It’s no secret that the past few months haven’t been easy on musicians. With live gigs being cancelled, I know I certainly found myself feeling a little lost on how to continue to network and create music. Because of this, I found myself turning to social media as a way of connecting with others in the industry, and although there are so many ways that musicians can use their social media to help promote themselves, I’d like to focus on one feature that I’ve found super useful over this difficult time, and that is live streams.
I won’t lie, I haven’t always been the biggest fan of social media – so I can very much relate to those of you who don’t see much point in working on your socials. It can often feel like a tedious job, and maintaining the quality and consistency of your posts can feel like a lot, especially when the real thing you want to be doing is making music. But over lockdown, I forced myself to do a bit more research into how I can make social media work for me, and I can honestly say that since doing so I’ve seen so many benefits.
As someone who has spent most of their musical career gigging, I decided to explore ways that I can bring this live performance aspect into my social media content.
With gigs being somewhat limited at the moment, live streams are a good alternative way to connect with your fanbase. The thing I’ve loved about live streams is that you don’t need very much equipment at all in order to do them. Of course, there are loads of ways to make them look/sound better, but if you don’t have access to these things, you only really need a device with a camera. Each social media platform has slightly different features when it comes to their lives streams. I’m going to focus on Instagram and Facebook, and go through a few ways you can use their live stream feature to increase your fanbase.
I’ve found that Instagram Live can be a great way to share your music with your followers. Instagram notifies your followers when you’re going live, and it’ll also show that you are ‘live’ in the Stories bar on the main screen, so the streams often get a great response.
The main thing that I’ve found useful with Instagram Live though, is the use of the split-screen feature that enables you to share the stream with another account. This feature is great because it allows you to reach a whole new audience through the other person’s account. And people have found great ways to utilise this feature, including hosting virtual gigs and open mics.
Unfortunately, Facebook Live doesn’t have the same sort of split-screen option that Instagram does, but it’s are still a pretty effective way of promoting your music. With the absence of festival season this year, various Facebook pages are hosting virtual festivals, which are great because it means that the audiences of various artists all coming to one feed.
The other thing that I have found works well are page takeovers. So this is when you stream live directly from another person’s page (by them making you an admin on their Facebook page). There are loads of pages that are doing this sort of thing, so it’s worth keeping an eye out or even reaching out to some local companies to see if they would be interested in doing so. You can offer them free content, and in exchange, you get access to their fanbase and followers.
The important thing with Facebook Live is to ensure that you attach a description to your stream to make your audience aware of what the stream is about. The other thing I’d suggest is to make use of the tagging feature. I’ve found that generally, the more people you tag, the larger the audience you have in your stream, as it will pop up on the feeds of the people you’ve tagged as well as your own.
The other little perk with live streaming is that you can save the video once you’ve finished streaming, and if you’re happy with what you’ve done, you can then use different snippets of the video to create more posts and content for your accounts.
I know I’ve very much skimmed the surface of the things that musicians can do to help promote themselves on social media, and even in the topic I have covered, there are probably a lot of other ways to use live streams effectively. I’d highly recommend spending the time doing some research and listening to some experts on techniques they’d recommend. I’ll leave a list below of some of the ones I have found useful. Many thanks for reading this post! I hope you have found it helpful.
Channels/accounts that I’ve found useful.
- @burstimo – Music marketing and social media tips
- @adamivy – Music marketing and social media tips
- @attnde_music – Free music promotion page (also runs virtual open mics)
- @chloeleighmusic – My page so you can see examples of what I’ve been doing
- @philcoopermusic – Music page where you can check out ideas for takeover events.