Written by Kristian Floate
Although it may seem impossible to progress in the industry without management, labels or simply money to access resources and tools to get your music out there – it’s now easier than ever! With more free platforms to distribute your tracks, connect to musicians worldwide and gain a level of visibility that would never have been possible in the pre-digital age, you can claim control over your music and take the DIY approach. But how? We’ll begin this discussion with Social Media, an increasingly important key to online visibility, and even better – it’s FREE!
As a new musician without any pre-existing releases, being able to establish a prebuilt audience who will flock to listen and share your tracks when you eventually release is vital – and this can be as simple as contacting like-minded bands, joining forces, and supporting each other online. Taking advantage of social media platforms such as Instagram is an important stepping stone in building your network, and through uploading snippets of your rehearsals, for example, you are already building your foundations in your local music scene which will be sure to turn a few heads. Without the need for expensive production, merchandise and promotion materials, you have a ‘portfolio’ to share with promoters, venues, bands and other local music figures to get the ball rolling.
With the TikTok revolution, short videos are becoming a gateway to more engagements – so spread your activities across these free platforms and use TikTok, YouTube shorts and Instagram Reels as much as you can! Algorithms make the social media landscape an increasingly challenging one to navigate, but through experimentation, you’ll discover the formula that works best for your audience. However, Instagram has high-engagement times that you should aim for when uploading content – let's unpack them.
Before 9am – High engagement with people just waking up and checking their phones before work.
Around 12pm – The lunchtime social media surge! People will do things that they enjoy around this time as they break free from the 9-5.
After 5pm – Evening activity increases on social media platforms as people wind down and relax.
Stats from Sprout Social
Right, so you know when to post and where – but what will generate the most interest? While these platforms are perfect spaces to advertise gigs, sell tickets and draw a crowd, it's easy to get carried away with upselling yourself and washing out your profile with gig posters and merch advertisements. Branding your band is important, as with an effective logo, consistent style and unique design choices you’re sure to stand out, but the cliché phrase ‘keeping it real’ couldn’t be more important. Building an impression through likeability will help expand your network when you’re yet to release music on streaming platforms, as people feel more obliged to follow an artist if they are authentic and are showing themselves to be likeable characters beyond the music.
Your artist identity is strongly controlled by your tone, post frequency and how open you are – be sure to use words that can’t be unpacked as needy or desperate, or make sure to not post excessively as this can have the same effect. Keep your content relevant, and take time to work on the non-musical aspects of your band, as these complement your musical work and showcase how you want to be perceived online. While you can delegate the content creation to others, make sure you play an active role in the process to ensure the content aligns with your band identity.
REMEMBER! Social media shouldn’t be post-and-go, the success of your content relies heavily on replying to comments, supporting the posts of others who are doing something similar and taking advantage of the ability to link events, post polls, post links and tag – expanding the reach and longevity of your content. Identifying the trends of your followers can help you make decisions about what you can post next, so when it comes to releasing on Spotify, you’ll already have an audience ready to listen to YOU!