The stage. The lights. The screams of thousands of frenzied fans waiting to hear your music.
Undoubtedly, this is the dream of every musician and what you think of when you envision success. No one likes to dream about the difficult parts of stardom. The never-ending production costs, late-night gigs, fighting for the attention of new fans, and self-promotion.
Becoming a successful musician isn’t easy - but it isn’t impossible.
Musicians are busy people, and while your priority is your music, an efficient and well-executed promotional marketing strategy is vital for growth.
New talent is emerging and reaching millions of fans every day, thanks to the power of SoundCloud music promotion and social media. In this article, we will break down how you can achieve successful SoundCloud promotion of your music through 5 of the most popular social media channels.
If you haven’t considered using SoundCloud to promote your music yet, you probably should. With 175 million global users, SoundCloud is the largest music and audio platform in the world.
Artists can upload their original music and share it with SoundCloud’s ever-growing user base. Music and audio creators both share and monetize their content globally, in addition to receiving detailed stats and feedback from the SoundCloud community.
Users have the ability to share music and connect directly with artists, as well as discover breakthrough tracks, raw demos, and podcasts.
In addition to SoundCloud you might have heard of BandCamp and Spotify. These three are the largest music streaming sites today. So what is the difference between them and why do we recommend SoundCloud?
Spotify is not a publishing platform but a music streaming service with social sharing built in. If you’re not a label or publishing company, then you will have to go through an artist aggregator who will license and collect a cut of your royalty fees.
While for users, Spotify is a fantastic way to stream music and playlists. Typically for new artists, people first get famous on SoundCloud, then end up on Spotify.
The above infographic shows a recent trend emerging from SoundCloud’s music vs Bandcamp’s. The stereotype is users on SoundCloud are more into hip hop, mainstream music, whereas BandCamp users prefer twee indie.
Bandcamp is similar to SoundCloud whereas artists can post their music and people can listen for free, but the site has a feature that allows people to buy albums under "pay-what-you-want" price tag or make donations to artists.
While BandCamp is a popular and growing platform for artists, SoundCloud, deemed as a social media channel itself, still has the largest reach in the world.
While SoundCloud does have a substantial monthly following at 175 million users, it still doesn’t stack up against Facebook’s 2.23 billion, Youtube’s 1.8 billion, and Twitter’s 300 million monthly followers.
Your SoundCloud listeners are tweeting and liking other artists on other social channels. If you’re not actively promoting your music, you’re handing the spotlight to someone else.
Social media gives you the chance to really brand yourself and expand upon your music in a way that your fans can further connect with you. Social media is one of the cheapest and best SoundCloud promotion strategies to get your music in front of millions of people.
Simply relying on SoundCloud alone won’t get you too far. Each social channel is a powerful marketing tool and you need more than one to build a solid following.
When developing your SoundCloud marketing strategy, you should know which social media channels cater best to your audience. Knowing who your fan personas are will help you build your brand, tell your story, and choose the right platforms.
Personas and Branding
Let’s look at two very different musicians, Beyonce and Jimmy Buffet. Both are very popular but have completely different music, branding, and fanbases. Jimmy’s fans, “parrotheads” wouldn’t exactly fit into the same marketing strategy as Beyonce’s.
You first need to identify yourself. Your music is a big part of that but so are your interests, passions, and beliefs. Your fans will identify with what you represent both musically and personally.
Once you establish your identity, you then need to develop your brand. Are you a sex symbol? Are you funny and entertaining? Do you empower women? You should build your brand around this image in social media, artists you collaborate with, lifestyle, and the way you dress. Image is extremely important and being consistent is key.
Which type of people will identify with your brand and music? You should know who your fans are before you start to implement your social media strategy. Try giving your fans a persona.
Fan persona example:
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Job: Business Manager, earns around 65k a year
Hobbies: Enjoys traveling, nights out with friends, wine and good food, shopping, has a boyfriend, DIY projects
Social accounts: Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook
How do they find music: Spotify, social media, goes to see live bands around the city with her friends.
Creating a detailed fan persona will get you into the mindset of your fans and help you build your brand and SoundCloud promotion strategy in order to reach them.
Creating a musician/band page on Facebook paints a thorough picture of you as an artist. As you can see from the image below, you have your About section, photos, tour dates and events your fans can keep track of.
Additionally, SoundCloud integrates very well with Facebook. All you have to do is paste the URL of the particular track you want to link to on your post and it will automatically be embedded as a playable track.
