Although you want to be securing coverage, focusing on your social media content and reaching out to playlist curators, the most important part of being a successful musician is having a dedicated fan base. The more you engage with your fans, the more likely they are to stick around and go on the journey with you.
In today’s ultra-competitive and sometimes oversaturated music industry, it is more important than ever to keep your fans engaged. With the advancement of the internet, it couldn’t be easier to keep regular contact with fans. Building that relationship between you and your fans is essential to your overall growth, so here are our 4 tips to engage with your fans.
1. Face to Face
Every fan wants to meet the person they’re going to see perform live. You’re an idol to them and it’ll make their day if they get to meet you. Meeting your fans and creating a real relationship with them can transform a person that knows a few of your songs, into a lifelong fan.
You can’t get a more personal way to engage and connect with a fan than talking to them face to face and hearing what they have to say. Stand by your merch table after your set as they’re more likely to buy something and ask you sign it. Not only is this a good way to increase sales but you’ll also be adding a personal touch to your merch and because of this they will be talking about it to their friends and posting photos of it on their social media.
The Hunna are a great example of engaging and meeting fans after a gig. After almost every event they go out and meet, take photos and sign fan’s items as well as doing album signings when they release.
2. Engagement at Gigs
Performing live is where you’ll be meeting most of your fans, offering you the opportunity to engage with each person face to face.
During the actual performance you need to get the crowd to participate with you. At the start of a set don’t expect people to start dancing and singing along immediately, you need to create a comfortable environment, so your audience feel involved and connected with you. After a few songs you can ask the crowd to move towards the front, so you can properly see them, you should make everyone feel involved, talking to the people at the back of the crowd and also let the crowd participate by turning the microphone to them or starting a chant.
Another way to increase engagement it to reflect on what the crowd is doing. For example, if you see lots of phones in the air, ask people to tag you so you can post their videos on your social media accounts. A great thing to do is to take a photo or selfie with the crowd and ask them to tag themselves or comment on the post if they can see themselves in the photo.
If the venue is small enough and there’s enough space, you can invite people up onto the stage with you. The band Anteros created a niche with this by inviting girls from the crowd onto the stage when they perform their song ‘Bonnie’. Always check with the venue first before you do something like this though as it increases the chance of someone getting injured or something getting broken.
Live performance is where you can portray your personality, letting your fans get to know you on a personal level. So, aim to show your personality throughout your full performance, rather than performing the songs and leaving.
3. Social Media
Social media is a massive part of everyone’s day to day life, this makes it one of the best and easiest ways to engage with fans. You can use social media to instantly contact someone who might be at the other side of the world. This allows you to reach out to fans that might not normally get to see you unless you tour in their country and even then, you might not play in an area near them, so social media allows you to connect with everyone.
There are so many ways to use social media to engage with fans ranging from; announcements, direct messages, questions/polls on stories and the list goes on. Each way has a different effect on the fan that is being engaged with. For example; a tweet can start a feed/conversation where other fans can join in, a direct message has a more personal touch and can make that fan feel special as no one else is getting that messaged, the questions and polls on stories have an open engagement and influences something that the band is going to do.
Whichever way you choose to connect with your fan over social media, you need to make sure that every single one feels engaged. The best way to do this is direct each follower thanking them for the following and start a personal conversation, rather than copy and pasting every message. Another simple thing you can do is to like and reply to people’s comments. It shows fans that you see what they are saying and that you notice them, rather than just seeing them at likes and notifications. The market chooses whether they like something or not, so there’s no need to guess. Ask your fans via polls, direct message or a general post to see what they want more of.
Live streams are also a new and popular way to engage with your fans. It’s the easiest way for your fans to see you and get an instant response compared to going to a gig as both you and your fans can do/watch the livestream from where ever you are. They’re great for doing this such as Q&As, showing an event you’re at or just taking your fans on your day to day life tasks.
4. Give instead of take
To have an audience, you need to prove that you’re giving something, rather than using and taking. This is essential for musicians as although you’re giving music, you need to prove you’re not just wanting to make sales and exploit your fans into buying merch, giving you fame and buying concert tickets. Of course, you want to make sales but your fanbase is the foundation of everything, so need to be treated accordingly.
Giving to your audience is different for each artist. Most musicians give their music for free, so what makes you different? Perhaps you can offer your fans personal gigs, free advice videos on how to play an instrument or you provide entertainment through YouTube content.
Explore how you can give to your audience and make your fans feel involved with your music, rather than feeling like they’re having their time taken on listening to your music, seeing you live or watching your content. They need to finish listening to your track, leave that gig or watch a full music video feeling as if they’re received something of good quality and worth their money or time.