Social Media 101 for artistes

Hanniffa Patterson

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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I've often heard artistes lament that social media is doing them more harm than good. That it is reducing the amount of profit made, because of these online distribution services such as Spotify and platforms like Youtube.

However, though there may be some truth in that, they may often be focusing on the negatives and miss the other positive opportunities it can bring. Below are a few ways artistes can harness the good in social media to help promote the business that is their brand.


There is no other time on this earth where it has been so easy to get before the eyes of a mass of people. In the 1990s one would have to print thousands of fliers and give them out, but today, if you are skilled in how to post good content and understand how to run strategic online ads, social media can turn out to be the key to getting your name and artistic product to the world.


Social media is just a new marketing tool. And like it or not, it's here to stay. But to use it you're going to have to get creative. Gone are the days of just posting a video. People want to see and know more. You will now have to build a brand, a personality, you will have to be an entertainer.


Social media is built on what we call “influence” or social proof. How does one measure social proof? Just as in the ancient days before social media it's by what everyone is saying about you and how many people are saying it.

So, in reality, the numbers on social media do translate to dollars for a musician.

Plus think of it, the more people are exposed to your brand or music, the more chances you have of becoming well known and the more chances they will have to purchase.


Earlier I mentioned being a brand, and as a brand you have to think bigger.

Start thinking wider than just album sales. Do you have or can you create a product, an event? How can you turn 'brand you' into something other than a CD that the audience would like to buy?

Will you sell T-shirts, caps, mugs, have a conference or even teach others to make music too?


This may seem obvious, but you need to have a good musical product, or talent.

If you aren't talented, all the digital marketing in the world will not help you. No one will listen to or buy your product if it doesn't hit a note with them (pun intended). So be honest with yourself, do you have talent, is the music good, is it fresh and original?


I've proved it time and time again, but in the digital world you need to stay on top of things.

You can't just post occasionally, tweet occasionally, respond to comments occasionally, then expect regular comments and constant results. You have got to be consistently active.

There is a reason Vybz Kartel is still putting out songs, even from prison. And though it might be for the love, he also understands human psychology. The likes matter, and to be liked, people have to remember who you are. You must remain top of mind. Posting consistently helps do that.


Though it is important to post consistently, it also matters what you post. It can't just be fliers of your latest or next event. No one likes to see a page filled with fliers. What can you share that your audience might find interesting? Some trivia, behind the scenes, creative tips or the story behind your newest song/ artistic creation?


As with any thing of value, it doesn't happen overnight. Garnering an audience won't happen just because you've decided to open an Instagram page. But it's a start.

So start, plan a strategy, be creative and be patient. This is especially true if you might have limited financial resources to put into promoting through ads.


Encourage and support your fans when they use you your content. Maybe they've created a dance video, or used it as the soundtrack for an awesome trip or even done a cover.

If you are a visual artist, maybe they have used it as a backdrop to some other creative work. Highlight these followers and their creative use of your content.

Ciara's song, Level Up, is an excellent example. It turned into a dance challenge, which only further solidified her brand as she reposted and commended her fans, thanking them for their support.

Though these examples were tailored towards musicians, some do lend themselves to other creatives. Also the list is definitely not exhaustive, there are so many other points we could discuss, but it's always good to start somewhere.

Let's embrace the tool for what it is — a new way to reach the world. Remember to think out of the box and find the best most creative ways to make it work for you.

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