Most indie musicians don’t have an oversaturation problem, it’s that they’re not getting seen enough. But it’s still possible to annoy the living heck out of your current audience if you’re not mindful of how you promote yourself. You need to have an online presence, but you also don’t want to be too present all the time. You need a healthy balance. So here’s how to do the right amount of music marketing…
Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Marketing?
Comedian, musician, and director Bo Burnham doesn’t post on Instagram very much. In fact, he posts once every several months. He’s not much of an internet user in general. When he launched his Netflix special INSIDE, which earned him three Emmy awards and a Grammy award, he posted on his Instagram on April 26, 2021. Before that, his last post was in June 2020. Nearly a year of silence on his profile.
Granted, Burnham already had a big audience so he didn’t need to focus on growing it. But there’s something to be said about not posting unless you have something to say. Posting for the sake of posting may not be the best music promotion strategy. Plus, if people become used to seeing your content every day, each post becomes less special. As I’ll talk about below, quality content always trumps quantity ‒ if it’s just for the sake of quantity.
How To Do the Right Amount of Music Marketing
Music marketing nowadays is less about using traditional marketing methods, like ads, and more about focusing on your entire online presence. So everything you post, you could argue, is part of your music marketing strategy. And the “right” amount of music marketing will be different for every artist, but below are some tips for finding a balance that works for you.
Quality always trumps quantity
The quality of your social media content and music promotion attempts is the top priority here. I’m not saying you shouldn’t post something online every day or multiple times a week. Some platforms pretty much require that for you to grow your following, like TikTok and YouTube. But the key is to focus on the value your content brings to your followers.
If you’re creating music on a regular basis (which you need to be doing if you want to turn it into your career), then you’ll have no problem finding interesting and valuable content to post. Take a quick video of you in the studio or on stage. Post a selfie with an update on what you created that day. Share a voice memo of a song you’re writing.
Just don’t post something for the sake of posting it, just because you feel like you have to stay in front of your audience at all times.
Talk about your music less
You know those people who only talk about their “thing” all the time? They’re super annoying and not fun to talk to, so don’t be that person online. Don’t only talk about your music. And I get it, it’s your social media profile and people follow you to hear from you. But, for example, your friends aren’t friends with you because you make music ‒ that’s just one aspect of you they appreciate. So share your music, but also share other musicians’ work, speak out for causes you care about, post funny memes, or whatever else sets your pants on fire. Just don’t make your social media profiles 100% about your music.
Don’t post too much of one thing
On a related note, your social media shouldn’t just be about any one thing. You are an interesting human with multiple facets to you. Your existence is not one-dimensional and neither should your online presence. So post about more than just your music or music in general. Share whatever is important to you. Not only is this a more authentic way to live online, but it’s also going to let your audience get to know you better. And connecting with your fans is always a good thing for your music career.
Have an email list, but use it only when needed
If you don’t have an email list at this point, you’re behind. Yes, people probably get more emails than they can handle, but most of those emails are from companies trying to sell them something. When a fan subscribes to your email list, however, that means they care enough about you and your music that they want to hear from you.
The trick is, only email your fans when you have something they would care about. Don’t just email them with something like, “Not much happening with my music lately, but check out my song from 6 months ago if you haven’t already!” If you have nothing to say, it’s better you don’t clutter your fans’ inboxes with an email that says nothing.
Be Authentic Regardless
No matter what you do, be your authentic self. No need to stress about what “voice” to use so you can grow your “brand.” The simplest and most real approach is to make your brand you, not some image you create and curate. Granted, we all curate our online lives to an extent, but just make sure you’re not posting anything you’ll regret the next day.
Authenticity is the best type of music marketing and it always will be, whether online or on the stage. It will, in the long-run, do better than ads, press write-ups, and playlisting.
If you’re wondering whether you’re doing too much music marketing, just ask yourself this: “If I had to market directly to my mom/friend/loved one, how often and by what means would I share my music?”