The 2021 Instagram Growth Strategy for Artists

Instagram is an ever-developing beast and its changing algorithms make it challenging to stay on top and build solid growth on the platform.

If you hadn’t heard, the platform has recently made some changes, so likelihood is, there’s some things you could be doing to improve your strategy and grow your Instagram this year.

Is this the type of Instagram growth you’d like to see?

Imagine the scene, every post you put up gets a ton of comments and likes, your DMs are overflowing and your stories are being watched. Maybe you drop a link when you release a new song and immediately, fans will be redirected where YOU want them to go. It could be to YouTube for your video, or Spotify or Apple Music for your streaming.

This is exactly what the correct Instagram growth strategy can do for you. It’s easy to promote when you have that audience there. 

This article will walk you through the changes to ensure that you, as an artist, can get on top of the algorithm and experience Instagram growth through proper engagement with your fan base.

Your Instagram feed is different now

I’m sure you have noticed that your Instagram feed is no longer in chronological order based on the time people upload.  

Instead, it shows posts based on how often you engage with that person and how likely you are to engage with that post.

Another change is that you get suggested content and people to follow when you get to the bottom of your feed. It differs slightly whether you are viewing on a computer or mobile device.

Instagram’s algorithm is pushing out accounts, and they are getting engagement, which can mean huge potential Instagram growth for artists.

Our revised 2021 Instagram growth advice

Now, a piece of advice you may have heard us repeating a lot through our posts and videos is to post frequently on Instagram stories, at least three times a day.

With this new algorithm, our advice has changed. Instead of consistently posting, you need to post with the reason of engagement.

This means posting on every part of Instagram: your feed, IGTV, Reels, and stories. But remember, the focus should be on quality, not quantity.

Instagram’s algorithm is now based on the comments, how often you are getting shared, and your story’s replies.

Suppose you continually make posts that give little reason to engage. In that case, less engagement will mean that Instagram will not push your account to as many people. In other words, it’s deemed fairly ‘pointless’ to the algorithm.

So, if you have to choose between quality and quantity, pick quality. In an ideal situation, you want to do both because Instagram judges based on your complete profile, not just one post.

If you get posts that don’t perform as well as the others, don’t delete them thinking Instagram will stop pushing your account out.  

The algorithm is not just based on one post! If you put out post after post that doesn’t get engagement, then your whole profile score will drop, and that’s when they will stop pushing you out to a wider audience. You have to experiment with your content anyway and in all honesty, you’re not going to hit a home-run with every single thing you post.

We know that a lot of artists have experienced a drop in engagement when using Instagram. This is likely to be the reason why.

Essentially, your posts need to more engaging. We’ll explain how you can do this further down in the article, but for now, take an honest step back from your own content and ask yourself if you would engage with that piece of content if you found it on your feed.

Instagram growth using Insights

An excellent way to secure more engagement on Instagram so that more posts are pushed out to a wider audience is to utilise Instagram Insights.

While Instagram states that it doesn’t matter what happens in the first 30 minutes when you post, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get social proof for your post.

Let’s look at it this way: if you post when your audience is most active, you are going to get a few comments off the bat, which sets the ball rolling. People are more inclined to comment when there are other comments there.

With Instagram Insights, you can see what time of the day your audience is most active. It might be that you find your audience is in a different timezone to you; for example, you are from the UK, but your main audience is the US.

You can use scheduling to ensure that the post goes out at precisely the right time, even if you are asleep!

For our own Instagram account, we use an app called Later to schedule posts and stories easily.

Using videos for Instagram growth

Experimenting with videos is a great idea. Instagram has actually said that pictures and videos do get treated the same and pushed out on the feed equally.

However, you are 4 times more likely to have a video put on the Explore page than an image. The Explore page is key for discovery, especially for musicians.

Videos mean that people can get to hear your music, hear your voice, capture your essence, and essentially, get to know you better.

We really encourage you to explore more videos, as too many artists’ Instagram accounts are feeds full of static images.

Keep your Instagram growth real

Although this is not a new change, Instagram has commented on it, making it a huge deal!

Fake interaction is a big no-no!

If you have ever (or are still using) ‘follow/unfollow’ strategies, have been part of an engagement pod, or have paid for likes or comments – it has to stop!

Instagram has stated this will not help your reach; in fact, it is likely to do more harm to your account than good.

We’ve had many artists come to us saying “look, we have this amount of followers. Why aren’t we getting more engagement?” When we dig a little deeper, this is usually the reason – Instagram has ‘shadowed banned’ them for receiving fake interactions.

So, PLEASE avoid fake engagement for the sake of your success and growth on Instagram. 

How to create REAL engagement on your Instagram account

It is essential to focus on engagement. Here are our best tips that will help you incorporate better engagement into your Instagram posts:

Captions

Create captions that encourage people to comment. This could be a question, using humour, or involving the viewer in some way. People LOVE to give their own opinion.

Think about how someone can comment on this, especially if it’s an image of you playing live or a general artist picture. How can you include the viewer?

