As a music marketing company, we probably haven’t spoken about this strategy enough. The importance of this topic came about from a chat between the Burstimo team about how we can help artists break.
We started at absolute ground level and asked the question “How did you discover the artists that you love and want to see live?“. We went around the room, and everybody gave the same answer.
It wasn’t Spotify. It wasn’t Instagram or YouTube. It wasn’t radio or blogs either. It was because a friend had told us about them. More often than not, that’s how we become fans of our favourite artists.
It makes you realise just how powerful word of mouth marketing is, but knowing how to instigate it into your marketing strategy is another matter. So, in this article, we’re going to explain why word of mouth is so effective and how you can best employ it to increase your exposure as an artist.
Why is Word of Mouth so Powerful?
Word of mouth works exceptionally well for music (and most industries) because you trust the opinion of the friend who makes that recommendation to you. It acts as a sort of ‘social proofing’ for you, suggesting that the artist is worth listening to because they already have some fans, at least.
You won’t realise it, but when you get round to listening to the recommended artist, you’ll listen with a completely different mindset than if you stumbled across it in a playlist, for example.
Because your friend told you about it, it’s likely that you’ll give it more attention than you would otherwise. You might listen to the whole track and even go on to explore other material from that artist and find out more about them.
Not only that, but when someone tells you about an artist, and you like them, you naturally feel more comfortable sharing that recommendation with others too. It comes down to a bit of ‘sheep mentality’ – when you see other people do things, you automatically feel comfortable to do the same.
Certain kinds of people are more likely to be these artist ‘recommenders’, telling others about new artists they find before they become well-known. These people are great. They are the kind of people you want in your fan base, doing the hard work for you.
4 Tips to Successfully Implement This Marketing Strategy For Music
Word of mouth marketing can seem like a very natural thing that you can’t have all the much control of, but that’s the not the whole story. You might not be able to set it off with the snap of a finger, but there are several ways you can get people talking about you through your other music promotion strategies. Here’s four tips on how you can do just that:
Tip #1: Inject Personality into Your Content
As an artist, you have to remember that it’s not just the music that people are interested in, but who you are and what you stand for. Fans fall in love with the artist story, not just the musician or creator.
For example, even if you’ve made a killer piece of content for a social ad, your Instagram or TikTok, if you don’t express who you are within that content, it’s unlikely to get huge engagement or tons of likes. People only make the transition from follower to fan when they feel a connection.
It might not happen straight away, but consistently providing this kind of content will give people a reason to talk about you. Think about the last artist or content creator you discovered that you really liked. How many times did it take you before you told someone else about them?
Say you came across this artist on Spotify, you would still probably need to play a few songs, find out what the artist is about for a few weeks before you feel confident enough to recommend them to a friend.
Having a strong personality and passion will make people want to come back for your content and this will organically instigate word of mouth marketing for you.
*Extra Tip*: Don’t be afraid to go extreme or be a little controversial – as long as what you’re doing aligns with your personal brand and message, this is a great way to spark conversation around you.
Tip #2: Live for the Live Slots
Live gigs are a word of mouth goldmine. Getting live slots is easier said than done at this time of writing, but after lockdown get yourself out there playing in front of new audiences. People love to talk about live performances they’ve seen because it’s not necessarily something they do very often.
Again, it’s about establishing that connection. When people get to witness you doing the thing you love, that’s when these connections are built. If you play a good set, chances are that they’ll want to see you again, and they might even bring their friends. When they initially tell their friends about you, they are planting seeds on your behalf.
Tip #3: Give People Something to Talk About
What can you do that would guarantee people start talking about you? It doesn’t even have to be music related, but performing some kind of revolutionary act or publicity stunt is a sure-fire way of doing this.
You could film a video in public or give an impressive performance from one of those pianos in a crowded train station. Not only would it help instigate word of mouth, but you’d have some awesome content to share across platforms too.
Probably the best example of this would be from the early days of Oasis. The story goes that they had a big concert in the Netherlands so they were taking a ferry to get there. Their manager had told them that this could be their big break.
They ended up starting a fight on the boat with a big group of people, got arrested and thrown off the ship (but managed to reach their destination). However, as they were arrested, they got sent straight back to the UK and no show! Their manager was furious.
Obviously, social media wasn’t around then, but the incident was covered extensively by the newspapers and radio. Everyone knew that this band called Oasis from Manchester had been arrested for a brawl on a boat.
Amazingly, it was this incident that gave Oasis their break. Everyone wanted to know who they were, so went and listened to their music, but also that brawl also represented a part of their image and personality.
It’s highly unlikely that his event was planned in any way, but it goes to prove how controversy and big acts can build hype around you very quickly. Imagine if something like that had happened today: it would probably have been caught on camera and circulated around socials within a matter of hours.
Don’t get us wrong – we are absolutely not saying you should go starting fights on public transport. Burstimo does not condone this sort of behaviour. Instead, think about what you represent and what your brand is, and how you could display that through some kind of publicity stunt.
Tip #4: Make People Feel Like They Know You
If you feel like you know someone on some kind of personal level, and you’re proud or identify with what they are achieving, you’re going to tell other people about them.
This is why artists should be personally engaging with their followers as much as possible in order to make them feel that they are more than just a ‘fan’ – detached from the artist in everyday. You need to make them feel like you could have a conversation together that isn’t just them fanboying you whilst you politely reply with half-hearted pleasantries.
So don’t be aloof with your content:
- If people comment. Reply.
- If people DM you. Reply.
- Start conversations with people. You could do hit several birds with one stone by doing this in a group chat.
- DM every new follower with something personal and bespoke.
Make them feel like there is a conversation to be had, and that they can get to know you. No, they’re not going to talk about you straight away from these actions, but when you release music and content, you’ll build up more of a rapport and they’ll be reminded of this every time you pop up on their feed.
Something to note is that you will appear higher on the feeds of those you have messaged and engaged with, and the same applies to Instagram stories. So, by DMing and having conversations with multiple people, you expand your reach organically.
But the main point here is that people feel like they know you, and because of that, they will talk about you and introduce you to more of their friends and family.