4 Ways To Grow Your Fanbase
Ever feel like your fanbase just isn’t growing, no matter how much social content and great music you put out? I think we’ve all had that feeling at one stage or another, especially with everything being so focused on social media at the moment. The good thing is, growing a dedicated following around your art is straightforward, you might just be missing a few key things. Today I want to share four things you can do to ensure your fanbase grows - all you need is a little bit of consistency.
Actively engage with other people’s content in your community
If you’re going to take away one of these tips, make it this one. In this day and age, everybody is looking out for themselves (and rightfully so), but the element of community on social media is slowly going away. Artist’s are so caught up in making great content to post, that they forget to engage and interact with other people's content. This really is the secret. Interacting with others in your niche and starting conversions is how you guarantee the growth of your fanbase. The problem is, it takes a lot of time, quantity and consistency. Sure, you need to be posting exciting, valuable content on your feed, but why would anybody engage with it if you’re not going to interact with them? You have to feed back into the community that you’re trying to build.
The best way to do this is to set aside ten minutes a day and follow these steps:
Search a hashtag that you use daily on your own posts (for example #londonmusicscene) The more specific the better usually.
Comment on posts you enjoy. Not just a fire emoji, please. Be genuine and start a conversation in the comments. Ask a question and show appreciation. What do you think about the post? What can you ask or comment to continue the conversion further? This is more than likely to get the original poster to visit your profile, follow you and start the foundations for a connection with them. Not only that, but everybody else who sees that post now has the opportunity to see your comment and connect with you, especially if what you’re saying is genuine, intriguing and engaging.
Do this for 10 posts every single day and it will soon build up. That’s 70 opportunities to form a new relationship and gain a new fan every week. Consistency is everything.
Tell a story through your posts and start a dialog there as well.
When most artists put up a piece of content, they simply say what it is in the caption and wait for the likes and comments to roll in, but a lot of the time, they don’t. If you want to turn your followers into fans, you need to be a bit more engaging than that. Instead, write a caption that tells a story and poses a question or thought. Write a few sentences about the piece content rather than a few words. Why do you think what you’re posting is important? How do you think other people can relate to it? How did it come to be? If you’re posting a new song, tell people what inspired you to write it, what your favourite lyric is or something interesting you did in the production. If you’re posting a live video, tell a story about the team who helped you to create it or something that happened on the day. You could even post about something you’re struggling with and ask for advice, just be relatable and be sociable.
At the end of what you want to say about the post, ask a question. The aim is to continue the conversion and get your followers involved in the comments and community as whole. Reply to every comment and make people feel a part of what you’re doing! If you can spend 10 minutes thinking of a caption like this instead of just saying “New song out now!”, you will see a huge improvement.
Stop underestimating music blogs
Music blogs are becoming really underrated and lots of indie artists totally disregard them, but they’re great. They can share your music with a bigger audience that’s full of your ideal fans, that you don’t have the ability to reach by yourself. Every single review or feature makes you more discoverable and can be stumbled upon at any time in the future. They will also give you a catalog of quotes that you can use in your EPK or website that will boost your social proof when trying to book shows, get a record deal or land more reviews in the future. If you get featured on a certain blog once, that relationship with the writer has the possibility to last forever and they’ll be very likely to share your future releases. The snowball effect here is huge, so you can’t afford to miss out on it.
So how can you get started with this? The first thing to do is to look for blogs within your niche and within your reach. Make sure that their audience is your ideal audience too and that it’s not too big. Obviously it would be great to get a feature on something with billions of readers, but that needs to be a long term goal. For now, work your way up the ladder from blogs with a reach that’s fitting for your current position and receives a good level of engagement. Look for ones that are sharing artists who are similar to you in genre and size.
From here, the interaction between yourself and the curators will be key and the way in which you start the conversion with each blogger is crucial. Before you fling a load of music their way, find out what their submission requirements are and if they’re not published, ask through a personal email. Once you know how they’d like you to send your music over, it’s time to piece together your submission. Start with a personal saying how you discovered the blog, what you love about it and why you’d be a good fit. Make sure this part isn’t copied and pasted, curators will be able to tell immediately and might not get any further once they’ve realised. Next, include links to your work, the music that you want to be reviewed (don’t send multiple songs unless it’s an EP), a professional photo of yourself, your social media links and your website link. If you haven’t already, you should absolutely get an artist website set up - you need a central hub to send people to where they can check out your work and find out more about you. It’s essentially your EPK and shows your professionalism and dedication. Do this before you even consider sending your music to blogs. The subject line is also really important, because it’s the first thing people see. Keep it short, snappy and clear. For example “Artists Name - Track Name - Review for Blog Name”
From there, set a reminder to follow up. If they haven’t got back to you after a week, send another email and ask if they’ve had a chance to read the submission or listen to the track and ask if it would be a good fit for the blog. If they still don’t answer a couple of weeks later, follow up one more time. The aim here is to get a response whether it’s good or bad. Don’t feel discouraged if they say no. Wait a few months and send another track when you’ll naturally be more developed as an artist in every way.
My last point on this would be to avoid anywhere that insists on some form of payment to send a submission, these are a load of rubbish. If the writer is somebody who has listened to your music genuinely enjoys it and wants to share it without charging you for the exposure, chances are the readers are people who share the opinion and are passionate about their community.
Tap into your local scene by starting a mastermind group
A lot of artists ignore the local scene and instantly go national or international with their aims and activity, but your local scene carries a lot of weight and opportunity. How much do you know about the other musicians and artists local to you? If the answer is not a lot, you need to delve in and get to know everybody. You all have similar aims and will be able to grow well together. One of the best ways to actively do this is to form a mastermind group. This is a group of like minded people with similar goals who can share ideas and concerns, collaborating to push each other forward and gain more success in whatever it is they do. In this case, it would be other local artists, producers, engineers, promoters and venue owners. All you need to do is schedule a monthly meet up where you can get to know each other, start sharing ideas and give each other some peer-to-peer mentoring. A Facebook group is a great central hub for organising this. It sounds super formal, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’d rather it was more of a casual affair, you could just meet up with your group over a drink!
Once you’re up and running you’ll soon see the amount of opportunities that can come your way as a direct result. You will land more gigs, find out what’s working for other artists, be able to help them with your own experiences and ultimately, you’ll form lasting relationships that you can take into the future.
I hope this post has motivated you to work on your fanbase more. As you’ve probably realised, none of these methods are particularly straining, they just need some consistency to start giving you results. As long as you’re aligned with your goals, success in music isn’t complicated, but it isn’t an overnight thing at all. Play the long game, be gracious with yourself and be consistent and your fanbase will naturally grow.