When starting out as a singer, you need to build a fanbase to follow your music. They will be the people to support your gigs and releases, and without them, you may struggle to flourish.
How to build your fanbase from scratch. The key to building a fanbase as a singer is gigs, marketing, and social media. With the emergence of social media in some respects makes it a lot easier to reach out, engage and connect with a fanbase.
Building a fanbase as a singer: If you don’t know how to build a fanbase effectively, you’re going to struggle to succeed in the music industry. Here are some pointers on how to go about building a fanbase from the ground up!
How do I build a fanbase?
Following these 9 tips will assist you in understanding how to get fans for your music:
- Interact with all of your fans
- Build up your social media
- Look professional
- Get playlisted
- Play gigs
- Get a mailing list
- Run competitions and promotions
- Make great merch
- Get 3rd party support
How to build a fanbase in music
#1 Interact with all of your fans
When you’re building your fanbase from scratch, chances are, you’ll have quite a small amount of people, to begin with. This means there is NO excuse not to engage with all of them.
On the train to a gig? On the bus, or in the back of a car? Don’t ever waste this time. Go through your social media mentions, comments, tags, and shares. Reply to as many fans as directly as you can.
Reply to each of them differently – they’ll appreciate it and feel more of an affiliation with you, which will increase the chance of them becoming a truly dedicated fan.
How do artists build their fanbase?
Make sure you connect with your fans through interaction. If word gets around that you answer fan queries and engage with them, it will draw more new people to you. They will see that you are in touch with treating fans how you would want to be treated by artists you like, and this will paint you in a good light.
Little things like this will generate a lot of interest in you once word gets around via other people’s news feeds and get you out to a broader audience. Always remember to keep your posts interesting and engaging.
If you’re looking for REALLY dedicated fans, check out this article about how to get super fans here:
Other ways to build a fanbase
Why not include your fans in your next music video? Let your listeners know that you need a crowd for the video and hopefully, they’ll show up to support you. It’s a win, win situation. They get a free gig and the chance to be part of your journey, while you got a great crowd for an awesome scene in your new video.
There are plenty of ways to create a special bond with your most loyal followers. You could give your fans a unique name, in the same way that Rihanna calls her fans The Navy, and Beyoncé’s fans named themselves the Bey Hive.
If calling your fans by a name isn’t really your style, you could create a recognisable symbol or distinctive graphics that your fans will automatically associate you with. Whatever you choose to do, establishing and maintaining a close bond with your audience will help to turn your average listeners into super fans.
How to build a fanbase on social media
#2 Build up your socials
Creating your social media accounts for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the essentials. Google+ and Tumblr will be beneficial to have as well. If you are uploading video content, consider creating a YouTube account so you can have your own channel.
The most important thing when building a fanbase is to know how to use each different social media platform properly.
How to build a fanbase on Facebook
Aside from your website, this is essentially the hub of all major activity. It is where the news gets posted, where gig dates are announced, all the longer, more important stories.
The rise of Facebook Live and other live streaming services offers artists an incredible new way to reach fans for free.
You’ve probably noticed that whenever someone ‘goes live’ on Facebook; their friends and followers receive immediate notification. A free online performance is a great way to drum up interest in your latest track.
How to build a fanbase on Twitter
This is where you post updates on smaller activities. For example, something funny that has just happened or what instrument is being recorded in the studio as you type. Twitter is about more frequent, smaller stories than Facebook. Check out this Forbes article for more great tips
How to build a fanbase on YouTube
YouTube is one of the most interactive ways of promoting yourself. Videos of yourself can easily get spread around the Internet and you can gain fans from all across the world not just your area.
You’ll also need a YouTube if you’re looking to apply to festivals. Many labels and festival organisers will want to see what you look like, both live and in a music video. Make sure to get YouTube right.
How to build a fanbase on Instagram
This is for sharing snapshots of what’s happening in your world. Have you got a new EP artwork reveal? New stage costume for your next show? This is where they are best off being posted.
