Should the white-hot social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels be part of your career/ brand building strategy? The short answer is YES and I want to help you understand why and give you some ideas on how to use them to expand your reach.
Videos by American Songwriter
TikTok created a new social media sub-category when it burst onto the scene in 2018. Its very short vertical videos, young audience, and heavy dose of dancing is what got the headlines, but behind the scenes there was a change that was far more important and it presents a great new opportunity to you today. That difference was who saw whose TikTok posts. The legacy social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram’s feed showed your content to your friends/followers and in some cases their friends. TikTok prioritized delivering your videos with the audiences most likely to be interested. This changes everything because you no longer have to slowly build an audience to get a wider reach. Now you just need to make videos that people want to see and help the algorithms understand your audience.
While TikTok started this evolution, today you can benefit from this more democratized approach on Instagram’s Reels and YouTube’s Shorts. These two as well as TikTok are the perfect places to post your content to get discovered by more people that are likely to love it. We have been testing this across many accounts, including a number of up-and-coming musicians and see a 5 to 10 times better result on video views and reach. Digging deeper into the numbers, we see evidence of an increased reach to new fans and that has increased followers, engagement, DMs, and streams.
Take The 60-Seconds Challenge
Success on these short-video platforms will depend greatly on the quality of your content. This does not mean professionally edited videos, but it does mean creating videos that work in the platform. As a songwriter, focus on your music and making it compelling in a short video. Take the 60-seconds challenge and write some short songs just for these platforms (TikTok and YouTube Shorts allow up to 60 seconds, as of now Reels are 30 seconds). Chances are you have never tried to write a song that is under a minute long, so don’t be surprised if the first one does not go well. But apply your basic songwriting practices and your creativity to this and you can create something that will get the algorithms humming along.
One creative element of these platforms you should try to leverage is the loop. At the end of your video, the viewer is taken right back to the beginning of your song. If you can master creating something that seamlessly loops and keeps the viewer engaged with the song on repeat, you will find that your post will have more natural vitality.
Short-Video Social Media Pointers
Here are a few other tips to help you leverage all of the potential of sites like TikTok or Instagram Reels to grow your career and fan base.
• Be Consistent – Number of posts and posting consistency directly impacts your success. This is a function of both the algorithm and just standard math. The algorithms are hungry for data to determine who will like you as a songwriter and your music. Each time you post, it learns more about you by watching how the people to whom they expose your music react. It looks for similarities in the people that like your songs to fine-tune its conclusions on the type of viewer who might like your video. Give it more information to chew on and it will find a bigger audience for you.
• Build The Backing Track – Music is at the center of TikTok and other similar platforms. They allow users to add music to their videos and the music selected impacts how the platforms view those videos. Try to create and post some songs that would be great backing tracks for videos. Give them titles that will increase their discoverability within the style or message on which your song is based.
• Collaborate to Win-Win – Collabs are big on all of these platforms. Find other musicians creating music like yours and do some collaborations. Perhaps you create a song together and share with both of your audiences. Network, build community, and grow your success potential.
• Hashtags – TikTok and Instagram Reels lean heavily on hashtags to help them decide initially who to show your post to, you want to add relevant hashtags. Include hashtags that help define the music genre, so include the genre name and maybe some other artists from that genre. Tag with words like the instrument you are playing and the brand to reach other musicians. Tag with the mood, lyrical focus or anything else that someone that might really enjoy your song might search.
There is a great opportunity right now for you as a songwriter to increase your reach. Be rewarded not based on how many fans you have had, but rather by how many people will love the songs that you create. I look forward to seeing you on TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts!
About The Writer : Tracy Hoeft is the founder of Amplify 11, a marketing firm focused on music marketing. Clients include major instrument brands, music retailers, and up-and-coming musicians. Learn about his marketing for musicians by visiting, here.