As an up and coming music artist, you know the importance of a strong social media presence and the effect it has on your brand. You also know that given the many social media platforms available, you have use your time wisely. In this line of work, I’ve seen countless independent artists wasting resources on ineffective strategies or taking actions that actually do more to damage their brand their help it.
This article outlines some of the most common social media mistakes so that you may avoid these same pitfalls.
- Instagram Comment Promotion – It comes with the territory of scrolling through the comment section of any popular instagram post. You’re bound to find at least one artist spamming links to his or her music. Newsflash: No one’s checking out your music. Especially considering Instagram does not allow hyperlinks in comments. Nowadays, asking someone to copy and paste a url into their address bar is asking too much.
- Automated Twitter DMs – You’ll find this feature in many Twitter-bot apps. Though it may have been effective in its early stages, today it is an overused technique. Most people have caught on by now as they receive so many of these DMs from artists and producers alike. At best, the follower ignores the DM and thinks nothing of it. At worst, the follower is turned off as they are likely to think you’re spamming their inbox.
- Facebook Tagging – We all know those self-promoting Facebook friends that constantly tag you in random pictures you’re not in or posts that have nothing to do with you. Trust me, this only acts as an annoyance to your friends and followers. Don’t bother. There are plenty of other genuine ways of attracting your friends/followers to your content.
- Paying for Likes/Followers – First, let’s address the concept of “paying for followers”. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, this seems to be a very popular route for even more established artists (see: Ma$e). There are countless online companies that offer these services. You’ve seen it before, companies offering “x followers for $x”. A legitimate service offering to find you highly targeted followers for your brand is hard to come by and usually expensive. The majority of the time, what you are buying is a large amount of fake bot-generated accounts. Alternatively, they could be real accounts handled by real people but not at all truly interested in your product. You’d much rather have 100 followers that actually care about what you post than 1,000 untargeted followers. Additionally, from an analytics perspective, you’re making it very difficult for yourself to track your real fans. This is also the problem that results from paying for likes. Some artists will pay for a service to like their various posts just for the sake of keeping up appearances. Using this method, how could you ever be able to analyze real engagement?
- Unfocused Usernames – This seems like a simple one but you’d be surprised at how many artists I’ve seen make this mistake. If at all possible, your username for all of your various social media accounts should be exactly the same. If your artist name is not available on a particular website, user a variation that doesn’t stray too far from the original. For example, if your Twitter name is @Drake, your Instagram name should also be @Drake….not @champagnepapi. Unless you’re as popular as Drizzy, don’t think you can pull this off yourself. You need to make it as easy as possible for people to reach out to you on various social network platforms. Keeping your usernames simple, easy to remember and consistent is a no-brainer.
- Random/Mass Following – This ties in a bit with the idea of paying for followers. Mass following is another technique musicians use to build followers in a short amount of time. In order to inflate their numbers, some artists will blindly follow a large amount of accounts at one time in the hopes that a percentage of these accounts will feel obligated (or automatically) follow them back. Again, the problem with this technique is the inability to pull in individuals that are genuinely interested in your music. Instead, you should be focusing on building real relationships with targeted followers.
- YouTube deception – There are two main “tricks” I often see artists try and pull on YouTube. The first I’ll address is irrelevant custom thumbnails. Some will submit a thumbnail of an attractive girl or a famous celebrity even if they have nothing to do with their video. Recently, YouTube has started cracking down on this tactic. They’ve given YouTube users the option to flag a video for an irrelevant thumbnail so doing this may actually get your custom thumbnail privilege revoked. The second trick has to do with trying to disguise the song you uploaded to YouTube as another popular song release. For example, if a new Justin Bieber single has dropped, some artists will upload their song to YouTube under the title of this new Bieber track in the hopes that they will trick people into listening to their music. I can’t imagine this tactic has ever worked. In actuality, you’re causing more harm than good as you’ve likely managed to anger the listener.
- Lagging on content – Stay active on social media and make sure you are consistently giving people reasons to follow you. Even if you are not currently releasing new music, there are plenty of ways to keep your followers involved. Give them a behind the scenes look at your creative process, share clips of live shows, etc.
- Excessive self-promotion – Not all of your social media posts should be centered around promoting yourself. People often resent having a product/brand constantly being shoved down their throat. Additionally, this could come off a bit “spammy”. Occasionally get involved in everyday popular discussions, share links or resources your followers may enjoy. However, it’s best to make sure that these posts do not stray too far from your brand.
- Ignoring your fans/followers – When someone replies to your social media post or sends you a message, you should be responding as soon as you can. These people are taking the time out of their day to reach out to you and you should acknowledge this. When others see that you actually discuss with and respond to your followers, this may spark additional engagement.