It’s time to demystify social media: from an annoying monster where everyone shares pictures of their meals, babies, and inspirational quotes, to a valuable tool that will further our careers.
3 years ago, I was begrudgingly trying to get with the times and understand why certain artists only had visibility in there respective cities. How was a college student getting more masterclasses and performance opportunities than an artist in a top five orchestra? Why did an exceptional college professor have international reach but no pay? These questions and more prompted me to embark on a 3 year study of what makes social media effective for musicians.
At that point, I was getting my clients followers, but I hadn't taken it upon myself to establish my own personal credibility. Young professionals: if there is anything you need to do besides practice, it's establish credibility! Even though I had been teaching social media strategy for 3 years, it wasn't until I went from 0-10,000 followers in a calendar year that people started to listen.
Social media is one of the most valuable tools we have at our disposal as artists. First and foremost, it is free marketing. Recently there have been so many negative articles published about the algorithms, that we have to “pay to play," and that it's not worth it to post because no one will see it. While yes, the algorithms change, and Facebook and Instagram do make money on ads, they are still FREE platforms.
When I emphasize the importance of social media to my artists, 3 of the most common excuses they tell me are:
1. I don't have enough content
2. I feel fake and sleazy
3. Nobody cares what I have to say
While these are all perfectly valid, they are FEELINGS not FACTS, something I am very passionate about differentiating between. In fact, I recorded a about it!
Today, I am going to use each of these myths as a way to exemplify just how powerful social media can be for your career, and inspire you to use it to your advantage.
Myth #1: I don’t have enough content.
If you are living, you have content. Whether it is the things you do in your daily life (practicing, a book you're reading, a rehearsal you attended), anything that you do can be considered content. Share with your audience about what you are practicing, what you are learning in the book you are reading, or what your biggest takeaway was from rehearsal. If you plan out your content in advance and have a strategy behind every post (i.e. what you want your followers to do), you will always have something to say.
Myth #2: I feel fake and sleazy.
This is a valid concern if you are being untruthful about your career, and I do not advise lying on social media. As a manager, I can tell you I can sell anyone on anything, but when it comes to pitching myself I struggle too. However, learning to talk about your accomplishments in a humble way is a muscle we must work out. Everyone has something to learn about each other, and the more you do it the easier it gets!
Myth #3: Nobody cares what I have to say.
Let’s go back to facts vs. feelings. The truth is, you have something to offer and nothing to prove. As musicians, we have our whole lives to grow and we never stop learning and improving. Do not attach your worth to a position or title and understand that you are already enough. What you have to say matters, and my advice is to find a community like the that will give you the courage and safety to share and grow together.
As we grow our following, we must keep in mind that although the number of followers you have may give you some credibility, it should not be the ultimate goal. The quality of the audience matters much more, meaning how much they engage with your content. Your following should have a return on investment, whether that is monetary like lessons, masterclasses, or performance opportunities, or you have created a community that focuses on certain social issues. Do not attach your worth and value to that number because at the end of the day, it's just a number!
Are you ready to get started with your social media strategy and kick these myths to the curb once and for all? For caption examples for musicians in any stage of their career, a blank social media calendar to help plan out your content, and a list of hashtags that all musicians should be utilizing on Instagram, !
Karen Cubides is a marketing/management consultant, educator, and professional saxophonist based in Nashville, TN. As CEO of Cubides Artist Services, Cubides works with a stable roster of talented professional instrumentalists and is a frequent lecturer on arts marketing and branding. To connect with Karen, follow her on , listen to her podcast , and learn more about .