If you’re promoting your music online, smart links are a must. With one single link, you can route your fans across the globe to their favorite services, whether they’re streaming your music, buy your merch, or booking tickets for your tour. And you collect valuable audience data along the way. 

Once you’ve created a smart link, the next step is sharing it for your fans to click through. But where are the best places to post it?
Well, smart links work everywhere across the web. Check out our guide for where to feature smart link.

Social Profiles

IG Feature

When visitors land on your social profiles, your bio section is one of the first places they look. Your Instagram bio, Facebook ‘About’ page, and Youtube channel description tell the world what you’re all about. That makes them the perfect places for promotion!

Linkfire Bio Links make it easy. Create a smart url, and you can take fans to a stylish microsite, home to all your content—link to music, tour dates, profiles, and more! It’s fully customizable and you can update the content whenever you want. So no more swapping out your link in bio! 
Learn more in our article Link in bio—what is it and what does it mean?

Social posts

Feature FB

When it comes to social media, there’s a huge variety of content you can share. It can be sorted into roughly two categories, and it’s a good idea to draw from both.

The first is promotional posts, which are plugging your latest release, tour, merch, or playlist. Don’t be shy about marketing yourself. If you’re hoping to build a career, you need to be confident in selling your product. At the same time, too much self-promotion can be off-putting for your followers. 

That’s where the second type of posts come in—brand building or community building posts. This is content that engages your fans at a more human level and shows off your personality. It could be a video from backstage at a show; a cover of a classic track you love; photos from band rehearsals. 

Whatever type of content your posting, smart links fit right in. Try to always feature smart links and give fans the chance to continue their journey into your music. 
For more tips on social media marketing, check out our article How to promote your music on social media.

YouTube video description

Feature Youtube

Did you know that the description under a YouTube video is crucially important? Youtube’s algorithm determines what your video is about through its description, and a good one can boost your video in the YouTube search rankings. It’s all about providing extra value to Youtube users. 

One way to do this is to include links to relevant content. By adding a Linkfire link to your description, you can give your video watchers plenty of options: Link to music on streaming or your Facebook profile.

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Soundcloud track description

Feature Soundcloud

Soundcloud is the place to experiment. Unlike other streaming services, you don’t need a distributor to get your music on the platform, so it’s great for sharing demos, remixes, and ideas with your fans. But once you’ve hooked their attention, don’t lose it! 

Feature smart links in your Soundcloud track description, and take listeners through to the rest of your online presence. If you are posting a different version of a track, why not link to music like the original version on streaming services? Or take them to your merch store.

Website widget

Feature Widget

If you have a website, and you’d like to feature smart links, you can transform it into an eye-catching widget instead! Linkfire widget types include the showcase widget, which displays the music’s artwork and a play button. Or you can choose the clickthrough widget, which features a list of services for visitors to choose from (much like a Release link landing page). 

To get your widget, you’ll need to add a small bit of HTML to your site. For all the details, read our Embed a Linkfire widget on your site article.

Email newsletters

Feature email

Fans in your mailing list are one of your most valuable audiences. Why? Because they’ve taken an active step to sign up for your latest news—your email lands right in their inboxes. It’s a much more direct line of communication than social posts, which can get lost in the endless scroll of their feeds. 

Reserve your email newsletters for the important stuff. Create a smart url and add it to your emails to keep fans updated on new releases, merch, and tours. 

There are two elements of emails you should pay special attention to: 

The subject line: Your subject line has to convince recipients your email is worth reading. Make it exciting and personal so it catches fans’ attention. And keep it short—if they’re checking their email on mobile, they’ll only see the first 33-43 characters. 

The CTA (call-to-action): This is the link in the newsletter you want fans to click on. Put it near the top of the email, and make sure the button text is clear about what happens next, e.g. “Listen here” or “Book tour dates.”

Reddit

Feature reddit

Reddit is among the most popular sites in the world. It’s composed of millions of forums called subreddits, covering every topic imaginable, including many devoted to music. Some of these music-focused subreddits welcome artists sharing their own material—one of the most popular is r/listentothis. 

