Few if any musicians can truly plan to go viral. If it ever happens, it’s typically when you least expect it. It can often feel like you are caught in the eye of a storm, it’s an intense and often wild ride which goes as quickly as it arrives so how can you maximise the value of your moment in the spotlight using the channels you can control? Here is our six-step guide for musicians faced with virality.
Table of Contents
1. Tidy the house
Going viral is the equivalent of having the world arrive at your flat unannounced, and just because your virality occurred on one platform, doesn’t mean new fans won’t find you somewhere else online, so If your place looks like a mess, it’s unlikely they will stay or more crucially ever consider coming back. So you need to do a very quick tidy up, grab that bin bag and fill it, hide those dirty socks, or un-washed dishes and start baking bread! For musicians a tidy-up means.
- Make sure your social bios are written and updated
- Social links all work and point to the key sites and content
- Profile pictures are consistent and professional across all sites
- Any old content is removed
- Make sure all titles and tags are added to YouTube or video content
Remember first impressions count, so don’t leave anything to chance. If you have a new single or EP out, make sure you give all these new visitors every possible chance to discover it.
2. Join the positive conversation
Social media algorithms are primed to promote content where there is evidence of engagement and conversation. So make sure you answer every question and respond to every positive comment. This doesn’t just mean on your own content, but other people’s content where you are mentioned as part of the viral spread. The only caveat is to ignore negative comments. Unfortunately, when content goes viral it’s sadly inevitable that alongside the positive comments, you will get some haters and trolls. Don’t feed the trolls, don’t respond, comment or get into a debate with them ignore and don’t give them any oxygen. If you do it can quickly escalate.
3. Promote the content further
When you have achieved virality organically it proves you have created something people really want to see. It’s the business equivalent of achieving product, market fit – who have a product people actually want! So take this as a cue to put some paid spend behind the content to promote it further. Social networks love it if you spend behind popular content and will only further promote it.
If you are not sure which audience to target, test a couple of different options to see which works best over a 24-hour period and then go all in on the version which has performed the best. For example, you could target fans of certain genres EG rock or you could target fans of certain bands depending on the nature of your viral content.
In the example below the band Borderline Toxic went viral when Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day showed up at one of their gigs un-announced and joined them on stage to perform a cover of ‘Basket Case’ So when it comes to promoting the post they could have targeted ‘rock fans’ or more specifically ‘Green Day’ fans to see which delivered the best results.
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4. Build a Custom and Lookalike audience off the back of views
Once you have promoted content you can use Meta Ads Manager to build both a Custom and Lookalike audience off the people that viewed your viral post. Basically, a Custom audience means you can retarget the people who engaged with your viral post with future content, while a Lookalike audience helps your further scale your viral audience by suggesting other people like them who would most likely be interested.
5. Promote your other best content to this audience
YouTube allows you to promote your video content around content of your choosing. For example, if you are Borderline Toxic and you know the reason you have gone viral is Green Day you could promote your best video content around any Green Day content on YouTube or specifically ahead of content played on Green Days’ own channel. Again we recommend a test-and-learn approach to see which delivers the best results.
6. Plan your next post
Study your viral post to learn what contributed to its virality. Ask yourself which parts could you replicate. It could be that you have stumbled upon a repeatable format. A great example would be this format used by Connor Price, in fact, he didn’t create it, it was a format that had already been successfully used by other musicians before him. It’s also worth including a general introduction post quickly after your moment of virality to explain who you are and what you do to any new fans that have just discovered you.
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Words Mark Knight