By Ashley Blackwell
As the world of social media has extensively evolved, throughout the years, it has become the top, fastest-growing digital market for networking and brand development. In 2017, brands, of all kinds, are utilizing this platform as a way to reach a broader audience—thus, improving their traffic flow, tremendously. Sometimes, by hundreds or even thousands. The more traffic, the more awareness, and the more awareness, the bigger the consumer rate and online visibility are. For music artists, social media is an essential key in strategic marketing, as it is the vessel that, particularly, drives and expands their fanbase.
As the music industry remains ever-changing, in this day and age, everything is mostly done digitally. Why? Because, frankly, people are more quickly to open an app to seek the latest industry news than to turn the pages of a newspaper, magazine, or watch CNN. Which brings me to my next point: society wants to know what's hot and what's happening NOW, instantly.
When MySpace hit the scene, fourteen years ago, it was the holy grail for Hip-Hop artists, especially. Though, at the time, BET's 106 & Park was popular for delivering the latest songs and video releases, after those videos had run its course on the countdown, they were zapped off, falling behind the next hottest thing. This is where MySpace aided in keeping the buzz alive and ongoing. These artists were able to effectively promote their music, all while growing their listener base and widely gaining notoriety. While, on the other hand, fans and supporters received the music at a faster pace and had a direct line of communication with their favorite artists to provide feedback. So, it was equally beneficial for the giver and the receiver. However, MySpace has since been overshadowed by Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook... all collectively serving as pivotal social media marketing assets.
Whereas Facebook is mainly useful for connecting with long-lost family members and seeing the trending worldly news, Twitter and Instagram are great resources for branding purposes. Granted, Facebook can accommodate when it comes to promotion ads or sharing. But, usage of Twitter and Instagram is more likely to help your brand attract a better worldwide following. Within the entertainment and pop culture realm, these two tools are perfect for achieving online social awareness.
So, for a Hip-Hop-based brand, any form of social media is crucial to have, as they all contribute in many different areas and for many different reasons. Social presence is everything, and we are here to provide you with ways that you could utilize social media to your advantage. Take a look.
Instagram - Creating Content That Is Fitting For Your Target Audience
This is extremely important for Instagram. Providing visual content is necessary, and you have to make sure that the content posted is content that makes sense to the basis of your brand and the audience that you want to attract.
- Don't bore your followers with repetitive posts. Be diverse.
- Make sure all images are crisp and clear.
- Show up in your feed. The people want to know the person behind the brand, behind the music.
- Post daily. Stay visible.
- Upgrade your account to a business account by connecting it to your Facebook. This is accessible by visiting your settings page. With this feature, you are able to list your page under a certain category and include direct clickable links to your contact information (phone/email.)
- Use hashtags, always. Check to see which hashtags, surrounding the theme of your brand, are most popular.
- Include website link in your bio.
- Keep a precise logo to post every once in awhile, whether it be of your name or something related to your brand.
Things Instagram Can Be Useful For:
● Live Q&As – This helps in engaging those ghost followers who only drop a like or comment twice a year. We all have them (pun intended).
● Keeping your followers updated on your day-to-day by posting to your Instagram story. (Snapchat is useful for this, too. Although you have to have a verified account on Instagram in order to attach links to your story, you are able to do that with no limitations on Snapchat, taking them directly to your website and/or music link.)
● Posting video snippets of your recently released music.
● Hosting online giveaways, giving away free brand-exclusive merchandise.
● Resharing content that is alike to your brand onto your profile. This could potentially open doors for new followers and account engagement.
● Promoting your posts with Instagram's Branded Content program. You can learn more about that here.
Twitter - Starting The Conversation
If you want to start the conversation, Twitter is where it's at. The amount of social shares waiting is endless. However, it all depends on what is posted. Again, the type of content matters, and your main goal is to make your content appealing. How many times have you viewed a tweet, liked the content of the tweet, and clicked on the person's profile? Maybe even followed? You see, it's a chain reaction. As #BlackTwitter continues to flourish, completely taking over the Twitter world, content is easily shared, and the conversation is waiting to happen.
