Let’s be honest – nobody likes a blatant plug – but such is the life of the aspiring artist. Selling yourself is simply part of the job when it comes to music marketing and getting yourself out there, but have you ever felt that too much promotion could be hindering your artist growth, rather than helping it? So how can you promote your music without annoying people?
Perhaps that person who stumbled across a piece of your content, liked it and clicked ‘follow’, is growing tired of endless selfies and posts telling them that your latest single is ‘OUT NOW’ – and has been for several weeks. On the other hand, perhaps they aren’t, but are they actually engaging with you?
Either way, there is the chance that if you haven’t got your marketing strategy right you could be encouraging unfollows and discouraging platforms from pushing you out to the masses.
So in this article, we want to show you how to promote your music without annoying your audience, putting them off and potentially losing followers in the process.
Is Posting Every Day Annoying?
This seems to be a common misconception when it comes to social media for artists. We can understand why you might think posting something everyday can become annoying, but the truth is, if you’re adding value for your followers, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.
Of course, if you’re posting 3 or 4 times a day and it’s just mindless selfies, likelihood is you will be irritating your audience. Being vigilante when selecting the content you post is a valuable skill to learn. Try to get into the habit of asking yourself before each post: ‘What will my followers get out of this? What value am I offering?‘
However, the time and effort required to create content to post every day simply isn’t possible for most emerging artists anyway, especially if you work another job. So, don’t feel the need to post this often either – remember, whilst quantity is great in the early phases to establish your content strategy, a real quality post of value every few days is perfectly acceptable.
Not Everything Has to Be a ‘Sell’
Whilst promotion is the name of the game, not everything you post on socials needs to be a direct sell. These are exactly the kind of tactics that come across as desperate and don’t encourage engagement with your content either.
Instead, we would recommend that you don’t go for the direct sell all that often, perhaps 2-3 times a month at most. Nobody really likes to be sold to, so it’s much wiser to integrate these plugs into your content sparsely, otherwise your followers will only consider you a spam merchant and might even unfollow you.
Give, Don’t Take
This is one of the biggest mistakes that emerging artists make when promoting their music online. Of course, your pursuit is to build a dedicated fan base, drive engagement and boost your streaming profile, but if you’re always asking something of your followers, ask yourself this: Why should they do what you want them to?
In reality, you might care a lot about your music career, but no one else will unless you make them. The key here is to give as much as you can to your audience, rather than constantly trying to take from them and sell them your product (the music).
You can do this easily with simple things like replying to as many comments and DMs as possible and interacting on a personal level with your followers. Alternatively, you could use other platform specific features like Instagram’s ‘Join Chat‘ which allows you to start a group chat with followers of your choice. By doing this, you can give your fans the opportunity to be directly involved with you. Perhaps you can even ask for their help on selecting artwork for an upcoming release or getting their suggestions on what kind of content they want to see.
Consequently, through letting your followers in and giving them these valuable interactions, they give back to you though engagement – it’s a two-way street.
Disguise Your Selling Tactics
Although pushy selling doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean you can’t subtly slide your sales tactics into your content. You just have to be clever about it and not so blatantly overt.
If you’re familiar with Burstimo content, you’ll know how much we advocate for using social media ads as an effective form of music promotion. If you’re using them, this is a prime opportunity to offer quality content, whilst selling yourself at the same time.
Say you’ve made a promo vid or a teaser for an ad, one of the best ways to reel in new listeners is by comparing your music with similar artists that you relate to. For example, you could use a banner on top of your video stating one of the following:
- ‘Do you think we sound like [insert similar artist]?’
- ‘If you like [insert similar artist] then you’ll love this’
- ‘For fans of [insert similar artist]’
Obviously, make sure you pick an artist or band that you do actually share a similar sound with, but the great thing about doing this is that you slide in the sell without being too obvious. Since most people who come across your ad won’t know you, the comparison to a more well-known artist is the selling point, but it convinces them to watch or listen further without you begging desperately for them to do so.
