A MUSICIAN’S GUIDE TO SETTING UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

A Musician’s Guide to Setting Up Your Social Media Strategy

Let’s be honest: making it as a musician is tough.  Not only do you have to write songs, twist up a catchy beat, hire a manager, and push for tour dates - you have to be “on” in the limelight 24/7. 

As if that wasn’t enough, it’s almost 2019, so you also have to sell your soul on social media. 

Okay, that’s dramatic, but I promise once you get the hang of it, it’s very rewarding. 

Feeling lost on where to start? Or too exhausted to figure it out? That’s why I’m here to help guide you.

Let’s dive in!

FIRST: SELLING YOU ON THE “WHY”

Gone be the days of telegraphs and newspaper ads. You have to imagine all of your fans are glued to their cell phones; so Social Media is your ticket to reaching them. 

Facebook has 1.8 billion monthly users, YouTube 1.3 billion, Instagram 600 million, and Twitter 300 million. The potential reach with these numbers is undeniable. 

While touring is still the leading way to secure new fans, Social Media will help pull them in, and fill the room.

In the outline below I highlighted a step-by-step process for getting you into the Social Media mood. Consider it a checklist to covering all your basis.

Then, most importantly, have fun with it. 

PILLARS OF PERSONA

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” - Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

Theoretically, we encourage you to build a house for your fans to live in, grow with, and eagerly engage. This means being personal and relatable with your audience. 

I recommend making a list of 3-5 “pillars of your persona.” These are your umbrellas of content. Then, list all the sub-topics that fit under these pillars. Lastly, which of these are you going to have the most access to? And how will you design the conversation around these persona points? This is your guide to content style.

You want to control the conversation your audience is going to be verbally and socially using when talking about your brand. Guide them by providing content and text copy that fits. 

Think you want to *only* focus on music?  Then flip this guide and write-out 10 adjectives that will drive your content’s vibe. Use this to delicately maneuver through conversation in your captions, while wowing them with photos and video.

VISUALLY BRANDING AND SEO OPTIMIZING

Be the part, look the part, get discovered. 

Polish up the look of your profiles by:

  • Ensuring all bios (long and snippet), links, and profile information are up-to-date

  • Keeping the main profile and cover images alike on all platforms - use promotion value where needed

  • URLs and Usernames all match so it’s easier to find you in search

Creative assets should be in-plenty as a musician. But, in case you are design challenged, I recommend using canva.com. They have layout dimensions and visual guidelines already intact.

MARKET RESEARCH

“What we call originality relies on a good deal of imagination, and even a bit of theft.” - James Polchin

This quote is pulled from one my favorite books, “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon. It claims that original ideas have already been done, and now it’s your job to use the process of full stacking to re-imagine them as your own. 

Do your research! 

Pull out Spotify or Apple Music and start listening to like-artists, make a full list - these are your ad targets. This is the fan base you want to be engaging with.

Hop on Instagram and Twitter. How are artists whom you admire presenting to and communicating with their audience? These are your potential fan targets, too. 

Research hashtags, curated and user-generated profiles to tag, brands you’d love to work with; write them down! These are your organic marketing tips, and potential influencer connections. 

You already have your Pillars in place, this plan is your jumping-off-point when it comes to who you should be engaging with. 

KEEP YOUR CONTENT FRESH

There are two types of content:

  • Social Lifestyle:  The example of what your day-to-day looks like behind the scenes

  • Social Selling:  The “watch my video”, “listen to my song”, “come to my show” promotional points

My rule is 90/10.  90% of your content should reflect the lifestyle. This is the most relatable and personal pieces of your visual.  Once you snag followers that enjoy tuning into your personal network, they will be more inclined to take action on the 10% - your Social Selling.

Don’t forget to check off these boxes:

  • Don’t post too often - or too little. Quality over quantity. Read analytics to find out when your audience is most engaged, and also schedule posts to go out when other brands are quiet. You’ll be sure to stand out. 

  • Interact back. You want the ROI, so do the other 1 billion users. Like other’s content, comment, reply back, say thank you. These won’t be forgotten. This is how you create real connection.

  • Tease with variety. Use a personal tone. Take your followers on along for the process.

