Is Social Media Helping or Hurting Musicians?

I get asked this question every week by our artists.

“Is technology and social media helping or hurting my ability to build a fan base?”

The answer is, both. Technology and social media has allowed unsigned musicians to interact with and grow their fan base worldwide in a way that was never possible before. Social media and Spotify allows you to connect with thousands of people.

However, with this new marketing tool and potential fan reach – there is a cost.

“Back in the Day…”

In the 1970’s it was more expensive and harder to record an album than it is today. There were far less music artists trying to make it. People’s attention was not constantly being fought for by 1,000’s of artists, 15 concerts every night of the week, or by the billions of marketing dollars that companies are pouring into Facebook, Snap Chat, Instagram, and You Tube.

In some ways you could argue promoting your gigs and growing a fan base in 1970 was easier. There was far less competition for your fans attention and time.  An upcoming gig was more of a unique experience.

So the question really isn’t is technology and social media helping or hurting artists’ ability to succeed…

The real question today is:

how can you use these tools to stand out amongst the crowd and rise above all of the marketing noise that people are inundated with everyday?

You won’t sell 150 tickets for your show by randomly tweeting or by simply posting on your social media.

Think of Social Media like it’s a Lottery Ticket…

Think of it this way. If you buy a lottery ticket you might win the jackpot. But you wouldn’t quit your day job and rely on the lottery ticket to provide all of your income. Social Media is the same way. It’s a free “lottery ticket” to get discovered or go viral. But the odds are, you won’t hit the jackpot.

It’s just not that easy. You still need to put in the work when it comes to hustling tickets and talking to fans. You need to direct message fans with incentives, calls to action, and 1-on-1 conversations. Gary Vee always says, if you want to succeed in social media you better be direct messaging people 8-10 hours per day. That may be a bit extreme. But can you imagine the new fans you’d have if you did what Gary Vee suggests? And is it that extreme to spend hours per day promoting YOUR music so that you gain more success?

Social Media is just one small part of your overall marketing and promotion plan, and it only works as much as you work it.

1-on-1 Connection is KEY.

You need to use these tools to create a personal connection, offer incentives, and directly message and communicate on a 1 to 1 level with current and potential new fans. You need to follow up with each person, remind them to buy tickets, and fight to get them to choose to spend their time and money on your show.

You need to leverage social media and the existing network of friend and people you already know – so they vouch for your music and personally invite and bring their friends to your shows. The people who already know and like you are your street team. They have the power to buy tickets to your show and bring 4 of their friends.

I think too often artists rely on social media and Spotify as a crutch. Make a post, geand display your ticket link and they will magically buy tickets by the hundreds. It’s the “if we build it, they will come.”

But the reality is, it takes more work and more action than just throwing our into the world “I’m playing a gig next month.”

This Podcast Episode Tackles this Common Mistake:

Using Social Media the Right Way

Share in the Comments! Have you been relying on Social Media too much? Have you fallen into this trap of blasting out on Social Media instead of creating 1-to-1 connections with fans?

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Ryan Kintz
Co-Founder of Afton at Afton Shows
Since starting the company in 2004, Ryan has held to our founding principle, that every talented unsigned artist deserves a chance to get onstage. When he’s not working, Ryan likes to play guitar, golf, disc golf,
snowboard, travel and spend time with family and friends. He’s been an avid animal lover, and Vegan, since 2013. Ryan is a Booking Manager, runs day to day operations, creates new artist services, and constantly optimizes how our booking and ticketing platforms can help our artists succeed. He also is the head of our national tours division for signed, nationally touring acts.