In the spirit of Carnival, I believe this is a topic that will be of great interest to many soca artistes out there. Learning new ways to market themselves, to get out there and be discovered.
It seems every year there is a growing discussion among the music community about the “soca mafia” blocking many artistes from the airwaves and hindering them from being discovered or the ability to grow their base. If your music isn’t being played, then it reduces the chances of bookings and lowers the opportunities to earn.
I am always confused about this discussion because we live in a time where there is absolutely
nobody who can stop you from getting your music played or fans not discovering you. We have never in our lives had this many tools and outlets to build our brand and market yourselves, especially for an artiste.
So let’s break down five ways that a soca artiste can market themselves by leveraging some digital marketing strategies. Some of these methods won’t even cost you but will force you to get creative!
1. Website and strong SEO
2. TikTok strategy
4. Nano and micro-influencers
5. Challenges and collaborations with your fans
Website and SEO: A great marketing strategy will always have your website and great search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy as a core fundamental piece. Over 90 per cent of soca artistes currently haven’t even secured their domain names, let alone have a website. Google is the number-one used platform in the entire Caribbean and the most used platform globally. Having a website allows you to show up in Google Search and Google Discover. All of your content, tour dates, and bio should be housed on your website. Your website will also allow you to build your email list and SMS List and tag site visitors with your Facebook/Google/Twitter pixels which will allow you to re-target them on social media.
TikTok: If you are a soca artiste without any strategic plans for TikTok, you are missing out on the biggest platform for you. TikTok has been the number-one way since 2021 that music artistes have been discovered worldwide. This platform is
built around music. Father Philis from Barbados, to me, has been the best example of how a soca artiste can use TikTok and rise to stardom without any big budget or traditional media behind him. TikTok is rocket fuel for the music industry, allowing songs to take off organically and go viral overnight. Get on TikTok and experiment.
Vlog: We are in the age of content! Most soca artistes social media platforms are a heavy mix of pictures from events and snippets of them performing. This should be greatly reduced moving forward. Focus more on storytelling and vlogging your life as an artiste, get us invested in your life through your content. Take us on the epic journey of your life as a soca artiste! It makes it even more satisfying to support everything you do.
Nano and micro-influencers: Find influencers from 1,000-100k followers, find creative ways to collaborate with them or even find their rates to pay them to use your music in their videos. This is a great way for your music to go viral on a platform like TikTok without having to overspend on marketing campaigns on YouTube or Facebook.
Fan challenges and collabs: There are so many amazing challenges that you can issue your fans and they can quickly become trends on TikTok or IG Reels. Social media platforms have also made collabs easy with video stitches. Challenge your fans to dance challenges, covers, remix your songs, create fan art, play your songs using their favourite instruments or guess the lyrics to some of your more difficult-to-understand songs. The more you use your music to engage your audience, the faster your music and your brand is going to grow.
I would even go as far as asking artistes to Google “Guerrilla marketing” and find inspiration from some of the best Guerrilla marketers and campaigns to implement. When building your brand and trying to get your music out to the public, nothing is stopping you from releasing your music and creating your buzz!
When you build up enough hype around your product and the public begins demanding your songs, it’s going to force people to play your songs or book you. The point is, in the Digital Age there is nothing and nobody who can stop an artiste from building their brand.
Keron Rose is a digital strategist who works with Caribbean entrepreneurs in building their digital presence and monetizing. Learn more at KeronRose.com or listen to the Digipreneur FM Podcast on Apple Podcast/Spotify/Google Podcast.