Stop Advertising Your Music - The Key to Genuine Growth as a Creator
As an artist, you want to create something, put it out and have it loved and appreciated by as many fans as possible. You’re making incredible music that deserves to be heard by the masses, so you’re hustling by posting about it every day on social media, spending hours searching for new listeners, trying to sell tickets to your next gig and having a crack at paid advertising, all to no avail. The social media followers aren’t going up and even when they do, the streaming numbers are stagnant. So what can you do to ensure genuine growth as a creator?
Be a Go-Giver
You need to adopt a “Go-Giver” mentality. There’s good news and bad news here. Bad news is this blog post isn’t a quick fix to make you an overnight success. Good news is, if you’re making great music, implementing this change will, over time, help you to develop an engaged fanbase that loves your art.
So what is it? This is a complete mindset shift in which your focus needs to be shifted away from your inner artist telling you to rack up those streaming numbers and onto your listeners. You will stop filling your profiles with posts that say "listen to my music" and concentrate everything you do on giving to your audience, nurturing them and being a source of genuine value and entertainment whenever they need it.
If you’re always on social media looking for new followers and then just telling them to listen to your music, you’re wasting your time. Numbers aren’t the most important thing, it’s what you do with them. If you can think from your audience’s perspective, and give them what they want, they will do the promotion for you.
How can you implement this?
Social media is probably the number one place where people are promoting their music. But people don't go there to find new music, that’s what Spotify’s for. They go there to be entertained on their lunch break or kill 5 minutes while they have a cuppa, so by getting on people's feeds and advertising, you’re flogging a dead horse. Before you post anything, think about whether you would want to see it on your feed, would it stop you from scrolling?
To make full use of social media, you need to make shareable content that holds genuine value and can be consumed there and then. As a musician, you have a creative mind, which gives you an instant head start with this! Off the top of my head here are some ideas… Host quizzes, make amazing live videos, cover popular songs in your unique style, review popular music in your niche and start a conversation about it, teach a musical skill, team up with alike artists for mini collaborations. There are a million things you can do if you start brainstorming. If your content is valuable, you don’t need to post every single day.
While you’re doing all of this, remember it’s called social media for a reason. Talk to your audience and ask about them, spark conversations in the comments, speak with other artists and listen to their work, send voice messages to people who pre save your single or buy a gig ticket thanking them. The more personal the better!
You can be a Go-Giver outside of social media too. For example, you could post out all of your merch or CD’s with a personalised note. You could have a drink and a chat with audience members after the show, buy them a drink if you want to. Go to other artist’s gigs and connect with them. It’s simple stuff that sends a big message and makes a huge difference! Go above and beyond in everything you do.
Should you ever just promote?
You should still be putting a lot of energy into promotion, but focus on promoting in private rather than on your social media channels. Keep sending your releases to your mailing list, blogs, radio stations and playlists.
I’m not saying don’t put a post up about your new single, absolutely do. Ask for those pre-saves, sell tickets to your next gig. You need to make sure people know about it or they can’t take action in the first place. But when you do self promote, make sure you give more than you take. Make sure there’s something in it for them. Make sure it’s outweighed by thoughtful and entertaining content that your audience wants to engage with. This way, when you have something to release, your audience will genuinely want to give back and listen to it or buy tickets or share your link.
Give it a try!
This isn’t some kind of marketing trickery, it’s just about being genuine, kind and serving your audience as if they’re your family. If you focus on giving and forget about the numbers that feed your inner artist seeking validation, you can’t go wrong.
If you think this could work, I’d strongly recommend reading The Go-Giver. It’s an old business book (that sounds yucky, I know) but it teaches an entire mentality that can change every interaction you have and I’m certain it will make positive changes to your music career. It’s only short and if reading isn’t your thing, it’s available on Audible.