In this episode, we’re going to have a look at a social media strategy that helps DJs and electronic music producers build awareness in a meaningful way. To do so, I’m going to show you the five critical aspects of my T.R.A.I.N.-Method.
You can use this social media strategy to grow your audience, keep it engaged, and strengthen your artist brand. A little disclaimer: I’m not going to show you the latest little Instagram hack here because I don’t believe this is going to help you in the long run.
Why most social media strategies suck
Sorry but not sorry. I had to write this headline because I’ve been doing some research on this topic and I was shocked about the search results that have popped up. There’s barely any “strategy” out there because I don’t think a collection of little tips and tricks counts as a social media strategy. Neither do I think it’s a good idea to repost or comment on stuff by big profile DJs and producers just to steal some of their reach. Honestly? Is that how you want to grow your audience?
Moreover, I don’t believe should try to “game the system” and exploit every loophole in the algorithms of Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube just to gain a little advantage. These hacks won’t last long and a couple of months later, you will be punished by the almighty algorithms for trying to screw them. You should think about your audience, not about ones and zeros.
Common social media mistakes of DJs and electronic music producers
From all the articles I’ve researched, the one by DJTechTools stood out positively. In their blog post about the five most common DJ social media mistakes, they’re listing five no-gos which I totally support:
- Overhyping everything (“big news coming soon!”)
- Not engaging enough (treating your social channels as ad space only)
- Track previews (video snippets of things that are not up to your usual quality standard)
- Tweeting in anger/ showcasing bad behavior (just remember Ten Walls and his offensive comments…)
While this DJTechTools article’s intent wasn’t to provide a comprehensive social media strategy for DJs and producers, I still think it’s a good starting point.
I would even add a few things to the list of no-gos:
- Jumping on the bandwagon of every discussion in the scene (even if it doesn’t really concern you)
- Pretending to be bigger than you really are (interesting, you have 10.000 followers but not one upcoming gig this year)
- Reposting weekly that one time when a famous DJ played your track
- Bragging daily about Beatport chart positions (we’re all proud of you, believe me)
- Writing things like “what a special night” and “best crowd ever, thanks to all the dancers” after every single gig you’ve played (Buxtehude isn’t Berghain and we all know that)
Now that you’ve successfully managed to avoid the most common mistakes, let’s have a look at what we’d like to get out of a social media strategy.
The qualities of a good social media strategy for DJs and electronic music producers
The difficult thing with Instagram, Facebook, and other social platforms is that they’re changing constantly. When I started making music professionally, Myspace was still a thing (do you even remember that?). I have seen many social media sites come and go and the “next big thing” turned out to be the next big loser. So how can a social media strategy for DJs and electronic music producers stay relevant, even if the platforms are changing?
In my opinion, a great social media strategy should…
- Help you add real value to people’s lives
- Stay in line with what you want to express as an artist
- Be an add-on to your marketing arsenal and not your only weapon
Understanding Instagram, Facebook, YouTube & Co.
What do I mean here? Let’s first think about what social media platforms are and what goals they have. In short, these platforms want to grow the number of active users and gather as much data as possible. Then they serve their users with the right types of ads so that advertisers are spending more money on the platform. All of that increases shareholder value which means the company that runs the platform will be worth more tomorrow than it is today. Welcome to digital capitalism my friend.
Personally, I have many concerns about the social consequences of this business model, but that’s another discussion. Right now, if you’re an upcoming DJ or electronic music producer, it’s quite unlikely that you can establish yourself without at least a minimum of social media attention.
Serve your audience, be relevant, and stay true to your artist brand
So if social media platforms want active users, you as someone who creates content there must ensure you put out something that is of value to your audience. Of course, you could gain a lot of attention with funny cat videos as well, but this leads us directly to the second aspect (“stay in line with what you want to express as an artist”). Unless you’re DJ Catwoman, I don’t believe that these videos would do you a favor.
Overall, I think we’re overestimating the importance of social media for DJs and electronic music artists a little bit. When I hear the usual complaints about “Instagram-DJs”, I doubt that this concept is going to last long. The most successful artists will always be the ones who provide a holistic concept of great music, amazing personality, and a strong artist brand. Therefore, I believe that social media is an important part of your arsenal, but it’s for sure not a magic bullet that can catapult you into the techno charts.
