You’ve already taken step one. You bit the bullet and created the essential social media accounts for your music. Now you’re stuck figuring out what content to post, or you’ve been posting, but don’t know why certain posts gain traction while others fall flat. Building a branded presence for your business is a key step in your career as a musician. It takes a huge pair of ovaries to put yourself and your work out there publicly!
Whether you’re naturally inspired by Instagram or terrified of Twitter, building a content strategy and scheduling updates in advance cuts your time working on social media in half. And I know that sounds like a chore, but for artists committed both to their craft and to securing steady audience growth, it’s a huge help. More importantly, it allows you to build more natural marketing into your daily social media content over time.
The secret is to brainstorm content ideas that you can use and reuse, especially when you don’t have concert dates, album releases, or music video launches coming up. Here are five general content prompts to get you started.
Who Inspires You?
Creatively, musically, emotionally: who are the artists and innovators that give you a rush? Share your playlist, your summer reads, or the latest research from your favorite scientist with your followers.
Tagging, sharing, and shouting out on social media is a great way to network, contribute to the artistic community, and be discovered by fans of the stuff you love. Don’t worry if you don’t immediately hear back from the other artists you reach out to. Trust that they check their mentions and know that a bit of name recognition can go a long way. Maybe your simple, heartfelt shoutout will be enough for an artist to think of you next time they need an opening act.
What Drives You?
Who are you beyond your music? Do you love the outdoors, get lost in video games, or are you more of a nightclub person? There’s always one member of every band whose character quirks are naturally entertaining, make them a band meme! Share what you’re doing offstage, showcase the unique aspects of your personality, and look for communities of fellow enthusiasts with whom to connect.
A word of warning on sharing your personality as a professional: What you put out on the internet as a musician could stick with you throughout your career. If you don’t want a fan, journalist, or potential connection probing into it, don’t post it. You get to pick and choose which parts of yourself you share.
Where Did You Come From?
There’s a whole weekly hashtag devoted to answering this question. In fact, there are tons. Dig up your 5th grade yearbook photo, the flyer for your first performance or footage of an early band rehearsal and share like there’s no tomorrow.
You can make your throwbacks as silly or personal as you want, as long as your tone is on brand. Remember that the internet is a sucker for a good inspirational story. Talk about your progress as a musician, as an artist. Share the highlights and the embarrassing moments. Let your fans become a part of your journey, and they’ll want to stick around to see where it goes.
What’s Your Process?
Many of your fans are also looking for ways to express themselves creatively. Your carefully constructed songwriting rituals and tips could help to inspire them. Post your creative process, tips for beating writer’s block, and rituals or routines for summoning the muse to lend your fans a dose of encouragement.
Who Supports You?
When all else fails and you’ve got nothing to say, reach out to your fans. Keep on the lookout for photos, recordings, and comments fans have shared and repost them. Host a Q&A with your fans on Reddit or Twitter. Publish some (credited) fan art on your Instagram.
Remember that fantastic story of Guster recreating their fan’s cover video of their song, “Diane”? When your fans do react with their true colors, it’s important you reward them for doing so. Reaching out through the tangled knots of the web to show your appreciation for fans’ creativity, and providing them a space to share it, are great ways to build deeper levels of engagement!
Any opportunity that you can find to interact is an opportunity you should take. Followers that feel noticed and involved are more likely to stay that way.
Remember that social media is just another medium to tell your story and share your art. See what fits for you and no matter what anyone else says, if it works it works! Keep updating your strategy based on what resonates with your followers. When you put time, planning, and personality into your posts, you will see results.