Growing an engaging and interactive fan base is tough… yet possible.
Before even looking to start locating your fan base, you might be asking yourself questions such as:
- “How do the professionals and influencers build their fan bases? and should I be copying them?”
- “Social media is becoming clogged up with artists sharing their stuff, how will I ever stand out?”
- “I’ve got some great music, why is nobody listening?”
To begin you may need to ask yourself this…
“What makes a fan base engaging or interactive?”
Of course, there are multiple answers…
First of all, people could turn up to your shows. That certainly makes them engaging!
But, given the state of the modern music industry, the fact is… your biggest fans can live on the other side of the planet.
So, for those who live too far away to watch your live shows, the best ways to show their loyalty and support would be to:
- Follow all of your social media pages,
- Share and comment on your updates and posts,
- Tell their friends about your music (word of mouth is powerful),
- Buy your merch,
and one more, which I promise is the best thing that a fan could do for you….
- They could join your emailing list.
“So you’re saying an email subscriber is better than a merch sale??”
Emailing is much more personal than talking on social media or online forums. It’s a 1-2-1 form of communication.
So when someone gives you their email address, they are insisting that you keep them updated with whatever it is that you do.
Becoming an email subscriber shows a greater connection.
With that in mind, anybody subscribed to your emailing list is automatically more likely to end up investing more of themselves into your music career than those who have not subscribed.
Another way of putting it is:
Those who visit your website, without signing up to your emailing list, could eventually forget about you…
Whereas the members of your fan base who DO sign up can’t forget about you because you’ll be keeping them updated with regular emails (not too regularly though! once every week or two should do it!)
Not to mention…
The longer they remain a subscriber, the longer they remain a potential customer.
But this is where the important part comes in…
“What Is Email Marketing?”
As a musician, Email Marketing could involve sending a group email to potential customers that include any of the following content:
- New music
- New content on your website like a blog or a artist journal entry
- Reminders of upcoming shows
- Competition announcements
No doubt, you could come up with some ideas yourself. Just try your best not to go overboard with the amount of emails you send out. You don’t want people getting frustrated by your emails.
But first things first…
In order to grow an emailing list. Your best bet is to have your own good-looking website.
Without a website, growing an emailing list becomes much more difficult.
Once you have your website, you’ll need to use an emailing list management site such as MailChimp. They basically host your emailing list. Storing the email addresses in an organised fashion, ready for you to write your next bulk email and send it out to everyone.
None of the above are affiliate links, we just really like using their services!
“So how do I get people to subscribe?”
There are SO many different methods but the ones that are tried and tested are methods such as:
- Include a pop-up subscription box on your website’s home page or on your website’s content (blogs are great for this).
- Offer your fans a freebie (like a free song to download) in return for their email address.
Any method used to draw in some emails is great but honestly, it still comes back to the music. If you don’t produce great music, nobody is going to care much about what you have to sell. Make it worth their while. Remember, they’re handing over a piece of personal information to you.
“What else can be done to grow an engaging fan base?”
As mentioned earlier, you want people to follow your social media pages. Even though most of your early-career income will come from people buying tickets to your shows, there’s no cheaper way to promote your shows than the internet!
Again, your emailing list comes in handy here… but how about for the quick and easy updates. The simple posts like “Don’t forget to come down to [venue name] tonight to catch our band play” or a quick photo of your band during soundcheck.
You don’t want to be sending that kind of thing out by email.
That’s where social media comes in… BUT…
You need to know which platforms to use for different types of posts.
- It’s a great resource for quick and easy posts. You can now link a “Community Group” to your Page, which often adds a greater level of interaction from your true fans (not just your mates that clicked the Like button). Speaking of which… why not join out our DIY Musicians Community Group where we share tonnes of stuff and give you the chance to really involve your own opinions.
- Facebook Pages are also compatible with Instagram accounts, so every time you post a photo on Instagram, you have the option for that image to also upload to your Facebook Page.
- Instagram is designed specifically for images and photographs. You can post links in the description of the posts, as well as on your profile, if you like. That can draw some traffic to your website but your posts don’t remain “relevant” for very long, so if you want to use Instagram as a real marketing tool, keep it updated.
- It’s often only used as a portfolio for an artist’s music videos. This is such a waste of an extremely useful platform. Imagine how much more involved your fans would be if they could see the face to go with the music. I wont go into too much detail here but you could do fun videos, you could upload your band’s interviews or do a weekly get together. Maybe even record some songs from rehearsals and upload them.
- Twitter is perfect for those super quick posts about your band / whatever it is that you’re up to / show reminders etc… It also links to Instagram.
The best advice that we can offer to you in regards to building an engaging fan base through social media is to keep it consistent and keep it suitable. Do your best to apply your attention towards the social media platforms of your choice. Do not apply yourself to all of them! Let me explain why…
You don’t want to be a jack of all trades and master of none!!
Let me offer my personal experience as a guide for what NOT to do!
I figured that I would need to be attracting attention from as many people as possible, on as many platforms as possible. That’s how I’m going to grow my fan base.
I ended up wasting so much time trying to impress everyone that I was spending much less time actually doing the things that I’m trying to bring them in to see, which was my music. My songs.
If I had taken a step back and realised how swamped I had become, I could have been able to recognise that certain platforms were never going to help me anyway. My target audience weren’t even congregating on some of those platforms, so why was I spending so much time posting there?
Mistakes help us to see where we could have improved our approach!!
After deleting my accounts on multiple social platforms that had nothing to do with my target audience, I began to apply my efforts to the remaining platforms, with great response. Now, I have a great Pinterest account for Buden Bay, a growing community group on Facebook and I’m making valuable connections. Prior to eliminating most of my profiles across the web, I would never have gained any connections because I was spending too much time in the wrong places with the wrong people.
Stick to where your target audience and potential customers hang out!
I think that’ll just about wrap up this blog. If you have anything more to add to if you would like to ask us any further questions, leave a comment below.
Keep Playing & Good Luck
Jake McCullough | Content Producer