The T.R.A.I.N. social media strategy for artists and DJs
My goal was to create a social media strategy blueprint for you that will stand the test of time, is easy to remember, and realistic when it comes to implementation. Since I’m a big fan of mind-hacks, I’ve come up with the abbreviation T.R.A.I.N. which stands for…
Now, these points might seem obvious to you but to each one there’s a deeper layer which I’m now going to explain in detail.
Think of this social media strategy as a sniper rifle, not a shotgun. You’re not just blindly posting something that might or might not strike a chord with your audience. Instead, you’re being hyper-specific and, therefore, people know exactly what you’re about. You’re the visionary at the forefront of a tribe (more on that in episode 13), so your followers expect clear messages from you.
“People like us do things like this” is the underlying principle of this hyper-targeted way of communicating with your tribe. It’s an internal narrative among your fans who constantly reassure or redefine their belonging to your tribe. If they can make sense of your posts and it feels like a meaningful interaction, you’re doing a great job. If they’re confused by you walking in one direction on one day and in another one on the next day, then you’re missing the point. Your audience will probably move on and the tribe might dissolve.
The better you know your audience, the more value you can add to their lives
A social media strategy for DJs and electronic music producers can only be targeted if you know your audience. What are their common interests? Who else are they following? What are their values, needs, desires, beliefs? It’s not enough to assume you know all this. You have to talk to some of your “true fans” (see episode 12) after a show or online. Don’t ask questions like “what needs do you have” directly, as it would come across quite weird. Let them know that you want to find out a bit more about the people that identify with your music. Ask them how they found out about you. What is it about you or your music that interests them? Who else is in their list of top five artists?
As soon as you know a little bit more about your audience, you can start thinking of ways to enrich their day with your social media activities. What can you offer that adds value to their life? Even if it’s just something small. And believe me, it’s not your semi-finished pasta dish with a silly emoji on top.
Targeted also means: Focusing on one or two social media platforms. It doesn’t make sense to spread yourself thin and try to put out content everywhere. Keep in mind that all platforms work in their own unique way and it’s not a simple copy-paste game. So ask yourself where your energy is spent most effectively. Where is your audience? Which platform resonates with you and the type of content you create?
I know, this doesn’t come as a surprise. But the question is HOW regular? Should you force yourself to post daily? Twice a day? Five times a day? If you do some research, you’re going to find blogs that tell you exactly how many times you should post on Instagram, Facebook, and every other social media platform out there. But honestly, I think this is again one of these rules that you can ignore and still be fine. Just like what type of content the algorithm currently prefers. You should avoid working completely against the algorithm, but please don’t try to adapt to it too strictly.
With “regular”, I mean “find your rhythm and stick with it”. If it’s daily, fine. If it’s one or two times a week, that’s also okay. But don’t take this as an excuse to only post every other month. Keep in mind that your tribe is expecting you to be in touch with them regularly. The easiest way to do this is to set calendar reminders for social media posts so you don’t forget it. This way, you’re building a habit of sharing content regularly and your audience slowly learns when to expect new stuff from you.
Now that we know who we’re targeting and what rhythm works for us, we can go deep into the topic of content. What should you post and why is it relevant?
Do you have a favorite Netflix series? Maybe you have a favorite video game? If so, you might enjoy this slight feeling of being addicted to it (and I’m not talking about actual addiction here). In our social media strategy for DJs and electronic music producers, we want to create that same feeling among your followers. So how can you do this?
If you’ve taken the first two steps seriously, you’re already on track. Posting hyper-targeted messages in a certain rhythm is your foundation. Now you can build on this and use the great art of storytelling to keep your audience engaged. Storytelling means inviting your followers on a journey that extends beyond individual posts.
Here’s an example of storytelling
Let’s say you have a very important gig coming up at a famous club or festival. You can tell a mini-story about this over several days. It starts with you announcing that you’re going to play there. You share your excitement and show some real gratitude. On another day, you’re preparing (mentally and physically) for your gig. So you let your audience have a look behind the scenes when you’re packing your bags.
