We just can’t stop talking about social media – what to do, what not to do, and how to do it. With an overwhelming amount of choice comes an overwhelming amount of information. The biggest challenge for musicians is not about signing up for the latest trend, but how to keep that platform going with interesting and refreshing content. Here are some simple ideas for social media content that apply across most networks:
1. Be A Resource
Your social media sites shouldn’t be just about you. The musicians who use social media effectively are the ones who turn it into a resource for others. As a musician, you are part of many communities – your fan community, your fellow musician community, and your industry community. If you share information that you discover on a daily basis, then you have an instant flow of interesting content. For example, have you read an interesting book or article? What other artists and shows can you recommend to your fans? What tips have you picked up about your industry?
Remember social media is not just about self-promotion. Of course you want to tell your fans about upcoming shows and new music. However, if you only talk about yourself then social media would become a platform where everyone is shouting but no one is listening.
You will strengthen your community by sharing information about others. Two artists that do this well are Blues/Americana/Rock artist Ted Garber on Twitter and singer-songwriter René Moffatt on Facebook. Check out some of their posts for inspiration.
2. Ask For Help
Asking questions or asking for help on your social media sites is another great way to create conversation. On a personal level, sharing your vulnerabilities makes you more relatable as a person. For example, the viola player Christen Lien recently tweeted about her back problems, asking her fans for tips on how to relieve the pain. She engaged in a number of conversations with various fans about the issue that can be viewed HERE.
On a professional level, you can involve your fans in your creative process by asking for their feedback on various career choices, such as your latest single, album cover or photo shoot. Folk-rock musician Brian Franke did just this with his last album. He asked for feedback on his album cover and chose the cover that received the most votes.
There’s always a debate raging in the music industry, one recent notable topic of fury being the article written by NPR intern Emily White, who admitted to only buying 15 albums in her catalogue of 11,000 songs. This admission provoked strong reactions across the industry with many industry figures posting articles in response. But you don’t need to be an industry “expert” to express your feelings on this subject. Evan Bliss, a regional pop-rock singer-songwriter, wrote a blog post detailing his thoughts on the debate, which he then posted to Facebook and Twitter. He felt strongly about the topic and wanted to share his thoughts. This was insightful and topical social media content.
Another great example was a recent debate that occurred in Washington, DC regarding the City Paper. The paper admitted in a music roundup that they were not interested in covering the singer-songwriter genre, even though the city has a vibrant singer-songwriter scene. This provoked outrage in the local music community with many artists posting, commenting and sharing their thoughts in protest.
So what are your opinions on the latest trending topics? What is going on in the worlds of music, politics, or ecology? Share your thoughts with your fans. Give them an insight into how you think as an individual. There is nothing like a bit of passion!
4. Make It Visual
If you are not a natural wordsmith, then say it with pictures and video. The rise of visual social media is staggering. Instagram now has more than 50 million users, and each day on Facebook 300 million photos are uploaded. YouTube has now become the second largest search engine in the world.
What’s great about these sites and apps is that you can sync them very easily with your other social media platforms – you can repost (or “repin”) pictures and videos to Facebook and Twitter, creating a natural flow of additional content. So why are visuals so important? It’s simple – they allow your fans to see the world through your eyes. For visual inspiration check out this list of 13 must-follow musicians on Instagram.
5. Create Your Own Q&A Sessions
Another great way to create content and a two-way conversation with your fans is by conducting a mini Q&A session online. Ask your fans to post questions about you on your FB page and then answer them in turn over the course of a week (or two) by reposting the questions with your answer attached. Alternatively conduct a rapid-fire 15 min Q&A on Twitter. Your fans are curious about you, so you’ll be making their day. Voila! Instant content.
6. Offer Exclusives
You don’t have to post the same content on each of your social media platforms. In fact it’s better that there is a variation between your sites. One way you can differentiate one site from another is by posting exclusive content. The Brit-pop band Blur did this recently by premiering their Olympic concert track on Twitter. But you don’t have to be a massive band like Blur to play this game. Even if you only have 100 followers on Twitter, you are demonstrating to your fans that you value them. You are also providing content that will inspire them to retweet, which will lead to new followers.
7. Chit-Chat Of Course!
Let’s not forget the all important chit-chat status updates. I love them. What are you doing right now? What is occurring in your day to day life? You’ll be surprised at how many people want to hear about this. Why? Because it’s normal! Alternatively ask your fans about themselves. How can you help them? What are they listening to right now? Show an interest in their lives and they will reciprocate.
Overall your social media content should provide an insight into your life – the person behind the music. Ensure it’s consistent, make it conversational and have fun!