Musicians as Digital Storytellers: How To Seize the Power of Social Media

As an Artist, you’re probably relying on some form of social media to spread the word about your music. But today, it’s not enough to only update your fans with messages about your music.

We sat down with social media marketing expert Jim Tobin, President of Ignite Social Media, to find out where musicians often fall short in their social media strategy, and to learn how they can start making improvements today.

Watch the full interview above and read some of the highlights below:

What do your fans want to hear?

Jim says it’s important for musicians to understand who they’re talking to. Artists often make the mistake of approaching their social media with the mindset of the story they want to tell, rather than the story their fans want to hear. The best way to discover what “tells your story” is by testing out different types of messages with your fans, and evaluating their response.

However, Jim adds that you don’t want to make the mistake of sharing photos or stories that might be popular with your fans but don’t really represent you or your music. Sharing something that’s funny might get you a lot of likes, but if it’s not in some way tied to you as an Artist, it won’t make you memorable.

Are you using the same content to serve multiple purposes?

If you’ve done any research into marketing, you’ve probably heard the word “content” thrown around frequently. Content simply refers to any text or multimedia (images, videos, songs) that is posted to your website or social media pages.

Jim explains that in the past, both marketers and the general public have viewed different social media sites as separate enterprises that require different content. He encourages Artists to think about ways that they can use the same story and content across different channels. For example, you might decide to write an email to your fans with photos of your band on tour. Those same photos can also be posted to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It might not work in every case, but when it does, it will save you time and keep your messages cohesive.

What do you own?

In our previous post about Facebook fans no longer seeing your posts, ReverbNation SVP of Artist Services Kurt Merriweather encouraged Artists to “use Facebook as a tool, but keep [their] home base elsewhere.”

Jim echoes this sentiment, and suggests that Artists to look for ways to tie their social content back to places that they “own,” like a blog or a website. Then, regardless of what might happen to different social platforms, your content will still live somewhere on the Web.

How can you mobilize your fans to share your story?

The most effective way to get fans to share your story is through “The Momentum Effect.” Jim describes how most people share social content because they feel excitement in their discovery, and that excitement compels them to share with their friends. He cites Beyonce’s surprise release of her latest album in December 2013 as a prime example of an artist who recognized the value of this effect, and relied on fans to spread the word.

Jim also mentions that there are tangible ways to increase fan engagement at events and shows. One way to do this is through using Tagboard, a tool that publicly displays Facebook posts, Tweets, and other types of social messages using a specific hashtag. Fans will be more likely to engage with you if they know there’s something in it for them – like having their tweet displayed on-screen during a concert for all their friends to see.

Are you being authentic?

Jim reiterates that the best way to tell your story is by staying true to yoursef. If you’re a small artist just getting started, share a behind-the-scenes look at the small house shows you’re playing. As you gain momentum, your fans will love to see how far you’ve come from where you’ve started. Even if you’re a more established artist, the more authentic you are, the more your fans will feel a connection to you.

“Truth and candor resonates with people, because there’s so much bullshit, and everyone’s tired of it. When people talk about things they lost, things that were hard and things they struggled with, people love them for it and they feel very close to them. I can’t imagine a music career is easy – that part of the struggle is really interesting.”

What social media strategies have you used that have been successful? Share your story in the comments, or leave a question you have for Jim. 

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3 comments

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  • Solidmighty - April 3, 2015 reply

    Hw To Advart Myself Here

    Sam - April 3, 2015 reply

    We do not offer advertising opportunities on our blog, but if you’d like to learn more about Promote It, our online advertising campaign service that allows you to create ads on Facebook, YouTube, and other major music sites across the web, please check out this link: https://www.reverbnation.com/band-promotion/promote. Thanks!

  • original b - May 14, 2015 reply

    I work on the story a lot so I need to spice it up

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