It’s mid-pandemic in December of 2020 as I write this, and I must say, I’ve done more for my social media presence as a musician/creator over seven months than I had done over the six years I’ve been making music. Although I’m still completely unaware of what exactly I am doing with social media, I wanted to share my experience of social media growth.
If you’re a musician or creator who is looking to grow your social media profiles, this may be a read for you. Along with my experience, I’ll be sharing what you can do to help grow your audience on your social profile as I did (specifically on Instagram).
Another thing to note, almost all of my social media knowledge and motivation comes from a Music Marketer by the name of Adam Ivy. I seriously recommend you subscribe to his YouTube channel and follow him on Instagram if you’re looking to grow your music career.
DISCLAIMER: My experiences and strategies may or may not work for you. I’m just sharing what I know and have gone through personally.
Okay, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
To start, I began my efforts to grow my digital presence in April of 2020. At the beginning of this strange endeavor, I was so incredibly anti-social media. I rarely posted and when I did, they were purely personal and promotional posts. Also, almost all of my followers were pretty much friends and family that I knew, so my “audience” on social media wasn’t a target audience that my music would likely connect well with. All of this had to change if I wanted to reach a viable audience that I could build a community with. A change of perspective on both how social media works and how I use it was necessary, and once that fundamental switch occurred, the pursuance to grow my digital presence became substantially easier.
Before I move forward, I have to share why I use Instagram the most to grow my social media presence. I believe Instagram is the best tool for musicians and creators, and here are the reasons why:
- It’s primarily a visual platform. It prioritizes sharing photos and videos which are far more engaging than just a body of texts.
- It’s easy to engage with your audience using IG Live, Story, or comments.
- It’s entertaining not only for your followers but for yourself. It’s a great way to find new talent and network.
- It also connects to your Facebook ad manager and page which opens up the opportunity to advertise your music across two different social media platforms.
There are also a ton of online tools that are specifically tailored to create higher quality content on Instagram like Canva. Also, you can learn a ton from the plethora of YouTubers who have a deep understanding of Instagram like Adam Ivy. If you’re looking for a tool like Adobe Photoshop but you’re on a budget, use Pixlr which is a free online photo editing tool.
At the Beginning
The thought of posting every day was daunting. Almost every social media guru will tell you, “Post every day to grow your audience”.
“Every day? How am I supposed to post something every day?” was a consistent thought going through my head. Also, I was very scared to put myself out there. I wasn’t sure what kind of content to make and how well those posts would do.
“What if it tanks?” “What if people laugh at me?” “What if nobody cares?” These were all thoughts that plagued my mind. Not so much anymore though.
Do you find yourself asking these similar questions? If so, you’ve just got to say fuck it, and have fun with it.
Making the Content
Yes, you will have to post consistently to grow. How else are people going to discover you if you don’t remind the social media app that you exist? Instagram will pretty much forget about your post after four days unless it becomes a top search-result for a hashtag or something, so your frequent social media hiatuses will likely be extremely detrimental to your growth and momentum. It may seem exhausting now but trust me when I say this – it gets easier as time moves on.
It probably took me about 3 months of consistently posting to understand the type of content I wanted to create. I was just throwing things at the wall and seeing what would stick (still doing that, by the way), and slowly but surely, my understanding of how to use Instagram started to mold. Now, some may be better at the get-go than I, and others may take longer. I started with a clean slate and pure ignorance of how to use this app… so take my experience as you will. But, what I am trying to say is that as you post consistently, you will eventually understand what kind of content you like to make and how you communicate it to your audience. It’s okay to be unsure about what to post. It’s okay to try new things. You will figure out what posts do better, which get more engagement, and which is the most fun for you to create.
Before you do start posting, remember that the point of your content is to get eyes on your post and to keep them there. The post should be engaging and of high quality. People will know when you don’t give a shit, and that’ll result in people not giving a shit about your post. I learned that the hard way.
I used to think promotional content was all I needed to post to share my music. Oh, how very wrong was I. While promotional content is important, the dynamic with your audience is very much a give-and-take relationship. You have to create content that brings value to them whether it be through humor, entertainment, knowledge, talent, etc. and in return, they will provide you with their support and attention. If you bombard your feed with promotions, people will disengage from your content because it’ll be the only thing you offer. Yeah, my music is my main source of entertainment that I want to provide to people, but first, I have to grasp the attention of a new audience and retain those that I’ve gained. Once I’ve gathered enough eyes on me through content that brings value to the viewers, then I’ll drop a promo post here and there. I try to keep them as minimal and entertaining as possible.
As for the content I personally create, I try to post at least four times a week with each post having its own purpose. One post is for music, one for humor, one for my personal life, and one for some digital art that I made (below is an example). I’m pretty flexible on these as things can be unpredictable at times, but it makes creating content easier than trying to come up with the same type of material every day. This is what I do, and the way you build your social media can and will likely be different.
Something to Note
When I started making content, I stopped making posts that would entertain my friends (my account started as a personal account). I wanted to grow my audience, so I had to make content that would engage a new range of people. This actually led to about 100 or more of my followers to unfollow, probably because they were people from years ago that I knew and don’t really talk to anymore. I’m sure my frequent posting felt abnormal to them when it popped up in their daily feed, so I completely understood why people who probably forgot I even had an Instagram account would unfollow me. Fortunately, I was gaining as many followers as I was losing, and these newer followers were people that actually cared about my content. After a few months, all the people who didn’t want to see my posts left, and my follower count continued to grow. Will this happen to you? I don’t know, but if this is happening to you, don’t worry about it. Your followers should be people who care for and appreciate you as an artist.
I’m probably saying the same thing as all the Instagram growth consultants on YouTube have been saying – post engaging content consistently. There’s really no definitive answer to what you have to post. Just make what you want and what you like. Be as creative as you’d like, and don’t be afraid of trying new things. If you post high-quality content consistently and utilize the appropriate features provided by Instagram, I promise that your audience will grow. It did for me.
Feel free to comment on your experiences on growing your social media accounts! Also, follow me on my Spotify Artist page or any of the streaming platforms (Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon, etc.) my new single was released on!