Stories

Stories are the best possible place to get engagement on Instagram, as they are viewed more often than the actual feed.

Suppose you are at the top of your viewer’s list. In that case, this can only be achieved by having a continual relationship with them as they view and comment on your stories.

Try to become known for quality stories that ask for an opinion, perhaps on a new riff or some lyrics. By doing this, people are going to interact more with your stories. 

Contrast this with a random picture of a guitar – which would you rather interact with? Maybe you can appreciate the picture, but it doesn’t persuade you to interact necessarily.

Pushing for engagement on stories is reasonably easy because if you’ve given a good narrative through your story, then people will automatically feel inclined to comment. 

Don’t Forget About Instagram’s Extra Bits

Instagram has many other features to encourage interactions, like polls, questions, stickers, and gifs for that element of humour. Alternatively, you can utilise the array of stickers that Instagram has on stories.

Instagram growth and YOU

When you think about it, Instagram is literally made for artists. If you have become concerned about your Instagram growth and reach, this article has hopefully given you the reason why.

Take a look at your Instagram marketing strategies and Insights and determine whether it is time to change up your Instagram game.

As every artist and their audience is different, we can’t tell you exactly what to post. But we can tell you to experiment with your content until you find something that works for you.

If you found this blog helpful, you can read more music marketing articles here, follow our tips on Instagram or check out our advice videos on our YouTube channel.

4 Ways To Get More Spotify Streams

In an age where streaming platforms dominate the way we listen to music, one of the things we get asked the most as a music marketing agency is ‘how do I get more Spotify streams?‘. If you’re making good music, why aren’t more people finding you on Spotify and streaming your tracks?

Imagine what it would feel like if you woke up the day after your music release and you’d already hit a few thousand streams, and even as you watch, the streams are steadily rolling in.

This article will show you the 4 best ways you can get more Spotify streams and make this a reality. These 4 tips will ensure that people are directed to your Spotify, listening to your song, and becoming a valuable fan, not just a listener!

#1 Use Spotify’s Submission Form

The best place to start with building your streams is by doing the basics: submit to Spotify using Spotify for artists.

Filling in the form on this page will ensure that your music is heard by Spotify’s editors. These are the people who create the platform’s biggest playlists which can generate millions of streams. If you get your track onto a Spotify curated playlist, you can get huge streaming numbers, secure fans, and potentially grab a position on the viral charts.

This process requires your distributor to submit your song ideally 3 to 4 weeks before the track release date, so you can pitch to the editors of different playlists.

Playlists like New Music Friday are curated one week beforehand, so at a push, a week beforehand is the latest you would want to submit. Saying this, the longer you give the editors to listen and potentially put you on a playlist, the better. 

In the last question of the submission form, you get the opportunity to sell your track. You need to explain to Spotify why you’re worth listening to, how you will bring people onto their platform, and what your plans are for promotion.

You might find this video useful in assisting you with this step: How to pitch to Spotify editors

In this video, we submit to Spotify editors via Spotify for Artists. The example we used in the video actually went on to get that artist placed on New Music Friday UK.

To summarise:

1. Get a distributor to get your track on Spotify for artists

2. Go niche when selecting genres – this will give you a better chance of specific playlist placement

3. Fill in the Spotify for Artists form as comprehensively as possible and don’t be afraid to big yourself up! (Just don’t lie or brag about stuff)

#2 Contact User-Curated Playlists

Getting your music placed on playlists is the one of the best ways of securing quality exposure, growing an audience and of course, getting more streams. But Spotify’s editorial playlists aren’t the only ones you should focus on.

Whilst using the Spotify For Artists form is undoubtedly a great place to start, you can also try using external services such as Playlist Hunter to get yourself onto user-curated playlists, specific to your genre. Just because these playlists aren’t made by Spotify themselves, it doesn’t mean they can’t help boost your streams. In fact, landing yourself on a number of these will help kickstart the algorithm, thus getting you noticed more and giving you a bigger chance of being put on an editorial playlist.

Playlist Hunter is a tool that crawls through Spotify playlists and finds contact emails for the curators of those playlists. With this information, you can then pitch your music directly to the curator and convince them that your track is worth adding to the playlist.

The best way to do this is to send a polite email to the curator letting them know that you admire their playlist and asking them if they would consider adding your track to it. Try not to be too pushy in your sell, but instead, show that you have done your research and even listened to the playlist by mentioning one of the artists on there that you like, or compare your own music to.

#3 Get More Streams with Social Media Ads

The next key to more streams is actually using other platforms to direct followers from your social media sites to Spotify with ads. This allows you to reach new audiences and consequently achieve more streams.

You can direct people from Instagram or Facebook to Spotify to stream your music for as little as $5 a day – and you can monitor what works and what doesn’t.

When it comes to crafting your ad, don’t just include a basic screenshot of your profile or artwork – it just isn’t imaginative enough. You need to grab people’s attention and make them want to swipe up, or watch a little more.

