Although you want to be securing online coverage, focusing on your social media engagement and growing your streams, the most important part of being a successful musician is having a dedicated fan base. The more you engage with people, the more likely they are to become a lifelong fan and go on the journey with you, which leads to being able to monetize on this attention, bringing in an income.
In today’s ultra-competitive and sometimes oversaturated music industry, it is more important than ever to keep people engaged. With the advancement of the internet, it couldn’t be easier to keep regular contact, build relationships and create a dedicate fan base who are in it for the long-term, so here are our 4 steps to engaging an audience, to convert anyone into a lifelong fan.
1. RELEASE AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE
Have you ever discovered an artist, only to find they haven’t released in over a year? It’s off putting right? This is because this digital era offers the consumer a constant flow of content, so if you’re not keeping up, you’ll get lost in the dark hole of Spotify with the other 30 million tracks. To engage an audience, you need to be providing content as often as possible and for musicians, the content is the music.
Regularly releasing music can easily convert a casual listener into a fan because you’re keeping them hooked, reminding them of who you are and what you have to offer. The music creation is now easier than ever due to the simplicity of using digital audio software and then distributing at a low cost. Previously, you would have to send your demo to all the major labels and fingers crossed they would pay for your studio time and then pay for the physical distribution but now in 2019, musicians can create and distribute music from their bedrooms, so there’s no excuse.
2. LIVE PERFORMANCE
Performing live is where you’ll be able to bring your music to life and if you play to your best, you can convert any audience member into a lifelong fan. This doesn’t just mean playing to your best ability, it also means offering personality to the performance because that is what can make you stand out in this competitive industry, giving the audience something to remember you by and engage with on a more personal level. Creating personal relationships through live performance leads to an audience member being converted simply and quickly into a fan.
Live performance is where you can portray your personality, letting your fans get to know you on a personal level. So, aim to show your personality throughout your full performance, rather than performing the songs and leaving.
To engage with the audience through live performance, you need to encourage crowd participation. At the start of a set don’t expect people to start dancing and singing along immediately, you need to create a comfortable environment, so your audience feel involved and connected with you. After a few songs you could ask the crowd to move closer to the front, making everyone feel involved and then eventually involve each audience member.
Once the set has finished, make sure to stick around too. Often, emerging artists mimic the actions of an established artists, which is to leave immediately after the performance. However, you’re not at this level yet and you need to build on your fan base and relationships before rushing off after shows.
You can’t get a more personal way to engage and connect with people than talking to them face to face and hearing what they have to say. Start the conversation, offer to buy the audience drinks and ask their opinions of the set, as this is a way of showing your appreciation and creating personal relationships. The Hunna are a great example of engaging and meeting new people after a gig. After almost every event they meet, take photos and sign fan’s items as well as doing album signings when they release.
3. SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
Social media is a massive part of everyone’s day to day life, making it one of the best and easiest ways to engage with new people and interact further with your already existing audience.
There are many ways to use social media to engage an audience, but all require you to create content and spend time on the people behind the screens. Instagram is currently the best performing platform for musicians as the ads are cheap, the organic reach is the highest of all social media platforms and as humans are such visual consumers, Instagram offers content which is in demand.
CREATE A THEME
You firstly need to find your social media theme, which should fit within a niche. For example, your theme could be documenting your journey, so the content you create could be short vlogs or Instagram Stories explaining your daily life as a musician. If you have an ongoing theme, you’ll find more people following and engaging as they know exactly what they’ve signed up to and will be interacting with daily. Aim to be posting at least once a day, with 3+ Instagram Stories too, as this takes advantage of Instagram’s algorithm so will push your content out to more and more people.
ENGAGE WITH FOLLOWERS
From here, you need to be engaging with your followers further as having an Instagram follower doesn’t necessarily mean having a lifelong fan. The best way to do this is direct message every follower, starting a personal conversation, rather than copy and pasting every message, so it appears as spam. One simple DM could easily convert someone from a follower or casual listener into a lifelong fan as they’ve secured a personal relationship with you.
You should also be liking and replying to every comment as it shows that you see what every person is saying and that you notice them, rather than just seeing them as likes and notifications. This also helps the Instagram algorithm, as if you’re replying to every comment, Instagram will rate your profile as having high engagement, so will push it out to more people.
4. GIVE INSTEAD OF TAKE
To have an audience, you need to prove that you’re giving something, rather than using and taking. This is essential for musicians as although you’re giving music, you need to prove you’re not just wanting to make sales and exploit your audience into buying merch, giving you fame and buying concert tickets. Of course, you want to make sales, but your fan base is the foundation of everything, so need to be treated accordingly.
Giving to your audience is different for each artist. Most musicians give their music for free, so what makes you different? Perhaps you can offer personal gigs, free advice videos on how to play an instrument or you provide entertainment through YouTube content.
Explore how you can give to your audience and make your audience feel more involved with your music, rather than feeling like they’re having their time taken on listening to your music, seeing you live or watching your content. They need to finish listening to your track, leave that gig or watch a full music video feeling as if they’re received something of good quality and worth their money or time.
Converting anyone into a lifelong fan is simple as long as you’re following every one of these 4 tips. It’s all down to the quality of the music, the content you’re creating and the ways in which you interact with every individual that shows interest. If you’re providing everything we’ve outlined in this blog post, you’ll find your audience growing exponentially and every listener, follower or crowd member, will easily be converted into a lifelong fan.