In this day and age, everyone is on social media. To be precise, according to Digital 2022: Global Overview Report, there are 4.6 billion active social media users worldwide – that’s nearly 60% of the global population…
Therefore, planning, creating and implementing a full social media strategy and schedule is no longer an option when it comes to mapping out your full release strategy – it’s essential. This course will take you through all the elements of executing a successful social media strategy.
Social media is fluid – it’s continually changing and adapting to new trends. The platform algorithms are quick to pivot in order to ensure they retain their users for as long as possible. In the last few years alone we have seen “ideal content” surface in all shapes and forms. For example, back in the day of Vine (RIP), video content was consumed in short 6 second clips, YouTube long vlog style content then took charge following the Vine craze. This was then followed by 1 minute 1:1 ratio videos on Instagram leading into the 19:6 vertical video format that TikTok introduced – also 1 minute. Currently, the algorithm has just made another shift from quick, snappy content using trending sounds back to longer, more informative videos.
So, as you can see with social media, you snooze, you lose. But let’s not snooze, or lose – lets plan, prepare and stay on top of the game.
What is a Social Media Stratgey?
Remember how we defined your overall marketing strategy back in Module 7? Your social media strategy plan is no different. It is a single document which outlines your goals, ideas and plans to achieve them.
Keep it super simple – the more you complicate things at this stage, the quicker you will be to lose motivation later on. This strategy should include SMART goals which are achievable within the realms of your resources both time and money.
Here is where you will map out the different social media channels you will occupy, what styles of content you will post, how often you will post and (remembering to incorporate your branding!) what the aesthetic your social media channels will portray.
This document will also identify the ways in which you will measure success whilst driving brand awareness and engagement through your various social media channels.
Going viral once or twice is all well and good but more often than not, going viral takes posting the right thing, at the right time with a little bit of luck sprinkled on top. It could be something super simple like a sunrise view matched with the right music or it could be an intricate and contradictory viewpoint on a topical situation – if it starts to circulate with the right audience then going viral follows shortly after.
However, the true challenge is maintaining growth and engagement across your channels. This is where a well throughout plan and strategy comes into play.
If you have gone viral before, do you know what caused it? Could you replicate it and achieve the same results? Implementing a strategy will allow you to correctly track and monitor previous success in order to replicate this going forwards. Being consistent is key so if you do go viral on one of your videos, the followers you get off the back of that will remain engaged with your content going forwards.
Without going viral, a strategy is still super important to maintain growth and have a plan for testing out different forms of content to see what works well and also, what doesn’t all whilst staying consistent.
Furthermore, there are a number of benefits to spending time to perfect your social media schedule:
- Communicate your branding to your followers.
- Reach new followers and audiences for your music.
- Consistently and effectively promote new releases or exciting news.
- Provides direction and a view of growth to achieve your goals.
- You get to control your own narrative outside of what else the media is saying.
- Opens up more brand collaboration opportunities.
- Identifies the frequency in which to post per channel.
- Outlines a plan to adhere to when scheduling your posts.
- Promote and sell merchandise.
Define Your Goals
Ok, by now you must realise that we LOVE setting goals – and by now, you should too.
From overall career goals to marketing goals, now to a more granular level – social media strategy goals.
Similarly to all the others, make these SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).
Do you want to gain more followers? If so, how many? And when by? Perhaps you are looking to increase your engagement rate – again, by how much and by when?
The best way to create these goals is to look back at the wider goals you set for your career as an artist. For example, if your wider goals are to increase your streams by 25% – your social media strategy should reflect this. “Increase linktree clicks by 25% in the next 2 months” – you then know to tailor your content strategy around encouraging people to click the link in your bio or making sure this link is clickable in your posts on the platforms which allow for this.
Make sure all your main career goals are aligned with your social media goals (where applicable). This will then help you work back from there to identify what content you will post, when you will post it and how often you will post it too.
Identify five goals you would like to achieve through social media. Remember, make them SMART.
Your social media content strategy holds its own within your overall strategy. Your content strategy will identify the types of content (“how to” videos, BTS, photo teasers, dance trends, GRWM, OOTD, “new release coming soon”, etc), which platforms they will be posted to. These are known as your format and output and will be the core resources you will need when it comes to plotting your social media schedule.
Once again, make sure the content aligns with your goals but also, make sure it is achievable within your resources to capture the content. The beauty of social media in this day and age is the need for huge filming budgets and long editing turnaround times is no more. Most phone cameras will suffice and there is also an abundance of free-to-low-cost video editing software – many with trending templates already programmed in (inShot, CapCut, Canva). So especially if you are just starting out, these apps have just made what would’ve cost you thousands 10+ years ago, now completely affordable.
In a world of endless content, coming up with the content you plan to make can be tricky – there’s no denying that! Here’s some helpful tips to help you find and decide upon content to push out on your channel:
- Look at what other artists are posting
- Hop on trends – these can be simple and fun
- New releases – create content around this (coming soon / out now / countdown / etc)
- Use your music! Create content based around your own music
- Use your peers’ music! – Support your peers in the industry and in turn they should share this content / use your music for their videos
- Encourage engagement (why you should listen to my song, why you should sign up to my newsletter, etc)
- Gig promotion
- Merch promotion
Come up with ten different content ideas you are confident you could create. Keep in mind your goals, your overall budget and your time resources.
Social Media Engagement Strategy
It’s all well and good posting the content you have highlighted above however, there is no use in aimlessly posting content out with no intent for who is on the other end receiving the information you are sharing.