It could be a short promo video showing your credibility by stating ‘featured in…’ or ‘as heard on…’ using a banner, along with the associated logos to draw people in. This will give viewers confidence that your ad is worth clicking.

Alternatively, it could be a teaser – for example: ‘can a song have the word (x) in 20 times and still be awesome?’ or ‘We’ve been compared to Billie Eilish. Do you think we sound like her?’ (With this option, you can run ads to her fans too!).

The idea is simple: you want to encourage people to stream the song without actually asking them explicitly to do so. This way, it appears to be their decision, rather than a pushy advert.

You can do this by invoking their curiosity and using your imagination. Note that videos are more visually appealing, get higher engagement rates and offer more scope for creative advertising. 

The key thing to consider here is the cost per click. Look at what it costs for people to click through to your Spotify link, whether that is a swipe up or a direct link on the feed.

Experiment with the content and your audience, especially if the clicks are really expensive.

If you’d like a more in-depth tutorial on this, check out how to run social media ads, as we know they can be tricky, and this will make the learning curve a little easier.

#4 Get Your Release Strategy Right

You might not have thought about this much, particularly when it comes to streaming, but something as simple as getting your release strategy right can significantly help you increase your streams. In an industry where there is so much competition, you need to ensure that you release correctly to have the most impact.

In this case, the best way to get more streams is to release your tracks as singles, not a full album. This makes it easy to implement tip one (submitting tracks via Spotify for artists) and makes the most of each track you produce.

If you release in album format, you have to select only one song for the editors to consider, which means the rest of the tracks on that album will be wasted content and you cannot submit them later as individual tracks.

Plus, If you are advertising with social media ads, people are more likely to give up a few minutes for one song rather than a full album, especially if you are new to them.

Boost Your Streaming Numbers

With these 4 tips in your music marketing arsenal, getting more streams on your releases really isn’t so hard. Obviously, the best approach is to employ a combination of all four of these techniques for best effect.

If you found this blog helpful, you can read more music marketing articles here, follow our tips on Instagram or check out our advice videos on our YouTube channel

7 Ways To Attract More Fans With Instagram Reels

Is Instagram Reels a carbon copy of TikTok, or is there more to it than on first impression? What can you actually do with it as an artist trying to market their music?

If you aren’t familiar with this particular Instagram feature, Reels videos are great for growing a fan base, as well as engaging with your existing audience. In this blog post, we’re revealing 7 tips on how to best use Instagram Reels to your advantage as a musician. Tip 7 is extra special and we haven’t seen it being used anywhere else.

But first things first, for those of you who are unfamiliar with how to use Reels, let us take you through the basics.

How Do You Use Instagram Reels?

You might have seen Reels on your Instagram feed, but maybe not played with it, so here’s a quick rundown of the basics.

Swipe right or click your profile icon to enter the Instagram stories page (and be sure to keep an eye on story feature updates as they are often exciting too). Swipe to the right again, and you’ll see Reels as an option at the bottom.

You can see it has a few options:

  • Audio
  • Speed
  • Effects
  • Timer

Instagram Reels Audio 

In audio, you can search Instagram’s music catalogue to pick a song you want to use. You can even use your own song if your distributor has put it on there. 

Instagram Reels Speed

You can adjust the speed of your video here, depending on the purpose of your video, e.g. if you want to dance or lip-sync to it.

Instagram Reels Effects

Here we have effects, which is similar to Instagram story effects. If you scroll all the way to the right, you can browse through them and choose one to enhance your video.

Instagram Reels Timer

This is pretty self-explanatory – set the length of your clip.

Ready, Set, Reel…

When you have chosen your audio and effects, you are ready to hit record and upload to your feed, or share on your story.

If you are already a TikTok user and have created content there, then using Instagram Reels will likely be a piece of cake for you!

How To Use Instagram Reels To Get More Fans

Since Reels is part of Instagram, you probably already have an audience there to build on. There are definitely a few differences and ways to make good use of each platform, but here are 7 tips to help you effectively use Instagram Reels as an artist promoting your music.

Tip #1: Share to Feed

Make sure you share it on your feed! There is a little slide button that some people seem to miss.

This needs to be on, as you want it to show up on your personal feed. When Reels are on your feed, your audience is going to see it without having to go onto the Reels category, so you’re more likely to get discovered and be on the Explore page.

By selecting this option, you stand to gain more fans as Instagram’s algorithm will push your Reel out to more people and potentially create more views and engagement.

Tip #2: Don’t Beat Around The Bush

You need to get to the point quickly! You have a maximum of 30 seconds, so you need to hook someone in and engage them within the first few seconds, either with some text, something funny or explaining what you are going to do. Essentially, something to make people stick around. (Originally, Reels was limited to 15 seconds, but Instagram quickly made changes to this in an update).

There is no point talking to the camera for too long and wasting any time, because if people swipe away from your Reel, then Instagram will deem that your content isn’t engaging enough to be pushed out. Much like TikTok, watch time is the most critical measure for the Instagram algorithm, not views or likes.

