The development of the digital landscape has impacted both the business of music and how musicians interact with audiences. On one hand, there are greater opportunities for independence. Yet, this is tempered by the challenge of being heard in a highly competitive global scene.
One tool that is accessible to all musicians is social media. There is a range of platforms that each offer a different approach to engaging with online audiences. YouTube can be great for live performances and lyric videos, while TikTok and Instagram can give more intimate behind-the-scenes glimpses into processes.
Nevertheless, it’s not unusual for musicians to find the idea of building a social media following overwhelming. Is it necessary for musicians to build a social media following today? Let’s take a closer look.
What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks?
The simple fact is that it’s not strictly necessary to do anything as a musician, other than make music. However, considering building a social media following isn’t necessarily about whether it’s a key part of your craft. Rather, it’s about determining whether it can positively affect your goals. Therefore, it’s important to start by understanding the benefits and drawbacks of a social media following. This allows you to make more informed decisions.
Social media is certainly beneficial if you intend to use your musical creativity as a career. To pursue a living either as an independent performer or a signed recording artist, you’ll need to treat your craft as a business. Social media is one of the most powerful business tools at the moment, with benefits encompassing a range of areas. You gain real-time insights into industry trends so you can choose whether to respond to them. Social media can help to extend your audience reach on a global and local scale. Not to mention that as your following grows, you can take advantage of partnership opportunities with brands and other creative collaborators.
That said, effectively building a following requires consistent and sometimes time-consuming efforts. Your online actions could involve planning and creating posts, interacting with users, and data analysis. This is administrative work that musicians aren’t always keen to do if it becomes a distraction to writing songs or performing. It can also attract a level of personal scrutiny that some musicians don’t necessarily want. While none of these challenges are insurmountable, it’s important to be aware of them.
When Should You Start Building?
If you plan to build a career as a musician, a solid audience is essential. A social media following can be considered an extension of the audience for your live shows or recordings. The more people are engaging with you, the more eyes and ears there are on your output.
However, many musicians struggle with understanding when they should start developing the social media portion of their audience. Is it worth starting before you’re at what you’d consider a professional level? Should you wait until after you’re confident you have something to promote?
There are certainly good arguments for both sides. It’s certainly not necessary to have a lot of shows or songwriting experience under your belt before you start to seek your following. Indeed, many audiences are keen to connect with creative people at the early stages of the journey. They have the opportunity to discover and support you while seeing you grow as a musician.
It’s increasingly common to see content from musicians in their early stages. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can post videos of covers as you hone your songwriting craft. If you haven’t played live shows, you might be reassured to find that some musicians make a start building their followings through busking videos.
That said, some musicians prefer to keep a certain amount of distance. It’s perfectly fine to treat social media as a method for marketing specific shows, releases, and projects. In this case, waiting until you have a product or shows coming down the track can be a practical and more comfortable approach. Nevertheless, it’s important to plan to start at least a little ahead of time so you generate momentum.
How Can You Proceed Positively?
Whenever you’re using social media to build a following, start off on a strong footing. The results you achieve will tend to be not just linked to the quality of your music, but also the strength of your strategy. A commitment to a businesslike marketing approach can improve your reach and engagement.
High-quality content should be a primary part of your technique. This can be daunting, as musicians often find the time it takes to execute good social media posts to be unwieldy. However, there are methods of speeding up the content creation process without sacrificing quality. Strategizing content in advance should be a key consideration for the sake of efficiency. This includes identifying the types of content you want to create, the assets you need, and the schedule for producing and releasing content. Creating the content in blitzes may also make the process less overwhelming and preserve the time you need for other activities.
Another important part of building your social media following as a musician is taking the time to interact. Treating your accounts passively tends not to be effective. Respond to comments and questions on your posts. Use your profiles to encourage your audience to interact with you. This may not be comfortable for every musician, but it can help develop meaningful relationships between creative people and their audiences.
While building a social media following isn’t necessary for musicians, it can be advantageous. Particularly if you’re pursuing music as a career, this tool can extend your audience reach and aid promotion. However, choose a time to start building a following that suits your individual needs and goals. It’s also worth taking steps that give you the most positive start, including efficient content planning and meaningful audience interaction. With some focus and creativity, your social media accounts can help support your musical ambitions.Don’t forget to share this post!
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