Reddit is a great place to feature smart link and receive feedback, but just be aware that not all the reactions to your music may be positive.

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In the past, unsigned artists faced uphill backing when it came to self-promotion. The internet has changed all that. Independent artists now have seemingly endless ways of reaching fans on social, email, and more.

But self-promotion is still no walk in the park. You need to be strategic about where you focus your efforts. And you need tools and services that won’t take up all your time and turn you from a creative into a full-time marketeer.

Read on for our top tips about how to market your music independently.

Find distribution

Signing with a distributor should be the first step in your marketing plan. Put simply, they get your music onto streaming services and digital music stores. While some smaller platforms do let you upload music yourself, the likes of Spotify and Apple Music only accept music through distributors. If you’re not on these types of services, you’re missing out on a huge percentage of your potential audience.

To learn more about distributors, check out this guide from CD Baby. Every distributor has its own unique selling points, so we recommend you really do your research before signing with one.

The most popular distributors include:

Create an electronic press kit

If you’re reaching out to anyone in the industry (that includes promoters, venue owners, labels, journalists), it’s a good idea to have an Electronic Press Kit (EPK). It’s a place to gather all the info people need to get a picture of your music—sort of a resume for musicians. If you’re figuring out how to market your music independently, an EPK is a great first step.

It should feature a bio, some high-resolution promo images, contact info, and links to your best tracks on streaming. If you’ve received any press or glowing reviews in the past, you can link to these too.

If you’d like to create an eye-catching EPK, a Linkfire bio link is a good option.

A Linkfire bio link is a personalized microsite, which you can customize to include your bio, music, and links. It’s perfect for promoting all your stuff on socials, but you can create a second bio link that just acts as your EPK. It will only be accessible to those with the proper link. Learn more in our article Link in bio—what is it and what does it mean?

Alternatively, you can create your EPK as a PDF—we recommend using free design tool Canva.

Engage your fans on social media

#social table is this way

Social media got its name for a reason. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are built around sparking conversations, growing networks, and engaging people. But sometimes, independent artists forget all this. Instead, they see social media as a one-sided marketing channel—just a space to post up an endless stream of promotional content.

You need to treat social media as a conversation. Respond to your followers’ comments, ask them questions, thank them for their support. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through, because fans aren’t just investing in your music, they’re investing in the creators behind the music.

Another thing to focus on is the content you post. A feed full of release announcements is far from engaging. There’s a wealth of interesting content for musicians to choose from, like backstage videos, lyric sheets, demo recordings, conversations between band members, other music you like… the list goes on!

For more tips on social media marketing, check out our article How to promote your music on social media.

Become smarter about analytics

In the digital age, analytics grants you a whole new level of understanding of your fanbase. With data like click-through rates, geographic info, and visits, you can discover which of your marketing efforts is really connecting.

The problem is that social media, streaming, and ad services all have their own data analytics, often only accessible through business accounts (or sometimes not accessible at all). For independent artists, working with tight budgets, this makes it challenging to get the full picture.

A platform like Linkfire brings all those stats together. It’s all collected in your Insights dashboard and arranged in easy to understand graphs and tables. It makes it so much simpler to see what marketing is having an effect—helping you to focus your efforts and improve your promotions as you go.

To learn more, read our Music Analytics 101 blog post.

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Get playlisted

In the digital age, playlists have become many peoples’ favorite way to consume music. For independent artists, getting onto playlists is an important step in growing your profile and reaching many more listeners.

There’s three different types of streaming playlists:

Algorithmic playlists

Algorithmic playlists are personalized for each user. Generated entirely without any human input, these playlists sort through data like listening history and which artists you follow to recommend new music to your tastes. Spotify’s algorithmic playlists include Release Radar and Discover Weekly.

