One of the great tools at your disposal as an independent musician is social media. It allows you to connect directly with your fans and get the word out about your art for anyone to hear. However, many artists and bands do not utilize these tools in the best way possible, so here are a few tips on how to optimize your social media presence.

  • Find out where your fans or potential fans are. Because anyone can post things on the internet via social media, there is a lot of noise for music fans to sort through before they find something that interests them. Make sure that you know which social media platforms are the best for reaching your demographic. Creating and maintaining social media accounts can be very time consuming, especially if you want to create quality content, so don’t spend your time posting to sites that aren’t going to reach the people you want to reach.
  • Quality over quantity. You don’t need to be everywhere all the time. In fact, spreading yourself and your content too thin can be damaging. If you are posting things that are not interesting or just posting too often, fans may be turned off to what you are sharing. People crave authenticity and quality content so make sure you give it to them. If you know that the people you want to reach only use one specific social media site, focus on that one. It will be easier to branch out to other sites if you have a solid foundation on one platform.
  • Don’t post just to post. Avoid spamming people’s feeds; they want to see you, but not every minute of every day. Many people will recommend that the more you post, the better. However, posting garbage content just so you will show up in people’s feeds is unlikely to help you. Yes, you do want people to repetitively see your name and certain platforms have algorithms that may put you in the rotation more often if you post frequently, but the best question to ask yourself before you share something is: “If I was following a band, would I want to see this and would I care?” If the answer is no, wait until you have something worth sharing. It takes a lot to get fans and followers, but it takes very little to lose them.
  • Work hard for your fans. Just because you post something online doesn’t mean people will care. This is the shortfall of many musicians, who believe that as soon as their new song, video, picture, or event is posted people will flock to it. Social media users are fickle and their attention is hard to hold. Make sure that you engage with your fans and don’t treat them like they are just a means to an end of more likes and followers. Having one thousand fans who absolutely love you is better than having ten thousand fans kinda dig you sometimes. Make it worth your fans’ time to follow you.
  • Consider paying to reach people. I saved this for last because a lot of people don’t like to hear this but the fact of the matter is that some platforms will not show your content to your fans unless you pay for ads and reach. You can get upset about this all you want but it isn’t going to change the fact that companies exist to make money. So, if the social media site you’ve chosen requires that you pay to reach people and that is your goal, make a plan for how to best integrate paid posts or ads into your social media strategy. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but neither do superfans.

For better or worse, there is no single blueprint for how to best use social media as an artist (though many people will try and sell you one). The fact is that the best strategy is the one that works for you, and it is probably going to take time and trial and error to discover the best way. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way to make it work. And as always, remember why you got into this in the first place: because you enjoy it.

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Educated but self-effacing, opinionated but reticent, and unabashedly eccentric; Alex aka Squatch is the lead writer for A life-long musician, he founded the blog in the interest of helping independent artists gain exposure and to provide insight into navigating the creative arts industry.

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