Since the dawn of MySpace, musicians have been using social media marketing to generate buzz and get more fans.
And while this opportunity still exists today, the truth is that there are now more musicians, creating more content, than ever before.
To find new fans for your music using social media, you’ll need to focus on two separate areas:
1. Raise awareness to get your message out
2. Capture fans via opt-in for long-term relationship building
1. Raising Awareness
Putting out great song after great song is of course important. But with so much content out there, it’s becoming less likely for word of mouth to spread about you / your band as it may once have in the past.
Instead, you’ll want to focus on opportunities for your music and content to reach an audience far beyond your current fans. Here are a few ways to do this:
Connect with others in the industry
As an independent musician or band, it can sometimes feel like it’s you against the world. But it’s not. It’s really not. The industry is filled with musicians, managers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, marketers, publicists, talent buyers, promoters, booking agents, labels and more who are always up for making new genuine connections. Because if the music industry has always had one constant truth, it’s ‘all about who you know’.
Use LinkedIn and Twitter as channels to make real connections. You never know when an opportunity could arise that you are the perfect fit for, and any one of these contacts could come knocking.
A hashtag can be used in one of two ways. First as a pun / gag at the end of a tweet or post (i.e. ‘Looks like I’m skipping my diet today #DadBod’).
Or as a way to track all conversations happening about a specific topic on a global level (i.e. ‘LCD Soundsystem is killing it at #Coachella!).
The latter presents a great opportunity for you to get involved in conversations about bands or the music industry, and connect you to more people than your own reach would allow for otherwise.
Try looking at some hashtags that are often used within your genre or music scene to identify conversations that can put you in front of new potential fans.
Video content is becoming increasingly important as Facebook recently announced that its combined platforms generate up to 8 billion video views per day.
Posting some unique and interesting cover songs is a great way to find new fans, as people searching for these songs on YouTube, Facebook, etc. may find you in their search results. Again, the use of hashtags can help to amplify this as you get these videos in front of fans taking part in existing conversations.
Often seen as cheating by the DIY / independent music community, there is nothing wrong with having a budget to reach new fans and generate awareness through advertising.
To be clear, this is not a suggestion to buy fake fans / likes. Specifically, this is an opportunity to put a bit of money behind an advertisement that can get your music out in front of fans that are already actively engaged with other similar artists.
There are several forms of advertisement, and many different pricing models for different needs and different levels of budgets.
If you’re working with a minimal budget and simply want to get out in front of more eyeballs, try a display ad using a CPM (cost per thousand) model. This doesn’t guarantee you direct engagement; it’s just an inexpensive way to get in front of a targeted audience.
If your budget is a bit bigger and you’re looking to specifically drive traffic back to your social pages or website, try a display ad using a CPC (cost per click) model.
Create opportunities for fans to willingly share your music / content
This is not a suggestion to simply ask people to share your music over and over again. This is an opportunity to create meaningful, powerful, inspiring, or unique content that your fans want to share as it can tell others more about who they are and what they believe.
Charity, activism, politics, humor, and self-reflection can all be good opportunities to inspire fans to share your content (hint: try video AND hashtags here).
Develop your niche
What is your unique story? What are you passionate about? Answering these questions could help you to develop a niche (i.e. hard rock mother of 4). This can become a great source for content surrounding advocacy, thought-leadership, activism, etc., and establishes your voice as unique.
This is of course a great way to connect with your current fans directly. But it could also be a foot in the door with blogs and other content creators within your niche who could share your perspective to an audience of potential new fans for your music.
2. Capturing fans
One negative about social media is the lack of ownership. You don’t own your Facebook Fan Page, Twitter profile, or your YouTube / SoundCloud account, so you don’t own the fans on those pages.
Once you’ve developed your strategy to reach new fans, you’ll need to focus on making sure they stick around so you can continue to build relationships and strengthen the loyalty of these fans.
The goal here is to convert as many of these fans to super fans as possible so when the time comes for a new single, album, concert or tour to be announced, you’ve got direct access to these fans to purchase right away. Here are some ways to do this:
Set up a mailing list
An email address is something you own, and is a direct channel to communicate with and sell to your fans. Setting up a mailing list and developing a regular newsletter (even if monthly or quarterly to start) using Bandzoogle’s built-in mailing list feature, or platforms like MailChimp or Fanbridge, is a great way to ensure you own your fans for life.
We’ve written extensively on how to best build a mailing list here: 9 ways to build your mailing list (and sell more music online)
Creating a fan club is a good way to develop a sense of community, and is a great way to establish loyalty with your fans as they develop the true sense of exclusivity of being an ‘insider’.
A big upside to a fan club is the ability to sell directly to these fans when the timing is right. You can set up a members-only page on your website to offer pre-orders, sell tickets for shows before they go on sale to the general public, and other exclusive merch items.
Similar to a fan club, platforms like Patreon and Bandcamp have developed a unique opportunity for bands to offer content on a subscription basis to fans that are willing to pay a monthly fee for access.
Use NoiseTrade to collect emails
NoiseTrade is a free service that lets musicians and bands offer music for free in exchange for email addresses & postal codes. You can upload individual songs, albums, custom playlists, or live tracks to entice fans to hand over their emails.
NoiseTrade also sends new music daily to a massive database of over a million music fans looking for new artists to discover. (and hey, NoiseTrade Founder Derek Webb uses Bandzoogle to power his website!)
This post was written by Jon Ostrow. Jon is the Director of Sales at Bandsintown, Founder of MicControl, lover of all things music, a raging Phish head, and a coffee addict.