Tip #3: Push Engagement

Although watch time is essential to Instagram, engagement is vital to you. You should try to engage people and get them to comment and like as well.

This can be done really simply. If you are doing a remix, you can ask your audience what cover you should do next in the text caption or pose another question, like this:

It creates a close sense of community which is really important for musicians and shows that you are interested in your fans too, not just how many likes or followers you gain from them.

Tip #4: Hashtags

They might not be as useful for discovery anymore, but hashtags are still effective on Reels as there aren’t many people on it. Yet. So get on it whilst the competition is low and make the most of it!

If you use TikTok too, you’ll know that their hashtags can get you discovered, so do some research on hashtags that crossover with popular ones and which ones fit with your style, or theme.

Tip #5: Nail Your Cover Image

An enticing cover image is key for drawing people in.

This is exactly the same as if you were going to upload a video onto your Instagram, or YouTube for that matter. You want the cover image to be intriguing so that the casual scroller will stop when they see it and take interest. The more people that stop to click and view, the better it is for you.

Tip #6: Keep it Consistent

This tip is valid for all your social media platforms, but especially Reels as it’s fairly new. Essentially, make sure you have a consistent theme running through your content.

If someone discovers you through Reels, visits your profile and your theme is inconsistent, they’re unlikely to stick around. When there isn’t an obvious correlation between the content, potential fans have no reason to hit the follow button as you aren’t providing a clear image of what you’re actually about.

Getting one viral video on Reels is great, but it won’t get you far if the rest of your content is completely different. Our advice is to post as much as you can, as long as you maintain quality. If that is only once a week, so be it, but if it’s once a day, even better.

Tip #7: Captions

This is the final and most important tip! Add captions or subtitles to your Reels video. Why?Because in this respect, Instagram is very different to TikTok. TikTok was created with audio in mind, and people automatically put the sound on to listen.

Instagram users don’t necessarily use the app with the sound on. Yes, perhaps if there are looking at stories, but not while they are looking through the feed.

When creating your video, you have to keep in mind that there will be people watching your reel without sound. To counteract this, you’ll either have to get people to turn the sound on (using a sticker or text) or creatively deliver your message with subtitles so people know what’s going on.

Now Is The Time To Use Reels

You are more likely to get a fan base through Reels right now because there isn’t much competition.

So jump straight on it, and if you have any questions about Reels or Instagram as a whole, make sure you drop a comment.

If you found this blog helpful, you can read more music marketing articles here, follow our tips on Instagram or check out our advice videos on our YouTube channel.

How to Turn Your TikTok Music Videos Viral in 24 Hours or Less

You can get your music heard by MILLIONS using TikTok.

People are just coming to terms with the fact that TikTok is not just a platform where stupid dances go viral. Instead, they are beginning to realise that it is a prime place for music marketing and getting your name out there.

With over 800 million monthly active users, the power of TikTok to create viral music video hits in under 24 hours has been proven over and over again.

Think:

  • ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X
  • ‘The Box’ by Roddy Ricch
  • ‘Blinding Lights’ by the Weekend

The list of viral music video hits is enormous as you can see here on the Best TikTok Music Videos of 2020.

This privilege is not just for big name artists but for up-and-coming musicians too. TikTok can take an unheard artist to number one. Seriously. Think of Nathan Evans, the sea shanty revivalist who exploded on the platform recently.

By the end of this blog, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge and know-how to get your TikTok videos the best results and potentially go viral.

Essential Steps for Your TikTok Videos to Succeed

This might sound obvious, but make sure that your music is actually on TikTok! More and more distributors are offering TikTok distribution as a service, including DistroKid and Ditto. Firstly, check that your distributor offers this service with a quick phone call or email to make sure they can get your track on TikTok.

For this to work, you need people to use your audio, and it must have your track title and artist name written all over it. Only then will people search for you on Spotify to stream the whole track or look for you on social media from these details.

Now for the interesting TikTok Music video stuff:

  • How do you get onto the ‘for you’ page? 
  • How do you make sure people use your track? 
  • How do you hit trending? 
  • How do you make sure that your track goes viral? 

If you are happy to be on TikTok yourself, then the first strategy is likely to be the best option. However, be sure to read through both methods to see which best fits with your style and is most authentic for you as an artist.

Here are the two strategies that can help you achieve all of the above:

TikTok Viral Strategy #1

We used this strategy recently for an artist and her track ended up getting used by over 140,000 people on the platform. She was unheard of before this, with practically no audience. She now has over 120,000 followers on Tiktok. Not only that, but the track in question got over 1 million streams on Spotify, and over a million views on YouTube. 

If you have not used TikTok before, be sure to download the app and take a bit of time to look around and get a feel for the platform as it’s quite different from other social media sites. In my opinion, it’s a bit like Vine, with a similar humour and editing feature.

TikTok is for short-form content and exploring it first will help you decide what kind of content you want to create. This content needs to fit you as an artist and your target audience. 

The artist who we worked with (Linneah), had an audience and track that fitted the LGBT community. As a result, she created content that appealed to that audience.

