricky. Let’s take a look at some of the tactics mainstream and indie artists use for social media.


Mainstream Tactics

Mainstream artists obviously have more grounds to self-promote. It is reported that one of most widely acclaimed artists, Beyoncé, works with Lauren Wirtzer-Seawood, a digital expert, to execute her social media strategy. Beyoncé currently has 66.8 million Instagram followers, over 64 million Facebook followers and 14.2 million Twitter followers. You can learn more about how Wirtzer-Seawood plan’s social strategies with Beyoncé here.

Not only are mainstream artists able to hire digital professionals to self-promote, but some are able to develop apps. When rapper-singer Drake announced his “Drake vs. Lil Wayne Tour,”  the two developed an app called Drake vs. Lil Wayne . The app promoted the tour and gave fans a voice , while both artists gained recognition as competitive rappers and received a fan cross-over.

Indie Tactics

While mainstream artists have access to cyber promotions, how then would an indie artist utilize social media considering costs? Chance the Rapper  is one of the most successful indie artists on social media, known for being socially conscious about public matters. Chance has 1.25 Million Twitter followers, 893 thousand Instagram followers and 7.5 thousand Facebook followers. He knows how to communicate with fans by giving them something they can relate to, which is cost-effective- as conversation is a free tool.

Though some indie artists are established on social media, many are not. Here are three of the most common reasons why:

  1. Artists have “me syndrome.” It is common for artists to oversaturate their social networks with content all about themselves.
  2. Artists lack planning or marketing direction. Some artists don’t know where they are going or how to get where they want to go.
  3. Artists lack time. Let’s face it with all of the preparation surrounding late night recordings and weekly rehearsals, some artists just don’t have the time to plan for social media.


Improving Your Social Presence

If any of the problems above are stopping you from positioning your online brand, then take a look at the following chart. You can use this recommended structure as a guide to create your social strategy:




Executing Your Social Presence

  1. Target Your Audience. Your online audience will probably be the same as your offline audience. Identify who you are selling to, pitch to them and listen to them for ways to improve your brand. Crowdfire  is a free app that you can use to manage your followers, search for key words (topics of conversation), develop direct messages and identify top fans.
  2. Develop a Social Media Calendar. There are several ways to plot your social calendar. You can use a macro-calendar for the entire year, which allows you to pick the content topic for calendar dates. You will also need to use a micro-calendar which consists of the specific content, i.e. copy and imagery. Your micro-calendar might include content for each social media platform, Monday-Sunday. There isn’t a set way for how your calendar template should look. Its layout will depend on what platforms you decide to use and the frequency of content you will put out.
  3. Tell Your Story. Mix up your content across platforms. Each social network should have a different goal, with different imagery unless you are promoting album or singles covers. Try changing your templates with every new release and speak differently across each platform. Also, don’t forget to use professional imagery. If you’re not an expert with Photoshop, then use an app. Believe it or not many online professionals use their iPhone to capture memorable images and use apps for editing. Canva Design is great for quickly editing photos, while providing amazing layouts and overlays. Word Swag is also a great app that provides beautiful text overlays to go over images.
  4. Create Engagement. Use your direct messages to create buzz for your music, album releases, shows and tours. You can thank your fans for following and let them know where to find your music. Also, don’t forget to listen to what your fans are saying.  Engage with your fans and ask what they would like to see from you through casual online conversations. One of the universal laws in today’s marketing is that the “customer is always right.”
  5. Promote Your Music. Artist Data , is an app for artists to promote touring, songs and albums across social networks and databases for free. You can preschedule the content and Artist Data will do the rest. Similarly, Tweet for a Track  allows artists to pre-schedule posts by inserting singles for promotion and blasting it to Twitter. Remember that marketing also involves frequency. If you don’t want to bombard your followers with repetitive content, consider Meet Edgar . This app works by posting your scheduled tweet and saving it to auto-post at a later select time. Reposting strategically is valuable because the engagement for one tweet usually lasts four days or less. Sometimes you have to give your fans a reminder.
  6. Send Monthly E-Blasts. If you don’t already know, Mail Chimp  is one of the most wide-used newsletter apps for free. If you are just starting out, you can use Mail Chimp to reach up to 2,000 fans. As you grow, other pricing options will be available to expand your reach. Start by sending one to two monthly newsletters  per month to build your fan base. The better your newsletter content, the less frequently you will have to do it, and the less chance of your letter winding up in spam.
  7. Reach Out to Bloggers. If you have already developed a social campaign around your music release, the next thing to do is be your own Digital PR Representative. Reach out to bloggers, both music and non-music, to let them know about your release. Here is why reaching out to bloggers is beneficial. Let’s say the title of your new song is “call me,” you can reach out to tech bloggers to talk about your release, while agreeing to cross-promote their channel. You can get as creative with your online campaigns as you want!
  8. Get Your Project Funded. Unless you’re a producer who know’s how to play instruments and has their own studio, then fund your project. You can use Kickstarter to build your project, and if others are interested, they will fund your work. The best part about Kickstarter, is that its free.

Wrapping it Up

Cyber promoting is a lot of work. If you’re an artist and serious about your goals, then self-promoting is essential. The process can be fun, as it allows you to identify your fans and get to know them. Next week I will provide details on more useful apps for the music industry. Stay tuned!





3 thoughts on “Social Media Promotions: A Guide for Indie Artists”

  1. Great informational post on artists using social media for self promotion. I think it was great that you gave a very useful guideline on how to successfully market oneself using various social media platforms. The basis for social media success is establishing a strategy, being organized, and being consistent with maintaining and engaging on all platforms. The great thing about social media is that it is open to everyone and its is practically free. Social media in itself is a great big community with endless possibilities. Social media allows everyone to have a voice and be heard no matter who they are.

  2. I really like the chart for social strategy in the music business. This is a good breakdown of how to organize your social media. Great explanations of the steps to executing a social presence. Nice post!

  3. Interesting Post! I particularly enjoyed reading about Beyoncé example. She currently has 66.8 million Instagram followers, over 64 million Facebook followers and 14.2 million Twitter followers. Great example! We can see, nowadays, social medium have a huge influence for human life.

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