Ways to do this:
- Retweet/Quote tweets. Join the conversation.
- Conduct Twitter Discussions/Q&As.
- Link your Twitter and Instagram together, so that every time you post to Instagram, it is found in your Twitter feed. This doubles the traffic on two social sites.
- Participate in different hashtags.
- #MusicMonday – Attach a link to where your music can be heard (Soundcloud, Datpiff, ReverbNation, Spotify, etc.) This is a great hashtag to take part in, as it allows your music to be easily searchable with just a hashtag alone.
- Pin a tweet with a link to your website to your profile. Every time you get a new profile visitor, that will be the first thing that they see. If you don't have a website, I'd suggest that you create one. Your website is your online portfolio, and it needs to be easily accessible at all times.
Facebook – Engaging Your Audience
What I personally love about Facebook is that it offers so many avenues for friend/follower engagement, visibility, and discussion. The foundation of branding is engaging. Who's behind the brand? What is this brand really about? How can I relate to this brand? What can I gain from following this brand? These are all unwavering questions that need answers, and your job is to provide those answers by getting to know your audience and letting them get to know you, as well.
- Create a LIKE page.
- Be descriptive in your bio. Include your other social media handles, website link.
- Keep photo albums updated.
- Don't flood your feed with promotion links.
- Again, reshare content.
● Start your own Facebook group for your fans/supporters. This is where they would receive updates, and it can also serve as your Facebook promo team for future social media campaigns.
● Have weekly Facebook live sessions. Pick one day a week. Stick to it.
● Conduct status discussions.
● Facebook is also the place to host merchandise giveaways.
● Always keep your event section updated with your upcoming events.
Honestly, I don't think YouTube will ever get played out. It's literally the best video sharing space ever. And, I'm being serious. Now, just as Facebook, Twitter (I don't really prefer Periscope; the connection is quite slow), and Instagram, it also holds the live feature, allowing users to chat live with their viewers. Aside from that, it has become the ultimate playground for digital content creators, and it is the go-to web platform for debuting music videos. You can do all of that for FREE! (You knew that, but it's just a reminder.) Which is another plus because there is nothing like free promotion. Views, likes, comments, and new subscribers can be easily obtained. Word of mouth travels rather quickly on the internet, and we all know that it doesn't take much to go viral, nowadays.
● Vlogging. This can be done to capture your behind the scenes moments, never-before-seen footage, and music performances.
● Video Ads – This allows your ads to pop up right before YouTube videos. Learn more about that here.
● Live Streaming.
● Make sure that you fill your YouTube profile out in its entirety. Website, social media links, bio, header. Appearance is everything.
● Video activity should be frequent. At least two – three times a month. No one wants to subscribe to a blank YouTube page.
Advertising/Social Media Campaigns
The key to every thriving brand is strong PR = Public Relations. Though I've just briefly gone over the basics for utilizing each of these social media sites for your benefit, to conclude, I wanted to give sort of an in-depth outlook on the importance of advertising and running social media campaigns. Advertisements on social media are the commercial for your online presence. It's a must to have.
● Invest into paid posts. Mostly all of the social media sites that I just named, besides Snapchat, offers this. This boosts your posts up and strengthens the audience reach--how many people will see the posts, shares, likes, and impressions. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram even help you keep track of your performance. Visit their help centers to find more information.
Social media campaigns can be run on multiple platforms, all at once. It not only steadily increases the growth of your profiles but, also, it heightens brand familiarity.
● Come up with an effective plan and goal for your campaign.
● Map out your posts.
● Communicate with other social media accounts. Follow for a follow.
● Automated DMs are great for expanding your reach and easily conveying your messages without you having to manually lift a finger every time. These DMs could include a link to your music (follow-up for feedback), website, and/or other social media. Try crowdfireapp.com for starters.
● Make social connects.
Ashley Blackwell is an entertainment writer and social media content creator based in Alabama. As the former Editor-in-Chief of Polish Magazine, Ashley ventured on to write for a variety of popular online publications such as Baller Alert, Kontrol Girl and Parlé Magazine. She dabble in all things fashion, music, social media, and pop culture. www.instagram.com/AshleyTearra