This past summer, a songwriter was telling me that she hadn’t performed in a while and was getting back into it. She said the only thing that worried her about performing in public again was maintaining a social media presence. The pressure she hears from everyone about how musicians need a social media presence made her anxious. She was only on Facebook personally and didn’t know what else she would want to take on. I put on my professional web guy hat and gave her this comprehensive strategy:
Just pick one.
That’s really what it boils down to. Just choose the social media that you are most comfortable using and use it to promote your music.
Stop worrying about the best way to get discovered
The world is full of social media marketing experts who will tell you to be on the biggest social networks. They’ll tell you to share different content on each. They’ll tell you it is not so difficult with a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to manage multiple profiles.
But the thing is: you’re a musician. You should be making music.
In the first article I wrote for SongCast (You’re a band, not a brand), I said much the same thing. If we’re spending our time worrying about how to do branding “right,” then we’re not spending our time making music.
It’s true that maybe you’ll find your fanbase on Vine. Or maybe Instagram stories will work for you. Maybe it’s all your Twitter presence. Look around at the people who actually do succeed on social. Most of the time, they’ve succeeded on one platform. We hear of YouTube, Vine, or Instagram stars. We rarely hear of someone being all of the above. And while it’s true that sometimes these successes have a presence on many media, usually they don’t.
Then look at the people you know who haven’t “made it” on social media yet have a presence everywhere. What are they doing? Most of the time, they’re sharing the exact same pics, videos, and updates on every single social network. I know how I feel about that: burned out. I don’t want to see the same update in three places. (Don’t get me started on the people who have Instagram and Facebook set to update Twitter automatically so that I see everything triplicated ON ONE PLATFORM.)
Examine whom you follow and where. I know some bands from YouTube; I have a library on Bandcamp; I follow several on Twitter; I follow one or two on Instagram; but never do I follow bands across every social medium. I bet a lot of us feel similarly. The bands that are good on social media are usually only good at one social medium. They’ve found their niche.
The key for the unknown musician
All you need to do is make sure your presence is public (note: that isn’t the case with Facebook) and be yourself. Don’t sweat the strategies of marketing people who have some ideal “best practice” to which you should adhere. Don’t give yourself anxiety trying to make the non-musical part of your music life perfect. When people want to find you online, have a place for them to find you. But you just need one.
Find your niche.