A Musician’s Guide to Social Media

Kodi Vonn

Why Social Media Is Important

Today, if an artist is making music, they’re on social media. Social media is a pretty necessary platform to promote your brand and gain fans. Plenty of young artists try to argue this fact by pointing out a big-name artist who’re social media silent—like Taylor Swift and Tyler, the Creator were for a time. Yet notice how both artists returned to social media when it was time to promote new projects.

So we’ve established the necessity of social media. But you can’t just create an account and expect to gain a following. Social media is social. Fandoms do so well on these platforms because they are essentially about connecting with experiences that appeal to us. As an artist, you have to give potential fans something to connect to. That means you don’t simply tell people to check out your new video. You share the experience of making or recording the song, and the video. You post things that inspired you to make the song in the first place. People want to listen to music and watch videos they like, but they also want to feel invested in the artist/material.

Social media is about broadcasting your brand. To do that successfully you’ll need a good sense of yourself as an artist and a knowledge of how to market it. Follow your favorite artists and others in your genre, read and watch their interviews. This way you can see what works and what doesn’t work in the market you’re trying to put your music in.

Keep Track of Your Audience

In addition to studying your peers, you’ll also want to study your audience. Know who your listeners are, or who you want them to be. Most social media platforms provide demographic information for you to check out your followers. Amazon’s Alexa, Google Analytics, Klout, and Hootsuite are commonly used analytics tools—though they can feel overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking at or what to look for.

social media likes


Bandbasher’s Numbers tool to help users chart their social media performance. Know how you’re posts are performing on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and more! All on your Artist Tracker hub at bandbasher.com

Note if you’ve got more male or female followers and what their ages are. With that information, you’ll be better able to decide if you’re accurately marketing your brand (and how to better appeal to your audience). You’ll also find out if you’ve chosen the right platforms to for promoting your genre of music. This kind of research is as simple as reading comments for other artists’ work.

To be knowledgeable about how well your posts are performing you need to familiarize yourself with the technical meaning of terms like engagement, impressions, and reach.

Need-to-Know Terms

Engagement: commonly defined by the clicks, likes, shares, and comments on your profile.

Impressions: the number of times an ad or post is shown (or appears) on someone else’s feed.

Reach: the number of social media uses who see your post.

What you shouldn’t do is try to define your social media success by how many followers you have. A high number of established artists have allegedly boosted their follow count artificially. Huge artists like Rita Ora and Katy Perry have been accused after platforms’ “purge” days. Forbes reported that Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, and Lady Gaga also host a high number of alleged fake followers, falsely inflating their follow count.


So DO NOT buy followers thinking that you’ll similarly increase the legitimacy of your brand online. Analyzing your social media performance will include looking at the terms we mentioned above, as well as a number of other metrics. How many people started following you this week? How many stopped? What ratio of your followers are liking, commenting, and sharing your content? How frequently are you posting? Knowing your numbers is integral to understanding what you’re doing right and what you need to change.

To get started analyzing your performance now, consider Tubular Insights’ “3 Metrics Ratios to Measure YouTube Channel Success”* . A good standard for engagement with your audience is as follows:

  • Comments to Views: 0.5% (for 10,000 views this equates to 50 comments)

  • Likes to Views: 4% (10,000 views should get 400 likes)

  • Views to Subscribers: 14% (a channel with 1,000 subscribers should have about 140 views for each video)

These aren’t the hard and fast rules for gauging success, but if your YouTube performance is close then you know you’re on the right track. If you aren’t meeting these metrics, then maybe consider alternative methods to boosting your numbers.

Social Media Strategy

In our Social Media lesson, we give you a lot of tips to consider when creating your profiles as well as how you should run them. We talk about things like using the same username for every account, maintaining brand authenticity, posting consistently, using hashtags appropriately, and the importance of high-quality audio, pics, and video. But what strategy should you implement to bring all of this together?

The 80/20 rule, the 70/20/10 guideline, etc. The practice goes by many names, all numerically based, but the point is you should use the bulk of your posts to show your followers what your brand is. These can be in-studio/performance/candid photos, songs, and videos. The reason social media experts allot so much space to building your brand is because it’s the most important aspect of social media. Not the hilarious cat videos, Game of Thrones memes, and GIFs; at the end of the day social media is a self-promotional tool.

The next (smaller) piece of the pie is dedicated to other creative pics, songs, or videos that inspire you as an artist. These can come from fellow artists or people you admire, places you’ve been or want to go, anything as long as they reflect your brand. This is a great space to shoutout other artists, producers, or songwriters. Tag them to give them the opportunity to follow that tag back to your page—they might check out your work and return the favor. It could even lead to a future collaboration.

The final piece of your social media strategy (and the smallest) is reserved to straight up promote yourself. I know what you’re thinking: “10% to self promote? I thought this was the whole point of social media??” Correct, and incorrect. You need to think like a business. That’s what your music career is and there’s a reason Harley-Davidson will pay to see Black Widow ride one in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron rather than buy up commercial time. By and large, commercials annoy people. So avoid turning your social media pages into one long commercial.

social media

10%. That’s the space you get to plainly promote new singles, albums, tours, and merchandise. So use it wisely. Be creative.

Your Social Media Strategy Breakdown

70% Focus on Your Brand

20% What Inspires You

10% Self-Promotion

Stay tuned for our next article on the easy, clear steps you can take to improve your social media accounts and how to gain followers who become fans.

To start better understanding your social media standing, sign up or login and visit our Numbers page. The Numbers feature allows you to realize where your progress is coming from. While other sites may flash a lot of statistics onscreen, they don’t help you understand how your actions contributed to those numbers. With Bandbasher’s Numbers tool, you’re able to chart each step and the result.

*Robertson, Mark R. “YouTube Success: 3 Metrics Ratios to Measure Right Now.” Tubular Insights, TUBULARLABS, INC, 10 May 2016, tubularinsights.com/3-metrics-youtube-success/. Accessed 30 Aug. 2017.