Show that rare vinyl B-side you’re going to play or come up with a new addition to your modular live-rig. Let them know how important that show is to you. On the big day, you can have multiple posts from soundcheck to meetings with other artists to behind-the-booth shots while you’re playing. Please let someone else take the last photo. The day after your gig can be a personal résumé. Please let it be more than a short “thank you to all the dancers, what an awesome night”.
Do you get the idea behind storytelling? There are cliffhangers, excitement, and emotional enrollment with you, the hero of the story. If your social media strategy consists of many little stories across the whole year, you’re on track to build a highly engaged following.
If you want to take the “addictive” aspect to a whole new level, you should try to master the great art of inspiring other people. This might sound cheesy but it’s one of the most powerful ways to use social media. As a true artist, a visionary who leads a tribe, it’s your obligation to inspire your followers.
Think about all the boring, mediocre stuff that spams your social media feeds. And then this one amazingly inspiring thing pops up and delights you. It gives you food for thought. You carry it with you throughout your day. You’re telling your significant other about it. Maybe you even share it with your peers, the “people like you who do things like this”. Do you get it now why inspiration is so powerful?
It’s impossible to constantly post inspirational stuff. It would most likely feel fake if you did it. But if there’s at least a high percentage of truly inspiring posts by you, I can guarantee you that you will see great benefits from it. We’re all lacking this in our daily lives, we’re craving for inspiration. Moreover, it’s going to help you sharpen your artist brand and differentiate yourself from all the other upcoming electronic music producers out there.
Stay away from copy-paste
With “inspiring”, I don’t mean copy-and-paste “inspirational quotes” put on cheesy background images. I mean honest and deep original thoughts of you. Messages that polarize in a meaningful way. Pictures that reflect your artist-personality. Videos that have a certain edge, a little twist, or something else that’s unusual these days.
Inspiration is the fuel that runs the engine of your tribe. It’s the one thing we can’t live without. This is why we seek out artists and other thought leaders to help us make sense of this crazy world. I might be getting a bit philosophical here, but I truly believe in this concept.
Okay, you can relax now. This last aspect of our social media strategy for DJs and electronic music producers is the easiest one to grasp. “Natural” means that you should try to let go of all the rules from time to time and focus on what social media really means. It’s a way for you to be in touch with people who are truly interested in you. Nothing more, nothing less. There’s no point in over-optimizing your approach to social media as an artist.
Try to find your natural tone of voice, your natural rhythm, and your natural way of sharing your story. Keep the T.R.A.I.N. strategy in the back of your head but don’t look it up daily to make sure you’re taking the right steps. You’ll be fine as long as you try to regularly post content that delights your fans in a swamp of crappy ads and cat photos.
“Natural” also means that I don’t believe in posting-plans and third-party apps that schedule stuff for you. If that helps you, great, keep on using it. But the power of social media often lies in its spontaneity of capturing moments that are happening in this very moment of your life.
Putting it into action: The T.R.A.I.N. social media strategy for DJs and electronic music producers
Now that you know what T.R.A.I.N. stands for, it’s about time for you to take action on this. As usual, I’ve put together three dedicated action steps for you.
1. Review your past social media activities
- Take a look at the past six months on your social media channels.
- Does it feel inspiring to you? Have you managed to tell little stories around topics that matter to your audience? Does it look consistent to somebody who has just found out about you? Have you posted regularly enough?
- Take a look at the data: What do the metrics say? Has your engagement increased or decreased?
2. Commit to not more than two social media platforms and find your rhythm
- Decide which of the platforms you want to focus your efforts on. Where do you see the most engagement? Where do you enjoy posting the most?
- Commit to a rhythm that feels realistic and natural and set calendar reminders to help you stay on track.
- If you already have more than two platforms, try to minimize the energy that goes into the other ones or completely stop using them. Nothing bad is going to happen because of that. Focus always wins over spreading yourself thin.
3. Experiment with addictive storytelling and the power of inspiration
- This works like a muscle. The more you train it, the stronger it gets. Start with a little story and try to find your unique way of inspiring others with that story.
- Try to build awareness of what inspires you when you scroll through your newsfeed. What can you learn from these inspiring people and their content?
So that’s it now for this episode. How have you handled social media so far? Which platforms and strategies work best for you?
Let me know in the comments, I read everything.