Discover your social media mojo and attract new students by following these no-nonsense tips on how to create engaging content.
One look at Gemma Sugrue’s social media stats, and it’s clear she’s found a formula that works for her.
With 473,000 TikTok followers and 167,000 YouTube subscribers, the vocal coach has built a strong following thanks to her light-hearted videos covering everything from mix voice to songwriting.
But, as Gemma explains on the Singing Teachers Talk podcast, her success didn’t happen overnight.
“Things really only clicked in the last year,” Gemma says. “I’d been all over the map until then. I had a long explore phase where I was like, ‘I’m a singer, I’m interested in voice science, and I’m very serious’.
“I was so into the voice science stuff that I lost touch with the whole point of teaching, which is to be a good communicator.”
The turning point came when Gemma started posting on TikTok. “That took a lot of the pressure off.
“With Instagram, I was always thinking, ‘people will be judging me’. TikTok was amazing because I was free to be myself. On TikTok, nobody knows me; I make whatever I want.”
Here are Gemma’s four tips on how to create engaging content for social media
1 Have fun
Don’t get obsessed with algorithms, data or trends. Talk about what interests you and enjoy yourself.
“Showing my sense of humour turned out to be the thing that resonated with people,” Gemma says. “I would never have made those videos for Instagram, but once I made them over on TikTok and they were popular, I felt validated. People liked them, so I started re-posting on Instagram.”
2 Be yourself
Don’t force yourself to be something you’re not. “You can tell when somebody’s talking about something that doesn’t excite them,” Gemma says. “I just allow myself to be genuine, show up and talk about what’s fascinating me.”
If you create engaging content that shows who you are, you’re much more likely to attract students with similar values.
“It’s been a really cool way of connecting with the right fit of students,” says Gemma, who runs an artist development programme.
“When a singer comes on a call with me to discuss Pro Vocal Artist, it immediately feels like we’re friends. They already know me, get me and get what I think is funny, so we’ve already got a connection.”
3 Try a new platform
If you’re in a social media rut, why not try a new platform such as TikTok or YouTube Shorts?
“Start on a platform where nobody knows you, and you’re being pushed out to new people all the time,” Gemma says. “That way, the data you’re getting back is clean. It’s hard to see the wood from the trees when you’re also getting support from your friends and family on Instagram or Facebook.
“Take it light-heartedly, and don’t be afraid to be yourself. Just talk to the camera like you talk to your student in a lesson.”
4 Don’t let the trolls get you down
Has Gemma had any negative comments online? Yes, a few. Has it stopped her? No, it’s actually given her a stronger sense of confidence.
“Initially, it [the trolling] was hard, but then you just get used to it,” she says. “If I’m honest, I don’t like everybody, so expecting everybody to like me seems unreasonable.
“After a while, you just get over it, and then you start feeling more confident than you were before.”
Part of this new sense of self-assurance has seen Gemma take an even further leap into the unknown – and try her hand at stand-up comedy.
“With stand-up comedy, the feedback is immediate – people are going to laugh or not, and that’s a good training ground. It’s also just a great way to find ways to communicate ideas. Comedy is such a creative way to communicate.”
Tune into the Singing Teachers Talk podcast to hear Gemma discuss:
- Mix voice and belt.
- Laying the foundations before delving into teaching students about mix voice and belt.
- Her approach to vocal terminology.
- Her artist development programme Pro Vocal Artist.
MORE FROM THE PODCAST
For tips on marketing and SEO, tune into Episode 95 of the podcast to hear how Dr Tonya Lawson helps singing teachers earn passive income.