To be featured on these types of playlists, you need to make yourself noticeable to the algorithms with solid streaming numbers, and a fanbase who save your music to their libraries. Algorithms won’t judge worth recommending if you don’t already have some listeners in the first place.

Growing your numbers can take a while, but it’s worth it.

Editorial playlists

These are playlists compiled by services’ in-house music tastemakers. Think Spotify’s Rap Caviar or Today’s Indie Rock on Apple Music. The most popular editorial playlists boast millions of followers, and can take an artist to the next level overnight.

How to get on these type of playlists varies by service. Spotify, for instance, has a submission tool inside Spotify For Artists. When you submit, provide as much information about the track as you can, so it’s easier for curators to decide which playlists could be a match for your track.

Apple Music, on the other hand, doesn’t offer a submissions option. Instead, much like algorithmic playlists, you’ll increase your chances of inclusion by building your follower count and streaming numbers.

User-generated playlists

Anyone can make a playlist. And while they’re not as influential as algorithmic or editorial playlists, some user-generated playlists have developed a large following.

For independent artists, thinking of how to market your music independently, landing on this type of smaller playlist can be an important first step. It can also be easier to get on these playlists because you won’t be facing such stiff competition from other artists.

To submit your music, find the curators’ contact details through the playlist’s About section or try Googling. Remember to choose playlists which are in line with your music’s mood or genre.

Play live as much as you can

Image of a concert

We all know that touring is becoming a larger and larger percentage of most artists’ income. But it’s not just about the immediate cash reward. Sometimes you don’t think of shows as a promotional tool when you’re considering how to market your music independently. Playing shows is a great way to build buzz. How many times have you gone along to see a band your friend loves but you’ve never heard of?

We’re currently in the time of lockdown, which means that playing live isn’t an option for a lot of bands. But live streaming your shows instead can be a good alternative! Twitch has become an immensely popular platform with musicians, but most social networks offer a streaming feature, such as Facebook Live or Instagram Live.

Build your mailing list

Did you know that email is one of the most effective marketing channels out there? Most people check their email every day. If you’ve sent them a newsletter, chances are they’ll see it. This is in contrast to social, where your posts are fighting for more attention in their feeds.

Email newsletters are great for keeping your fans updated with your latest releases, merch, or merch. Just make sure that your emails are fun, personal, and not too long.

But where do you begin with emails? Well, first you’ll need to settle on an email marketing service. There’s numerous great ones out there for beginners, including Mailchimp, MailerLite, or TinyLetter. Each service offers different pricing, and different email templates, but they’re all fairly simple to use.

Once you’ve decided on a service, it’s time to build up your email list. You can do this through sign-up forms on your website or socials. It’s a good idea to offer incentives to encourage sign-ups, like a discount on merch or exclusive content.

We hope you’ve found this guide on how to market your music independently useful. Let us know what’s worked for you, and the tools you use to help grow your profile.

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Nearly half of the world’s population are social media users. It’s where a huge number of your fans go to connect, learn, and be entertained. So if you’re wondering where and how to promote your music in 2020, sitting out social media isn’t really an option, no matter how good your music is.

With so many different platforms out there, it can be confusing to know where to focus your energy. This is a guide to how to promote your music on social media.

How to promote your music on Instagram

It may have started out as the place for selfies and shots of beautifully created plates of food, but Instagram has grown into a social media giant. The platform boasts around 1 billion users worldwide. And it leads the pack when it comes to engaging younger audiences. 73% of US teens said they prefer when brands communicate with them on Instagram over any other social platform.

Younger people are more frequent music listeners, making Instagram the perfect place to gain new fans.

Optimize your bio

Link in bio on an Instagram page

The 150 words of your Instagram bio is prime promotional real estate. It’s where you introduce yourself to potential new followers. Tell your story, make it funny, infuse it with personality. ‘Rock band from the United States’ isn’t going to cut it.

Your bio is also essential for another reason. Unless you have 10k+ followers (giving you access to the Swipe Up feature), it’s the only place on the whole platform where you can post an external link. That makes it the center of your Instagram promotional efforts! Want to drive fans to your merch store or latest release? The link has to go in the bio.