You need to populate your profile on TikTok with content that maintains an ongoing theme and fits your target audience. 

You need to do this for at least a couple of weeks before your target audience begins to take notice and potentially decide to follow you. If you use high-quality content and the correct hashtags, gathering a small audience is practically inevitable. 

Even with a small audience, you can begin to plug your music a little more by starting a trend or telling the narrative behind the track. A trend could be a new dance, or something a bit more creative like the ‘Gravity’ trend, which stemmed from the popular John Mayer song.

Alternatively, you could tell the narrative behind the song, or the lyrics. This is the route we went with Linneah. She told the story behind her track several times, and it started to gain some traction.

Not only this, but it got on to the ‘for you’ page and gained huge reach. People started to use her track, and when that happened, she began to send her video out to other influencers in the TikTok LGBT community. She did not spend any money on this campaign. 

Her track reached her small gathered audience and then began to grow beyond it too. Other people started to say what the song meant to them, but eventually, people ended up using her music for all sorts of content!

It doesn’t matter what trend people use with it, as long as your track is getting attention and spreading like wildfire. Essentially, that is how Linneah achieved the numbers mentioned at the beginning of this TikTok music video strategy.

So How Can You Do This?

We also spoke to another TikTok artist called Austin Giorgio. We made a video about his formula for going viral on TikTok

He did a similar thing to Linneah, telling the narrative behind his song. In his case, it didn’t become a trend, but people still heard his music and it still got used by a lot of people. It did have a positive impact on the number of streams, the reach of his song and his audience on TikTok.

You can do the same. However, make sure you are consistent with the theme you pick, because if you don’t, the TikTok algorithm is not going be able to work out what your theme actually is. 

To summarise, for this particular strategy, you need to:

  1. Create a TikTok account
  2. Pick a theme and stay consistent with it
  3. Find the relevant hashtags
  4. Populate it with content
  5. Promote your music in a creative way
  6. Send that content to Influencers with a high follower count (even if you have to DM them through Instagram)

TikTok Viral Strategy #2

If creating content is not your thing, you might lean towards this alternative strategy.

We recognise that many artists feel, that because they are a musician, not a marketer, strategy #2 might be more up their street. However, you will need to invest a little money and a lot of time to make this strategy work.

First, you need to sit down and listen to your tracks. Break them down into 15 second to 1 minute segments and think about:

  • How could this be used creatively on TikTok?
  • How can this become a trend?
  • How can it influence?
  • How could this become a narrative?
  • Do the lyrics tell you what to do?
  • Do the lyrics make sense out of context?
  • Can you have fun with it?
  • Can you make a dance trend?

Once you have got a few ideas in your head, spend some time on TikTok finding influencers that would fit with your ideas and start messaging them.

You will find out very quickly whether they like the idea and want to take credit for it, or want payment. Usually, if it’s a really original, creative idea, the TikTokker will want to take credit for it because their ultimate goal is to start a trend, as it gets them a ton more followers, plus the views.

You might feel uncomfortable about somebody taking the credit for your creative hard-work, but that shouldn’t be an issue as your goal is for your music to go viral. At this stage, the exposure is more valuable than the credit.

So, if you really think about something creative and give a great pitch, you’ll be in good stead for your music being used. However, if they do want to take payment and their audience is precisely who you require, and their account has good views and comment numbers, then paying a little is often a worthwhile venture. But don’t just pay one and expect to blow up; you’re going to have to pay a handful of TikTokkers if you want your music to go viral.

Drake, Lil Nas X and The Weeknd have all used this strategy, as they don’t have accounts on TikTok.

One Last Tip

This tip can be used with both strategies that we’ve mentioned here. For instance, if you get one big influencer to start the trend, you’re going to organically get some others that are going to carry on the trend for free.

But you can also look through the followers of that big influencer and message them saying “I noticed that this big influencer started this trend, why don’t you have a go?” – Encourage them to jump on the bandwagon too. If there’s followers and views to gain, it’s likely that they’ll consider it.

If you found this blog helpful, you can read more music marketing articles here, follow our tips on Instagram or check out our advice videos on our YouTube channel

How to Get Real Music Fans: From Follower to Forever Fan

Building a truly dedicated fan base is actually not about the numbers.

Getting on a popular playlist, going viral on TikTok, or getting featured in mainstream media is not, and should not, be the end goal. Of course, these will all help you in gaining exposure, but they’re not necessarily going to get you real life-long fans.

Landing that big playlist will definitely result in more people listening to your music, but it doesn’t mean that there’s thousands of fans banging down the door to buy merchandise or tickets to your show.

Understanding the difference between a follower and a real fan is important as it affects the way you approach your music marketing strategy. Followers may have seen one piece of your content they liked and clicked ‘follow’, whereas real fans are the ones who consistently comment, like and engage with your content and come back for more. This is where the real value is.

So, in this article, we want to show you exactly how you can convert those followers from different platforms, into priceless forever fans who love your music.