By having a fan page you can post sample tracks for your listeners and interact with them directly. Well written posts will lead them to your SoundCloud page for more samples of your music increasing your SoundCloud plays.
SoundCloud itself has the functionality to connect your Facebook, and other social profiles, to SoundCloud directly. The share button allows you to quickly and easily share your tracks and playlists on Facebook.
Unfortunately, Facebook sometimes limits the ability to reach an abundance of fans simply through organic marketing. Using Facebook ads can expand your page’s reach and get you in front of more potential fans.
Facebook ads allow you to target the right audience by demographics and even narrowing it down to the type of music they like. If you are going on tour, you can even target fans by location.
Twitter is one of the most popular platforms for artists. Not only do fans and musicians love Twitter, but Twitter loves SoundCloud. A few years ago, Twitter invested $70 million in SoundCloud, an integration that embeds SoundCloud plays right into the API.
Twitter is a fantastic way to engage fans and build hype by retweeting their comments and following them as well.
Twitter also lets you build a story through a string of Tweets. Twitter is an “in the moment” social media platform. People love live updates, behind the scenes, and random tweets from your everyday life. Aside from sharing your music, let your fans connect with you on a more personal level.
Connect with other Musicians
Expand your community! Twitter is the ultimate platform for communicating with other artists, bloggers, journalists and fans. Tweet a thank you to a journalist who covered your latest concert, or retweets another artist’s SoundCloud remix. Twitter is a sure-fire tool for spreading the buzz about you and your music.
SoundCloud, the largest social music platform and Instagram, the largest photo platform partnered a few years ago to make increasing plays even easier.
SoundCloud realizes that quality images are equally as important as good music. By connecting your Instagram feed to your SoundCloud account you can choose your best photos to add to your tracks, playlists, groups, or profile.
For SoundCloud promotion on Instagram, the first step is to set up your profile and add your SoundCloud link. Using a service like Linktree, you can also add your website, and other social links where your fans will be directed to visit. We recommend setting up a business profile. A business profile allows you to link to your Facebook page and run ads and promotions.
Instagram is built on visuals - pictures and videos. Many musicians make the mistake of sharing only music-related content. You should maintain a healthy balance between your music and your personal life.
Share videos of you at the studio, performing at a concert, or writing your latest tracks, but don’t forget people want to see beyond that as well. Whether that’s sharing a photo of you at the beach with your dog or road trip with friends, people want to feel connected to you.
Pinterest is another fantastic tool for sharing SoundCloud tracks. Even though Pinterest is primarily image-based, its embed feature allows you to include SoundCloud tracks directly on the pins. The Pinmarklet bookmarking tool is also convenient since it allows you to upload tracks to Pinterest without having to go into the site.
Remember, Pinterest is about images. If you share your music, use an image that will entice people to click and listen. A quality photo that represents the music, or something authentic to you as an artist works better than stock imagery. Pinterest is a fantastic business marketing platform to promote your SoundCloud songs.
Remember MTV? Well today, YouTube is a “must have” social media channel for musicians. YouTube allows musicians to produce, upload, and share tracks and videos easily.
Unlike other social media channels, YouTube and SoundCloud alone do not easily integrate with each other, but there are third party services that integrate YouTube and SoundCloud easily. The goal with YouTube is to redirect listeners to your SoundCloud page through links.
Teaser videos are a fantastic way to accomplish this, as you can entice them to click through to listen to the full track. You can either have the link to the track at the video description or embedded in the video itself for easier navigation.
A professional, well-branded website showcases your music, social media following, and acts a hub for all of your tours, events, and even album and concert ticket purchases. Furthermore, it legitimizes you as a serious musician.
If someone hears about you through a friend or sees you open at a concert, they might visit your web page first before they turn to social media.
A great way to introduce potential fans to your social side is to include a social media aggregator on your band website.
Juicer’s social media aggregator pulls all of your tracks from SoundCloud and social media posts, hashtags, videos, and images into one, beautiful feed you can embed anywhere on your website. Fans can see what everyone is saying about you from a detailed snapshot of your social side.
As you upload new tracks, they will be automatically curated into the feed as well as your fans comments and shares. Juicer’s music aggregator is a no brainer for your site.
Becoming a successful artist doesn’t happen overnight, just like building a strong social media following, it takes time and consistency. SoundCloud promotion is a fantastic starting point for musicians, and by integrating it with a strong social media marketing strategy, your fans will not only listen to your music but help promote it as well.