Everyone is aware of the power of social media and how useful it is as a music promotion tool to reach new audiences, connect with a fans, and get discovered. But with competition for attention so high, the question is how to break through the noise. So we asked our friends at Spinnup, who help artists all over the world release and monetise their music on social, for their advice. Here’s what they had to say.
We’ve all heard of artists who made it big by having their music become popular on Instagram, or a TikTok musician who became a star off the back of their catchy tune. Just look at KAIBA, a German artist who released his track Overdose on Spinnup and then went on to become huge on TikTok—gaining over two million views and leading to him signing with Universal Music Germany. Whereas once Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer were the big name stores we all wanted our music on, social media platforms are now major players in the music promotion space as well—not just in terms of generating reach and awareness, but also earnings. With platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok incorporating music into their services, artists now can distribute their music to these platforms and earn royalties each time their music is used in content.
But with 40K+ new songs being distributed each day, here are some of the best ways to use your music on social media to stand out from the rest.
The way to gain momentum on social media is to not only have good content, but also a consistent flow of content. Every few weeks or months you might have a hero piece of content (music video, edited performance, etc), but in between, make sure you’re connecting with your fanbase regularly with short-form and lofi content, too.
“Deliver funny or interesting content every day”, says KABIA. “It’s important to keep active on your social platforms daily, especially as TikTok users spend quite a hefty amount of time on it per day.”
Different social media platforms reach users in different countries or age groups, so by putting your music and content on all platforms, you have a higher chance of breaking through to as many potential fans as possible. Not only that, but at the time of writing this, the fate of TikTok hangs in the balance in some countries, namely the US, so it’s definitely a good idea to diversify and have your content on all channels that your fans live on.
Best content for YouTube
On YouTube you’ll want to post your premium and slightly longer-form content, like lyric videos, official music videos, a behind-the-scenes of your latest recording project, or a diary-style video. This type of content works best on YouTube for musicians.
Best video posts for Facebook
These longer-form videos work for Facebook too and are great for posting on your official artist page and catalogue in the Videos tab. In our experience artists tend to have higher follower/subscriber counts on traditional social media like Facebook and Instagram, also making Facebook a great platform for things like live Q&As and livestream performances. And of course, after acquiring Instagram, Facebook added a Stories function—which you can use for your more off-the-cuff lofi videos filmed on your phone.
Best video posts for Instagram
Of all the social media platforms, Instagram is probably the most versatile. Because its offering is so diverse, it has a place for any type of social content you can muster, and it also drives high engagement.
Instagram has long been a supporter of music, having audio and even lyrics functions available on Stories for some time. We love the seamless share function from Spotify, allowing you to post your release to Stories with an integrated button for viewers to click through straight to the music on Spotify and listen.
The best posts for Instagram grid are your cover art, promo pictures, and shots of you in the studio or making music as well as 60-second promo clips or music video teasers. Instagram Stories is perfect for the lofi videos we mentioned earlier, but also anything you want with a call-to-action. If you switch your profile to a business account, you can access the swipe up feature and invite your followers to swipe up to listen to your music, buy your merch, or check out tickets for your next show.
Stories and also Instagram TV are perfect homes for your hero content, too, with IGTV allowing for much longer-form videos of up to 10 minutes (or 60 minutes for verified accounts). Just make sure that any video content is edited to a vertical 9:16 format. There’s nothing worse than trying to watch someone’s beautifully produced music video on a tiny landscape rectangle in the middle of the screen because they haven’t optimised it for vertical. And check that in your Instagram privacy settings you’ve turned on the ability for people to share your stories to their own Stories feed. Get that sharing going and there’s no telling how many new followers you could reach!
Best video posts for TikTok
The relatively new kid on the block, TikTok is proving that it can make massive waves when it comes to music, even rolling out a dedicated weekly music chart earlier in 2020. The best posts for TikTok are ones featuring challenges (for example, lip sync challenges, dance challenges, etc).
Start with your hook
Some music lends itself better to social media than others. We’re not saying you should tailor your sound or lyrics around this, but if you’re making short-form videos, use your hook, chorus, or crescendo as your backing audio instead of the start of your track. It’ll have more impact. A track with a catchy hook can also lend itself to a TikTok dance, or lyrics that start a challenge tend to go more viral. Just take a look at what TikTokers have been doing with Riverside’s track Daydream.
Plan your strategy
Regardless of the platform one of the best pieces of advice is to have a social media plan:
- Work out your music release schedule.
- Put together a list of all the kinds of content you can realistically create with your resources.
- Then determine which piece suits what social media and how your music can be used on that platform.
There will naturally be some crossover, but don’t post the exact same thing on all of your channels, as you risk boring audiences who follow you on multiple platforms. Use tools like Hootsuite, Planoly (great for Instagram) or the inbuilt scheduling functions to put together a solid and consistent promotional plan to support your musical content.
Join a distribution service to earn song royalties on social
With all of these platforms, there’s an opportunity to earn royalties any time your music is used in a post. The more you and other social media users add your music to posts, the more music royalties you earn (win-win). But first, your music needs to be available in each platform’s music library. To get a spot in these social media libraries (as well as on traditional streaming services), independent artists need to upload their music via a distribution service. That’s where a service like us, Spinnup, comes in.
All you need to do is sign up for a free account; upload your audio and cover artwork for your single, EP or album; enter your release info; pay for your release and that’s it. We do the rest. And don’t forget that getting your music on Instagram also includes their newly launched TikTok competitor Reels, and Facebook includes Occulus (and any platforms they might build out in the future).
There are a number of DIY distribution services out there and all differ slightly in their offering, but at the core of what we do is help artists get their music out into the world. Spinnup is slightly different in that we’re a part of Universal Music and so we can help artists get signed, and we also pay artists 100% of their music royalties—but we digress.
At the heart of it all, social media is just that, it’s social. So, speak to your fans, find out the kind of content they want, look at your stats regularly and work out what they react best to. Social is a great promotional tool but it’s not super serious, so experiment to find your groove and work the best way for you to incorporate your music into your content.
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Photos by Brett Jordan, Christian Wiediger, Joshua Hoehne, and visuals on Unsplash.