The music industry has always been about who you know. In today’s music marketing environment, social media influencers have gained in importance. This can be beneficial to musicians since social media influencers are easier to contact, and easier to become.
What do I mean by that? You no longer have to clamber after the approval of Rolling Stone or Circus magazine. Today’s influencers are regular people that you can contact online, as well as something that you can personally build towards being. Let’s look at social media influencers in relation to music marketing and SoundCloud.
Social media influencers, music marketing, and SoundCloud
The importance of online influencers
Before we get too far into this, we should look at the reasons why online influencers are important, and the characteristics of them.
Social media influencers have a large following
The first characteristic of every social media influencer is that they have a large number of followers on a given social media platform. This can include:
- A large number of followers on Twitter.
- Many subscribers on YouTube.
- Lots of fans on SoundCloud.
The key metric is the number of followers, and this can apply to any social media platform. Many social media influencers are famous for other things, but their exceptional number of followers on the platform makes them notable for the number alone:
— Jameca Renee™ (@sxyhollywood) July 28, 2016
Ability to refer fans
The biggest social media influencers are able to send their fans to wherever they want them to go online. This can be from direct link clicks that the influencers share, or from the huge number of shares they are able to generate.
Here’s an example from the one and only Kanye West. Just two words and a link to Kid Cudi’s album generated 26,000 retweets.
What this did for Kid Cudi’s album is obvious. And it all came from Kanye West’s incredible influence on Twitter.
Every social media platform has some sort of trends which develop on it. Twitter has trending hashtags and topics. Facebook posts can go viral. And YouTube videos can get viewed millions of times. Often, these trends can get traced back to certain social media influence sharing them.
You can be sure that this was the case with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Macklemore getting over 2 million views on this video helped drive the trend:
Social media influencers are able to use their ability to create trends to their advantage. They can make things that they participate in a trend. This obviously also includes their music.
Becoming a social media influencer
Being a social media influencer on SoundCloud, or any other social platform, follows similar trends. Let’s look at how you can personally become an influencer on social media, and gain the trust of those who already are.
First, connect with other social media influencers
There’re plenty of social media influencers out there that you can connect with, and borrow some of their fame. There is only so much that you will be able to do on your own, eventually you need the help of other people on social media. This is not a new concept in the world of music marketing as music collaborations have been used as influencer marketing for decades.
So how do you gain the attention of other influencers? Here are a few steps to take:
- Identify other influencers who are similar to your music genre, or related to it in someway. There is no point trying to appeal to a hip-hop magazine’s editor if you make rock’n’roll.
- Start building your connection with these influencers by sharing their content and tagging them. They may not notice you right away, but they will see that you have mentioned them over time and grow familiar with your name.
- Reply to their content, and try to open dialogue with them. Even if you cannot speak directly with the social media influencer you can open a conversation with their fans. Their fans are the people that you want to become your fans anyway. On SoundCloud, you can do this in the comments for tracks.
- Once you have connected with the social media influencer in a public forum, move to a more private one. This is where you can start discussing collaborations a little bit more directly. You also have a chance to get them to start sharing your content.
It may seem simple to connect with the social media influencer, but it certainly takes time. You may not even get the attention of the social media influencer… Ever. But you will connect with some of their fans, and that can be just as valuable.
While you’re trying to make this connection you have to be sure that you’re doing it in the right way. Here’s an example of someone doing it wrong:
No one cares what you have to say when all that you have to say is something like this. You need to go further and make truly useful comments. You’re a musician, you should be able to comment thoughtfully on music.
Share the right content
Everything on social media is all about content. Both connecting with your fans and other influencers requires that you share great content. In the context of music marketing this follows two main streams:
- Sharing great music, and music related articles and blog posts. Up above we saw Kanye West share some great music from Kid Cudi. He’s already Kanye West, yet he still understands the importance of sharing things to keep his followers interested. You can also try sharing content related to the music industry, such as award shows.
- Many musicians are taking to commenting on trending topics is the news. Musicians have always been political, right from Elvis joining the army all the way to today. When you are getting into the world of talking about news stories, be sure to tread as lightly as you feel is necessary. You can quickly lose fans and followers if your message is harsh.
Many musicians are taking political stances right now. What you should determine is whether your political stance is going to help you gain social media followers and grow your career. There are obvious choices like Madonna going to the Women’s March. She knew her fans would accept this political message:
With My Girl Amy at the Women's March in D.C. We Go Hard or We Go Home. 💪🏻🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/st68AeZ3HQ
— Madonna (@Madonna) January 21, 2017
Chrisette Michele, on the other hand, is still facing a backlash from performing at Donald Trump’s inauguration ball. She is still trying to explain it away:
. @indiaarie Unlike your friend, I didn't vote for trump. But I refuse to HATE him or anyone else. Love is greater…
— chrisette michele (@ChrisetteM) January 26, 2017
When it comes to sharing content on social media related to politics, realize that there are always consequences to every action. Even inaction.
