Buying Social Media Followers – Should You Do It?

[Editors Note: This article was written by Hugh McIntyre. Hugh writes about music and the music industry and regularly contributes to Forbes, Sonicbids, and more.] These days, musicians aren’t just selling their art, they are selling themselves. Fans don’t just want to hear songs every so often and go see your live show, they want to feel a real connection with the musicians they love so much, and that’s all thanks to social media. The advent of platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and a myriad of others has been both a blessing a curse for the world at large, especially artists. It helps forge powerful, lasting, valuable relationships with fans all around the world that previously weren’t possible, but it is also a new demand placed on those working hard to stay afloat.

As is the case with almost anything related to your career as a musician, just getting started and off the ground when it comes to social media can be one of the toughest things about the entire endeavor. It’s so easy to look at both musicians and social celebrities with hundreds of thousands of followers and more interactions than they can handle and wonder, “How did they get there? What am I doing wrong?” Well, I can’t help everybody with that second question, but I have a suggestion for the former.

It might be controversial, but I often suggest to those acts just getting started, both in their careers and online, to purchase some social media followers. Yes, that’s right—you should pay money to have people follow you on the various social platforms where you should have a presence, but don’t tell anyone you did (and certainly don’t tell anybody I said to do it).

The idea of purchasing followers, likes, views, and everything else on social media is nothing new, but it is one that has always been despised by many. It is maligned with negative connotations, but it can also be extremely helpful when it comes to kicking things off on social channels, which is very important to you as somebody trying to get the masses to fall in love with who you are and what you create.

When explaining why I believe purchasing social media followers is a good thing, I always use the analogy of a party.

Nobody wants to go to a party until there are plenty of people there and it’s in full force, right? But if that’s the case, how is one supposed to get a party started? The same can be said for your Twitter or Instagram page. Why would anybody want to click the follow button on an account with 25 followers, even if the content seems to be great upon first glance?

Feel free to invite all of your friends and pre-existing fans to join you in these places, and then do a quick Google search to see about upping those numbers. You don’t need many, and in fact, why purchasing, you should do so intelligently. If you are an artist with only a few songs out and yet you have 50,000 followers on Twitter—we’ve all seen these people—nobody is going to believe you, and your efforts will end up backfiring, making you look like a fool in the process. Think before you buy. Will 500 followers make you look appear to be on your way? 1,000? Maybe start with one and eventually spend your way to that second figure? There are many different ways to go about this, but you need to be aware that people are going to quickly glance at your follower counts and judge you instinctively based on them.

Now, you may be thinking that this is all an exercise in vanity, and I’d say you’re right, but only partially. Having a respectable follower count on popular platforms shows that some people have invested in you, if even in some small way (and even if they aren’t real, but that’s just between you and I). It tells those that might be potentially interested in booking you to play a venue, a festival, or even to sign to a label that there are people out there that are interested, and that there might actually be something to the artist in front of them.

Buying social media followers, as well as likes on various posts you may upload to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and so on, is something you should consider, and that I’d suggest, but it doesn’t have to be a necessity for everybody. If you want to go the traditional route, feel free, but keep in mind that even the biggest and most successful artists partake in this strategy. Pop stars, rock bands, and rappers all up their counts from time to time with fake followers, just as they do with real ones. You won’t be buying in the same bulk as them, but don’t feel like this is just a no-man’s game.

This tactic shouldn’t cost you much, as all of these services come pretty cheap, which probably won’t surprise you when you take a look at some of the options that pop up on Google (they’re fairly sketchy looking). Think about what I’ve said as you set up or begin to invest time and effort into your social channels, and decide if this is the way you want to go, but don’t worry or think too hard—it is just social media, after all.

How to Maximize Your Music Promotion on Social Media Using a Simple Formula

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Dave Kusek, founder of New Artist Model, and it originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog. As we continue to celebrate the launch of TuneCore Social, here is some helpful content for independent artists who are always on the look-out for social media strategy tips!]