Everything You Do Should Aim to Gain Fans

If you gain real fans that rave about you, you won’t need to depend on social media or streams as these fans will always be there (your forever fans). They’ll do a lot of the hard work for you by gaining you exposure through word of mouth and sharing your content across platforms.

Music marketing is not just about boosting numbers or getting a track to go viral – these sort of figures only benefit platforms in the long run. Consequently, it’s more worthwhile to focus on how you can build a following of engaged, dedicated fans.

You can find plenty of other articles and videos from us about how to get your music discovered. The three main ways we recommend are below, with some related videos:

Get on national radio: How to Get Played on National Radio

Get on Spotify playlists: Get Your Music on Official Spotify Playlists and How to Hack Spotify’s Algorithm

Go viral on social media with TikTok and YouTube: Get Your First 1 Million Streams Using TikTok and Get Your Music Viral With This Hack

This article is going to take you beyond the music discovery techniques described in the above videos and what to do next on each of those platforms and how to get real fans, not just followers.

How to Get Real Fans: Radio Play

National radio play is an incredible opportunity for any artist as it offers a potentially huge reach of new listeners.

However, just because someone’s listened to your track on the radio, it doesn’t mean they are instantly going to become a fan – if only it were that easy…

The key thing to remember with radio play is that you want listeners who enjoy your track to actively go off afterwards to find out more about you and explore your other material. Hopefully, they will then want to stream your songs, follow you on social media and perhaps even buy tickets to your gigs. This is when people become ‘forever fans’.

Radio exposure is an amazing opportunity for artists

How to create fans from airplay

Unfortunately, you aren’t going to be able to target all your listeners on a particular day on a specific radio station. However, you can tailor your social media ads to target similar people who might listen to that show or station.

For example, in the UK, Jack Saunders has a show on Radio 1 mainly playing indie rock tunes. If you were played on his show, you could create an ad targeting listeners of BBC Radio 1 and indie rock as your audience. There’s a strong chance that if they listen to both of these, they probably listen to Jack Saunders’ show.

In this instance, you could run an ad with a banner stating ‘as heard on Jack Saunders’ alongside an image of him and the Radio 1 logo. This would provide you with a decent bit of credibility, persuading those who see the ad that you are worth clicking through on. Another thing you could do is to include a clip of your reaction to being played on the radio – personality and authenticity can go a long way here.

Using an ad like this will give them the chance to hear your track again and interact with you on Facebook, Instagram, or wherever you choose to run the ad.

Alternatively, try targeting people who like artists that were played on the same show as you. This time, make sure your ad includes a comparison to one of these bands – it could read ‘for fans of…’ or ‘if you like (artist x), you’ll love this…’. Also, you’ll want to direct them to a streaming platform or YouTube where they can hear the track or your other socials where they can find out more about you.

Send Listeners to Quality Content

If you do direct people to social media, make sure everything is up to date and that your page is packed with good quality content and not a ghost town. Otherwise you’ll only be throwing your ad spend down the drain. Provide them with something that is worth seeing and adds value for them.

Specifically, make sure your bio is good, include some interesting highlights and have stories running every day. 

How to Get Real Fans: Streaming Platforms

Many of you reading this have probably been on playlists already, whether that be an editorial or a branded playlist. By a branded playlist, we mean a playlist that isn’t owned by an individual, but by a brand, such as a blog or a YouTube channel.

The majority of music consumption comes from streaming platforms nowadays, which is good news for artists because it means you can get people to listen to your music much more easily than in the past. Your chance of being discovered is also much higher.

But you have to remember, listeners are not necessarily fans. Of course, you want people to listen to your music and build your streaming presence, but you need them to go somewhere else to actually engage with you and become a proper fan.

Streaming platforms are fantastic exposure tools, but they don’t allow for real fan engagement

From Streamers to Dream Fans

The goal here is to direct streamers to your social media channels as this is your opportunity to really engage with them, let them get to know you and turn them into a forever fan.

First, make sure that you link to all your socials from your Spotify profile, as this allows those curious listeners to easily be directed elsewhere to find out more about you.

Again, this does mean that your socials have to be up to date with regular content added to them. That content cannot only be music, as they have just listened to your music on Spotify, so you need to offer something different – something on value.

Make it personal, or show them behind the scenes footage so they can see what you are all about. Remember, your content is your brand.

How Can I Direct People Across Platforms?

To get people from your Spotify to your socials, you could run ads targeted to people who listen to artists who are on the same playlists as you.

One way to do this is to go with the ‘as seen on’ approach, or create a screen recording of you going through the playlist and clicking on your song.

From there, you can target people that are fans of other artists in that playlist. For example, if you are added to a pop playlist featuring Dualists Lipa, aim your ads at fans of her music. By targeting another more well-known artist, people are more likely to view your ad, and the playlist itself acts as credibility.

How to Get Real Fans: Boost Engagement Through Social Media

As we have seen, streaming platforms get you listeners, they don’t necessarily get you fans. As a result, You should be concentrating on ways to create more engagement. Your followers might come from Spotify, and they may follow you on social media, but they are not true fans yet – you need to pull them in.

