As you probably already know, getting fans involved in your music career is essential. While it was once possible to appear ‘untouchable' and not communicate with fans bar seeing them at live shows, this is no longer the case. With the internet making it easier to connect with sociable musicians, if you as an independent artist don't embrace fans on a day to day basis, you're going to lose fans out to musician who do.
But how can you go about interacting with fans effectively and getting them to become loyal followers of your music and brand? Fans that will go out of their way to spread the word about you? Well that'll what we'll be looking at today!
What you'll get in this guide:
- A look at why getting fans involved in your music career is so important, and how you'll benefit from it.
- A look at how much time and energy you should dedicate to getting fans involved in your music career.
- A list and explanation of 4 ways you can get your fans involved which they'll really appreciate you for.
- And more.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
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Why Should You Get Your Fans Involved In Your Music Career
So you know that it's important you get fans involved in your music career. But why is this the case? How will it benefit you and your music in the short or long-term?
This is what I look at below. Here are some benefits you'll get from increasing the interactivity of your fan base:
The Amount Of Fans You Have Will Snowball (More Fans Will Spread The Word About You)
As with most cases where you're trying to build up a fanbase of any sort, the more happy members you have, the faster you'll get new members on board. When you start out, things will be at their hardest. It can take a while to get your first few fans, but once you've got them on board and upscale your efforts, things will start to move faster then before. Most likely, your second 100 fans will be easier to obtain then your first 100.
Not only will this be because you now know what you're doing, but also because of the ‘snowball effect'. This refers to a snowball rolling down a snowy hill. The further the snowball goes down, the more speed and snow it picks up along the way.
In relation to how many fans you gain, the more you get, the more you'll have people talking about you and spreading the word. If you've only got 5 fans, them talking about you isn't going to get you much extra exposure. But imaging you have 100 or even 1000 fans talking about you, there's much more of a chance each message you relate through them will get heard by new people.
If you want to have your fan numbers snowballing, you'll have to make sure you don't lose many fans along the way. If you do, you're snowball could lose as many fans as it picks up. If this is the case, your final ‘ball' won't be anywhere near as big as it could have been when it reaches the bottom of the hill. So use interaction to keep fans interested in what you're doing and happy.
You'll Get Fans To Follow Your Every (Musical) Move
When you get fans involved in your music career, you're more likely to stay on their mind. Rather then being just another musician that they think puts out some good songs, you could become someone they regularly look out for and actively want to get involved in anything you do. This is what some would describe as a ‘true fan', and the core of your fan base who make you the majority of your money.
The more you can get fans to actively to look out for what you're doing without asking them, the more they're probably reward you as time goes on.
You'll Get Social Proof As A Musician
As well as getting direct benefits from the people you get involved in your music career, doing things with your fans and showing others is a great form of social proof. For example, if you want to meet up with some of your fans and get pictures of it, not only would those fans probably show all their friends, but it'll also look good on your own website and social sites. It shows that people want to get involved with what you're doing, and in turn encourage others to also get involved as well.
It's just like when you display a Facebook like box on your website; if people can see a lot of other people also like that page, they're more likely to give it a chance and want to connect in some way too.
You'll Encourage More Sales Of Your Music And Merchandise
All of the above generally leads to more sales and more people spreading the word about you. As I mentioned, the snowball effect will start to take place as all of these things increase; the more successful you are, the more successful you'll become if you keep doing the right things. One of those right things in your music career is getting fans involved and making them feel special.
Going Above And Beyond When Interacting With Fans
Ok, so let's get into the good stuff. One thing I want to mention from the start is that this isn't something you should do as a small part of your music marketing efforts. Your fans are the people who will make or break you. If you manage to draw them in and keep them interactive with you, you could end up making a full time living from your music. If however you largely ignore them and don't treat them well, chances are any fans you do gain won't stay that loyal. On top of that, it'll be a struggle to get them to spread the word about you and pay to hear your music.
It's because of this that you should aim to go above and beyond what many musicians feel is the correct amount of fan interaction. As you become a bigger musician, less is needed on your behalf to make fans feel special. Simply acknowledging them and taking a picture with them is often enough. If you're an independent musician who's still building up their name and fanbase however, you'll need to take things to the next level.
For example, most musicians feel fan interaction should involve making the odd reply on social sites, talking to fans at gigs, and taking a picture with fans at events and when they spot you out and about.
While these things are all important forms of interacting with fans, there is also so much more you can do. Things that will really build up the die hard fans, and get more media attention and interest in what you're doing.
I'll be looking at what some of these things are as this guide goes on, but for now remember that you need to go above and beyond what your competitors (similar musicians in your genre) are doing if you want to stand out and make people follow you. So be sure to dedicate enough time to this side of marketing yourself.
Ways To Get Your Fans Involved
So now you know why you'll want to get your fans involved in your music career, let's look at some ways in which you can do this. While there are a number of ideas you can do, the below four things are all high impact and will make sure people never forget you or your group.
You should use your imagination and try some other ideas to stay interactive with fans as well, but maybe initially try one or more of these:
1. Get Them To Submit Their Pictures For Your Album Cover
This one is super easy to implement, and is one that can also save you a lot of hassle in terms of thinking up another concept for your art work. The theory behind this is you get people to submit pictures of themselves and you use the best ones for the cover of your next album or single. They'll be happy because they've managed to get their picture on the cover of a musician they like. You'll be happy because you don't have to worry as much about coming up with another creative concept.