Instagram is also one of the best platforms because you can really start building your social proof on there. The addition of Instagram ‘stories’ are great. You can get other artists to tag you at gigs or after you’ve released a song and you’ll be able to re-share it on your page.
This will prove to people that you have real-life support from people and it’ll make you more attractive to people who might want to offer you a gig or work with you.
If you really want to promote your music well, check out this article.
How to build a fanbase on Tumblr
Tumblr is great for your blog writing. This is the site where readers will want to read the longer, more informative posts as opposed to short statements.
Be warned though; avoid spamming your social media. Fans dislike spam and it could have a negative impact on your following. If fans get annoyed with your posts, they will unfollow you.
Through word of mouth, this could harm your ability to get your fanbase bigger if people here negative comments about you. Keep it professional and don’t post the same thing over and over.
How to get fans for your music?
#3 Look professional
Make sure your act is sorted. This means online, visually, and in person. You need the right sound, the right image, and any recorded material is to be up to scratch. You have to be the complete package worth promoting.
Ensure all themes, display pictures and such, are synchronized across all platforms. You need to be sure people will look at each profile and know they are on your official page.
When you’re starting out, open mic nights are a great place to showcase your act.
How do rappers get fans?
#4 Get playlisted
In 2019, being on an online streaming platform such as Soundcloud or Spotify is crucial for allowing people to listen to your music for free. This lets you grow your fanbase, especially if you’re a rapper. (This still applies to all other musicians though!)
If you’re signed to a record label they will be able to do this all for you, but if you’re not signed to a record label there are plenty of sites that you, as an independent artist, can use to upload your tracks.
Sites such as Distrokid and CD Baby are great for small artists with just a few tracks to upload. If you have lots of music that you’ll be uploading regularly as albums, Tunecore might be a better option for you.
Make sure to note that each of these services requires a small payment to upload music to Spotify – it’s definitely worth it though.
Getting on playlists
Continuing on with this theme of Spotify, it’s important to note the relevance of playlists nowadays.
Playlists are great because if you’re featured on ones that already have regular listeners, you’ll get a slice of those playlists’ plays. This allows you to build up your online numbers and prove to your audience (and people who might want to book you for a show) that you’re the real deal.
Independently curated playlists
There are many different types of playlists, but the ones that you should be aiming to get on are the smaller independently curated playlists. Often these have a contact email in the description that you can pitch your music to. If not, a quick search on Facebook or Google wouldn’t go a-miss. Here’s a helpful list of 10 curators that you can send your music to.
Getting on BIG playlists
Some playlists are created by people actually working at Spotify. These are hard to get on because you really need good numbers to prove that you’ll bring value to the playlist.
If you get on one of these you’ll certainly boost your song’s popularity amongst the people who regularly listen to that playlist. You’ll start growing your fanbase by introducing your music to people who are most likely to love it.
More on how to get on Spotify playlists here:
Your ‘Monthly Listeners’
The great thing with Spotify though is that it shows monthly listeners. For many people (including consumers and industry people who might want to promote your music) the number that shows how many ‘listeners’ you have is a real insight into who currently cares about your music.
Even if you have a song with a million streams on Spotify, if you have only 100 monthly listeners it means that you’ve clearly had a very successful period, but you need to work on re-engaging your fans. If the number is high though, it proves that people currently care about your music.
How do artists build their fanbase?
#5 Play gigs
Play shows and play lots of them!
It’s much easier to target new fans in a small but packed venue rather than a large but sparse one. Smaller venues also offer more opportunities for direct interaction with your audience, offering potential fans the chance to get up close and personal.
Meeting and speaking with the fans will not only put you higher in their estimations but if you hang around the merch table after a gig. It will also encourage them to come over and make a purchase.
All of this contributes to building up your fanbase slowly but steadily.
If you’re wondering how to get gigs in your area, check out this article.
How do you get fans for your music?