This makes promoting more than one thing at once rather tricky. One solution is to use a biolink. When fans click a biolink, they’re taken to a landing page which can house all your content.

Use Instagram stories

Instagram stories are only live for 24 hours. That makes them great for sharing spur-of-the-moment content that shows off your personality. Don’t worry about making stories perfect—fans love a more authentic feel. And with Stories, you also have the option to add lenses, stickers, text, and more.

For musicians, there’s a couple of really cool features. If you have a release, announcement, or concert coming up, you can add a ‘Countdown’ sticker to your story. When fans tap on this digital clock, they’ll have the option of being reminded about your event later on. Instagram also integrates with Spotify—so you can post a release straight into your story. In the Spotify app, simply choose to ‘Share’ a track or album and then select Instagram Story.

If you really don’t want to let an Instagram Story go, you can make it permanent by adding it to your Highlights. These are collections of Stories that live right at the top of your profile.

Think visual!

Instagram is, above all else, a visual platform. Unlike other social networks, Instagram feeds are filled entirely with images, gifs, and videos.

As a musician, you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to exciting visual content. There’s the obvious things like clips from music videos, promotional images, or artwork from your new record. But there’s also the behind-the-scenes stuff which fans don’t usually see. Let them into your world with material from in the studio, on the road, or backstage at a show.

If you’re looking into more Pro tips, check out the Instagram stats and facts by the Marketing Helpline.

How to promote music on Facebook

Yes, Facebook is filled with cat videos and posts from your grandmother. But its reach is undeniable. Founded in 2004, Facebook now has over 2 billion active monthly users, including nearly two-thirds of American adults. So it’s kind of a no brainer when it comes to how to promote your music on social media.

Make an artist page

Facebook page vs Facebook profile

It’s best to use a Facebook page to promote your music rather than your own personal profile—even if you’re a solo musician. There are lots of reasons why, including security of your personal information and the fact that you won’t have to approve every fan who starts following you (like you do with friend requests).

Facebook pages are easy to set-up, and feature lots of different pages perfect for musicians, such as tour dates, shop, and videos.

Join Facebook groups

There are Facebook groups dedicated to pretty much everything. That includes countless groups of music obsessives—often hardcore fans of particular genres. It’s a unique chance to tap into a ready-made and passionate community.

Remember to abide by the group’s rules and avoid over-promoting yourself. Yes, you can share your own music, but be sure to actively engage with other people’s posts as well.

Stream on Facebook Live

Think of Facebook Live as your own personal TV station. It’s your chance to broadcast out long-form content to your fans, and then get second-by-second reactions as you go. While these videos make the most impact when they’re going out live, you’ll also get additional viewers catching up post-broadcast.

It’s the perfect medium for playing full shows online or engaging your fans with Q&A sessions.

How to promote your music on Soundcloud

Soundcloud has made its name as a hub for independent artists. It’s the go-to platform for testing out new sounds, finding collaborators, and growing a grassroots fanbase. But with 175 million users globally every month, it’s far from a niche service. Here’s some tips for how to promote your music on Soundclound.

Engage fans with your waveform

When you think of Soundcloud, you think of the waveform. It’s that automatically generated visualization of the music you share to the platform. Not only does it look cool, it gives fans the chance to leave comments at particular moments of a track. And you can do the same! This makes it great for engaging your fans and getting feedback on your music.

Ask them what they think of a particular line, or tell them how you captured that special drum sound. This helps to build a real community by letting your listeners into your process.

Get tagging

Choosing tags in Soundcloud

The way you tag your music is important. It’s how your music is found through search, and Soundcloud’s algorithm uses tags to recommend tracks to listeners.

When you upload your music to Soundcloud, you’ll be asked to choose a main genre tag.

You’ll then have the option of adding more tags. These can be anything which helps Soundcloud categorize your music, from additional genres to moods (e.g. #relax). Soundcloud advises against adding too many hashtags, so choose a handful which you think will really let listeners find you.

