Who is your audience? What are they interested in other than the flute? What do they find special about you and your talent, the way you interpret music, and your style and flair?

These are the first questions that need answers before you can turn your social media presence into a powerful and valuable tool for connecting with the people who follow you and adding those who don’t yet.

All musicians, whatever their métier, benefit from social when they select the right platforms and populate with it current, relevant content that engages their audiences. In addition to connecting with your fans, it also is a superior channel for promoting your music, building your fan base, and linking up with potential musical partners, producers, and industry insiders.

Social is an important element for promoting your music. It might seem, though, that you have to sacrifice time with your flute to leverage its promotional and marketing value. Not necessarily, and we’ve asked a panel of flutists to share some tips and tricks they use to up their social media game.

1. Play to your audience.

After you’ve answered the questions listed in the start of this article—you already have a good idea what they are—sharpen them up.

The next time you’re on stage, take a good look at who’s in the seats. How old are they? Age helps determine their most-used social platforms. Just about everybody follows YouTube, except for the 65-and-older age group. They are on Facebook (grandchildren and all). Facebook is the second most popular platform for people from 30 to 64, while Instagram holds the No. 2 slot for18 to 29. There are all kinds of interesting and useful statistics like that on the internet. The point is you want to be on the same social platforms as your audience.

Social platforms have tools that keep track of who is following your existing account (if you have any.) They’ll give you data-based answers about your followers and the content they like and forward, as well as their locations and other interests. Knowing this information is basic to developing and maintaining an effective social media strategy for you and your music.

Amp it up: Use one social media platform to promote your other channels. It’s a great way to increase your digital presence.

2. Be social on social.

Social media is the digital equivalent of face-to-face conversation. Use your channels to start and continue conversations. When you think about how you connect with musical celebrities, influencers, collaborators, and others, how often does it happen on social media? When your fans like, forward, comment on content you’ve posted, that’s where the magic of social happens. They will love the attention, and others will see it and think all the better of you.

Here are some proven tips for being social on social:

  • Write like you speak. Don’t go crazy with informalities, but you’re not writing your senior thesis either. Come across as genuine and authentic.
  • If it’s not meaningful to you, it probably won’t be for your followers. Skip it.
  • What are your passions? What music do you love, performers you admire, activities you enjoy? Let your followers get to know the other you, not just the flutist.
  • If you hit a bump in the road, professionally or personally, share it to the extent you’re comfortable with it. Again, let your fans get to know the other you.
  • Who influenced your career and whom do you follow now?

Social is more than a place to post your schedule and recaps of performances. Use it to bond with your audience, and they will become loyal, faithful fans.

And don’t be shy about looking at high-profile artists’ social accounts. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Imitation, after all, is the sincerest form of flattery.

Extra credit: Take a photo with your fans at concerts and other live events. Tell them when and where you will post it and ask them to tag themselves. You could have a “selfie” session on your social media platforms after performances. Fans will look forward to them and look for themselves or people they know. It is another way to extend reach and expose you to a new audience.

3. Make a good first impression.

People may first encounter you through your social media profiles. Here are some ways to shine it up:

  • Update your personal information regularly, including schedules, links to buy and download your music and reach your website, press coverage, and such.
  • Use striking images that reflect your music personality and are optimized for resolution and space allowed by your social sites; each has its own standards.
  • Use the appropriate tone for the platform. Facebook, for instance, works better with a “newsy” tone; Instagram is more “artsy.”
  • Embed Facebook cover videos to introduce yourself and follow up a short flute solo to engage new fans.
  • Show avid followers a new look by replacing your images every so often to keep avid fans coming back.
  • Pin the most popular posts to the top of your page to make it easy for new fans to find and to give returning fans another look at what’s going on.
  • Tag your posts to increase their reach. Mention everyone who’s in photos and videos, as well as sponsors and venues. It’s good business to give them a shout out! Tagging your content automatically puts in the feeds of the tagged.
  • Ensure brand consistency across all your platforms. Meet their posting requirements, of course, but don’t sacrifice you brand identity while meeting them.

Extra credit: Be generous with your gratitude when your song receives a lot of plays or after a successful show. Also, tag other performers, performances, venues, promoters, sponsors, and any interactions with fans.

4. Be fresh.

As a professional flutist, you keep your audiences coming back and buying your music because they’ll hear something new each time. The same goes for social media. It’s not necessary to post often (though that doesn’t hurt) but posting regularly is important.