Essentially, your engagement campaign will allow you to grow your audience and manage your community. Encouraging your audience to engage with you through a variety of techniques will lead to a more loyal listener base – for example, responding to comments, running polls on your story or responding to direct messaging are all great ways of managing your community.
Nurturing your online community will in-turn grow your following however, the most important factor here is making sure your posts encourage engagement. Video content, competitions, being responsive to real-world topics or more granular industry topics are all great ways of encouraging your followers to engage.
Where possible, throughout your social media planning, make sure you continually think about what you are posting, who you are posting it for and why? – What do you want people to do with that post?
Remember – engagement can be liking, sharing, commenting, saving, downloading or following the instructions (follow, click the link, sign up to a mailing list).
Don’t forget to utilise user generated content too – this is content created by your followers then posted out on your channel. Be sure to credit those who have created the content but whether this is them wearing your merch, watching your performance, you made it into their Spotify Wrapped or they have left a testimonial based on working alongside you / booking you for a performance. This will show thanks to your followers and encourage others to do the same!
Run a Social Media Audit
Before you get started, run a social media audit on your current profiles to give you an idea of your starting point. This will also give you perspective on what has already been working well on your profile and therefore, key indicators on what content might be good to replicate going forwards.
First of all, make sure your profile is a Business or Creator profile – this gives additional insight tools to identify who your followers are, when they are most active and where they live.
Look back on previous posts – which format of content works best? What day of the week yielded the highest engagement? Take note of everything you’ve posted over the last couple of months and try to identify any trends between your current posts.
Take this one step further, and do the same to other profiles for similar artists! This can be artists with a similar following, artists with a similar sound, artists who work with brands you want to work with or even now this may sound crazy, audit social media accounts of online personalities you resonate with and enjoy engaging with their content. Be your own audience, make the content you want to see more of and that has previously done well on your account or others that you audit.
As you may have guessed – your task is to run three social media audits. One of your own and select two other accounts to run the audit on too. If you are yet to set up a social media account for the first time then select three social media accounts to audit.
Remember, when we say “accounts” we mean all platforms belonging to that person. E.g Instagram & TikTok for Lewis Capaldi.
Create a Schedule Calendar
Whether you like it or not, schedules are the most important factor in making sure you remain on track and everything you intend on posting, gets posted.
We are all guilty of thinking we will keep on top of tasks every day but then life happens, things crop up and all of a sudden you haven’t posted for four days and you are completely lost on where you left off. Or, when you do have that 5 minutes a day to post you have no idea what to post – nor do you have the correct pieces of content made.
The best way to avoid either of these situations is to create yourself a schedule calendar. If you think back to module 7 – Marketing, we discuss the importance of making yourself a marketing schedule. This really is no different but just on a much more granular and specific level.
You should make this schedule 1 – 2 months ahead of time but ideally no more than that. A month or two is enough time for trends to change, for your own plans to change and will have yielded enough data for you to assess and reflect.
Instagram: 1 post every 1 – 2 days
TikTok: 1 post a day
Facebook: 1 post every 1 – 2 days
Posting everyday sounds like a lot of work – it is. There’s no sugarcoating going on here – you need to work hard to make your social media work hard for you however there are tools and techniques which can help lighten the load.
Hints and Tips
As mentioned above, there are several ways in which you can maximise your time spent on managing your social media channels.
Use a scheduling tool like Later or Hootsuite.
These tools will allow you to bulk upload posts ready to go and the software will automatically post these out at the allotted time and date. You can preload the caption, tags and content too.
Batch make your content and save this to drafts / load into your scheduling tools.
Set one day aside for content creation and then use this for the rest of the month ahead. Remember to make sure you are doing some “live” posting too; replying to comments and DMs, adding to your story and commenting on other posts, etc.
Post collaborate with other artists.
Whether you have performed alongside someone, partnered up with a brand, working with an events company, been in the studio with producers, etc. Creating dual content with this person means you can access their audience in addition to saving yourself the time to make this content.
Repost videos across multiple channels
Just because you have posted it on Instagram does not mean you cannot post it on TikTok and vice versa. This can be on the same day, or different days – it’s up to you and what makes most sense for your release.
Yep – you got it!
Using the template provided below, fill out your next two months of social media posts across your selected platforms.
With platforms, remember, you don’t need to have a profile on every single social media site – it’s counterproductive and will leave you feeling overwhelmed. Having a presence on every social media is the equivalent to a full time job – especially if done correctly. Pick the platforms where you know your best and most engaged audiences are at.
Remember to incorporate everything we have spoken about in this module! It’s all important – trust us!
The next stage after you have decided what content you will post, and when you will post it is to then go ahead and make the content – if you haven’t already.
We would recommend setting a whole day aside for this – structure the day with mapping out your schedule first, making content next and then adding it all to your scheduling tool last.
As mentioned earlier in the module, there is little to no sense in scheduling a load of social media posts then doing absolutely nothing after that point. Aside from live interactions and story posts it is imperative that you track and assess the results of your posts.
Otherwise, how will you know what works well and what doesn’t? There is no point in not assessing your results or not running an audit on your account before planning and implementing the following two months of strategy.
Make sure you are running a full audit once you first complete two months of posts have gone out.
- What posts received the most engagement?
- What format were these posts in?
- What content did they contain?
- How many followers did you gain / lose?
- How many accounts did you reach?
- Is there any content which flopped?
- Do you know the reason for why this flopped?
- Which content would you kep and which content would you remove for the next schedule?