So you’re just getting started with your music career. You have the music but how do you get fans?
Getting your first thousand, even your first 10,00 fans is difficult. Where do you find them? How do you attract them? How do you keep them?
I’m going to answer all of that today and this article isn’t just for those musicians in the early stages of their career because yes I’m going to teach you how to build a fanbase from scratch but I’m going to teach you how to keep building on that fanbase, so if you’re at 10 fans or 100,000 fans, this article is for you!
What is a fanbase?
A fanbase by definition is the fans of a particular well-known person or group considered a distinct social grouping. The key words there are social grouping. It’s a community.
Fans are not listeners, they’re not even followers, they’re more dedicated than that. So you need to not only get someone to listen to your music, but you need to get them to stay dedicated to you so when you have music they listen, they download, they put it int heir playlist. When you upload social media content they’re liking, they’re sharing, commenting. And when you have something to sell like merch or tickets, they’re immediately buying.
I’ve also got a bonus tip at the end which is for those that want to take it to the next level, they don’t just want to extra 1000 followers, they want the extra 100,000 followers, so stick around.
So I’ve explained a fanbase is a community, but what if you don’t know what your community is…completely normal, completely fine. You need to go and find them; they won’t always come to you because there’s so much competition.
Join Facebook groups, subreddits, jump into the Instagram comments to discuss your music and the community.
Join the community you want to lead by adding value.
Release as often as possible on EVERY platform
Explore different forms of social media content. Find your platform, find your theme, produce content and you will build a collection of videos, podcasts or even blog posts that people will latch onto, and revisit because they know you, and like your new content.
If you are having trouble with keeping consistent, posting on socials everyday, or even just producing content, then you can do something called ‘long form to short form’, which means you can take an extended video of a live show, or rehearsal and break it down and separate the new broken down clips on your feed.
Engage with your audience
Live, stories, comments, DMs – transform a follower into a fan
Instagram is an amazing way to engage with your audience, if not the best way. Instagram allows you to engage with a wide range of different features, for example, instagram stories have options to add a question for your audience to answer. There are great ways for an artist to engage with their audience including polls, votes and replying to every single comment to show you know they are there.
Another good thing you can do, is talk to your followers as if you are speaking to one person. Instead of saying ‘Guys’ in your text, say ‘you’, it can make people reading feel like you are making content with them in mind, this will make them want to see what you’re posting and engage with it.
Play live where your audience is. Starting locally, reaching out to venues and promoters in your local scene is a great way to meet other musicians and get involved with what is happening around you. Over time, you may find that you are building a following through playing excessively, whether it is a support slot or a headline show, you have the to potential to reach the right audience through live gigs.
if you are starting out, keep in mind, that over time, your performance and abilities will get better on stage, and that you will see a growth in musicianship, and your audience will see that too. I have a theory that it takes around 10 gigs for any band or artist to find their feet on stage, and this has proven to be the case, so keep at it, and always have a show booked in the diary.
If you are more established, and have been gigging for a few years, you will know about everything I’ve already talked about, however, that doesn’t mean that you should be content with your live shows. Make your performances memorable, start to explore things you can do put put on a show. There are number of different things you can explore, like doing merchandise giveaways, ‘Buy a CD, get a t-shirt’, these types of marketing tactics can build your audience connection.
Collaborate on content with other artists or brands to boost your chances of getting attention from a wider audience. This will all depend on what level you are at, and what kind of brand or artist you can collaborate with. However, you can find artists through YouTube and Spotify, especially by looking on official Spotify playlists and seeing who gets put on playlists frequently. By approaching these artists, you are not only connecting with a potential new audience, you are increasing your chances of getting put on a Spotify official playlist yourself.
In terms of brand collaboration, you can look to local at magazines, clothing brands and independant companies that would suit your themes and could benefit from partnering up to create brand new content.