And don't you think these people who were keen enough to send in a picture of themselves will want to share the finished design when it's done? Furthermore, don't you feel most of them will go out and buy a copy? After all, it's not every day that you get your picture on the CD cover of a artist you like. Yes, I said CD! Chances are a percentage of the people who get their image on your cover will want to buy a physical copy so they can show it off. You should also encourage them to do that before, during and after the launch; mention a few times that it'll be something they'll want to get a physical copy of and hold onto it for life. If you don't ask, you won't get.
So how many images should you have on the cover? Well, that depends on a few things. How many people can you get to send pictures in? How will you arrange the images? And how big do you want the images to be?
I recommend you get as many on there as possible, but not so much that people can't recognize their picture. You'll also need to make sure text can go on the cover as needed, so work with your designer to figure out a layout that'll have people proud to share your project around, but that also looks neat and non cluttered.
Believe me when I say fans will love to get their image on your next project, even if it's only on the inside sleeve.
Here are four other ideas.
2. Ask Them To Give Feedback For A Song And Change It Up Accordingly
Another way to get fans involved in your music career is to ask them for feedback. While this can be in the form of asking them which single you should release from your album next or what they thought of a certain performance, you can go deeper then this to make fans feel like they're really part of the process.
For example, why not let a select few members give you feedback on a new song you've just written? You can do this by getting together a certain group of your fans, either competition winners, or people who are part of a membership you have formed. Once you have a select number of fans ready and keen to give feedback, have them listen to the song. Don't share the full song, maybe give them a verse or two.
Once they've listened, get them to provide you with feedback in your preferred method. For example, you may hold a Skype call with them, or you may have members provide feedback for the song on a private forum you've set up.
The important thing though, is you actually take at least one of these comments on board. Let's say for example one of your fans let you know you could substitute a line and you also agree that change is a good idea. Make that change, and let them and others know you done it based on a suggestion from that fan. Not only will this make the fan who suggested the change feel super special (they'll probably spread the word about the song), but it'll also show others that they can get involved with you on a more personal level. This'll encourage other fans to look into how they can help you out, and generally help shape your music career.
While you won't be able to implement all the suggestions that fans make, you will be able to do some. When you do, make it known so people feel involved and become die hard fans.
3. Hold A Live Meeting With Fans For Career Feedback, Or A Social Gathering
Ok, let's take the above idea of getting a group together to the next level. Let's say you've got a good local fanbase. While talking to your fans online is all good, if you can meet them in person that's a lot better! Having a meet up with fans is giving them something they won't often get: The chance to sit down and talk generally with someone they're a fan of!
You can tell your fans you're having this meeting or get together in a certain area, and that they're welcome to come along. You can do this somewhere where you can eat, get a drink, walk around, or whatever you're most comfortable with.
You can advertize the meet up as either a general get together so you can meet your fans, or you can promote it as a chance for them to give feedback on what you're doing and get involved in the next step of building your music career.
At these meet ups, not only will you often get valuable feedback on what you're doing, but you're also identifying your hardcore fans. Those that travel to meet you must really be into what you're doing, and will likely be around for a while to come. Take this opportunity to further build up a connection with them, and see how you can get them more involved in your music career on the day. You might be able to assign roles to anyone looking to get more involved with what you do, and you may even find people who you want to make members of your team.
If you haven't currently got a big enough fan base in your area to have a meet up, having talks online and via Skype also work.
4. Mention Them In Songs
Personalization is a great way to get fans feeling special. Mentioning them personally by name anywhere is often a big deal for them, but if you write a song mentioning their name, they'll often forever love you for it.
There are two ways you can go about doing this. First of all, you can write a short song for each individual fan. You may simply release this song on Youtube and send them the link, or you could send it to them personally. While this is an option that can work, there is another way to use this strategy.
One idea is to write a song which mentions a load of your fans all in one. You could contact your fans, and see which ones want to be mentioned in this song. Any that do, get them to send a few details about themselves. Maybe a few things they like, the general area they live in (at least their country), and anything else you'd want to talk about in a song.
Once you've collected all that information, write up a song with the names and a little bit about each. How much you focus on each person will depend on both how much info they give you, and how many people you've got to mention. If you've got a lot, of course you won't be able to spend as much time on each person.
Once the song is finished, instead of giving it away for free, why not sell it the same as any other single? It should be good enough to release; if it's not, go back and change it up until it is. Once available to buy, be sure to let all your fans know. While not all of them will, a percentage of those mentioned on the song will be excited about it enough to go and buy the single. Some of them will also show their friends about it, and hopefully that'll encourage more sales of the song too.
So there you have it, four ways to get fans more involved in your music career. As well as the above, there are a number of different things you can try. For example, you could turn up to their school for their birthday and do a mini show (just be sure to get permission from the school first of course) . You could give them all titles, and call each other by those new names. How about giving them small but meaningful responsibilities like helping to moderate your forum, or helping out with your social updates? This'll make them feel like they're involved in what you're doing and a member of the team.
What To Do Next
- Figure Out How You're Going To Get Fans Involved In Your Music Career.
Are you going to use one of the above mentioned methods? Or are you going to use another one you've thought of personally? Whichever you decide to go with, make a sure you can reach at least a few people at the same time.
- Start Getting Interactive.
Once you know which strategy you're going to go with first, the next step is to put it into practice. Contact you fans and get the involved. The exact steps you take will depend on what you're doing, so fill out your ‘to do' list as necessary.
- Rinse And Repeat.
You'll need to do more then one of these things to keep them fresh, and interacting with fans is an ongoing process. So keep going. 🙂