It is a phrase that’s becoming more and more essential these days. And for good cause too. In a recent poll, NME ranked social media (26%) just behind playing live (51%) as an important channel for musicians looking to get their music heard.
Today you have all kinds of numbers flying at you: likes, shares, listens, plays, streams, royalties, and mentions. It could all seem pretty hollow once you are attempting to stay inspired and dedicated to producing your greatest work.
To be sure you don’t get blinded by all the noise of social media—and the numbers that come with it, I decided to unpack the 5 most essential social media metrics and find out what they really mean for independent music (hint: it isn’t the numbers, it is what’s behind them that counts).
Understand your metrics, track your following and make the connections that really matter for building a healthy and happy fanbase.
So your music is finally done! You take the plunge and share it to socials. Nice, people begin liking your track on social media! The thumb is getting sore from thumbing so much!
Likes are superb. They are an awesome starting point for tracking your success…
However, the question you should be asking is WHO liked your track and why?
Use your likes to get to know your listeners, begin a discussion in the comments about your process, focus on parts you were not feeling great about any parts that you were really happy with, link to your influences and inspirations and ask for feedback!
It all helps to build a story around your track and add worth to the plays that you are getting.
Hot Tip: If you’re sharing your releases to social, ask a question in your post. It’s a good way to get your followers involved and encourage discussion around your tracks. It additionally shows that you care about your following’s opinion.
Discover who’s listening by checking your likes. You may even be surprised at who’s supporting your music. Are they also musicians? Why not listen to their track in exchange and give a like back. Or better yet, drop them a DM and connect. That method you build a relationship of mutual support, and you encourage people to continue following and to like you.
Nothing is better than a real honest exchange, digital, or real life. Likes need to be a starting point for building a relationship with your followers, not the endgame that you obsess about too much. Build your likes, however, use them once you have them for growing your fanbase.
Sharing is caring. The same goes for your music. If people share it, it means they’re doing more than scrolling via their feed and liking something distractedly or out of obligation.
When something comes from the heart, people see it and want to share it further. Once you are crafting your social post, tell some of your story. Why are you happy to share your launch? Was it the product of months of hard work, with the precious help of many collaborators? Include a few of that in your post.
Hot Tip: If you make a social post, tag everybody that’s credited on your album—the vocalists, each band member, the mixing engineer, producer, the designer of the album art and anybody else involved. It is a nice method to say thanks, and improve the chances of having them share your launch too.
So you just distributed your track. You are nervously checking your stats every hour in hope that your stream counts go up.
Believe me, I have been there too. No matter you do, don’t let it become an obsession! Stressing about stream stats could distract you from understanding the bigger image.
Of course, if a track is made and you do not let people know, you will miss out on most of your streams. Any launch needs a promotional campaign on social media. Post about it on Facebook and Twitter. Make a fun Instagram story about it.
However, think about what these streams tell you about the listeners behind them. Check in a day, a week, a month or even a year to get the total image of your releases streams. Ask yourself: where do my streams come from, what countries and cities? How can I reach out to these areas? Listed here are some ideas:
- Reach out to a blog from an area where your music is getting streamed to function your music
- Reach out to a local radio station
- Write to fellow musicians you admire in these areas
- Book an out of town show
Even though music has no boundaries these days, the people who listen to it live in particular places. These are the places where you’re gonna want to focus your resources. Stats are not the end game—they are a starting point for discovering your viewers. Use them to guide your choices and connect better.
Aside from your social media, there’s another fantastic device to get in touch with your followers: a mailing listing. Mailing lists allow you to turn one-time listeners into longtime followers.
They have been around forever. Many bands used to post a form at their merch table at shows to provide followers the option to stay in touch. Newsletters have since gone digital, however, the profit is still there for staying connected.
Your mailing listing is an effective communication tool, particularly at a time when social media feeds are overcrowded. Your newsletter is a space that is all your own.
Subscriptions are a sign of trust. If somebody provides you with their email, they trust you to use it well. It means they are paying attention and they want to stay updated about your music. So subscribers are one of the most essential metrics to target. Every subscriber isn’t just a listener, however, a real fan who’s sufficient in your music to allow you to into their everyday lives—pretty highly effective when you think about it…
It’s your chance to send personalized, honest, fascinating content to a receptive audience—like an image essay from your last tour, your upcoming shows, your radio appearances, your releases, press about you, your merch (also an excellent place to offer discounts), and so on.
Add your newsletter signup link once you share newly launched music or in your social media bios.
A casual fan on social media becomes a longterm supporter once you give them the choice of signing up to your mailing listing. So your subscriptions stats going up are an excellent sign that you are doing it right.
5. Your Inbox
An important connection you could make with your followers is meaningful one-on-one interactions. So messages in your inbox are another essential metric. Treat each on like connections that can open doors to opportunity.
Think about it: a direct message means that a fan, blogger, or booker:
- Likes your project enough to take the time out of their busy schedule to message you directly.
- Views you and your music as approachable and honest.
- Wants to dig deeper into your music and learn more about something that is intrigued them.
It is a very human response when so many issues in music today could seem cold and lifeless.
Make yourself available to your followers and community by posting your artist email on your social profiles or when sharing a new launch to your social media pages (fan mail begins with followers knowing where to send it!).
Respond as rapidly as you could and make every encounter as wholesome as possible. One genuine interaction with somebody that is excited about your music could make heaps of difference when most music industry direct messages or emails are forgotten. It is the little things that add up over time.
Having your contact information out in the open shows that you’re approachable and makes people more inclined to get in touch with you. That means potential invites to make a guest combine, appear on a radio show, or even launch on a label. You will never know unless you are available.
If people write to you make a point of personally responding to each message. Set precedent by being a nice person (what a concept!). Make it what makes YOU stand out.
The Bigger Picture
Every social metric counts towards your huge picture. Do not obsess over specifics like boosting your plays or your likes.
Take a look at all your social sharing and platforms as a part of a bigger purpose: Building a following of dedicated and engaged followers that feel a personal connection with you and your music.
Behind every stream, like or play there is a human being. Use your social sharing tools and platforms to do everything you could to be a human back.