Making great music is only one part of being a successful musician. To ‘make it’ in the music industry, you are going to need fans, loyal fans! Here are a few practical tips that will help you to multiply your fanbase quickly and attract superfans:
#1 Focus on the right people
In the early stages of your music career, it’s important to reach as many people as possible, but this model quickly wears off.
To make a living from your music, you need die-hard fans, not casual listeners. It’s the dedicated fans who will buy tickets to your gigs, purchase your merchandise, and will pay to stream your music.
They will likely help you grow your fanbase faster than any advertising campaign — these followers are sometimes referred to as superfans.
#2 Perform frequently and consistently to gain exposure
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re already recording and selling music, you absolutely must play gigs (large or small) – no one will get to hear your music unless you put it out there!
In fact, smaller venues make it easier to interact directly with your listeners and build a relationship. Time in front of a live audience is never wasted and small venues are the perfect setting to talk to people before and after a gig. This is the essence of being a musician and the best way to build a strong fanbase.
#3 Build fan loyalty through better relationships
Music is a bit like romance. Some fans will love you from the first note they hear, others will take some time to seduce.
There are four stages of this fan-building relationship:
That’s when they first hear your music. Creating awareness is a numbers game — The goal of the awareness phase is to reach as many people as possible.
That’s when your potential superfan starts recognising and liking what you do. Attraction happens after a gig, or even through finding your music on a popular blog.
Somebody will either like your music or not, and little can be done about it. Your job is to increase their chances of actually listening to a full track or even a set.
For artists without big marketing budgets, the awareness and attraction phases blend together. Luckily, you have the power to move your fans up to the attachment level — that’s when a personal connection matters the most. A few sentences exchanged after a gig can work wonders but you can also make personal connections online.
Sometimes, all it takes is replying to somebody’s comment on your Instagram. Send out a tailored newsletter, or show your personality in a vlog and share it on social media.
Allegiant fans (superfans)
According to studies, these fans amount to only 2% of your whole fanbase but they drive 80% of your sales. To create superfans, connect with your fans at the attachment level as much as possible.
#4 Use your merchandise to spread the word
A fan wearing an artist’s t-shirt is a walking advertisement. On top of that, people tend to form emotional attachments to objects, so if your logo adorns somebody’s favourite jumper, they’re likely to love you more too.
merchandise can also be a powerful relationship builder.
If somebody recognises you from your videos or a gig, ask if you can send them a little something (a badge? A plectrum?) to show it means a lot to you. You might just create a loyal fan!
#5 Build a community of loyal followers
Focusing only on the awareness and attraction phases, you are likely to grow your social media following, but you won’t create real fans.
Apart from personally connecting with your listeners at the attachment phase, you have to, also, give them a chance to interact with one another. In other words, you have to build a community.
If you already have a successful social media presence, think about starting a Facebook group where you invite only the people who have already been to your gig, bought your music or invested in some merch.
Give occasional, honest, updates on your life and music (think about talking with your fans, not at them), offer early or exclusive access to merchandise and create a space where your fans can interact.
From 0 to Superfan
To grow a loyal fanbase. First of all, you need to make great music and have a real desire to share it with the world and connect with others.
Only then will all the hours on social media, discovery platforms and influencer outreach not feel like a chore.
With honest, heartfelt relationships at the core, you will quickly find the holy grail of the music industry: a steadily growing fanbase and your very own superfans.
What do you do to build your fanbase? Do you have any superfans? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.