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Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians
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Musicians: 7 Best Practices for Instagram Hashtags You Need to Know

Image via Shutterstock

Hashtags are much more relevant on Instagram than other social media sites like Facebook, so if you’re actively using Instagram to connect with your fans, it really pays to understand the best practices and hone your hashtag strategy.

Unlike most other social platforms where hashtags serve as a sort of conversation method, Instagram users regularly use hashtags to find new people to follow and images to like. Instagram’s Explore page also bases its results on the hashtags you use and engage with most often. In short, hashtags on Instagram equal discovery.

So, to help you power-drive your growth on Instagram, I’ve rounded up a few hashtag best practices.

The One Thing Most Musicians Do Wrong on YouTube

Photo by Markus Thorson via Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The stories of indie artists making it big with a viral video on YouTube entice a lot of musicians to take the leap and set up a YouTube channel themselves. They get all excited, create some cool cover or original music videos and do some promotion, only to get discouraged with the apparent lack of interest from YouTube viewers as their first few covers fall on deaf ears and only get a few hundred views.

It’s frustrating. YouTube is one of the biggest platforms for music and one of the top places people spend their time online, but it’s very difficult to stand out from the crowd. There are a lot of mistakes you can make on YouTube that will negatively affect your exposure, like incorrectly titling or tagging your videos or leaving the default thumbnail, but the number-one problem that holds most musicians back from actually finding success on YouTube is focusing on views instead of subscribers.

Going Beyond Music: How to Expand Into Other Creative Industries and Get True Fans Out of It

Image via caliconscious.com; used with permission

For the most part, musicians tend to stick to just selling music, merch, and tickets. But a few manage to branch off and make it in other related industries like book writing, apparel, podcasting, cosmetics, art, theater, acting, and even activism.

For many artists, just “making it” in music is hard enough, let alone trying to get traction in and manage a career in another industry as well. The key is to use your brand as the link that bridges you to these new opportunities. It’s not about forcing yourself into a new industry; between getting the new connections you need and finding an audience, it would be a lot of extra work and probably wouldn’t be worth it in the end. Instead, focus on industries that naturally fit with the brand you already have in place.

How to Cut Through the Noise and Turn Your Album Release Into a Launch Event

Image via stocksy.com

Let’s talk about releasing an album. In the days before the internet, when you wanted to release new music you created some hype, secured some press coverage in magazines or newspapers, and you booked a few gigs or a tour around the new album. And yet, even with all the new technologies we have today, the fundamental strategy behind the album release has remained largely unchanged. And in this age of social media, it’s become harder and harder to make an impact with this approach.

For a lot of musicians, the whole process of releasing an album or new music is frustrating. You spend months writing and recording your new music, and when you put it out into the world, it can feel like your release is falling on deaf ears. It’s just so hard to stand out from the noise on social media – even if you have an established fanbase.

So how do you stand out? How do you differentiate your release from the thousands upon thousands of other releases going on at the same time? The key is to turn your release into an event.

How to Use Twitch as a Musician (And Make Money From It)

Screencap by the author via twitch.tv

If you’re at all familiar with the gaming world, you’ve heard of Twitch. Literally millions of gamers are streaming on Twitch at various levels of professionalism every single day. In fact, for many gamers, the subscribers, donations, and sponsorships turn into a full-time job.

Streaming isn’t anything new for musicians. Sites like Concert Window and Stageit have allowed musicians to reach fans from all over the world by streaming performances and concerts. But that’s about where streaming stops for most musicians.

Other creatives, like artists, are using Twitch and similar streaming tools to take their fans behind the scenes – to give them a peek into the process that goes into the creation of their art. Not only is this a great way to engage your fans and give them that interesting content they crave, but it’s also yet another form of revenue you can monetize.

When you think about the "products" you have to offer your fans, many musicians only think of the end game. Countless hours go into the albums you create, but fans only really get the see the final cut. I’m not saying all that work behind the scenes was wasted; I’m just saying it wasn’t used to its full potential. Fans want to see what goes on during your band rehearsals or what it’s like to be in the studio, and many of them would even pay for it.