By Mike Romero
We live in a world where gum takes seven years to digest and Twinkies never expire. Except we don’t. Chewing gum is almost entirely impossible to digest, no matter how many years your body works on it, yet it passes through your body as fast as other matter. And Twinkies only have a shelf life of 45 days.
There are certain things we take as gospel. Most things are not. Trends and rules are constantly shifting, and certain perceptions outlast these trends and morph until they’re no longer associated with practical reality. This is especially true when it comes to social media. If you want to grow your music career, here are 3 social media myths you need to stop buying into right away.
Myth #1: Your music needs to be shared by top influencers or brands in order to catch on.
Times are changing. Millennials are out, and Zoomers are in.
Be advised: this new generation is a lot more cynical. According to Sprout Social, 82% of Millennials are willing to try a product after seeing it used by an ambassador or influencer online. Only 63% of Gen Z is willing to do the same.
Zoomers grew up constantly exposed to paid advertising and “influencer marketing.” They’re done with it. It comes across as insincere and forced. So don’t wait for your music to get shared by some major outlet or popular figure, because it may not have the big impact you expect. As cool as Provo Music Magazine may be, for example, us talking about your music won’t be nearly as helpful as your biggest fans giving genuine, personal recommendations to others about your music. To quote Jon Bellion, “Hype is something someone needs when fans can’t give you loyalty.”
Landing placements on major playlists or getting exposure from a major news outlet is exciting and lends your art legitimacy. But when it comes to growth, don’t forget the actual humans interacting with your music regularly. Find a way to love and support those who are loving and supporting you, and figure out a way to mobilize them to share your music in ways that are natural and authentic. If they do that spontaneously, reward the h*ck out of them.
Myth #2: Follower count doesn’t matter.
There are some who have called follower count a vanity metric. In some ways, they’re right. The practice of “buying followers” that became widespread ten years ago led to over-inflated social media metrics that were easy to see through. Buying followers is never the way to go. Bot accounts will never show up to your shows or buy your merch.
This led to a mental shift in the way social media managers and algorithm programmers at big tech companies began to view success. They started to place a big emphasis on engagement. For example: Having 5,000 followers is nice, but not when only 10 of them will like or comment on your posts.
However, engagement isn’t everything either. Ever heard of the “90-9-1 Rule?” Turns out, 1% of social media users create content. 9% share, like, and comment. The other 90% lurk.
Sprout Social reports that 9 in 10 people will buy from people they follow on social media as opposed to people they don’t. Lurkers may not engage with you online, but just because they’re not commenting doesn’t mean they’re not streaming or coming to shows.
You never know who’s watching you. Building a successful music career means reaching critical mass. Bot followers will never get you there, but meaningfully growing your following will. The more eyes on your art, the better.
Myth #3: You need to post daily, if not multiple times a day, in order to be successful.
No. Nope. Absolutely not.
Some musicians feel a compulsive need to vomit something into the aether, worried that if they don’t post on all of their socials at least once every single day that they’ll be drowned out and forgotten. Several issues arise from this.
- Creating such a colossal tidal wave of content could end up drowning out your music, which is the reason you started creating content in the first place. Art is not content. Content should support and enhance your art, not eclipse it.
- You’re going to get burned out.
It’s great to be consistent so that your following knows that you’re active and dependable, but it’s also possible to communicate to your audience that you’re a mortal who needs breaks. You’re not CNN. There’s no reason for you to be on 24/7. Sitcoms don’t drop a new episode 365 days a year. They function seasonally, and that expectation is built into the experience.
If you’re feeling exhausted or overwhelmed by content creation, or if you feel like content creation is getting in the way of actually writing and recording music, consider taking up a seasonal approach. struthless has an excellent video on this topic below.
Remember: nothing is set in stone. Trends and algorithms are shifting constantly. Focus your efforts on creating what you love healthily, growing your audience meaningfully, and encouraging those in your audience to share your art authentically, and success is sure to follow.