#6 Get a mailing list
Build a mailing list and update to your fans on special events and announcements.
A great way to do this is through your website. On most website-making websites (such as Wix) there will be an option to insert a box that gives people the opportunity to type in their mailing list and send it to you.
Your website will then collect all of these emails, and you can send out announcements directly to your fans.
Creating a community and offering fans something exclusive through email will heighten their appreciation and create the feeling that they’re part of your inner circle.
More on how to build a great mailing list here:
Website tips: This should have everything about your act and should be accessible to the public. It should contain information such as: a biography, photo galleries, videos, contact information, and, of course, an option to sign up to a mailing list, etc.
How can I improve my fanbase as a musician?
#7 Run competitions and promotions
It’s not always about the music, fans want to know about you as a person too. One of the best ways to get fans engaged is through competitions. Ask them to post covers of your songs, for example, or design some kind of artwork for you that you will use in the future.
Running a competition is a great way to generate interest in your music. You could start a simple ‘like and share’ competition on Facebook, or even a survey to get a deeper understanding of your listeners.
Once you’ve moved on from these basic competition ideas, move on to more creative ideas (like ‘who can post the most interesting cover of your song’ for example).
What you give away as a prize from your competitions is up to you. You could offer free merch, backstage passes or anything else you think would interest your audience. Make sure that the reward matches what you’re asking your fans to do though – don’t give away just a CD if you’re asking them to make a cover and share all of your videos!
#8 Make great merch
A great way you can build your fanbase outside of your music is through merch. Of course, you can make the usual t-shirt, hoodie or sticker set, but try to think outside the box.
You might want to make a memory stick with special unreleased demos and sell it at your gigs to your hard-core fans who want to see and hear everything you create…
Continuing on from the competition idea – why not give away some of your cheapest merch for free? A badge or plectrum only be worth pennies to you, but if a fan receives it directly from you after seeing you on the street or after a gig, it creates that personal connection between you and the fan creating a more dedicated follower.
Check out these merch ideas for singers here:
How do I grow my fanbase?
#9 Get 3rd party support
There are plenty of ways in which you can get 3rd party support to build your fan base,
Even in 2019, radio is still one of the best platforms to build your fanbase through.
One of the best stations for upcoming artists to showcase their songs in the UK is BBC Introducing. They have so much support for new music and upcoming bands and wherever you are in the country, there will be a local BBC Introducing station.
You can upload your best tracks online through the BBC Introducing uploader for free, and if the hosts enjoy your song they’ll play it to an audience of people who want to discover new bands and artists.
Many influential people (both locally and regionally) listen to BBC Introducing. You never know who might enjoy your song and get in contact. Just as importantly, this really helps you build your fanbase
There are also plenty of local community radio stations all over the UK who would be up for featuring your music (if your song is good quality). Just Google ‘[Your City name] radio stations’ and see what comes up.
More on how to get your music featured on the radio here,
Nowadays, online blogs are a great platform for musicians to utilise to build their fanbase. It gives a second-hand opinion on what a band or artist is about.
It’s brilliant for ‘social proof,’ which means really proving that you are a legitimate band to your audience.
Many online blogs are run by big companies so they’re hard to get featured on (unless you’re a big artist). Others are run by independent local curators who would love to feature what you’ve been working on in the studio or what gigs you have coming up!
Proving to your audience that your music is worth talking about will give them faith that you’re a dedicated artist that has some hype behind you.
There’s so much more info on specifically how to get featured on blogs here:
Further blog ideas
Start writing your own blog, sharing your experiences, hopes, stories, aspirations, and influences. Grabbing your fan’s attention with an interesting post will give them a better understanding of you and your music.
Consider writing blogs. Sites such as Tumblr or WordPress allow you to do this. Write about your personal experiences or give tips you have picked up to try and help out other singers/musicians. People will read it and take an interest in you and check out your social media pages.
If you know any other ways to build a fanbase, let us know what they are in the comments below!