Stop Shouting ‘OUT NOW’
This is without a doubt one of the least engaging styles of content you can share. It’s also one of the most boring and irritating.
There is a time and place for declaring your latest track ‘OUT NOW’, but posting it every other day in your feed and your stories, plus writing it in your bio, is not it. If you’re only posting this sort of content because you don’t know what else to post, it’s better to not post at all.
Just step out of your artist shoes and into your consumer shoes for a moment: unless you are already a dedicated fan of a particular artist, what part of somebody sharing a graphic post with ‘OUT NOW’ emblazoned across it makes you want to go to another platform and listen to their whole track?
Take it from our followers. We recently made an Instagram post on exactly this topic and this was one of their replies:
Understand That Growth Takes Time
Part of the reason that we come across so many artist Instagram pages with nothing but these ‘OUT NOW’ posts is because these musicians are hugely impatient. It goes without saying that artist growth takes time; you can’t shout about your new single a few times and expect the numbers to flood in overnight.
Particularly if you are directing people towards your socials, you probably will annoy them if you send them there, but there’s no valuable content. In this case, you should be making sure your profiles are up to date and well populated with quality content.
Don’t Treat Your Socials Like a Website
We see a lot of artists falling into the trap of treating their social media profiles like websites, or even using them as a substitute for one. This is not what they are for, nor what they were made for.
Websites are the place for announcements and ‘OUT NOW’ style content, so why post the same things on your socials? It’s a wasted opportunity. It extends to things like tour date announcements too – this just isn’t the kind of content people can engage with.
We’re not saying you should never post these things, but continuously doing so will grow tiresome for your followers as they’ll feel like you’re constantly trying to get something from them, rather than providing them with quality content.
There’s 3 things you can ask yourself before posting a piece of content. If it fulfils one of these criteria, post away.
- Does it Educate?
- Does it Entertain?
- Does it Document something in a unique or interesting way?
Be Yourself in Your Content
If you’ve watched any of our recent podcasts, you’ll have heard us talk about how important authenticity is when approaching your music promotion strategy. There’s nothing worse than somebody who is clearly trying to adopt a certain ‘persona’ in their content.
The problem is, when something works for one artist, a lot of others try to copy this in an attempt to emulate their success. However, what they should have done is evaluated why that content worked, and adapted parts of it to suit their own style. Being inauthentic is so easy to detect these days.
A prime example of this issue is Lewis Capaldi. His ‘skit’ style content exploded through his sense of humour which was genuinely just his personality – there was no scripting. When we spoke with former Digital Marketing Manager for Virgin EMI, Bets Chadbourn, on our podcast, she elaborated on the problem:
‘It’s important for artists to stick to their personal brand. I have so many artists that get signed and come in to me and say “we want to be like Lewis Capaldi”… and I say, “but you’re not Lewis”. You can’t force yourself to be funny. We’re seeing that a lot online with other artists.’
Essentially, when you try to be something that’s already been done, you will annoy people because they know that you aren’t being authentic. It might not be the first thing people look for in an artist, but simply being you and maintaining your artist brand plays a huge part in endearing followers to you.
Are You Being Consistent?
On the topic of being yourself, another thing that can annoy, and potentially confuse your followers, is not having a consistent theme in your content. Employing a recurring theme through your content is often what makes people hit that follow button and keep coming back for more.
If your content is lacking coherency and jumping all over the place with the sort of content you’re sharing, those who come across you aren’t going to feel inclined to follow you as they won’t know what you’re actually offering.
If annoying your followers is something you’ve worried about in the past, this isn’t a bad thing – it shows that you’ve taken your audience into consideration and that you actually care about not spamming them with useless content.
The reality is, if people aren’t listening to your music, then either the track isn’t good enough or you haven’t engaged with your audience prior to them listening; no amount of ‘OUT NOW’ posts or shameless plugs are going to change that.
So in essence, the best way to promote your music without annoying people, is to not really sell your music at all. If the content you are sharing is consistently engaging and offering value, you’ve done the hard work of selling yourself already. Why go overboard?