Eighty-seven percent of Americans are on social media, and while statistics are not available for the slice of that percentage who are harpists and harp fans, they are out there.
Which brings up the question: Are you using social to connect with your followers and promote your music?
If not, you are missing an active and interesting opportunity to engage with industry insiders, potential performing partners, influencers, and producers—oh, yes, harp aficionados.
As a harpist, you don’t want to cut into your practice time and other professional commitments, but there’s no reason to flinch at the thought of using social media effectively. Here are some tips and tricks any musician can use to reap the rewards of increasing digital footprint.
1. Who is your audience?
Who are your fans? If you have a social account, there’s a simple way to find out what they appreciate about you, your music, and what sets you apart, ask them! Tell them you’re doing audience research, not fishing for compliments. And ask specific questions: What kind of content do you like? Videos? Post-concert selfies? Performance schedules? The history of the harp? People love to share their opinions and reach out to them via the platform’s messenger or a general shout-out can go a long way to establishing a personal connection.
Pro tip: Respond to comments, likes, and follows with a short note. A simple “thank you” will suffice. Social conversations strengthen connections, and the personal touch can produce more responses.
If you have the time, inclination, and know-how, try the platforms’ analytic tools. They will give you data-based insights into your followers, what content they like and forward, where they live, their gender, age, and other interests. Knowing this information is basic to developing and maintaining an effective social media strategy for you and your music.
By the way, if you’re only on one platform, create an account on others and cross-post on all of them. This is another proven tactic for increasing your digital presence.
2. Always be personal and friendly.
Social media should be just that: social. It helps solidify your relationship with your fans. Think about it: How do you connect from afar with musicians and celebrities? And who are the ones you’re most likely to check in on every day? If you’re like all the other 4.5 billion people in the world who are on social, you’ll probably follow most faithfully the ones who respond to you.
Here are some ways you can be more personal and hospitable with fans and followers in social media:
- Write like you speak. Your content comes across as genuine and personal. If you aren’t sure about what you have written, have someone you trust read the copy before publishing.
- Limit your posts to things that are meaningful to you.
- Share your passions, activities you love, music you enjoy, and performers you admire.
- Post about both the good times and your challenges. Every person has both and sharing them will provide a view of you as a genuine, three-dimensional person.
- Tell people where you’ve been and hope to be going next. Share a tidbit of what makes certain places special.
It’s a good idea to look at the social profiles of your favorite celebrities to see how they present themselves. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If something is working for them, it likely will work for you, too.
Pro tip: Take photos with your fans at live events and share it straightaway to their social account. You could have a “selfie” session on your social media platforms after performances. This is the near-ultimate personal connection, and fans love it. Remember: hashtags.
3. Optimize your social media profiles.
Your social profile may be the impression you create for potential fans. Make it a good one. Let your brand personality shine through.
- Make sure your personal info is accurate and current. This includes, but is not limited to performance dates, links to your music, bio, press coverage, link to website, and more. If it is online, it should be accurate and up to date.
- Choose the most striking images for your personal profile. Size and optimize them to meet the platform specifications.
- Keep in mind the platforms’ “tone” and tune your profile accordingly. Factual and newsy for Facebook, for instance, or “artsy” on Instagram.
- Include links to download your music, visit your website, learn more about you through your bio and press coverage; in short, anything your fans may find interesting or valuable.
- Use Facebook cover videos. These are very valuable for harpists because they allow you to introduce you and your music to new fans.
- Replace your profile and cover images often so you give your most avid fans something new to check out whenever they visit.
- Pin the most popular posts to the top of your page. This also provides something new for returning visitors.
- Use tags on your posts to increase the reach of your posts. Mention all the people in your pictures and videos along with sponsors, venues, and more. Tagging increases because the post will appear in the feeds of the people and businesses you’ve tagged.
- Ensure all your social media platforms are consistent in their look and feel. You want a variety of kinds of posts that meet the parameters of each platform, but it is important that your brand be consistently represented in your own unique consistent way.
Pro tip: Be generous with your gratitude when a song or video receives a lot of plays or after a successful show. And don’t forget to tag other performers, performances, venues, promoters, sponsors, and any interactions with fans.
4. Be consistent and regular in publishing posts.
An active social presence is the only way to keeping your followers and fans engaged. More important still: Post only information that is relevant to your fans.
You want to create FOMO (fear of missing out), which is particularly important for harpists who don’t release new music or perform as often as other talent.
Posting is like music. It needs a regular rhythm. Develop a consistent rhythm with your posting and posts so people know what to expect and when it will be live. If you’re busy in the studio or traveling, set aside time to post. Post a video on Fridays and give your followers a sneak preview earlier in the week.
