How-to: A SoundCloud strategy for beginners.

If you’re musically creative and want to build an audience for your work, have no problem with being social and are looking for engagement. SoundCloud is undoubtedly one of the leading resources available to tap into.


No matter if you’re a Producer, DJ, Band, Musician etc, the opportunity to get your work heard and a lot more, starts with opening an account and working hard to promote it. Given that SoundCloud has 175 Million users with a vast array of different genres, somewhere in this ocean of sound, there’s a place for you and your vibe.

 

Keep in mind, when it comes to new music, it's usually on SoundCloud before any other major platform. Which means a vast amount of listeners are waiting to hear something fresh and original. There are numerous ways that your music can be found by listeners and potential fans, these include keywords, algorithms, followers and a whole lot more. So here’s the lowdown on how to get going and build up your audience organically on SoundCloud.
 

 
FREE PRO PRO UNLIMITED
Price $0.00 $59 per year
$145 per year
Upload Quota
3 Hours
6 Hours
Unlimited
Count plays, likes, reposts,
comments and downloads
In depth analysis of plays


Plays by country
Plays by city
Plays Soundcloud page
Plays by app
Plays by website
Turn comments on and off
Turn public stats on and off
Pin tracks and playlists to the
top of your profile
Update source files for your tracks
without loosing stats


The above table gives you the details of each plan, so before you go signing up decide what you actually need. If you’re going to be analytical in your marketing, then Pro unlimited is for you.
 

They also run a partner program, which is invites only and gives users a new opportunity to make money on their music, but I’m not going to go into that right now.


Once you’ve chosen the right account for your needs, it’s time to do a little planning.
 


2) PLANNING YOUR SOUNDCLOUD ACCOUNT
 

Before you do anything, you need to sit down and think about two important factors. These are, what’s your vibe and who’s your tribe?
 

Planning is key to any strategy


Your Vibe

Where is your niche?
What is your music about?
What can listeners expect to hear?
Are you sticking to genre standards, or pushing the boundaries?
What feeling would you like listeners to get off your music?
Don’t be eclectic, listener’s return for a reason.

Some very basic examples would be Techno has a futuristic vibe, Reggae has a freedom vibe, some music has an abstract vibe etc.


Your Tribe

Once you’ve decided what your vibe is, you’ll be in a better position to find your tribe. This is, of course, the audience that you feel will appreciate your music the most, a fundamental part of growing your following.


Take note that listeners return to certain SoundCloud accounts because they know what to expect from the account.


An important factor for identifying our tribe is when we use other social networks and websites to drive traffic to our SoundCloud accounts.


The geographical location is very important, take into account that your chosen genre may go down far better in other countries. We’ll go into this a bit later.
 


Design work

SoundCloud provides three spaces for artwork on your account, your avatar, banner and track image.


Employ a designer that understands your vibe. This is a great investment as they can help create a SoundCloud page that really stands out, this is a must for engagement. If you can design your own artwork, even better.


Ask the designer to get as creative as possible, even if you’re going minimal, try and make sure it stands out. Ensure the design work is appealing by sharing it with others and ask their honest opinion, make sure you’re completely happy with it before proceeding.


I’m not going to advise what to use in any of these spaces in terms of photos or artwork. That is completely up to you and your designer; it really boils down to what suits your account and your music.


Incorporate other aspects of your act into the artwork, web addresses, gigs, logos etc. Let people know you’re active elsewhere and open for engagement.


Continuity is the keystone to all design work; it’s more engaging when visitors see a theme flowing across your artwork. It’s also as important to continue that same theme across all of your social accounts artwork.
 

Bio

A well-structured bio should contain various aspects about your vibe, they are:


1) An introduction made up of two sentences describing what you’re about.

2) Three short paragraphs (not one big long exhaustive rant) it’s an about section with information about you, it's important the visitor can learn more about you and what you do. Set a scene about who you are, the history, the experience and demonstration of your knowledge. This is something others will relate to, vital for finding your tribe.

3) Consider a short end paragraph with any other information that you feel is relevant and adds value to your profile.
 


Social Links

If you don’t have any other social accounts setup for your act, setup a new page on your chosen platform(s)

Again, structure comes into play and continuity is key, so try to:


1) Aim to have the same username or as near as possible for each account.                    

Use namechk for this, you’ll find the URL in the links section below.

Soundcloud.com/yourstagename

Twitter.com/yourstagename

Facebook.com/yourstagename

 

2) Use the same artwork on each account to maintain your vibe across your networks. Resize the images for each banner and avatar requirement.


3) Use the same introduction and bio across all networks.


4) Include links to all platforms on each social platform.

Note, other social platforms give you the opportunity to make people aware of your music on SoundCloud, weave them into your strategy.
 


3) GETTING OUT THERE


Once you've setup your account and covered all aspects that are going to give you an awesome profile, you're ready to get out and engage.
 

SoundCloud Strategy getting out there.png


Track Uploads

Whatever you’re uploading to your account, make sure you create a preparation checklist beforehand. After time, you’ll be able to fine-tune the checklist, that’s where Soundcloud analytics come in for important information.


Fill out the details of the track carefully, as you want the track to be found by people searching for your style.


Title

The track title is important; as the SoundCloud search engine and Google picks this up. So make sure to put the genre after the title.


Image

Use an image that is engaging to your audience and relevant to the track, as discussed above.


Genre Tag

This is the main tag on your track, useful when people are searching on SoundCloud. Ensure your genre is your tag.