HAVE A CONTENT SCHEDULE

All that time you spend worrying about finding the time organize your Social Media campaign, could be put into writing out a content schedule. 

If you know which visual piece, caption, and platform you will be sharing on any given day, a month in advance - you and your team will never drop the ball.  

This will also help you think more “Social Media” forward when on the road.  More of “oh crap, I need to take a lifestyle photo today” rather than “oh crap, I haven’t connected with my audience in over a week.”

 FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, HAVE AN AD BUDGET

You are putting in countless hours of taking and editing photos/videos, coming up with clever captions, setting a “branded mood” on your profiles, engaging with the right audience; but you are 1 of a million accounts posting daily - so you need to have an edge. 

Use the market research plan to set up ad testing. Going on a 15 city tour? Run an ad geo-targeting those cities toward fans who like a similar sound to yours. 

Have a budget to promote that new music video you emptied your piggy bank to produce. 

Nowadays, it’s a fight to the top of the newsfeed, make sure you are ranked by boosting the content that deserves to be seen. 

If you’re even more stressed reading this blog, I recommend therapy. Kidding - maybe just a Social Media Consultant.  

Ant Colony has competitive prices, and personalized plans to help you reach your online growth goals. Give me a holler, send me your biggest challenges. I have your back!

E: jessica@antcolonymarketing.com 

By: Jessica Ricciuti

The Time Vinny Met Ramblin' Jack Elliott

Almost all of North Texas picked up at least 2 inches of snow with this event. Between 4-6 inches were reported south of the Red River and north of a line through Eastland, Hillsboro, Fairfield, and Tyler.

I was traveling back from NYC headed home to Austin TX on this day 1/30/77, my trusty 1967 Epiphone Texan on board with me. Those of you that are Texans do realize that even though snow does fall this type of event was rare in the 70’s. Of course, now with climate change the weather as we know it is upside down.  

Anyway, the snow is falling, over four inches at the airport and it is icing and the DFW airport shuts down. I was lucky enough to land but we weren’t going anywhere as the pickup trucks, yes pickup trucks, were plowing the tarmac. Good God how long was this going to take? Turns out it was almost two days before I could get a flight to Austin.

I had a small ranch in Smithville Texas about 40 miles east of Austin and if I could have rented a car, being a New Yorker I would have driven home. Me and other passengers did talk about that but the rental companies were not renting cars due to the ice all over the roads.   

I settled in, bought some supplies, found myself a corner, put on my patience and got ready for what turned out to be a very long wait. A book, a couple of newspapers, the newest Rolling Stone and Billboard, snacks, water and a few veggie tacos.

As back then I WAS a musician, singer in a band or two, I busted out my Git and tuned her up and decided to play and sing. It was good for my soul and from experience good for others as well.

I had a nice crowd, people were singing along with some of the cover tunes and I had a chance to try out some new self-penned ones as well.

As I had just finished up a tune and guy in a cowboy hat sat next to me, I looked up, did a double take and low and behold it was Ramblin Jack Elliott. He had just played the Armadillo World Headquarters show the night before in Austin.

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Wow one of the American Folk Heroes, Woody Guthrie’s travel mate, an icon, I was amazed when he extended his hand and started to introduce himself and there as no need for that. He told me he liked my voice and asked if he could play a song or two. I wasn’t sure if the crowd even knew who was sitting next to me but, as it turned out some of them did. The crowd just got bigger and bigger and I got the chance to sing with Jack.

Now this is where the fun began. Jack and I hung out for over 24 hours, talking up a storm, he was from Brooklyn and my family was from the Bronx and I had seen Jack play on Bleecker street a few times. Jack being the world traveler that he always has been decided he was coming with me and heading back to Austin.

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Jack and I became attached at the hip and he spent over three weeks with us. Music, cooking, sharing stories, we had a grand time together. He fit right into my family of friends.

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No matter where we went, whether a Willie, Kinky Friedman, Jerry Jeff, the backstage doors were always open. Jack and I worked together for nine months and we booked shows and had a grand time. After that first month Jack hit the road but came back often, he stills does shows and his amazing life stories are always a treasure.

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In case you don’t know who Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is, check out his website to read up on his incredible history: http://www.ramblinjack.com/

By: Vinny Rich


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