Social Media Marketing is one of the most controversial topics among creatives in the music industry. With the meteoric rise of TikTok and the pressure the platform brings to aspiring artists, many view the app and other similar platforms negatively. I want to shed a different, more positive light on this topic and hopefully reframe social media in the minds of creatives.
So, who am I and why would you care about my opinion on the topic? My name is Juliana Hale and I am an independent pop artist who, like many others, dreaded making social media content. At first.
I’ll be honest, I thought TikTok was dumb and that most of the sounds I saw blowing up weren’t very good. I felt like I “had” to post on there and would have a negative attitude going into filming and would be embarrassed, especially when making videos in public. Not only that, but I felt like this wasn’t what I got into music to do. I wanted to write songs, not skits. Video is not something I’m passionate about and it now felt like an obstacle in my path. My posts were not performing well and that was frustrating. Little did I know, it was because I was looking at this all wrong (oh, and because people could tell I didn’t want to be doing it).
If we rewind the clocks to before social media, being an “independent artist” wasn’t as prevalent as it is now. Artists were almost completely reliant on getting signed to a record label and being promoted by them. There was also little room for the artist and the fan to achieve genuine connection outside of live shows and meet and greets. On top of that, there were only so many spots on these rosters and on the radio stations.
Flash forward to now. Independent (or Indie) artists are everywhere, and they are thriving. Why is that? It is because the internet and technology gave the artist so much more power over their creativity, brand, and marketing. Don’t have a label? That’s fine. You can build a community right there on your phone. This concept really exploded with TikTok. Now your posts don’t just reach your followers, they reach anyone who might be interested in your content through a very specific algorithm.
According to the TikTok 2021 music report, roughly 430 songs surpassed 1 billion video views as TikTok sounds in 2021 and over 175 songs that trended on TikTok charted on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition, 75% of TikTok users in the US reported that they use TikTok to discover new artists. TikTok even revived older catalog tracks from artists and gave them new life in a new generation. Everything from summer bangers that make people dance to heartfelt ballads that bring people to tears found legs online last year.
Give it a try and take that pressure off yourself. When it’s not authentic, people can tell. Just make content that feels true to you and tell your story. I guarantee it will reach someone who will relate. This is the best thing you can do for your brand and your mental health, which you cannot forget to nurture. My content started performing much better when I stopped trying to make the videos I felt I “had to” and started making what felt good to me. I also began to stop dreading creating content. Now I look forward to sharing my new music or whatever it may be at the time.
If we as creatives can switch our perspective to see what a remarkable tool social media is and how lucky we are to have the chance to reach a new, potentially huge audience every single day, I think a lot of that inner tension can be resolved. Once we break down these barriers, not only can we build relationships with new fans, but we can collaborate with the insanely talented creators on the app. After all, isn’t connection what music is all about?
TikTok. “Year on TikTok 2021 Music Report.” Newsroom, TikTok, 13 Dec. 2021, https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/year-on-tiktok-music-report-2021.