Additional Tags

These are the hashtags of your track, so get descriptive here. Put such things as genre, mood, artist names etc.


Description

The description should be as engaging as possible, take some time to think about what you’d like to get across. This is where you’re going to share the extra information about the track, credits, shout-outs, links whatever you like. Go to some established acts and see how they’ve used this space, you’ll be surprised to see how creative some people can be.


Share

If you haven’t chosen to automatically share a new track, you can do that here. Just make sure the networks are connected.


Timing

Timing for a release is in most cases very important. I’ve found that Thurs/Fri evenings are best in my targeted locations. When I look at my analytics, I can see what countries are listening to my account the most. So by timing the release at 5-6 pm for that region, I get a good few plays likes and reposts for kick off.

Below is a checklist that can be added to, use it as part of your strategy.
 

 
Upload Checklist Complete
1 Music file is optimum quality
2 Track name is inline with your vibe
3 Artwork is eye catching and appealing to your tribe
4 Artwork spelling and information is correct
5 Correct genre is chosen
6 Tags have been researched inline with release
7 Track title contains genre
8 Track description is content rich
9 Time for posting has be chosen
10 Sharing on other social networks has been scheduled
11 Reciprocators list is up to date for messaging
12 G+ and Facebook groups are up to date for submission


Sharing to other social networks

Depending on your platform of choice, use your other social networks to drive traffic to your SoundCloud page. Use the ones that you are most comfortable with.

 

    Social platforms drive traffic to your SoundCloud account

    Social platforms drive traffic to your SoundCloud account


SoundCloud gives you the ability to automatically post your favorites and new tracks to your other social accounts.


Under Settings/Connections, you’ll see two sections.


The first allows you to setup a connector between your SoundCloud account and Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Google+. Once you’ve enabled any of these, your favorites and new tracks will appear on your other social accounts.


There is also a section for turning these components on and off. Note Google+ takes a little more effort.


The second section allows you post a note with each one, so think carefully about what you want to say when it comes to announcing a new track or favorite on another social network.


This is a good opportunity to attract people on other social networks to yours with the use of hashtags. A great resource for hashtags is hashtagafy.me, You’ll find the URL in the links section below. Study how it works, I prefer the table mode.


The goal of using hashtags is to engage with like-minded users on other networks, with a view to supporting one another on SoundCloud, I go more into this under the engagement section.


Engagement

Engagement is the most important factor of any social network, it’s also necessary for finding your tribe and expanding your audience on SoundCloud. See it as introducing yourself to other users, this can be done by following, messaging, liking, reposting and commenting. Here’s where we move onto reciprocation, a vital component for building a healthy organic following.

Take into account that anyone that is serious on SoundCloud wants to receive all of these aspects, yet not everyone reacts to them, for whatever reason, is their business. What is important, is that you try to find as many reciprocal users as possible.


There are some good techniques for finding reciprocal users, these include:
 

•    Like for like

•    Repost for repost

•    Comment for comment

•    Follow for follow


Example, if someone likes one of your tracks, go to their profile.  Like a track back that you actually do like it. Then do one better and leave a comment or message them back to say, thanks for the initial support. Always thank for comments, don't leave a string of one sided compliments.


The main thing is through reciprocation, try and strike up a social relationship. With the end goal of messaging each other, each time there is a new release with the expectation of support for one another. Plus, other people will come back to hear your next track because they like what you do.


After time, once you’ve built up a list of people you can rely on. You’ll notice your engagement outside of this circle will grow, with this growth use the same technique to bring more and more people into your circle.


Through this technique, I’ve met so many fantastic people that share my passion for music. It really is so important for anyone to get positive honest feedback on their work, plus a reliable network of supporters is worth its weight in gold.


The best aspect about this is that as you build up your circle, your tracks are getting more and more exposure.


Apply this engagement technique across all social accounts. Another good approach is that if another music person follows you on Twitter. Check out their SoundCloud and like, repost, comment on their work, you may find a lot of those people will then follow you on SoundCloud also.   


Note, there are a lot of users that use this approach to accumulate followers, likes etc, and then un-follow, unlike etc. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on this antisocial act, stay fixated on meeting real reciprocal users. Use unfollowspy to weed the anti-socials out, you’ll find the URL in the links section.



Further engagement

On SoundCloud, go to reposting channels that are inline with your chosen genre. Like and comment there, you’ll find that a lot of the tracks listed, are posted by people looking to engage. 


Join as many of your chosen genre groups on Facebook and Google+ as you can, submit your tracks to them. Try to engage in these groups also, so many people submit and hope for the best. Invest your time in these places, there are like-minded people in these groups.


Find music bloggers that write about your genre, contact them and ask if they'd review your music.
 

Your own website is a good idea for showcasing your work, an SEO consultant can help get you out there too. You can also look to embed any of your tracks on established web sites.


If you're giving away free downloads, use a fangate. This means that if the listener wants the track for free, they have to follow you in exchange for the download. The setup doesn't take long and is straight forward. There are various online resources that provide this service, take a look at hypeddit, you'll find the link below.


There are many other ways to add to an organic approach for audience building, but above all, keep producing good music and stay social.


Links

Namechk.com- Check username availability across multiple platforms
Hastagafy.me - Hashtag analysis
Unfollowspy.com - Find your Soundcloud unfollowers
Hypeddit.com - Create your fangate + more

 

 

If you need to know more or want to start networking