As most artists are aware, maintaining a strong social media presence is key promoting your music and building your brand, but with so many options to choose from, which social media platforms should bands and musicians focus on?
In a world full of musicians competing for a spot on listeners’ playlists, having a robust social media presence can be a musician’s greatest asset. Besides helping you promote your music by building a dedicated fan base and interacting with your audience, social media can also help you create connections with other musicians and land marketing deals with brands looking for influencers.
Perhaps the biggest success story in leveraging social media to further a music career is Lil Nas X. He famously used TikTok and Twitter to catapult his song “Old Town Road” to the number 1 spot on the Billboard Top 100—and the song still holds the record for holding that spot the longest.
So which social media networks are most important to use in order to successfully build your online presence as a musician? It all depends on your personal brand and career aims. Different platforms are better suited to certain musicians, so knowing your short- and long-term goals will help you determine the best platform to focus your time and attention on.
Let’s start with some of the biggest social media networks that every musician should consider building their brand on:
TikTok’s friendly algorithm and short, engaging video content make it one of the best platforms for going viral. While you can use any sound from its vast sound library to make a video, you can also use your own sounds—a perfect feature for teasing snippets of upcoming songs or simply sharing some covers. And since other users can use the audio you upload, fans can easily share your music. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that your song could be the audio that accompanies a viral trend or even a singular video, which was enough to single-handedly get Fleetwood Mac’s song back into the Billboard Top 100 after 40 years.
TikTok’s live feature makes it easy to interact with your audience whenever you want, and with TikTok challenges or trends often going viral, your music could easily find itself in the middle of one. Some popular stars that use the platform often include Camila Cabello, the Jonas Brothers, and Post Malone.
Besides being the number one video-sharing platform on the internet, YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world. As a musician looking to grow your online presence, you can’t ignore how important it is to post your music videos on the platform. Aside from the standard music video, there is a variety of additional ways to utilize the platform:
Posting your remixes and covers. YouTube doesn’t interfere with what you post on the platform unless you break its rules. You can release all forms of music, from original music to covers and remixes.
Vlogs. Don’t underestimate the value of giving your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your process and how you create your content. These personal-feeling videos help fans feel closer to musicians, which is helpful in both building and maintaining your audience.
Collaborations. Team up with other musicians to create YouTube videos. When you collaborate with other musicians, you both get the benefit of attracting the other’s fan base to your content.
If you’re serious about succeeding on YouTube, you can’t ignore SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO makes it easy for people to find your content online, though it requires a bit of work. You need to create great headlines, use catchy thumbnails, leverage hashtags, and describe your content accurately. The benefits of YouTube’s SEO is that it can improve your presence on the platform in the long-term.
While it started solely as a photo-sharing app, Instagram has since grown into a multi-faceted platform with multiple ways to share content. You can still share eye-catching photos with your audience for personalized engagement, but video content is growing more important than ever in terms of Instagram’s algorithm. Video posts themselves are typically limited to 60 seconds, but you can always post longer video content on IGTV or Instagram Reels, with the latter being the platform’s latest video feature that rivals TikTok in its functionality. Instagram Stories is a convenient function for sharing your daily thoughts, photos, and videos with your audience, especially if you don’t mind your videos or photos expiring within 24 hours. However, with the ability to create Story Highlights that will remain on your profile page, you can keep the stories up for interested fans to view long after they were posted. If you are working on a new album, a project of any type, a music showcase, or more, you can post daily video snippets in order to create hype.
If you have any visual content to post, Instagram can be a great place to start. The fact that you can cross-post from Instagram to sites like Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter makes it an ideal platform to work with. Be sure to use the app to lead people to your website, among other revenue-generating opportunities.
The first three options are great for reaching a worldwide audience. However, if you are looking for a more niche platform that focuses on networking with musicians, there are plenty of them out there. Some could easily land you opportunities with popular labels and musicians as a novice musician.
Bandcamp. This platform is a combination of a social media site and an eCommerce platform. It allows you to post your music, set prices, get people to stream it, and even get people to share your music on other platforms.
Audition Showdown. An app that is launching soon, this platform allows budding musicians to enjoy weekly contests that are similar to “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent,” but online.
Reverbnation. If you are looking to get noticed by other musicians, labels, and brands, this is a great place to start. The site allows you to network with other professionals in the music industry.
Soundcloud. This site allows you to share your music with friends, fans, and family. Since it is quite popular, it can easily increase your chances of being found by other industry professionals.
What do You Want to Achieve?
Overall, your best bet is to choose a social platform that increases your chance at success. If you have the time to frequent all the major platforms, then go for it, but in the beginning, it might be better to simply target one or two platforms. Take your time understanding the intricacies of how each platform works to increase your chances of being successful.