Viral Sensations Mia x Ally Share Social Media Tips for Musicians

Violinist Mia Asano and multi-instrumentalist Ally the Piper were already TikTok stars individually before they met virtually, and after fans expressed enthusiasm for a collaboration between them they joined forces for their Mia x Ally project, which led to national touring and their The Viral Hits album. A major part of the duo’s fan outreach and success has been through social media, so American Songwriter asked the pair to offer their best tips to musicians for reaching and growing their audience online.

Videos by American Songwriter

1. Post at your own pace

As Mia notes, curating social media is “like a full-time job. We’re not complaining, but it is a lot of work and people don’t always realize that. It takes hours every day to post the stuff and then to keep up with the comments…in addition to being musicians.” Ally points out that some content creators will post five times a day, a pace that is unsustainable for her between solo and band projects and touring.

“At my height, I was posting twice a day, every single day, and now it’s just once a day,” says Ally. “There’s a little bit of thematic stuff—it is important to stay on the trends a little bit. But the biggest tip that I have is creating a niche for yourself on the app, and really sticking to that because the algorithm will categorize you. The algorithm knows that I’m a bagpiper, and it knows that I like weird instruments covering contemporary music. So it will show me that, and then that helps me as well.”

2. Be consistent in posting

If you prefer posting content one, two, or three times a day, stick to that number and be consistent. “[It] really helps to solidify how the algorithm sees you,” says Ally. The motto “build it and they will come” applies if you stick to it, but you should work within comfortable parameters.

“You don’t have to post every day if you’re not the kind of person that will post every day,” adds Mia. “If you had a million followers tomorrow, and the demand to post every day was there and you would be miserable, then that’s not the thing you should be striving for. I think it’s more important to have a really professional social media presence because that’s your digital resume. When people are recommending you for gigs, that’s what people are looking at. Just make a good, strong presence.”

3. Post everywhere you can

“We post the same video on all platforms because you never know where it’s going to go viral,” says Mia. “Sometimes it flops on Instagram, but it’ll go viral on Facebook. It depends on the content. And there are different crowds. Some of our older audiences are on Facebook and YouTube, our younger ones are on TikTok, and everyone’s on Instagram. It really depends on the platform. So if you’re covering something that appeals to one demographic or the other, it is more likely to go viral depending on the platform.”

[RELATED: 5 Female Fiddle Players Breaking Barriers]

4. You can repurpose content

“Now that I’ve been on social media pretty actively for almost three years, and posting almost every day, there is so much content that people miss it,” notes Ally. “I think that that’s something that people forget as well. It’s not just going to be countlessly making a video every single day. Things are going to become relevant again, and you can reshare the work that you’ve already done. That is really helpful once you’re doing this on the road as well and you’re really busy.”

5. Hashtag it up

When Mia and Ally started using the hashtag “miaxally” for their posts, fans caught on. Not only did it get them into the algorithms more, but they could find fan-shot videos of their live performances more easily that way as well.

6. Fan interaction boosts in-person presence

Mia and Ally like to respond to comments when they can, particularly positive ones, on new and older posts. It’s a way to connect with both new fans and steadfast supporters. They have noticed that many of the fans who sign up for VIP/meet-and-greet packages are people they personally connected with prior on the Internet. Many are Patreon supporters, as well.

“We genuinely really appreciate and feel connected with our followers,” says Ally. “I do think follower engagement and helping your fanbase to feel that connection is really important for people who are trying to take their musicianship [to] social media. Because that connection is the one thing that’s lacking when you’re behind a screen. So it is important to cater to that as well if you’re trying to grow a community online.”

7. Don’t discount Facebook

While it might seem that Facebook is passe compared with newer platforms, Ally reveals that it is her second largest social media outlet. She has amassed 800,000 followers there, and Mia has nearly 625,000. The newer Mia x Ally page has hit close to 80,000.

Our duo page exploded [there] because it’s the easiest place to build connections with your fan base and with your followers,” says Ally. “They offer the top fan badges, which is really nice. It helps to highlight those names of the people who are engaging often. They have the reels feature, the text posts, and the photo posts—it’s got a little bit of everything. My tip for people is: do not sleep on Facebook.”

“I post every video as a regular video and as a reel on Facebook, and one of them will do better than the other and it’s different which one,” says Mia. “People don’t care. People don’t notice because of the algorithm. So you can recycle content, you can repost content, you can share it multiple times, and it doesn’t matter at all.”

8. Take risks with your posts

After Ally posted an Instagram screenshot of Metallica defending her from a fan who thought bagpipes didn’t belong in metal, her following jumped from 600,000 to 750,000 followers in five or six weeks. “I posted it during one of our Zoom meetings about the tour,” recalls Ally.

“This was a very passive thing, and I wasn’t expecting much out of it. That’s another instance of, you never know what the Internet is going to run with, and you never know what’s going to explode. That ended up in things like Revolver magazine and these huge publications, and I almost didn’t post it. I almost just put it in my story and forgot about it. Be open-minded and take risks on the Internet and think, ‘Somebody could find value in this. This could be a good opportunity.’ Always just go for it.”

9. Be brave and be yourself

Mia notes that, after giving many muso friends their advice, they still seem hesitant because they worry about what the public and their fellow musicians will think. The violinist admits that thinking held her back for years, too.

“I was so afraid of other musicians’ perception of me that I was too afraid to just do the thing that I wanted to do, which is basically play the music that I wanted to play and post the videos I wanted to post,” she says. “Now we have large followings of fans that are wanting that from us. But when you’re just starting out and you don’t have that yet, and the only thing that you have is your friends, it does take a minute to get over that fear. Just compartmentalize that and post for the audience that you want to have. That’s how you will grow, by doing that content.”

“Post for the audience that you want to have,” stresses Ally, “and post for the community that you want to build. That’s how you build your family.”

Photo: YouTube still from Mia x Ally’s “Free Bird” video

Leave a Reply

4 Outstanding Performances from Billy Idol’s ‘State Line’ Concert Film