How To Promote Your Music: Worst Strategies And Tactics | Music Promo Tip
You made your songs available on every digital platform. You have a presence on every popular social media channel. Yet, no one’s listening to your songs. One of the biggest questions I get, a very common problem for new musicians, is how do I promote my music?
It can be a frustrating experience, but there’s a lot more that goes into releasing music than just making it widely accessible and making a couple of social media posts.
Sometimes, musicians who have this problem are looking for free exposure or shortcuts to build up vanity metrics like views or followers. This type of mindset leads to bad habits and tactics that just don’t work.
Worst Promo Strategies and Tactics
To start it off, we will go through the worst promotion tactics and strategies that you want to avoid or completely stop. Some people just don’t know any better, but it’s time to change things up if you are guilty of these.
Spamming is when you contact a group of individuals to promote your music when they did not ask for it. This is commonly done by copy and pasting a generic message to send out through email, WhatsApp group chat or direct messages on social media. Adding email addresses you come across to your newsletter list without the person’s permission, also counts as spam.
Most people don’t like to get random messages unsolicited. Not only is it annoying to receive, it’s also against the law. Social media platforms also have ways to detect if someone is spamming messages. If you get reported enough times, it may lead to account termination.
Hijacking a post is basically promoting your song by commenting on someone else’s post. This could be Instagram, Twitter or even in the YouTube comments. You might think that the person whose post you’re commenting on has a large following so if you comment, a lot of people will see and check you out. The reality is no one’s going to care, and it makes you look desperate.
Although not as annoying as straight up spamming, this is definitely not an effective way to get exposure. Others may report you, or the person may just end up blocking you. It could lead to account suspension or termination as well if you are commenting on too many posts in a certain time frame. Don’t do it!
Follow / Unfollow
This is something I see a lot on Instagram. Chances are this has happened to you many times. The way it works is you click on a hashtag that might contain people who might like dig your music. You click ‘follow’ on someone so they get a notification that you just followed them. If you’re lucky, they follow you back because they want to return the favor. Days later, you unfollow them. Repeat.
There are bots that do this, which is why it’s a more common practice. I think it’s fair to say most people are aware of this tactic, so it’s less likely to work anyways. Not to mention, Instagram has limits on how many follows and unfollows you can do each day.
The real problem is you’re not actually promoting your music, or engaging with anyone. You’re simply trying to build up vanity numbers.
Buying Fake Followers
Speaking of vanity numbers. There are a lot of people who feel that the best way to promote their music is to create the impression of being popular, without putting in the actual work of earning it. This type of impatience is partially a byproduct of our instant gratification / magic pill culture. The belief is that if it looks like a lot of people follow, then it must mean I’m good. Although there is some truth to it, buying fake followers is not the way to go, for a number of reasons.
First, it’s easier to figure out who has fake followers. Second, it makes your promotional efforts even more ineffective when your following consists of bots that don’t engage with your posts.
Random Surprise Releases
This is when you release music at some random day or time without any lead up. This was a tactic that Beyonce did years ago in 2013. The problem is that most musicians or artists aren’t on Beyonce’s level, and don’t have the brand or following she has.
Whether you do this as a promotional tactic or out of pure laziness, just don’t do this!
Using Social Media as Broadcasting Tool / Repeating Same Post
Just posting the same cover or photo with the same exact caption to tell people to check out your music is not effective. It also looks messy on your Instagram profile. The worst part is when it’s the same photo with a bunch of text on it, like a flyer.
You have to understand that social media is not a broadcasting tool. If you’re only using it to push, promote, pitch and sell yourself, then you’re likely not to see any results. No one likes to be around that 24/7 sales person.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with promoting a new song or project multiple times. In fact, it’s encouraged because not everyone will see your posts now that most social media platforms use algorithms to control what shows in your newsfeed.
You just need to switch up, so try using a different photo or video. Provide insight or tell a story. Make them more engaging or interesting than just “check out my new song!”
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