 

 

As a musician, the last thing you want to do is spend hours and hours every single week dealing with your social media. After all, you probably started in music to be creative, not to sit behind a computer dealing with marketing.

While it’s awesome that you can be in direct contact with your fans in today’s modern music industry, it definitely puts a lot of strain on your time. You need to post quality content on a regular basis, and on top of that, you need to post unique content to your different channels to keep your fans interested across the board. I mean, why should someone follow you on Facebook and Twitter if you push out exactly the same messages on both platforms? That all adds up to a lot of content and a lot of time.

But there’s a solution to simplify your approach, maximize your impact, and speed up the process – and it starts with just one piece of content.

“Circular viralocity” is a phrase coined by marketer and career coach Brendon Burchard. In short, it’s a very simple formula that will help you turn one piece of content, like a cover video, music video, or new song, into multiple pieces of unique content that you can easily share across social media. It’s also a way to circulate your fans to all your online channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud, your blog, and your email list.

In the end, not only will your social media promotion be more effective, it will also be easier and less time-consuming to manage. So let’s break down the steps.

1. Multiply your content

The first step is to derive multiple pieces of content from whatever you’re sharing, and it’s actually a lot simpler than you might think. As an example, let’s say you’re uploading a cover video or even an original song video to YouTube:

  • YouTube: First, you’ll post the music video or cover video to YouTube.
  • Facebook: Create a shorter edit of the video and upload directly to Facebook to take advantage of its sleek video player.
  • Twitter: Grab your favorite lyric line from the song and create a quick quote graphic in Canvato post to Twitter.
  • Instagram: It’s pretty easy to just snap a photo while you’re filming the music video or cover video, but if you forget, you can always just grab a screenshot from the video for Instagram.
  • SoundCloud: Pull the audio from your video and post it to SoundCloud.
  • Blog: Your blog gives you the chance to go a little deeper with your fans, so use this opportunity to let them into your world a little. One option is to simply post the video and write up your thoughts on the song, what it means to you, the story behind your lyrics, or what the writing and recording process was like. If you have more time, you could film a separate video where you actually explain and talk about some of these things on camera and post that instead.
  • Email: You can definitely just email out a link to your blog post, but if you want to take it a step further, you could send your email subscribers a free download of the MP3 audio from the video.

Of course, there are a ton of other options. You can post short videos to Twitter, different lyric quotes or images to Facebook, or free downloads on SoundCloud. Get creative with it!

2. Link it together

Okay, so now you have a lot of really great content. This is where a lot of people stop, but we’re going to take it a few steps further to really power-drive your social reach by linking everything together.

What do I mean by that? Basically, you want everything you post to be linking somewhere else.

  • Your shorter Facebook video can link to the full YouTube video.
  • Your Twitter can link to the YouTube video, your SoundCloud, or your blog post.
  • You can add links to your social channels, your blog post, and a place they can buy/download the MP3 for the song in the description of your YouTube video.
  • Your blog post can include a link to sign up to your email list.

See what we’re doing here? We’re getting your fans to check out all the awesome content you just created to drive up the exposure and engagement on all your online channels. It’s a big content circle!

3. Drive traffic

If you really want to maximize this strategy, you want to be actively encouraging your fans to follow through the content circle. In other words, let them know that you’ve got a lot of different and cool content for them on your other channels.

When you’re working with YouTube, most people don’t take the time to look in the description box, especially if they’re viewing on mobile. So the best way to get your fans to check out your links is to actually ask them. Do a quick voiceover at the end of your video encouraging your fans to open the description box and click through your links, or even better, get on video yourself.

On Facebook and Twitter, ask your fans to click through the links you share, and tell them why they should. What will they get by clicking through that they can’t get here?

If you follow this circular viralocity strategy, your social media should be much less time-consuming and much more effective. If you’d like to learn more strategies to simplify your career and unlock more opportunities, I’d like to give you the opportunity to download my most popular ebook, Hack the Music Business, for free. It’ll take you through some of the best strategies for indie musicians to help you grow your fanbase and your career.