How to Build Your Fanbase & Connect with Fans (When You Can’t Perform)
The music industry is always adapting and evolving. This is more important than ever during the COVID-19 lockdown. When singers can’t get on stage and tour, both the artists and their fans are left disappointed. But in the age of digital media, musicians are revolutionising music and building fanbases from their living rooms.
If you can’t tour or perform on stage for whatever reason, take your gig online. Famous singers held virtual gigs during the coronavirus pandemic, connecting with fans from their front rooms. Livestreams and social media are a lifeline for connecting with fans.
You can still make your presence felt even if you can’t get on stage. If you utilise your social media and the right music platforms, you can connect with existing fans and even attract new supporters. It’s all about knowing the best techniques to engage your audience.
How to connect with fans
Connecting with fans is easy when you’re on stage – you can make eye contact, get them to join in with the lyrics, and even interact with the crowd between songs. But it’s more difficult to engage your fans when you can’t see them face-to-face.
If you’re between gigs or can’t perform for whatever reason, you have lots of options open to you:
- Get active on all the social media platforms
- Set up a fan mailing list
- Create your own website
- Post videos
- Go live and do livestreams
How do musicians gain following?
If you can’t perform on stage, performing online is the next best thing. You can use the internet to post digital performances to maintain and boost your following.
One of the best ways to digitally connect with your fanbase is via livestreams and videos. There are loads of video activities singers can do to engage fans:
- Conduct a digital interview with your fans – get fans to send in questions and start a livestream of yourself answering them.
- Record acoustic performances – you’ll get your fans’ attention if you release videos of never-seen-before versions of your music. If you don’t want to sing acapella, change the music arrangements of your songs or sing some covers to create exclusive videos.
- Post videos documenting your song-writing process – explain the stories behind your best tracks and give teasers of new pieces you’re working on.
- Get fans involved in a project – create a goal you want to reach; whether it’s raising money to record an LP, or to get your song to rank on Spotify. Make a video diary posting progress updates and creating hype among your supporters.
How to build a fanbase on social media
Don’t turn your social media into a sales pitch. If all your content is about buying and streaming your stuff, it turns into white noise and fans are less likely to engage. The best way to engage fans is by keeping your content unpredictable and mix up what you post.
Try these trialled and tested social media engagement strategies:
- Make 80% of your posts about exciting updates and interesting content and only 20% about promotion
- Create polls and surveys for your followers to vote on
- Run some giveaway offers
- Add a personal touch and reply to your followers using their name
- Give your opinion on the latest hot topics and trends
- Time your posts right and post at optimum engagement times
- Don’t prioritise your own content – make sure you share, like, and comment on other people’s posts
How to build a fanbase on YouTube
Over 1.9 billion people sign into YouTube every month. There’s a huge audience on the site, and if you know the best tips and tricks, you can harness this viewer-potential to build your fanbase.
- Choose an eye-catching thumbnail
- Optimise your SEO and build your posts around one keyword or topic
- Include audio and visual prompts in your videos to get viewers to comment
- Promote your YouTube channel on other social media platforms
- Add YouTube cards to direct viewers to your other videos
- Encourage people to subscribe to your channel in every video you post
How to build a fanbase on Instagram
Instagram’s popularity has soared over the past couple of years. A platform centred around photos might not seem like the best social media for a musician to promote their music, but it’s a great way to show fans an exclusive insight into your private life and all the behind-the-scenes action.
There are lots of simple but effective ways to build an Instagram fanbase:
- Use the trending tags in your posts
- Geotag your posts – especially if you’re at a gig or somewhere interesting
- Take exclusive behind-the-scenes pictures
- Create your own hashtag and encourage fans to use it
- Like other posts and follow accounts in your niche
- Collaborate with popular Instagrammers to boost your views
- Go live to record your performance
How to build a fanbase on Soundcloud
Soundcloud is one of the biggest open audio platforms in the world. It’s a great place to build a fanbase for your music, but it has over 125 million songs already on its site.
To stand out from the crowd, you have to optimise your fan engagement. These tips should help:
- Use the spotlight feature to draw attention to your best video
- Tag all your content with specific tags and general keywords to make it easy to find
- Post some covers and remixes of other people’s songs (if you have permission to do so) to attract interest from their fanbase
- Submit your music to existing groups on Soundcloud
- Consider hosting a podcast or video diary to engage your fans
- Release your next single through Soundcloud for exclusive streaming and ask your fans to comment with their feedback
- Upgrade to a Pro account so you can analyse your audience data and stats
Tik Tok singing trend
Tik Tok has seen a massive surge in users during the COVID-19 pandemic. The app is mostly used by teenagers and young adults and users can post 15–second videos of singing, dancing, and lip–syncing.
