So many choices, so little time.
There’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, TikTok, Pintrest, WhatsApp, and all the new hottest things that come online every month.
Who has time to mess with all of that, right? Better question, why fiddle with it?
Second thing first: why social media? As professional flutist, it should be a key element in promoting your music, engaging your fans, and attracting new ones, connecting with potential collaborators and employers, and raising your profile among producers and industry insiders.
Now, let’s talk about how much time it takes to develop and maintain a social media strategy. A lot at first. But like anything else, as you move up the learning curve, you’ll begin ratcheting down the time you spend on your social media presence.
To help you get started, we asked a panel of flutists to share the tips and techniques they used to make social work for them.
1. It all begins with knowing your audience.
Think of social media as the venues where you play. You want to fill those seats with aficionados of the flute and fans who admire your talent and style. So, it goes with social media. You want to populate your account(s) with people who are interested in you and your métier. Then put the two together.
That can be as easy as studying the people in the seats from backstage, on stage, and at after-performance meet and greets. Age is a factor in where you’ll find your fans on social. YouTube is the prime platform among all age groups, except the 65-and-older demographic, who trend to Facebook, which is popular among everybody except Instagram, which is where millennials spend too much time. The point is, age can help find the platforms your fans use, and you want to be where they are. Plan accordingly.
As you gain confidence on your chosen platforms, use the tools they offer to track your followers and fans. That functionality will provide data-based insights to everything from the content they like and forward to where they live and what their other interests are.
Pro tip: If you use two or more social platforms, cross-promote them. Spread as wide a net as you can to catch as many fans as possible.
2. Be chatty.
Conversation and interaction are what makes social media tick. It’s as close to making real-life connections as cyberspace provides. It’s the place where people from all over the known world meet and talk about things that interest them. Yes, there are trolls, agitators, and bots, but they are easy to block. When your fans like, forward, comment on content you’ve posted (and vice versa; a conversation is a two-way street), that’s where the magic of social happens. They will love the attention, and others will see it and think all the better of you.
Here are some proven tips for being social on social:
- Write the way you talk. No need to break out the Webster’s to find the just-right word, and that’s a time saver. You’re writing a thesis. Be genuine and authentic.
- If it’s not meaningful to you, it probably won’t be for your followers. Skip it.
- What do you get excited about? What music do you love, performers you admire, activities you enjoy? You don’t put a lot of thought (or time) into that, and fans will get to know the person who’s playing the flute.
- Share the churn, to the extent your comfortable doing that. If the tour is making you weary, for instance, say you’re tired without sounding like you’re whining.
- Tell your fans who influenced your career and whom do you follow now.
Social is more than a place to post your schedule and recaps of performances. Use it to bond with your audience, and they will become loyal, faithful fans.
And don’t be shy about looking at high-profile artists’ social accounts. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Imitation, after all, is the sincerest form of flattery.
Pro tip: Fans love photos with you. Let them know where you’ll post them. Fans will look forward to them and post them on their social, which will cast that wide net mentioned earlier.
3. You get one chance to make a first impression.
The first thing many newcomers look for when they first land on a social site. Keep yours in tune by:
- Keeping personal information, performance dates, links to your website and where to buy and download your music, press coverage, among other things.
- Reflecting your personality as a flutist by using striking images that are optimized for resolution and space allowed by your social sites; each has its own standards.
- Being mindful of the general tone on the platform. Facebook, for instance, works better with a “newsy” tone; Instagram is more “artsy.”
- Embedding Facebook cover videos to introduce yourself with a short flute solo.
- Pinning the most popular posts to the top of your page so new fans can find it.
- Tagging your posts with mentions of anyone who is in the photos or videos. Give a shout out to sponsors and venues too. They are the ones who write the checks.
- Ensuring brand consistency across all your platforms. Meet their posting requirements, of course, but don’t sacrifice your brand identity while meeting them.
