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As any independent musician will tell you, self-promotion can be difficult, particularly when you don’t have a record label helping to spread the word about your music.

Traditionally, to truly expand the reach of your album or song, you could pay more to boost your exposure through advertisements. However, if you didn’t have the funds to advertise, you’d be left to rely solely on word-of-mouth sharing by friends and family or guerilla marketing tactics.

Social media is helping to make sharing easier. But the sheer amount of content already in our social streams is so significant that getting consumers to respond to a post or a share can be difficult.

To cut through the clutter and engage with consumers, some independent musicians are leveraging a new strategy, one which uses the consumers’ love for “free” stuff to incentivize sharing – digital rewards marketing.

A Digital Reward can go a Long Way with Audiences

People love rewards, whether it’s discounted or free, we are more likely to do something or take action if there is a reward tied to it. Because of this love of “free stuff”, incentives make for an easy and cost effective way to get consumers to share your music and your message across their networks with their followers.

For independent musicians, using this tactic in a “share this to get a reward” campaign that gives listeners a free download if they share you message and link with their audience is a small step that can go a long way.

Today, we see so many celebrities and influencers sharing music recommendations on social media that when we see a suggestion come from a friend or family member, it seems more reputable due to the fact that you have an established relationship with that person.

We trust our friends and family and therefore their recommendations, increasing our chances of clicking on the link they’re sharing. This boosts the value of consumer sharing and posts and when low-cost rewards can easily be offered to boost shares, why not leverage such a strategy?

The digitization of content has also made it easier and lower cost to provide these rewards to consumers. In the past, giving someone a free CD included costs for the CD itself, the case, whatever artwork was attached to it, and production.

Now, since music can be easily uploaded and downloaded, those additional costs are eliminated with single download rewards, making music sharing much more affordable.

Target Your Efforts Using Real-Time Feedback

One of the benefits of marketing platforms that can help with social referral marketing campaigns today is that some offer real-time data collection and some even offer predictive analytics.

Thanks to machine learning, platforms now have the capability of collecting and analyzing large sums of data all across the internet. Since rewards marketing campaigns aren’t limited to one social media platform, this is particularly useful as monitoring needs to expand to even the most remote sections of the internet.

With the collected data, these predictive analytics platforms analyze and provide feedback to musicians, helping artists make more targeted decisions with existing and upcoming campaigns.

This can be used at any stage throughout a campaign but becomes increasingly insightful the more campaigns an artist runs through it.

For a new campaign, artists could receive feedback on their ongoing campaigns about their rewards, what messaging is working on what platforms, and where people are the most engaged both in their shares and click-throughs.

Use a Comprehensive Platform with a Track Record of Cuccess

The last thing any musician wants is to work with a platform that only covers part of what they need, or is far too difficult to use. To truly get the most out of any campaign indie musicians need a comprehensive platform that provides feedback which allows users to see the bigger picture.

In my case, I chose to use social referral marketing platform Grabbr for my “share this to get this” digital rewards campaign. As an artist who also helped co-found Grabbr, the platform fits everything a musician deploying their first campaign would need, a simple and easy to use interface, detailed data analytics, and useful feedback for ongoing and future campaigns.

By selecting a platform that provides more comprehensive services, users can consolidate the entire campaign including content, data and recommendations into one easy to use tool.

Additionally, with many platforms now being offered as a service, artists can run the entire campaigns themselves if they so choose, eliminating any third parties and simply managing their own programs and expectations.

I was able to share my music with 185 people in 22 countries across five different social platforms in exchange for a download of one of my songs, which boosted shares by 18,400%. Simultaneously, there were enough click-throughs and purchases to monetize this campaign as cost per click was low.

Summary

Independent artists have the ability to expose their music to a wider population with social referral marketing and advancements in predictive analytics. When you have the right tools, a comprehensive platform, and a reward, it’s easy to get people talking about and sharing your music.

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Daniel Langston

Daniel Langston is the COO of Grabbr.

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