The most effortless way to engage with people is through DMs, or go even more personal by using voice notes on Instagram. It’s straightforward to do and probably faster than typing out a message!

So, with every new follower you get, message them or send a voice note. It can be as simple as ‘thanks for the follow! Love your picture of…‘. There’s no need to overthink it, but show them that you’ve taken a moment to view their profile and find out something about them. Don’t just copy and paste the same thing to everyone though as it will be pretty obvious.

Showing your followers that you care about them is a key step in turning them into real fans. They will be touched you left them a personal note and so they are more likely to become engaged and return for your content.

Don’t Be Aloof – Be Active with Your Fans

Another way to successfully engage with fans is to reply to as many post comments as you can. Show that you’re reading them and taking interest in what your followers have to say, rather than just reaping in the comment stats.

We would strongly recommend using stories too as it’s a great place to be for artists at the moment. You can choose to be more professional in your main feed, but with stories, there’s a little more license to be playful and raw with the content. Plus, don’t forget to make use of Instagram’s other features like polls and Q&As which are great for driving engagement.

Getting listeners and followers is only the first step – the second is building a relationship with them so you can gain real fans.

Will Going Viral Help Me Get Fans?

People might discover your music via YouTube, or if you’ve gone viral on TikTok, or even from a successful social media ad. However, going viral unfortunately does not guarantee getting fans. Going viral simply means that one video you made blew up, but no one is necessarily coming back for more.

The usual reason for this happening is due to not having a consistent theme in your content. For example, if we did a food challenge on our Burstimo YouTube channel and it went viral and got 2 million views, the audience is irrelevant to us as they are not necessarily music fans.

It’s the same for artists – if you make a piece of content or something with your music which goes viral and it has nothing to do with your brand, or you as an artist, it probably won’t gain you the fans you are looking for.

It’s just numbers. You could look at it like getting put on a playlist that is not your genre. The answer here is consistency. You need to employ a consistent theme that means people will stick around for more.

Artists are Nothing Without Fans

Music discovery is difficult. It’s hard to get your music out there. But the most challenging part is keeping people’s attention and turning them into fans. So make sure you’re doing all of these things to capture your audience, keep them engaged and convert them into lifelong fans.

If you found this blog helpful, you can read more music marketing articles here, follow our tips on Instagram or check out our advice videos on our Burstimo YouTube channel.

Case Study: Is This The Ultimate Music Marketing Plan?

Today, we look at one the best music marketing strategies we have EVER seen.

Like her or not, this female artist has got her music marketing plan nailed down, and in this article, we are going to dissect what gives her strategy the edge.

JoJo Siwa

In less than five years, JoJo Siwa has been able to secure over 3 billion YouTube views, 26 million TikTok followers and more than 9 million Instagram followers

On top of this, she has a merchandise company selling not only her trademark bows, but sheets, underwear and scooters too – you name it, she sells it – and with a pretty impressive net worth at that.

But why is this relevant to you? From the perspective of a music marketing company, we team up with artists every day to help them increase their brand and sell themselves. From our experience, it is clear that JoJo Siwa and her team know exactly what they are doing.

Your Brand is Vital

A strong brand is essential for any content creator, influencer or musician to reach an audience and JoJo Siwa has one of the most impressive brands we have ever seen.

She has used her brand to:

  • Sell merchandise in stores such as Walmart, Target and Claire’s
  • Gain millions of followers on social media
  • Increase streams on her music
  • Drive ticket sales on tour 

This was not down to luck, but a fantastic music marketing plan. We’re going to break down every element of this plan to identify how she has built up her brand, how this is communicated to her audience and how she makes sales.

A lot of people seem to believe that JoJo’s brand is just her personality. She is only 17. Do you really think a 17-year-old wants their face plastered all over BMW, and even a Tesla?

However, she has stuck to her brand for the last 5 years and this is what has helped build her business empire.

Her target audience is young people so what she decided to do with her branding was keep it youthful and fresh. Although she’s 17, she dresses and looks like she is much younger than this. She speaks with an air of innocence, never swears and presents an all-around image of youthfulness.

But in return, keeping this brand has seemingly given her the dream life as a kid and this where her marketing skills really come into play. 

A good brand adapts to change. She didn’t just keep this brand the same throughout her whole career – when her contract with Nickelodeon ended, she began to tweak her style slightly. By this point, she had already conquered the younger demographics, building a huge following of 5 to 11-year-olds who absolutely adored her.

However, she wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, particularly for teenagers. This was true until she went on TikTok, where the audience is mainly Generation-Z (ages 11 and up). The content she puts out on TikTok is much more relatable to this older audience, and she changed her brand slightly in order to suit their content habits, which has paid off incredibly well.

Now she has an audience of both younger children and teenagers that relate to her because she found a way of appealing to both groups. As a result, her growth as an artist has been exponential. 

As music marketers, we have to admit that this was a stroke of genius. JoJo recognised that she had already dominated one audience, but was hungry to create another. She was able to tweak her brand slightly and at the same time, remain loyal to her existing audience. 