Most of its content is posted by amateur performers, but huge music stars like Lewis Capaldi, Ariana Grande, and 5Sos all have accounts. These big names often post silly, humorous videos which are a great way to get engaging content out to their fans between performances.
Tik Tok would be a great platform to add to your digital presence. You could link your account up to your website and other social media accounts and follow in celebrity singer’s footsteps by posting sneak-peak insights into your private life. The bigger your digital presence the better.
Singers haven’t let the coronavirus lockdown stop them from connecting with their fans. Yungblud led the way by hosting an hour-long virtual gig after his tour was cancelled due to the pandemic. He pulled the virtual concert together in 72 hours and performed on a dimly lit stage to an empty room.
Several other famous stars have followed in the pop-punk singer’s footsteps. Coldplay’s Chris Martin performed a cover of David Bowie’s Life on Mars on Instagram Live, followed by a Q & A session with fans.
Christine And The Queens also got involved, streaming live shows from the Ferber recording studio every night.
Even when physical interaction with fans isn’t possible, there’s always a way to get your content out there.
How do artists get fans?
There’s more to building your fanbase than getting yourself heard and seen. You also have to be likable to attract a following. Gaining fans is about more than posting content; it’s about how you come across and how you present yourself. Your person will have a big role in how your fans perceive you.
- Don’t try too hard
- Be humble
- Be genuine
- Stay true to how you are in real life
- Be unique
- Be approachable
How can I make my fanbase stronger?
It feels good to see your fanbase growing. But while gaining more fans can only be a good thing, you want to make sure they’re a strong, committed fanbase. You don’t want to forget about your existing fans in the pursuit of new ones.
If you don’t put in enough work with your supporters, they might move onto the next big artist. To make your fanbase stronger, you need to maintain lots of contact and engagement with your fans. Produce regular content and try to post material that will start a conversation. Reply to any comments your fans leave and give them the chance to have their voice heard.
Fans love exclusivity. If you give your fans something to invest in, they’re much more likely to be dedicated supporters. Offer your fans exclusive offers like signed merch, meet-and-greet tickets, backstage passes, and behind-the-scenes videos. This will turn your fans into superfans.
How do you market yourself as a musician online?
Everything and everyone is online now. As a musician, you need to be marketing yourself online or you’ll be left behind. The best way to market yourself is to build contacts with as many people in the field as possible.
Try these marketing tips without even leaving your house:
- Start a blog
- Chat on message boards with fellow musicians to establish contacts
- Be supportive of other musicians’ content to create friendships
- Follow local venues online and offer support to local events
- Be active on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
How do independent artists promote music?
Doing all of your own promotion and marketing can save you lots of money. But you can’t just rely on your social media accounts to sell your music. If you’re always pestering fans on social media to buy your content, they’re going to be put off.
Create a website instead; this is a great platform to post regular blog updates and create a landing page for fans to sign up for emails and to make sales.
The more people your content connects with, the better your chance of sales. Try sending your music and your artist bio to local press outlets and radio stations.
Sometimes the best way to promote your music is by not always talking about your music. Use your blog, videos, and photos to post non-musical content on your website and social media. It’ll show the person behind the voice and build your identity; making fans more likely to remember you.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Which social media is best for musicians?
Youtube consistently comes out on top as the best social media for musicians. YouTube utilizes the same search engines as Google meaning users can get the most optimisation and exposure possible for their posts.
Even though Youtube is ranked as the best site for musicians, it’s even better when you use it alongside lots of other platforms. To get the ultimate exposure as an artist, you should have a presence on as many different types of social media as possible.
- Who are The Sofa Singers?
James Sill, a musician and vocal leader, set up The Sofa Singers to help unite musicians during the coronavirus lockdown. It’s an online signing session that hundreds of people worldwide can join at the same time by registering for one of The Sofa Singers events on Eventbrite.
- How do you track fan engagement?
You can calculate your average engagement rate on social media using a simple equation.
Add up the total likes, comments and shares your post has. Then divide this total by how many followers you have on that platform. Multiply the result by 100, and the number you’re left with is your average engagement rate percentage.
You can use this equation to calculate your engagement with fans on any social media platform, but keep in mind that some sites typically have a lower engagement rate on average. Instagram is known for having high engagement rates, whereas Facebook and Twitter typically have lower follower interaction.
How do you build your fanbase now that you can’t perform? Let us know in the comments below!