Add a link to the description

Smart link in a Soundcloud description

You can include all kinds of relevant information in a track description, from stories about its recording to release dates. But it’s also a great place to promote your music by including links. Give fans the chance to click-through to your merch store, or take them to your social profiles.

Instead of posting multiple links, you can keep things tidy by using a smart link. This will also collect valuable insights into every fan who clicks through.

Sign-up to Linkfire to start creating smart links today.

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How to promote music on Youtube

Musicians often make the mistake of neglecting Youtube as a social media channel. They’ll upload a video, but then concentrate on driving traffic to it from other social platforms. That’s a mistake. After Google, Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world, with 2 billion logged-in monthly users.

So if you’re after more views on your videos, try growing your fanbase from within the platform, not outside it.

Get your Metadata right

Metadata tags in Youtube

Metadata is everything you add to a video when you upload it. So that’s the title, description, thumbnail, and tags. These are the elements that Youtube searches through when it’s populating search results or recommending users similar videos.

Users won’t get the chance to find your latest track if you’ve titled it ‘Here’s my new single!’. Keep your metadata relevant and click-worthy.

Create a content schedule

Consistency is the secret to success on Youtube. Fans are more likely to subscribe to your channel when there’s new videos just around the corner. But this doesn’t mean you have to produce new music on a weekly basis. There’s lots of different content musicians can turn into videos: demos, insights in to your songwriting process, interviews with bandmates, acoustic versions of your last single, and more.

You can lay out your schedule in your channel’s description, banner image, and in the videos themselves. Youtube videos are also likely the social content which will take you the longest to produce. So, having a fixed schedule in place is going to help keep you on track.

How to promote music on TikTok

The new kid on the block, TikTok has launched a thousand viral dance crazes. The short-form video platform skews young in its audience and its popularity only keeps growing—at the end of 2019, it was the second most downloaded mobile app in the world!

So while it isn’t the place to share your latest song in full, its potential for growing your fanbase is huge.

Find the hook

TikTok virality is usually based on a lyric or musical phrase that lends itself to memeification. Have a search through all your songs for a suitable 10 to 15 second section. It could be a chorus that’s ready made for a visual joke or dance—something which your fans will be able to replicate in their own Tik Toks. Check out 2020’s most viral Tik Tok songs for inspiration.

Have fun

From looking around TikTok, it becomes clear pretty quickly the tone most videos strike. TikToks are silly, outrageous, over-the-top. Famous musical artists who have mastered the platform have got this down: they leave tour announcements and release dates to other other social channels. So, don’t take yourself too seriously—this is your chance to be silly!

How to promote music on Twitter

Twitter isn’t all about just breaking political stories. Since 2006, Twitter has been a driving force behind what’s being talked about online, with 500 million tweets a day being sent out.

Twitter is most popular in the US, and has a maturer user base than other platforms, so you consider whether it’s the right service on which to promote your music. If you do decide to start tweeting, here’s some tips:

Use trending hashtags

Hashtags group all of Twitter’s posts into topics or categories, making it much easier to find content that you’re interested in. By checking out Twitter’s trends, you can see which hashtags are really capturing Twitter users’ attention. Creating a post around one of these hashtags increases the chances of it getting traction outside your followers.

As with any social media, it’s not a good idea to post too much. So be picky about the trending hashtags which make sense for you and your music.

Join the conversation

Twitter is all about engagement. And it may be the best social platform on which to interact with fellow musicians, journalists, bloggers, and industry figures. Build your network by retweeting content you love, replying to posts, and mentioning users in your own tweets. Follows often result in a follow-back, and will also lead you to similar accounts.

As long as you’re personal and polite, and don’t just spam your new contacts, it’s a community of like-minded people who could really help to advance your career.

We hope you find these tips useful. We’re curious to hear about your experience with social media: what’s worked and what hasn’t, and what advice you’d give artists who are just starting to promote their music.

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