Succeeding as a Musician With and Without Social Media

Succeeding as a Musician With and Without Social Media

What do Lorde, Andrew WK, and Lana Del Rey, all have in common? They’re all successful artists who aren’t very active on social media.

But also, they’re all artists who are already fairly well-known, and who’ve been signed on by major record labels. So, what if you’re an indie artist who’s still looking to build your fanbase? Can you still become successful without a social media presence?

As industry insiders and marketers who help artists build their careers, we hear that question a lot: “Do I need Facebook / Instagram / Twitter as a musician?”

So, can artists survive without social media?

For artists, building successful music careers without social media is possible but challenging, as social channels are the most cost-effective means to reach audiences. However, certain methods do allow artists to leverage social media benefits while still avoiding its negativity and distractions.

In this guide, we’ll break down the ins and outs of social media platforms for musicians, including which social media platforms are really essential, and how to maximize visibility while avoiding social media pitfalls.

Let’s dive in!

Which is the best social media platform for indie musicians in 2022?

The best social media platform to grow an artist’s fanbase depends on the average age and location of the artist’s target audience. In the US, TikTok has the highest engagement rate, youngest audience, and fastest growing user base, while Facebook has the most users and the oldest audience age.

The table below provides some useful insights into social media platform selection.

Global Active Users (millions) US Active Users (millions) Average Global User Age Average US User Age 2022 User Growth Rate Average Organic Reach Average Cost per Impression
Facebook 2,912 209 35 41 16.57% 5.20% $7.19
Instagram 1,130 140 31 32 5.20% 16.00% $6.70
TikTok 1,100 131 21 19 57.14% 118.00% $1.82
Twitter 217 77 36 40 5.33% 3.61% $6.46

For instance,if most of your listeners are 21-year-olds, Facebook might not be the best platform to spend your time and resources; despite the largest base of 209 million active users, the low organic reach (the percentage of your followers who will see your post without you having to pay the platform to show your content to them) and high average age make it a suboptimal choice for you.

On the other hand, if you know that most of your listeners are aged 45+, focusing on TikTok might not be the best strategy for you.

If you’re not sure who your listeners are, where they live, or what their average age might be, the best way to figure it out is to dive into your audience analytics on the streaming platforms where folks are listening to your music (like Spotify or YouTube). Our step-by-step guide to finding and growing your Spotify audience will help with this, and you can also find some super useful insights figuring out audience demographics in our YouTube targeting guide.

In case you’re just getting started and don’t yet have any useful streaming data analytics, you’ll have to use your best guess on who they might be. One great way to do this is to think of other artists that you think your potential audience might also be listening to. Check out these artists’ pages on Spotify, open their ‘About’ section, and scroll all the way down to find their top cities.

 

 

This brings us to a host of questions that we often get from indie artists…

Do musicians need Facebook?

In 2022, musicians with listeners who are older Millennials, Gen Xers, or older, will benefit from Facebook’s base of 209 million active US users. Artists with younger listeners will find better organic reach and engagement on TikTok and Instagram, as well as lower cost per impression for paid ads.

Is TikTok good for musicians?

With 1+ billion global users, 131 million US users, and rapid growth rate, TikTok is a great platform in 2022 for musicians whose listeners are Gen Z-ers or younger Millennials. TikTok also has the highest organic reach of any platform and the lowest cost per impression for paid ads.

Is Instagram still good for artists?

With 140 million active US users, and organic reach that is on average over 3 times higher than Facebook’s organic reach, Instagram is the perfect platform for growing musicians looking to target Millennials and Gen Z-ers in 2022.

Do musicians need Instagram?

Instagram’s average organic reach of 16% and high engagement rate makes it a great channel for growing musicians to promote themselves. But many indie artists are growing their fanbase and finding success without an active Instagram presence, by leveraging other platforms like TikTok and YouTube.

What should I post as a musician on Instagram?

In 2022, musicians on Instagram tend to achieve the highest organic reach and engagement when posting short, “snackable” video content ranging between 30 and 60 seconds in length. Clips that tell a story perform better than randomly cut segments from longer videos.

Do musicians need Twitter?

Given its low user base of just 77 M active US users, low organic reach, and low content shelf life, Twitter is not the best platform in 2022 for musicians looking to grow their fan base. Social platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube may offer better results for growing artists.

How do you promote your art when you hate social media?

Artists can promote themselves and expand their audience base by leveraging the reach of social media channels, while simultaneously avoiding the distractions and negativity of these platforms, through a variety of measures and tactics:

  • Using a Facebook Page instead of a Facebook Profile to limit the content visible on the newsfeed
  • Using a tool like “Unfollow everyone” to clean up the newsfeed of the account used to access the Facebook page
  • Using tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite, Loomly or SocialPilot to post directly to platforms like Instagram or TikTok, avoiding the addictive interfaces of the apps.
  • Outsourcing social media tasks to social media managers (freelance platforms like Fiverr are a great place to find highly-rated professionals)

Next steps

Now that you have a complete overview of the social media landscape for artists in 2022, you might want to check out our professional services for artists serious about boosting their careers, or our free toolkit on how to market and distribute your music. We’ve distilled our experience of working with indie musicians, and of helping hundreds of artists build successful music careers, into six simple, powerful insights. Over 14,000 artists have downloaded our toolkit — get your own free music business toolkit here.