Building a truly dedicated fan base is actually not about the numbers.
Getting on a popular playlist, going viral on TikTok, or getting featured in mainstream media is not, and should not, be the end goal. Of course, these will all help you in gaining exposure, but they’re not necessarily going to get you real life-long fans.
Landing that big playlist will definitely result in more people listening to your music, but it doesn’t mean that there’s thousands of fans banging down the door to buy merchandise or tickets to your show.
Understanding the difference between a follower and a real fan is important as it affects the way you approach your music marketing strategy. Followers may have seen one piece of your content they liked and clicked ‘follow’, whereas real fans are the ones who consistently comment, like and engage with your content and come back for more. This is where the real value is.
So, in this article, we want to show you exactly how you can convert those followers from different platforms, into priceless forever fans who love your music.
Everything You Do Should Aim to Gain Fans
If you gain real fans that rave about you, you won’t need to depend on social media or streams as these fans will always be there (your forever fans). They’ll do a lot of the hard work for you by gaining you exposure through word of mouth and sharing your content across platforms.
Music marketing is not just about boosting numbers or getting a track to go viral – these sort of figures only benefit platforms in the long run. Consequently, it’s more worthwhile to focus on how you can build a following of engaged, dedicated fans.
You can find plenty of other articles and videos from us about how to get your music discovered. The three main ways we recommend are below, with some related videos:
Get on national radio: How to Get Played on National Radio
This article is going to take you beyond the music discovery techniques described in the above videos and what to do next on each of those platforms and how to get real fans, not just followers.
How to Get Real Fans: Radio Play
National radio play is an incredible opportunity for any artist as it offers a potentially huge reach of new listeners.
However, just because someone’s listened to your track on the radio, it doesn’t mean they are instantly going to become a fan – if only it were that easy…
The key thing to remember with radio play is that you want listeners who enjoy your track to actively go off afterwards to find out more about you and explore your other material. Hopefully, they will then want to stream your songs, follow you on social media and perhaps even buy tickets to your gigs. This is when people become ‘forever fans’.
How to create fans from airplay
Unfortunately, you aren’t going to be able to target all your listeners on a particular day on a specific radio station. However, you can tailor your social media ads to target similar people who might listen to that show or station.
For example, in the UK, Jack Saunders has a show on Radio 1 mainly playing indie rock tunes. If you were played on his show, you could create an ad targeting listeners of BBC Radio 1 and indie rock as your audience. There’s a strong chance that if they listen to both of these, they probably listen to Jack Saunders’ show.
In this instance, you could run an ad with a banner stating ‘as heard on Jack Saunders’ alongside an image of him and the Radio 1 logo. This would provide you with a decent bit of credibility, persuading those who see the ad that you are worth clicking through on. Another thing you could do is to include a clip of your reaction to being played on the radio – personality and authenticity can go a long way here.
Using an ad like this will give them the chance to hear your track again and interact with you on Facebook, Instagram, or wherever you choose to run the ad.
Alternatively, try targeting people who like artists that were played on the same show as you. This time, make sure your ad includes a comparison to one of these bands – it could read ‘for fans of…’ or ‘if you like (artist x), you’ll love this…’. Also, you’ll want to direct them to a streaming platform or YouTube where they can hear the track or your other socials where they can find out more about you.
Send Listeners to Quality Content
If you do direct people to social media, make sure everything is up to date and that your page is packed with good quality content and not a ghost town. Otherwise you’ll only be throwing your ad spend down the drain. Provide them with something that is worth seeing and adds value for them.
Specifically, make sure your bio is good, include some interesting highlights and have stories running every day.
How to Get Real Fans: Streaming Platforms
Many of you reading this have probably been on playlists already, whether that be an editorial or a branded playlist. By a branded playlist, we mean a playlist that isn’t owned by an individual, but by a brand, such as a blog or a YouTube channel.
The majority of music consumption comes from streaming platforms nowadays, which is good news for artists because it means you can get people to listen to your music much more easily than in the past. Your chance of being discovered is also much higher.
But you have to remember, listeners are not necessarily fans. Of course, you want people to listen to your music and build your streaming presence, but you need them to go somewhere else to actually engage with you and become a proper fan.
From Streamers to Dream Fans
The goal here is to direct streamers to your social media channels as this is your opportunity to really engage with them, let them get to know you and turn them into a forever fan.
First, make sure that you link to all your socials from your Spotify profile, as this allows those curious listeners to easily be directed elsewhere to find out more about you.
Again, this does mean that your socials have to be up to date with regular content added to them. That content cannot only be music, as they have just listened to your music on Spotify, so you need to offer something different – something on value.
Make it personal, or show them behind the scenes footage so they can see what you are all about. Remember, your content is your brand.
How Can I Direct People Across Platforms?
To get people from your Spotify to your socials, you could run ads targeted to people who listen to artists who are on the same playlists as you.
One way to do this is to go with the ‘as seen on’ approach, or create a screen recording of you going through the playlist and clicking on your song.
From there, you can target people that are fans of other artists in that playlist. For example, if you are added to a pop playlist featuring Dualists Lipa, aim your ads at fans of her music. By targeting another more well-known artist, people are more likely to view your ad, and the playlist itself acts as credibility.
How to Get Real Fans: Boost Engagement Through Social Media
As we have seen, streaming platforms get you listeners, they don’t necessarily get you fans. As a result, You should be concentrating on ways to create more engagement. Your followers might come from Spotify, and they may follow you on social media, but they are not true fans yet – you need to pull them in.
The most effortless way to engage with people is through DMs, or go even more personal by using voice notes on Instagram. It’s straightforward to do and probably faster than typing out a message!
So, with every new follower you get, message them or send a voice note. It can be as simple as ‘thanks for the follow! Love your picture of…‘. There’s no need to overthink it, but show them that you’ve taken a moment to view their profile and find out something about them. Don’t just copy and paste the same thing to everyone though as it will be pretty obvious.
Showing your followers that you care about them is a key step in turning them into real fans. They will be touched you left them a personal note and so they are more likely to become engaged and return for your content.
Don’t Be Aloof – Be Active with Your Fans
Another way to successfully engage with fans is to reply to as many post comments as you can. Show that you’re reading them and taking interest in what your followers have to say, rather than just reaping in the comment stats.
We would strongly recommend using stories too as it’s a great place to be for artists at the moment. You can choose to be more professional in your main feed, but with stories, there’s a little more license to be playful and raw with the content. Plus, don’t forget to make use of Instagram’s other features like polls and Q&As which are great for driving engagement.
Will Going Viral Help Me Get Fans?
People might discover your music via YouTube, or if you’ve gone viral on TikTok, or even from a successful social media ad. However, going viral unfortunately does not guarantee getting fans. Going viral simply means that one video you made blew up, but no one is necessarily coming back for more.
The usual reason for this happening is due to not having a consistent theme in your content. For example, if we did a food challenge on our Burstimo YouTube channel and it went viral and got 2 million views, the audience is irrelevant to us as they are not necessarily music fans.
It’s the same for artists – if you make a piece of content or something with your music which goes viral and it has nothing to do with your brand, or you as an artist, it probably won’t gain you the fans you are looking for.
It’s just numbers. You could look at it like getting put on a playlist that is not your genre. The answer here is consistency. You need to employ a consistent theme that means people will stick around for more.
Artists are Nothing Without Fans
Music discovery is difficult. It’s hard to get your music out there. But the most challenging part is keeping people’s attention and turning them into fans. So make sure you’re doing all of these things to capture your audience, keep them engaged and convert them into lifelong fans.