There are many personal and professional benefits that come with building a following on social media. But wouldn’t it be nice to earn a little extra cash after all that time and effort?
The good news is that you can!
Before we launch into how, it’s important to remember that money should not be the sole reason you commit to your social media journey.
Let me say that again, big and bold…
MONEY SHOULD NOT BE THE SOLE REASON YOU COMMIT TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA JOURNEY.
Speak to any successful social media influencer (those with large followings) and they’ll tell you that it was their love of socializing, creating a community and sharing their passion in an authentic way that sparked their success.
Social media is not an easy way to make a quick buck. A mentality like this will quickly lead to failure. The examples below take time, energy, attention, focus, effort and consistency.
We still need to pay the bills though, right..?
1. Sell your physical product
At some point in your career as an entrepreneurial musician, you’ll need to sell something to the world. It could be a new album release, online teaching services, a book of warm up exercises, or even some kind of app.
The massive problem that musicians face is a significant lack of audience. I don’t just mean a literal audience that comes to your concerts but rather a community of fans that already knows who you are and likes what you do.
A lack of audience is an obvious problem when you have something to sell. You could use marketing and PR tactics to reach potential customers and still be successful but wouldn’t it be much easier if you could sell to a core group of fans that already appreciate you?
This is exactly what a social media following can serve as: potential customers. You’ve spent time cultivating relationships, perhaps providing them with free technique and performance tips, entertainment, inspiration and escapism. Now that you have something to sell, they’ll jump at the chance to repay you because you’re not a salesperson to them; you’re their trusted friend that is also trying to navigate the world and find personal success.
Consider the following scenario:
You’re ready to launch a new album release, something you’ve been working on for the past year. You’ve been sharing this entire journey with your followers from the very first light bulb moment, through the many rehearsals, recording sessions and arduous edits. Excitement has been building because your fans have been a part of the process.
Once you go on sale, how much will you make?
Firstly, it depends on how good your product actually is. But using an extremely conservative estimate, your might only sell to as low as 0.2% of your 50K followers. That might seem like nothing, but it’s still 100 people. If your album is $20, that’s already $2,000 in the bag. If you’ve developed exceptional relationships with your followers, you can still bump that up to a conservative 1% which still translates to 500 people and a whopping $10K in sales.
3. Sell your project
For the past year, I’ve been following along with the Chloe Trevor Music Academy on Instagram and I’ve been extremely impressed with everything that they have accomplished.
For those who don’t know her, violinist Chloe Trevor is a classical music Instagram influencer with upward of 158K followers. She recently launched her inaugural music summer festival and it was a clear success, raising donations of $12K and attracting 100 participants from all over the country.
This example shares similarities with selling your physical product, but the difference is that you’re actually creating awareness to funnel actions (donations, applications, participation) to a larger external project.
Could this have been accomplished without Chloe’s social media following? Yes -- she is clearly a talented and driven individual with an excellent team. But the community that she has created over the years adores her and trusts her. As a result, she attracted fans from all over the world to be a part of what she was offering. And she was able to generate interest by companies such as the Electric Violin Shop to sponsor the festival.
3. Influencer Marketing
It didn’t take long for businesses worldwide to realize that social media users with large followings could be used to promote their company’s products. These social media users are called “Influencers” because they have the ability to influence the opinions and actions of their loyal fan base.
Currently, this is happening across a multitude of mainstream and niche industries, including classical music.
How exactly does this work?
Let’s take a rosin company, as an example. They are specifically selling to string players and should be directing their marketing efforts through the channels where string players are hanging out or paying attention. They could reach out to a handful of string playing influencers that have followings anywhere between 10-150K and either offer to pay them a fee or provide them with free rosin in exchange for a post highlighting their product.
The smart companies are actively reaching out to influencers and creating all sorts of partnerships and collaborations of this nature. If you find yourself with a healthy following but no offers, find a company that might be interested in reaching your particular audience and pitch them the idea.
“But I’m an artist! I’m not for sale!”
It’s OK. You don’t have to give up your integrity. Just make a promise to yourself that you’ll only feature a certain number of products that you personally value and find crucial to your career. And by keeping your “sponsored posts” at a minimum, you won’t annoy your followers by appearing as if you’ve been bought out by the man.