Posting is like music. It needs a regular rhythm. Develop a consistent rhythm with your posting and posts, so people know what to expect and look forward to. A nice FOMO tactic that draws regularly is to post a fun song every Friday afternoon. It gives your followers something to look forward to and can provoke a FOMO response. The bottom line: you don’t need to spend all day every day online.

Amp it up: Post regularly, but don’t get carried away. Fans will unfollow you or stop engaging with your posts if you overwhelm them with too much or low-value content.

5. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Mobile devices, the place where almost everyone engages with social media, is a visual medium, so photos, short video clips, and illustrations are likely to draw the most attention. Our panel of professional flutists suggested these ideas to add some flash to your social:

  • Use highlight moments from your performances and of those you’ve attended.
  • Let fans glimpse your instruments, home studio, and you while practicing and with fans.
  • Create graphics (you know someone who can help you make them) to announce upcoming events and new releases.
  • Photos or videos where you are performing in unusual or intriguing places such as on a gazebo in a park or in front of a school or museum.
  • Create a video that explains what inspired a particular song or album.
  • Livestream yourself at events, working in the studio, and meeting fans. You could even share performance tips, host an online Q&A, or teach.
  • Focus on favorite moments from your personal life, including holidays, birthdays, and special everyday events. Share yourself as a fellow human being.
  • Graphics or pictures with inspirational quotes about music or from other flutists.
  • Animated music-based GIF images and memes.
  • Media interviews.

Extra credit:  Livestream an AMA (ask me anything session), which is as close to face-to-face interaction as social gets.

6. Remember your readers.

There are some people who still know how to read. Fans of the flute likely will engage with the visuals, but what they also want is the depth that only writing can provide. Some ideas for writing include:

  • Your latest songs, upcoming albums, and gigs.
  • Inspirational quotes from flutists and other musicians.
  • Flute lessons.
  • Fan response to surveys, polls, questions, fill-in-the-blanks, and “caption this photo” that you can post to engage your fans. Everybody loves surveys.
  • Your fans’ thoughts on your latest song, what they would like to hear in a concert, or other such things. People love to offer their opinions. Just ask them.
  • Stories from life, the road, and whatever else is on your mind.
  • Lists of your favorite songs, artists, performances, and music videos.
  • What inspires and influences you and how it comes through in your music, brand, and personal style.
  • Positive reviews and news about your music.

Extra credit: Invite people to performances in private messages. It is more personal and makes the recipient feel special.

7. Pay attention.

Scan your fans’ social and comment, share, or retweet their posts. There’s no better way to tell them you are interested in them and what they think, and that’s how to cement a relationship.

8. Think ahead.

It may seem impossible for you to stay active constantly on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms. We get it. We’re musicians, as well.

The solution: Schedule your posts in advance. This makes it possible for you to engage with followers without having to stay online all day. You can also choose when posts are published based on the insights you learn about when they are online and other habits.

Extra credit: Create social media lists for each platform that includes fans, companies, venues, music industry peers, and others you want to regularly touch. Lists bring discipline and ensure you never forget anyone. In addition, as we will talk about later, it makes tagging easier.

9. Keep the conversation going.

This should be a number one priority for flutists. When you connect with your fans and followers you will consistently be demonstrating to them that you care. Some examples of how to do this include:

  • Consistently reply to comments, messages, and mentions. Your fans will appreciate that you’re open to discussions with them, and it makes them want to have a personal connection.
  • Ask questions, get involved in post comment discussions and anywhere you can keep conversations going. Show your personality and add fun and a lively tone. For example, if someone compliments your music, say more than “thanks!” Perhaps say why that is meaningful to you. It shows you really are thankful.
  • Ask followers to share or retweet your posts and return the favor.
  • Encourage fans to post their pictures from your shows or remixes of your songs. Ask them to tag you.
  • Come up with weekly themes or promotions to keep your fans engaged. Give them something that they can look forward to and know is coming up, so they revisit your sites. Think Super Fan Friday or Music Club Monday.
  • Monitor your social media accounts. Don’t create posts and forget about them. Developing and maintaining a fan base requires your full commitment. Or, perhaps, the commitment of a personal assistant.

Extra credit: Put together images of the best moments from a performance or event. Post them as a story on Instagram or Facebook. Reserve your best material for these limited-time posts.

Leveraging these proven tactics is a great way to take your digital presence to the next level. You don’t have to limit yourself to these ideas. Never be afraid to get creative. Figure out what appeals to your fans and followers and see where you can go with it.

Used intentionally, social media can be one of your most effective marketing tools. In addition, it can be a lot of fun, too! Musicians love music and want to share it with the world. Social media gives flutists that opportunity.