Social media for musicians needs to be about more than just tour dates and other pertinent info. A lot of people want to feel closer to the music they love and the people who make it, and your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and all the rest should reflect that. Give the people what they want: A more personal connection.
That doesn’t mean you’ve got to reveal all the intimate details of your life, though the insight of a few glimpses is often a plus. But a band account that’s too calculated, too closed up—for example, relying too heavily on screencaps of press, snippets of music videos, tour announcements and the same images used in rolling out an album—offers little to no discoveries about the person behind the posts. That can feel sterile, and it doesn’t provide much incentive to follow. Consider the content you publish: Does it offer new insight? Does it help listeners better understand your music and why you make it?
The most compelling, most followed, most beloved social media musician accounts have one thing in common: They feel human.
Use social media to promote your music, but don’t forget to give a bit of yourself in the process. Allow some peeks into your personality. Be humorous, be open, and don’t overthink things. Show your humanity—your fans will appreciate it.
There’s a place for staged photo shoots, like in your press kit, or as your cover or profile picture. In terms of your social media feed, though, followers’ interest will be better piqued by adding behind-the-scenes content—rather than only the photo itself.
That’s just one way to go unscripted, of course. Live-streaming backstage, a sneak-attack photo of your bandmate (shoot first, but do ask permission to post later) or a post-show celebration at a hometown show—the possibilities for off-the-cuff content are pretty endless.
Engage with your followers
— prozac black (@wavvyprincess) November 22, 2016
Communicating with your fans on social media shows you appreciate them—their devotion, their support, their existence in general. Respond to the questions they ask, reply with thanks when appropriate. Even better, follow them back—and engage with their content, too. In the example above, DIIV actually retweeted this meme.
If you’re feeling a certain kind of way and you’ve got the urge to share, do it. Don’t fret too much about how one post will affect your overall public persona. Trust your instincts in revealing feelings of shock, pride, nostalgia, sadness, whatever, and be as vague or as detailed as you want. Heck, even make fun of yourself every now and then! The point is to show genuine emotion from time to time, even if it’s just you being silly.
Share things not involving you.
Your posts don’t have to be specifically about you to feel personal. What about you and your bandmates’ interests outside of your music? You can share art you collectively appreciate, a meme about a TV show you love or even high-five another musician by sharing their work—all of those things offer indirect but telling gleans into who you all are.
Remind people you exist in the same world
You and your band don’t exist in a vacuum, and neither should your social media content. If you consider hopping on a popular hashtag bandwagon or sharing a viral meme as a creativity cop-out, think again. Participating in the same trends as your fans removes a bit of that untouchable quality people sometimes feel from the artists and bands they admire. No matter where you’re at in your career, you’re a person, just like them: You also think Dat Boi is hilarious, and you also thought it was pretty interesting to look back at your life in 2006 and compare it with what you’re doing now, 10 years later.
Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music and culture writer based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She regularly contributes to Remezcla, and has written for Impose, Paste, Sonicbids, Noisey and more. Follow her work, musings and party times via Twitter: @jhonijackson.