How To Get Started – Or Kick It Up A Notch

This post continues where "What to Post on Social Media" left off – and is focused on how to approach social media with the goal of building an audience.

The main work is actually building up that audience so that when you do have stuff coming out there is already an audience there, they're already on your side, and they're excited to hear about what you've got to offer.
– from "What To Post on Social Media"

But what's the best place to start?

Our recommendation? Find someone you look up to, and see how they do it.

Banner by Stuart Guest-Smith

This is a thing we say to everyone.

Find Someone You Can Copy

Find an artist in your genre, who is about one level ahead of you – someone who is where you would want to be.

Your Level +1

Looking too far ahead (Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran) will be daunting, because they're so far ahead, it's hard to see the little steps they took to get there.

A level ahead of you means, someone who's got something you want in the foreseeable future.

  • if you're looking to build an audience
    – find someone who has a sizable audience.
  • If you're looking for better gigs
    – find an artist in your city that has better gigs.
  • If you're looking to launch an album
    – find an artist who recently launched an album with success that you'd be happy with for your own album.

Ólafur Arnalds

Inspiration: Ólafur Arnalds

We think Ólafur Arnalds is a fantastic social inspiration for almost everyone.


  • He's done very well for himself
  • He's very DIY, so he's responsible for a lot of his own success
  • His audience has grown steadily over a long period of time
  • He's both successful as a recording artist and as a touring artist
  • His genre is not very typical, with a pop/classic crossover and lots of film/tv scores

His ever growing audience has been drawn in over time by the gentle sounds of his music, beautiful Instagram photos, and diligent Facebook posts about when and where he's performing.

He's living proof you don't need to fit a certain box to do well as an artist, and that you can build your own audience using mainly social media. That's why we think he is a great inspiration for anyone, and it's worth studying his approach on social media across all of his platforms.

However, we still recommend you find your own artist you can look up to, and be inspired by not just musically, but also for how they speak to their audience online.


So the process would be:

  1. Find someone who is where you want to be
  2. Study their online presence
  3. Make a note of what they do
  4. See if you can appropriate their approach for you

Things to look out for – what do they post, how often do they post, what platforms are they on, where do they tour.

  • They post a photo from the studio?
    "ah, I can also post a photo from the studio!";

    They post a photo after every performance?
    "ah, I can also post a photo from every performance!"

Just remember: It's not about stealing anyone's content, but about studying someone who does the work, and does it well.

Try to notice if they're promoting something (an album, track, tour), or not ("off-season").

Linked below is a piece on how The Lumineers promoted their latest album, Cleopatra, on social, and the first post in this mini-series on how to use social media as a musician "What To Post on Social Media".