Hello, I'm a local artist trying to gain some social media presence to help push my music further, I was hoping you could give some tips/advice on how to get a genuine following.
Thanks for reaching out. I spent most of my career working in the music business (as an attorney for major labels for many years, then having my own digital marketing firm) so I think I have some good insight.
So you want to know about growing a presence on social media to help your music. The key thing with social media is to offer VALUE. Too many people simply post promotional items without regard to giving something of value to others. And the best platform to get started with right now is Instagram. There's too much noise on Twitter. Facebook only offers growth if you are willing to spend money. Snapchat is highly effective, but my advice is to hammer ONE platform and own it for what you're doing before diluting your focus across channels.
You're a musician, so you're well aware of the concept of "having a hook" for a song. The same concept applies for social media promotion.
Look at infused.xyz and how we use Instagram, for example. We're an online magazine devoted to motivation and business advice. We write articles and we want people to read them, so our ultimate goal is to drive users to our site. If all we did was create posts that asked people to click the link in our bio, we'd have little engagement and fewer click-throughs.
So we take a "back-door" strategy and offer value first: posts that are interesting, motivational or educational --and which aren't just blatant calls for people to click the link in our bio. And we offer this Ask An MBA service as another way to offer value. Because we believe when someone with experience takes the time to personally address a question, we create a connection. And that will spread. And eventually, will help us grow an audience, an email list, site traffic, revenue...
This approach fueled our growth from 0-30,000 legitimate followers in less than 6 months (we technically started this business at the beginning of Summer 2016). And because we offer value first, we win a lot of credibility with our followers. And only once a week do we put a post up that promotes a specific article on the site (usually on the weekend).
Here's the main point; offering value will lead to good promotion for whatever you are "selling", it's just more organic and less in-your-face. For you, as a young artist, the main point is getting people to listen to your music. So if you can wrap a value proposition around what you're doing on IG, that will "back-door" attention to your music.
I'd bet good money you know a lot about hip-hop. So doing something as simple as finding a great quote about making music/ overcoming obstacles/ etc. from Rick Ross or A$AP Rocky or any number of artists you might dig, and pairing it with an interesting picture of them will get you more juice on IG. Its important for your pics to have a uniform look (font, color, etc). And you want the quote overlayed on the picture. Lots of apps offer this ability (Phonto is a good one) but I prefer to work on desktop to create our content.
And yes, this isn't a new concept (there are 1000s of motivation pages) but there are far fewer who focus on hip-hop or r&b. And most of these quote pages use pics of celebs with quotes they didn't even say (I mean how many times can we see a post with the words "A Real Boss Has No Boss").
So its not about the same cliched motivation posts but rather you finding a hook but focusing on what you like. Pair that with the right hashtags and your engagement goes up. In a couple of months you will have several thousand followers. Then you mix in shots of you in the studio/ shopping/ etc. And as you build a bigger following. now you have more people who could be exposed to your music. And it's fine to have blatant promotional posts mixed in that tell followers to check out your new single or video as long as you are offering value first.
And if you don't want to create your own content, then repost good hip-hop themed posts from other pages. We have a series called Evolution of an Empire and just posted a Jay-Z one that got over 1,000 likes. Not saying you have to use that one, just an example. So spend time looking for posts you love, repost them and tag the creator. People build HUGE pages that way. And when you have 5,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 followers you will have a whole lot more people who will check out the link in your bio to hear your music.