Pro tip: Don’t get carried away. Overwhelming your fans with too much or low-interest content will hurt your follows, likes, and shares.
5. Use images to get more personal with your fans.
That’s right. A picture is worth a thousand words. They grab attention and work better than plain text on every platform. The following are some simple tips for adding visual “pop” to your account.
- Use photos or short videos from your performances, instruments (especially if you have a collection), home studio, and places you go for inspiration.
- Post graphics that announce upcoming event dates or a new single or album.
- Include visuals of performers at the shows you attend.
- Add photos or videos of unusual performance venues, such as a park gazebo, in front of school or museum, or a subway station is you’re adventurous.
- Create a video that explains what inspired a particular song or album.
- Focus on your music life. Livestream yourself attending events, working in the studio, or interacting with fans. You could even share performance tips, host an online Q&A, or teach.
- Share favorite moments from your personal life, including holidays, birthdays, and special everyday events. They are timeless, so when they were made is not important.
- Inspire your followers with illustrations that include motivational quotes.
- Animated music-based GIF images and memes.
- Media interviews.
- Music videos.
You don’t have to be an expert graphic artist to create professional images. There are several easy-to-use online tools like Canva that will give you better images than you probably expect. Or enlist the help of a fan, friend, or relative who can help you.
Pro tip: AMA (ask me anything) sessions are great for livestreaming. Whether you’re the host or guest, AMAs are a chance to show your skills by teaching music, demonstrate music production techniques, and more. Be creative but remember: If you want an AMA to work, you must promote it.
6. Share engaging and text content.
Although most do, not everyone prefers images and videos. Take readers for instance, it is important to provide some high-quality written content for them. Written content also helps you on Google search, as well. Some ideas for harpists include:
- Talk about your latest songs, upcoming albums, and gigs.
- Share inspirational quotes from harpists and other musicians.
- Provide educational tips.
- Take music-related surveys, polls, questions, fill-in-the-blanks, and “caption this photo” posts that will engage your fans, help you learn more about them, and have some fun at the same time.
- Ask your fans for their thoughts on your latest song, what they would like to hear in a concert, or other things that will again learn more about them and respond to what they like.
- Tell stories. Everyone has little stories to share from life. You could share what’s on your mind, a personal experience, what happened to you on a given day, and more.
- Make and share lists of things like your favorite songs, artists, performances, and music videos.
- Explain what inspires you and how that comes through in your music, brand, or personal style.
- Reinforce and boost your fans’ support for you with positive reviews and news about your music. Everyone likes to be part of a group.
- Educate your followers about your instrument and music.
Pro tip: Use the platform’s messaging feature to invite people to performances. It is more personal and makes the recipient feel special.
7. Share content from your fans.
Sharing is a two-way street. If you want your fans to forward your posts to their followers, do the same with theirs. It’s a simple act that shows you’re paying attention to them and are interested in what they have to say. While you’re at it, make comments on their posts, too.
Pro tip: You’re a creative person, so be creative! Respond to your followers’ posts in ways that appeal to them.
8. Schedule your posts.
Harpists are busy people. It may seem impossible for you to stay active constantly on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms. We get it. We’re musicians, as well.
The solution: Schedule your posts in advance. This makes it possible for you to engage with followers without your having to stay online all day. You can also choose when posts are published based on the insights you learn about when they are online and other habits.
Pro tip: Social media lists for each platform that include fans, companies, venues, music industry peers, and others you want to regularly touch simplify the scheduling process. Creating and using them makes sure you keep everyone in the loop and makes tagging easier.
9. Engage with your fans and followers.
Connecting with your fans and followers consistently shows you care about them and what they think. If you’re using your social for promotion only, you are neglecting its power to create conversations, get to know your fans, and let them get to know you.
- Post questions, get involved in comment discussions and wherever you can keep conversations going. Show your personality and add fun and a lively tone.
- Encourage fans to post their pictures from your shows or remixes of your songs and tag you.
- Weekly themes and call-out days are helpful for keeping fans engaged. Promote digital events like Music Club Monday or Super Fan Friday so they know something special is coming up.
- Monitor your social media accounts. Don’t create posts and forget about them. Developing and maintaining a fan base requires your full commitment. Or, perhaps, the commitment of a personal assistant.
Pro tip: Put together images of the best moments from a performance or event. Post them as a story on Instagram or Facebook. Reserve your best material for these limited-time posts.
Used well, social media can be one of your most effective marketing tools. In addition, it can be a lot of fun, too! Musicians love music and want to share it with the world. Social media gives harpists that opportunity.