Continual content sharing
The days of bands and musicians disappearing into the recording studio for months on end without saying anything are over. Social media influencers know this, and continue to share content with their fans on a regular basis.
In a SoundCloud context, this doesn’t mean that you have to release a new song every month. Feel free to release:
- Tracks in progress
- Acoustic versions
- A cappella versions
- Live tracks
This will make it so that you can continually share music and build yourself up as an influencer. Ed Sheeran does this by releasing remixes of his tracks:
Ed had already recorded this song, someone else just put their touch on it and gave him another piece of content to share. Losing touch with your audience in today’s world of six second videos can be tragic for your career. Continue to share content and stay on their mind.
A well thought out online presence
The best social media influencers wield power online because of the amount of time they put into creating their online personas. This relates to a number of digital considerations. Let’s look at some things that you should consider.
Coordinating the URLs of your various online profiles can help fans determine that you are genuine. Here’s an example of what I mean:
- Twitter.com/MyAwesomeBandName, handle: @Myawesomebandname
You never want your fans to second-guess whether or not the social media profiles they are following is really you. This is related to domain squatting, and you can solve it in a similar manner. The best thing you can do, however, is take your URLs right now on every social media platform. Don’t wait until you’re popular and then have to hire someone else to take the name back.
The best musicians have always known that the image they present to people is of the utmost importance. From the Beatles coordinated suits and haircuts, to Chance the Rapper’s industrial fashion sense, your image is important.
Coordinating your images on social media, and online in general, helps to build people’s ability to remember you. Since she is the Queen of Twitter, let’s look at how Katy Perry is coordinating her images online right now for the upcoming release of her new album. First, check out her current profile image on SoundCloud:
Let’s look at her Facebook profile image:
Do you notice a trend? I hope so… I mean, she went blonde for starters. Her focus on changing all of her images to being the same let’s her fans know that something new is coming. It also lets fans build up an image in their mind of her, this would not be possible if every profile had a different picture.
We learn through repetition, and this certainly applies on social media. The goal of this repetition is to put at least one image of yourself firmly in the minds of people online.
The psychology of being a social media influencer
Now that you understand the importance of social media influencers, and how to better become one, let’s look a little bit deeper at it. There are very real psychological concepts that go into online influence. Here are the five main ones:
- Get what you give: If you truly want to gain something from your followers, they have to actually gain something from you. This can largely come down to your music, but it’s also going to come down to the type of content you share with them. Focus on sharing photos and content with them that they can only get from you.
- Being consistent: You don’t become an influencer with just one viral hit. To keep your following around you have to consistently share content. Being committed to your social media channels is essential.
- Being liked: It’s much more likely that you’re going to keep your followers around if they find you likable. Abrasive online personalities usually only keep their following if they are shock jocks, or the President of the United States (This was a joke. I think…). It’s like my dad always said; You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. You will catch some with manure, too, but they’ll leave quickly.
- Social proof: Most online platforms are all about numbers. This follows a long time trend in the music industry. You were only famous until you had so many album sales. Your concerts are only good when they are full of people. Today, your social proof comes down to the number of followers you have, and the number of plays that your song has earned. This is why services like our SoundCloud followers service are so important for new artists. It helps give them the social proof that their career desperately needs.
- FOMO: The ‘fear of missing out’ helps create scarcity. If you are sharing valuable information on a consistent basis your followers can start to get some FOMO for your content. This will lead them to pay close attention to your accounts, giving you the chance to easily influence them.
Taking advantage of these psychological points will make your social media influence truly valuable. You can use these concepts to help push your social media audience to do the things you want them to do.
Music marketing on SoundCloud & social media influencers
The world of social media influence is very real. It drives the decision making process of the vast majority of people online in a wide variety of situations. We looked at how social media influencers:
- Have a large online following of engaged fans.
- Can refer their fans to links of their own, and others.
- Create trends, both for other people and for their own content.
With the usefulness of social media influencers looked at, we then moved to how you could become an influencer yourself:
- Identify and communicate with existing social media influencers in your genre.
- Share content that is appropriate for the audience, and that they will respond to.
- Be consistent with your engagement and use of social media.
- Have a well planned online presence.
With these points in mind, as well as understanding the psychology of social media influencers, you should see why it’s important to become an influencer. Every single one of your music marketing efforts will be enhanced by your social media influence.