I recently did a podcast about tactics for building your fanbase geared at musicians looking to build a lasting connection with the audience that they want to build. I’m taking the best points of the podcast and delivering them to you now.
Fans are the most important part of the music business. The way you grow and resonate with these people will be the deciding factor of whether you end up popping off with them. This will then determine how well you do on social media and ultimately how much money you can make through your fan support.
The first trick to building your fan base is acknowledging that you’re going to need to grow consistently. Set a target of how many people you want to talk to and grow with everyday. Start with 10 and slowly increase that number every day. I want you to contact those people at least once a week for the next few months. This is going to require that you network and grow with those people on a semi-intimate level each time you speak to them. Find out what those people are like, what music they listen to, which sports team they support and any other interesting information you can. Let these people discover you without actually force feeding them your music. The moment you get the urge to force feed them your music I want you to stop yourself. Let them discover your new music by themselves. It’s more organic this way. The connection that they make with you will be so genuine that they will want to interact with your music more. Keep pushing this hustle for a few months, talking to a few people every day about things that surround the music. If you do this while releasing loads and loads of quality music and getting seen in as many places as possible you’re likely to grow your fanbase exponentially in that period of time. Remember to not force feed your music. This is how to avoid making people tired of hearing from you.
My second theory is an adaptation of the 1000 fan theory. In this theory, you focus on growing a deep connection with 1000 fans. These 1000 people become the backbone of your career. If you can understand that if 1000 people spent R1000 on you every year then you would make R1 000 000 a year. If you broke it down further and said that all you needed was for these 1000 true fans to spend R250 on you every 3 months then you would make that million. I know I’m over simplifying it so let’s go into it a little more. You’ve been amassing likes and followers as well as avid listeners by performing at small events… you start to realise that you have 50 000 people that follow your work across all platforms, but you know that not all of them are necessarily going to spend money on your products, music or shows. The truth is that you only need a small percentage of them to support you financially. If you make quality music and you have been using the first method to build deeper connections then you’re well on your way to building those 1000 true fans. Offer your listeners new opportunities to experience you and your music and you’ll be bringing them closer to being one of those 1000 fans.
Making the music is the easy part in my opinion. Taking the time out at the end of your day to talk to 100 people on a one on one basis is what so many people aren’t able to do. Jumping on Skype and hitting up those fans on the other side of the country, sending sms messages to those people you haven’t contacted in a while, jumping on Facebook and talking to a few people that commented on your latest song, tweeting at someone who mentioned you 2 days ago, making yourself available for telephone calls to discuss new collaborations, taking pictures with your closest industry colleagues and posting them on social media platforms like Instagram to build awareness, taking every radio interview because you want to reach out to that 1 new fan that you might get and the list of activities goes on and on. Don’t ever feel like these things I’ve mentioned are optional. They’re mandatory especially if you don’t have a budget to afford a PR team.
The process is so simple, but the hard work is difficult. Understand that this is a daily hustle and you will only start to see results from these methods after a few months of solid networking while making music regularly and making sure you’re very visible. After a year expect that you would’ve built up enough leverage to be able to get bigger interviews, more gigs, more blog posts and more collaborative opportunities. It’s a long term hustle and if you feel like it hasn’t worked for you I guarantee you it’s a better way of spending your time if you compare it to spamming your fellow musician, tagging everyone including family members and just being a pest.
Use these tactics and bend and twist them to suit your goals. I’m merely here to give you guidance. Ultimately you need to figure out what’s important to you and do it.
If you enjoyed this post please share it, let your fellow musicians know that there are many ways to skin a cat and that there are ways to build a fanbase especially when you’re on a very tight budget. Where money fails, proper use of your time will prevail.