Musicians have a huge opportunity to leverage influencer marketing to grow their fan base. Social media has changed the music industry forever. Today, simply finding one key influencer collaboration could mean viral growth for your music.
It’s no longer required to follow what many consider a conventional route to get in front of thousands (if not millions) of people.
Because it’s easier than ever to use advanced software on your laptop or phone, musicians can become known without having to even leave their bedrooms.
However, making music isn’t going to make you famous if you don’t know how to promote it with a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
With the sheer number of aspiring musicians that are competing against you, having a solid influencer strategy is crucial. But so many musicians use ineffective and expensive promotional techniques that rarely produce the desired results.
This is where influencer marketing for musicians comes in.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is all about collaborating with people who have large audiences online, paying them to promote your music to their fans and followers.
Now more than ever, musicians are beginning to collaborate with influencers through social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. The aim is to turn an influencer’s followers into streamers and fans of the music you produce.
New platforms are constantly emerging, and if you are an aspiring musician, you need to be keeping up to date with what social media platforms matter. The trends and techniques to distinguish yourself from the masses also keep changing. Staying social media savvy can be difficult, especially if you just want to make music.
That’s where a social media influencer comes in. They know exactly what works, what social media marketing tools to use, what to avoid, and how to market and promote your music online. After all, it’s their job. And their engaged followers are a testament to their success.
What’s so great about influencer marketing collaborations is that both parties benefit from the arrangement. The musician gains exposure and access to an influencer’s followers to promote new music, tours, and merchandise. The influencer makes money, while also growing their own following and showing their good taste in music.
Tips for Musicians Picking an Influencer
However, actually picking an influencer to collaborate with can feel daunting. There are so many different influencers on so many different social media platforms.
Here are some tips for deciding who you should work with to help promote your music:
1. An Influencer’s Number of Followers is Not the Top Metric
It can be easy to fall into the false assumption that you should pick the influencer with the most followers. Naturally, the more followers a person has, the more people will be exposed to the promotional messages you are hiring the content creator to make.
However, A-list influencers are often more expensive. They also have less influencer-follower engagement. Due to their large number of followers, they are less likely to offer a tailored experience, talking to and interacting with individual fans.
On the other hand, mid to lower level influencers have been found to be more successful promoters of brands exactly because they have more time to commit to promoting your music. They engage more with fans, and as a result, often have better conversion rates than bigger celebrities. They are also less expensive an investment.
In the long run, followers who become fans of your music will also become organic promoters of your music. And user generated content (UGC) created by fans can create a domino effect toward huge fan growth and awareness.
2. The Musician and Influencer Must Fit in Context
The other important thing to keep in mind is the type of influencer you pick to collaborate with. Context is everything. A small content creator who rates indie albums on Youtube typically promotes more effectively over a really big TikTok influencer who focuses on say, recycled fashion.
The second of the two has more followers, but those followers are not necessarily going to resonate with your content, because they aren’t following the influencer for music recommendations. They trust that person to have good taste in clothes, not music. Whereas the indie album Youtube influencer is in a good position to advocate for your music properly.
Context is key. Keep this in mind during your selection process.
Mistakes Musicians Can Avoid With Influencer Marketing
Now that you’ve selected your influencer, what should you do next?
There are two things you should avoid doing once you’ve hired your influencer. The first is to bombard them with requests and micromanage everything they do. The second is to just forget about them and hope they do a good enough job.
It is not surprising that a balance is the best approach, but why?
Micromanaging your Influencer
The whole point of hiring an influencer to promote your music is that they are an expert in the field and know how to get your music out there on social media platforms in the most effective way possible.
They know their own fans, how they should speak to them, and the best way to advertise things to them.
Musicians know that too many rules can limit their creative license, and influencer marketing works the same way. Scripting what you want them to say about your product will make the promotion feel fake and inorganic, making it less likely to appeal to people.
You want the influencer to genuinely love your music and communicate that authentically, not recite five reasons they read from your script on why it’s great because they’ve been paid to do so.
When chosen well, your influencer knows what they’re doing and likes your sound. Let them do their job by allowing them to be creative with the way they choose to talk about and promote you and your music.
Not Offering Enough Guidance
However, you should consider preparing some kind of brief for your influencer, who may not know anything about you or the type of music you produce.
Offer some guidance about what the kind of vibe you are trying to produce, the aesthetics you are appealing to and your overall mission. Tell them about your genre of music. Share the instruments and techniques you use to create it. Highlight the elements you think are strongest.
By informing your influencer, you can be sure that they will have a better chance of promoting your music in the way you’d like, without being too overbearing. It can also help them understand what you do a bit more. To help them head in the right direction when marketing your music.
As always, a balance between being too controlling and not controlling enough is the ideal. Offering suggestions rather than requests is a good place to start.
Three Tips for Musicians During Their Influencer Marketing Campaign
1. Be Patient
At the beginning, it might be difficult finding the right influencer and getting them to agree to collaborate with you.
Convincing them is, in itself, a challenge, especially if you are an emerging artist with a small following.
Patience helps when agreeing on a fee, setting out guidelines, and getting people to open your emails or DMs. Influencers get lots of offers to collaborate on a range of products and companies. It’s literally part of their job.
So it might take a while before you do find one that you actually like. One who will do a good job at promoting you and your music. Be patient. Rushing the process and collaborating with the wrong influencer will be ineffective. Haste will only cost you more money and time that you could have spent better elsewhere.
2. Don’t Forget Your Influencer After the Campaign Ends
It’s an easy mistake to make. The campaign ends, you’ve paid for the service, and that’s that.
No. To ensure your return on investment (ROI) is as high as possible, you should try and maintain a relationship with your influencer over time, particularly if the marketing campaign has gone well and led to you developing a lot more fans.
A strong influencer-artist relationship can be useful in the long run, as you can then collaborate again in the future without having to worry about whether or not they will be good at promoting your music. They are also more likely to sign on with you when they already know you and like who you are.
3. Diversify Across Platforms and Formats
Prioritize hiring an influencer who is prominent on multiple social media platforms and websites. If they have a Youtube account or their own blog as well, even better. You want to be make sure you are being seen and heard on as many platforms as possible, reaching as wide an audience as you can.
An influencer with a large following can be useful, but if they are only active on one platform, that will diminish your chances of going viral with your music. Your music may take off on one platform and format over others, so whether it’s Twitter, TikTok, or Facebook, you want to know that.
Also, make sure the campaign is diverse in terms of the format the creator is producing. Video content is great for conversion rates, for instance, so make sure you are using a bit of everything in your strategy.
It can be hard to launch your music online. That’s why musicians leveraging influencer marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing to date. Make the most of your influencer’s expertise. Then learn from the techniques, platforms, and formats they use to promote your music.
Take this new information and leverage it in new influencer campaigns, or in the case where you want to promote yourself as well.
With small artists and musicians going viral on TikTok regularly, it is clear social media should be part of your growth strategy.
You never know when it might be your song going viral as a popular audio for Instagram Stories, or suddenly being streamed millions of times on Spotify thanks to a TikTok trend.
Sam O’Brien is the Chief Marketing Officer for Affise, a Global SaaS Partner and offline affiliate marketing solution. He is a growth marketing expert with a product management and design background. Sam has a passion for innovation, growth, and marketing technology.