Social Media Insights for the Artist-Writer

By Membership Representative, Dana Lalevee

As an NSAI Membership Representative, I get a lot of inquiries from our artist-writer members about social media. How can I build a bigger following? How can I get people to pay attention to my social media? How does social media even work? These are excellent questions with exceedingly complex answers.

I wouldn’t call myself an expert by any means, but I have been fortunate enough to work in social media at various points in my career. Here are my best suggestions for you and your social media approach.

Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery
Think about the artist or artists who inspire you. Now, check out their social media pages and see what they’re doing. What sort of posts are garnering the most attention? Utilize their methods and try to adapt what they’re doing. Don’t explicitly copy their posts word-for-word, but take note of what works for them and see how you can make it work for you. For instance, if you love Taylor Swift and feel that your artist career is on the same plane as hers, check out what she posts. What are some of her posts that receive the most comments or fan interactions? Those are the kinds of posts you should watch. Note: you should experiment with different kinds of posts and content. What works for Taylor may not always work for you, and that’s okay. Use the time you take to build your social following to see what sort of content makes your fans respond, but use your favorite artists’ socials as an opportunity to learn what sort of content artists like you are posting.

Genuine Connection Beats All
People know when they are being “sold to,” and they will immediately tune you out. You need to remove the idea from your head that social media is here to boost your profits, because when money (like the equation: large number of people + new album = lots of sales) is in the forefront of your social media methods, people will catch on and head out. Become invested in the people you want to invest in you. Be thoughtful. Interact with your fans, even if you only have a few. Showing people that you care about them will elevate your following. Conversely, don’t pile it on too thick; people know when you’re not being genuine with them. In the building stages of your social following, start following other people and pages. Begin conversations with them, even if it’s just a “hey, I love your music” comment. Never make it about you. People will come and check your social media out if you’re humble, genuine, and invested.

Stop Thinking Strategy
Once you begin to think of social media in terms of “strategy,” you’ve already lost. There is no magic kind of Facebook post or Instagram picture that will drive hordes of people to you. There is no book that outlines all of the “right” steps to build a following. Social media is not a strategy, but a way to connect to the people who matter to you. Do you strategize your life? No! You simply live it. Show your fans how you’re living your life. Show them the good, the bad, the ugly, and all the moments in between.  When you share these special glimpses into your life, your fans feel like they’ve been invited into your inner circle. This is where the magic truly happens; fans become invested in what you do and what you have to say because they feel like they’re a part of it.

Take Your Time
A robust social media following doesn’t happen overnight, and it actually takes work. Just like your commitment to your artistry, you need to commit to growing a fanbase. Social media needs to become a part of your routine. Don’t give up on it! You will find your groove.

Social media is a necessity for any artist’s fanbase to grow. We live in an increasingly technologically connected world, and when it’s done right, social media can be a very rewarding place for your fanbase to flourish. Give it time, be genuine, and keep working at it.