The Essential Part of Any Music Marketing Plan

Content is how you build your brand. Content is something that we continually push our artists and musicians to create, as you will see in these articles and on our YouTube Channel. Content is everything in the modern world of music promotion.

JoJo is a perfect example of this in action. She uses her content to engage with her audience, strengthen her brand, but also to sell without being too overt. 

Let’s delve a little bit deeper into the content that she creates: We will look specifically at YouTube and TikTok as these are her most popular platforms, but also ones that are great for strengthening a brand for any musician.

JoJo’s YouTube Marketing Plan Dissected

Her YouTube channel is phenomenal. Bearing in mind that there is no commenting allowed on her videos, as her content is for children, there’s a clear pattern of fun and engaging videos for kids that promote her music. However, the channel also shows behind-the-scenes footage, strengthening her brand and making her audience feel like they know her.

If you take a look at her more playful content, this is the stuff that works really well on YouTube because it organically gets pushed out by the algorithm. It’s engaging and people want to click on it. 

However, even her fun content has promotion behind it. She films in her mansion, which is designed purely in-line with her brand. 

Her font is everywhere, as are her colours, her bows and even a whole room full of her merchandise. You’re constantly reminded of her branding just from the surroundings in her videos. This makes it easier for her to sell because kids watch it and see all the stuff they want. As a result, they buy her merchandise, they sing along to her music and they go to her shows. Her content is promoting non-stop without the need to say ‘buy this’.

As well as ‘fun’ content, she does music-based content too. This is usually just her music videos, but sometimes she does full live streams and the views are fantastic. 

In addition to that, you’ll see her straight-up promotional videos. These videos are made to sell, however, they are done creatively. For example, JoJo tests toys on her videos and by doing this, she can appeal to her young, easily-persuaded audience without difficulty, thus driving more sales.

Even though these particular videos are promotional in nature, it makes no difference to the number of views she gets on them. In fact, it’s estimated that she has made $400 million with the bows alone! 

Another significant part of her marketing plan is the YouTube thumbnail strategy and titles that she uses. The thumbnails stand out with bright colours and enticing titles that she knows will appeal to younger fans, intriguing them into more clicks.

The titles are also straight and to the point and often include her name in most of the time. This means that if you search her name on YouTube, the majority of videos that show up are her own, rather than ones about her.

What We Can Learn From JoJo’s TikTok Strategy

As the YouTube comments are turned off for kids videos, she developed a new element to her music marketing plan using TikTok. Using a platform like TikTok means that she can truly engage her audience. She’s currently sat at around 26 million followers on Tiktok, so she is definitely doing something right!

JoJo has used TikTok to engage a wider audience outside of her initial younger audience. She carefully selects content that she puts out, making it relatable to teenagers too. You can see from the comments that the people who engage with her are actually from a wide range of age groups. Consequently, using TikTok has taken her empire to the next level.

What to take away from JoJo’s marketing approach

What can you take away from this case study about JoJo Siwa and her business empire that she has achieved by the age of 17?

We have learned about the importance of brand and content in the music marketing plan, but how many other artists can you compare her to that have achieved similar success at this young age?

Tip #1

One of the critical things is that she’s fantastic at selling without selling. She doesn’t have to say ‘stream my new song’, or ‘buy tickets to my gig’ – she pushes this agenda more subtly, making her more endearing to fans. Nobody likes a pushy salesman! Her brand is so strong that just mentioning these things briefly is enough to sell her product.

So, as an artist, instead of saying ‘I’ve got a new music video, head over to YouTube and watch it’, you need to try to be more creative and send them there without being too blatant.

One great way that JoJo did this was by releasing her music video and then a week or so later, she dropped another video titled ‘Secrets of My Music Video‘. People watched it to see what secrets were hidden and then went on to watch the original music video to spot them. Genius.

Creating content like this makes your audience feel involved, like they are interacting with you, and she simultaneously boosts views on multiple pieces of content. She doesn’t push people to watch her videos, but instead, gives them a reason to watch them, which is possible when you use this creative approach.

Tip #2

Stick to your brand! JoJo has stuck to her brand from the age of 13 to 17. She created a strong, recognisable brand featuring bright colours and child-oriented content.

This was a bit cringy for a teenage audience, so she adapted to win them over too, whilst still keeping her younger fans too. If she had adapted her music marketing plan too early, she would have risked alienating her younger audience and losing fans in the long run.

Take inspired action 

In short, we love JoJo Siwa, and we are not ashamed to say so. Her marketing is terrific, her branding is top-notch and even if you feel you can’t relate with her because of the style of music or audience demographic, you can still learn a thing or two that you can apply to you own marketing strategies.

Tell us how your plan to implement something JoJo Siwa inspired in your music marketing plan in the comments. We’d love to hear how you are adapting her tactics to your own approach.

Be sure to explore all the music marketing tactics, tips and techniques here on our blog and our Youtube channel to find the ones that resonate and fit your personality, style and music. And let us know how you get on.