Social media is the ultimate outreach tool for bands. Your fans are already interacting with their favorite artists on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so why not join the party? Familiarize yourself with these popular platforms, and make your band part of the conversations going on every second of the day.

Facebook

With more than 1.71 billion active users, Facebook is a gold mine of potential fans. The first step in reaching them is creating and optimizing a Facebook Page. Grab a vanity URL your fans will recognize, and use eye-catching profile and header photos to convey the “feel” of your music. Complete your bio with keyword-rich content and links to all other sites where your band has a presence.

To attract followers, post brief, insightful content with a lot of images. Fans love photos and videos, and Facebook is a strong platform for sharing both. Spark conversations by posting the occasional longer update with more emotional depth. Target posts according to location to reach more local fans, and keep an eye on Insights to determine which content drives the most engagement.

Make use of apps, tabs and event announcements to share important updates with followers. Facebook integrates with other social networks, including Instagram, so your page is a good place to let people know where else you can be found.

Twitter

Twitter profiles are short but can convey everything fans need to know about your music. You’ll discover this as you seek out record labels, music bloggers, other independent musicians and famous performers in your genre to follow. Add these accounts to your roster for inspiration and to open the door to possible collaboration opportunities.

Hashtags mean a lot on Twitter, so make sure to research what’s trending and popular for your industry. Tag posts with relevant phrases as you share links to your music, announce shows and talk up your newest releases. However, you don’t just want to talk about yourself. Tweet about what you and your band are up to, and take advantage of inline photo posting to boost visibility. Don’t be afraid to ask for retweets, returning the favor by sharing your favorite posts from fans.

Instagram

Instagram gives followers three ways to experience your band’s journey: photos, videos and “stories.” Unlike regular updates, stories appear in a line across the top of followers’ feeds and are meant to offer temporary snapshots of the highlights of your day. Create a variety of posts to maximize engagement, and use related hashtags so that your content shows up in popular searches. Take photos with fans whenever you can, and give them an Instagram shout-out by linking their usernames when you post.

Video length limits on Instagram were recently increased from 15 seconds to 60 seconds. That’s the perfect amount of time for offering a preview of your latest song or providing a “window” into what you’re up to on tour.

Be sure to stay engaged by searching for interesting hashtags and commenting on the posts you find. This not only makes you seem more “real” but also increases the visibility of your Instagram account.

Social Media Best Practices

Some social media tactics are universal and can be applied to increase engagement and reach on all platforms:

  • Respond to comments and participate in conversations
  • Encourage fans to weigh in on your music creation process
  • Post fan-created content and tag the creators
  • Host contests to increase interest and draw new fans
  • Offer a song or swag for free with a special “followers only” code
  • Add a personal touch to communicate the story behind your music
  • Balance promotional content with humor and heartfelt insights
  • Ensure posts reach all platforms by using tools such as Buffer, HootSuite or IFTTT
  • Research and optimize for the best times to post based on audience activity
  • Add social profile links to email signatures, newsletters, blog posts and offline marketing materials

With a consistent strategy in place, your band can become the talk of social media. Make the most of free tools to connect your accounts, post on a regular schedule and manage your presence across platforms, and your social persona will become a natural extension of your other promotional efforts.