Pro tip: Social is ideal for thanking your fans after a successful show.
4. Freshen up.
Keeping your social presence fresh is as important as your commitment to adding to your musical repertoire. Both keep fans coming back, and that’s the level of engagement that makes social work for you. It’s not necessary to post often (though that doesn’t hurt) but posting regularly is important.
When you think about it, posting is like music. It needs a regular rhythm. Set the beat for posting and staying on it to give your fans something to look forward to and provoke a FOMO response. The bottom line: you don’t need to spend all day every day online.
Pro tip: Post regularly, but don’t get carried away. Fans will unfollow you or stop engaging with your posts if you overwhelm them with too much or low-value content.
5. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Everyone on social media uses mobile to engage with it. Mobile is a visual medium, so photos, short video clips, and illustrations are likely to draw the most attention. Our panel of professional flutists suggested these ideas to add some flash to your social:
- Use highlight moments from your performances and of those you’ve attended.
- Let fans glimpse your instruments, home studio, and you while practicing and with fans.
- Create graphics (you know someone who can help you make them) to announce upcoming events and new releases.
- Photos or videos where you are performing in unusual or intriguing places such as on a gazebo in a park or in front of a school or museum.
- Create a video that explains what inspired a particular song or album.
- Livestream yourself at events, working in the studio, and meeting fans. You could even share performance tips, host an online Q&A, or teach.
- Focus on favorite moments from your personal life, including holidays, birthdays, and special everyday events. Share yourself as a fellow human being.
- Graphics or pictures with inspirational quotes about music or from other flutists.
- Animated music-based GIF images and memes.
- Media interviews.
Pro tip: Livestream an AMA (ask me anything session), which is as close to realtime, face-to-face interaction as social gets.
6. Remember your readers.
There are some people who still know how to read. Fans of the flute likely will engage with the visuals, but when they want to engage in depth, write for them. Some ideas for writing include:
- Your latest songs, upcoming albums, and gigs.
- Inspirational quotes from flutists and other musicians.
- Flute lessons.
- Fan response to surveys, polls, questions, fill-in-the-blanks, and “caption this photo” that you can post to engage your fans. Everybody loves surveys.
- Your fans’ thoughts on your latest song, what they would like to hear in a concert, or other such things. People love to offer their opinions. Just ask them.
- Stories from life, the road, and whatever else is on your mind.
- Lists of your favorite songs, artists, performances, and music videos.
- What inspires and influences you and how it comes through in your music, brand, and personal style.
- Positive reviews and news about your music.
Pro tip: Invite people to performances in private messages. It is more personal and makes the recipient feel special.
7. Pay attention.
There’s no better way to tell fans you are interested in them than by stopping by their social platforms to like, forward, or comment on their content. That’s how to cement a relationship.
8. Think ahead.
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: Create social media lists of fans, companies, venues, music industry peers, and others you want to regularly touch. Lists bring discipline and ensure you don’t leave anyone out.
9. Keep the conversation going.
This is the No. 1 priority for flutists on social. Engaging with your fans and followers consistently shows you care about them and what they think. Some examples of how to do this include:
- Reply to comments, messages, and mentions. It’s a conversation!
- Ask questions, get involved in comments and discussions. Show your personality and add fun and a lively tone. Be thoughtful now, and it will pay off later.
- Ask followers to share or retweet your posts and return the favor.
- Encourage fans to post their pictures from your shows or remixes of your songs. Ask them to tag you.
- Come up with weekly themes or promotions to keep your fans engaged. Give them something that they can look forward to and know is coming up, so they revisit your sites. Think Super Fan Friday or Music Club Monday.
- 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.
Leveraging these proven tactics is a great way to take your digital presence to the next level. You don’t have to limit yourself to these ideas. Never be afraid to get creative. Figure out what appeals to your fans and followers and see where you can go with it.
Used intentionally, 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 flutists that opportunity.