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Marketing Music using Social Media

Marketing Music using Social Media

We all use social media; but, knowing how to use social media to market a band is a different story.  I know most of you use social media and feel it works great for me.  However, here is the question…Is your social media followers exploding with growth?  We are not talking about reaching 5000 followers on Facebook or 1,000 followers on Twitter or something like that.  We mean EXPLODING! Like 1,000,000 YouTube views, Facebook followers, Twitter Fans, etc… Some will argue it is the industry we are in or we don’t have the funding and I completely understand your apathy.  However, that is just an excuse there is such a thing known as sweat equity. Sweat equity is the investment of time and dedication that can benefit you far more than having excess funding for marketing endeavors.  


Marketing Music using Social Media

Marketing music using social media is a multiple step process.  You can’t just throw up a social media account and hope and pray that it will bring you fame and fortune.  So below I will layout a guideline on how to best utilize marketing to build your social media presence and ways to optimize your chances of success.


The guide to marketing music using social media…

Step 1 – The Website

If you don’t have a website get one…like yesterday.  A website is your central location where everything you can be found.  It should be the focal point of your online presence and should be the location you drive all of your traffic too.  A website should contain your gig/event times, merchandise, music, and booking information.  Moreover, a great website should feature a blog or update page that features all of your news (e.g. in the studio, working on a music video, doing a radio interview, etc.).  A website is the most important feature of marketing music using social media.

Step 2 – Utilize your Email List

I honestly do not know how many times I have tried to tell musicians this but you need to make an email list.  Make sure to segment the list; however, we will go into detail when we get to the article on Email Marketing.  By using your email list while marketing music using social media you are learning how to tie together multiple methods of promotion to benefit your band.  The key here is to invite your friends, family, and everyone on your band’s email list to all of your social media channels.  By reaching out to your contacts you can grow your followers fast.  Moreover, these friends should be asked to spread the word and to share your social media pages with their friends.  The key here is word-of-mouth and testimonials from actual fans.  Furthermore, you should include your social profiles on every piece of marketing material you use, email signature(s), and promote them at your events.

Step 3 – Network with everyone in the industry!

On every social media site you participate in make sure to follow and link up to everyone you can in the industry.  By following and collaborating with other musicians and industry insiders you can cross-promote and team up to increases awareness about your groups.  This also leads to cross-exposure where your fans will learn about others in the industry and their fans will learn about you.  (TYPICALLY – this is where Haters lose vision…  A lot of musicians don’t want to help another group because they believe this business is a competition.  Unfortunately, this leads to zero (0) growth potential.)  See social media is all about reciprocity, which means that if you promote someone else’s business or music they will in turn promote yours.  Moreover, by mentioning another group via hash tags (#) or (@) symbols you will automatically expose your band to their fans and vice versa.  Being jealous or having hatred for another struggling band is not good for business especially when you are in the same position and could use all the help you can get. Furthermore, you both have connections that the other could benefit from which will lead to growth for both bands.

Step 4 – Know your market

Believe it or not there are different platforms that will lead to different types of fans.  For example if you wish to reach adults then a typical platform would be Facebook.  Facebook is the social media platform that is the leader for the 25+ crowd. Twitter is a science because it is a great focal point for reaching the media and industry insiders with short links to your site and quick updates.  However, Twitter has begun to gain a sizable market share of teen followers.  New social media apps and sites such as Instagram and Snapchat have begun to further segment the crowd.  These apps allow for more personal and direct connections with fans.  By using Snapchat you can film quick videos of your daily life and happenings with the band and offer an insider feel to your fans that other sites just can’t offer.  Now fans feel like they are on the road with you and they must be a follower to get this inside knowledge.

Step 5 – Know how to market on each platform

Do you want to give away merchandise or music?  Then use Snapchat to reach your true fan base.  However, do you want to sale your merchandise or music run a Facebook ad (believe it or not they are actually cheap and can be targeted very well).  Want to promote your brand…use Twitter to promote blog updates and to keep your followers interested.  Want to promote your concerts use a combination of Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter.  From filming at live events using Snapchat, to snapping pictures and posting to Instagram, target regional marketing with Facebook, and directing all of your happenings like a conductor via twitter the possibilities are limitless.

Some will tell you to follow the 70-20-10 rule to marketing music using social media; however, I believe in the 50-20-20-10 rule to marketing music using social media.

The 50-20-20-10 Rule

50 percent of your content should focus on building your brand.

By focusing on building awareness of your brand you can truly speak about your story and the struggles of the industry.  Let’s face it not everyone knows who you are and even if they do they may not know your struggle.  Ever hear the saying, “The struggle is real” well here is a chance to show it.  Posting updates and pictures of recording, writing sessions, road trips, promotions, and more you are keeping your fans, the industry, and the general public updated with what your brand is doing.  Content and news isn’t hard to come by, so don’t go around crazy and snap pictures of everything with some half brained caption trying to be a philosopher. But posting the funny things that happen on the road or the antics that musicians get into can bring your fans closer to you than ever.

20 percent of the content you should share is industry related

By supporting your industry and giving your opinion you not only become involved and establish a presence but you expand your network and become a voice. Some industries need the help and even more if you want to be a vital part of it.  By supporting the industry and promoting the industry in general you are building a bigger and brighter future for you.  Supporting local music organizations and industry endeavors you not only help benefit the industry at large but you benefit your pocket book.

20 percent of the content you share should be from other artists

This is extremely important!!! I would have given it more weight if it wasn’t equally as important as supporting the industry.  So please don’t take this lightly.  We as an industry are a team and when we work together as a team we win as a team.  There will always be in-fighting and arguments and beliefs; however, without unity and mutual respect then we will not achieve greatness.  Your network is a vital part of your business and the saying goes, “Never burn your bridges” which is key to success.  You have to gig with these musicians and you have to collaborate to achieve your goals.  The best way is to become friends and to work together.  You may not like their music or their sound but having a respect for their struggle should defeat every objection you have.  So next time you see a fellow band promoting a new music release or posting an event make sure to share it and to promote it.  Don’t forget the golden rule, “Do onto others as you would want them to do onto you!” If you truly become an advocate and believe in what your sharing then everything will come back to your brand and build up your followers and network.  Word of advice never ever post something you are not really excited about or support or else your fans will see through the lies and fly away.  So change your mindset and become a loving and supportive part of the industry to help it grow.

10 percent of the content you share should be used for self-promotion

I know most of you want to tell everyone how great your band is or how awesome things are going; but, honestly no one wants to hear that noise. Social media is about staying in touch and keeping people updated with what is going on.  Do you like people speaking to you or with you?  Do you like people that self-promote and boast all the time?  No… Then why become that friend?  Moreover, this doesn’t mean use the 10 percent as advertising.  That is a different section.  Use this to invite fans and industry insiders to participate. For example you can do a live stream of a Q&A with fans, set up a live stream of a recording session with a link to pre-order your music, or you can ask fans to vote on their favorite song from your new release.  There are tons of ways to self-promote your band while marketing music using social media and this is just the beginning.



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Marcelo A. Tafoya Sr. is a business student at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas and has over 25 years in the Tejano Music Industry.
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