It’s not always easy—leveraging social media in a way that helps you stick out.
In an already crowded space, how can brands expect to make a significant impact? How do they stick out from the sea of sameness in their efforts to catch consumers’ attention?
The answer: Take a cue from the music community.
In addition to looking inward (that is, examining competitors and similar brands), marketing pros can learn from some of the most influential musicians in the social space, who are finding dynamic and innovative ways to break channels’ parameters in ways that are redefining what’s possible for a brand—personal or otherwise—on social media.
Here are some best-in-class examples that show how thinking bigger (and more creatively) can elevate your brand’s content in unexpected ways.
G.O.O.D. Vertical Videos
Pusha T wasn’t the first artist to debut a music video on social media. He was, however, the first to lean fully into the platform—using the channel’s inherent limitations as a source of creative inspiration.
“H.G.T.V.” was shot in a way that interacts with the functionality of Instagram Stories in mind. The camera perspective rotates in meticulously timed circles, with breaks woven naturally into the cinematography at every 10-second mark—the exact moment when one piece of Instagram Stories content rolls into the next piece of content.
By daisy-chaining this rotating perspective along these 10-second intervals, Pusha T invited users to watch his new video unfold, piece by piece. Using the latest Instagram feature wasn’t a gimmick—it was critical to the execution of the concept. The result is an experience that audiences don’t want to tap or swipe through, but rather are engaged to watch through to completion.
Extending Your Visual Tone
As the indie-folk wave began to plateau, bands like Michigan’s Lord Huron needed to further define themselves in order to stand out among the crowd. It’s likely that this trend accelerated the band’s use of film noir elements to accompany their strain of atmospheric folk.
This blend of styles is displayed best on their Instagram page. Sitting between grainy, vignetted tour photos is a full set of movie poster–inspired images for each of song on their (then) upcoming album, “Strange Trails.” It’s rare to see individual single art for each track on an LP—and it was the perfect tease for their sophomore release. The conceptual unveiling came to a conclusion with a video that pulled together all of the art and revealed the new album’s cover.
Where most bands might rely on concert imagery or “in the studio”–type content, Lord Huron treated Instagram as a completely distinct creative execution to help create a sense of mystery, excitement, and buzz. And Instagram really was the best place for these posters and trailers to reach the fans—the simplicity of the platform makes it ideal for teasing out bits and pieces of an upcoming project, allowing the artists to reveal as little or as much context as desired.
Patience, Patience, Patience.
When A$AP Rocky’s Instagram feed first became inundated with seemingly blank squares, he lost about 100K followers. After a period of time, however, these squares began to darken from white, to gray, to black. Finally, the beginnings of his “digital installation” were debuted.
Partnering with Robert Gallardo of his internal creative team, A$AP Rocky’s Instagram feed soon turned into a full-fledged digital mural that teased images relating to his upcoming LP. Over time the mural evolved, with A$AP Rocky releasing content in rows of three—adding milestones, tours, events, and announcing partnerships, without ever breaking from his bigger aesthetic vision.
Despite the initial hit to his audience, his patience paid off. A$AP Rocky recovered that gap after just a few weeks and went on to triple his audience from 1.5 to 4.5 million in just over a year.
Since then he’s taken over Instagram’s own @music account in this style, and has inspired countless other artists and brands to do the same. One of the best recent examples is Anderson.Paak’s colorfully cascading mural that has been refined over time into something unique and much more than just a few images in a row that go together.
While the ephemeral nature and immediacy of social content might push us to only think of the day-to-day, A$AP Rocky played the long game, establishing a coherent visual design language for promoting a wide variety of work ranging from music to fashion.