Building A Fanbase – Decoded
“How should I treat my fans?” is a wonderful question to have to ask yourself. Fans are what make you possible as an artist. The label, producer, manager or tour bus driver, all they do is help you and your fans access each other. So how do you get fans? When you have them how do you keep them?
In this short guide we are going to ignore solutions as simple as ‘Be awesome at music’ and for the sake of argument are going to presume that you are. In fact we’re sure you are. No the key to building a fanbase comes down to one word, and that word is ‘Engagement’.
Putting it into simple terms, the more of you there is then the more there is for fans to like. Let us explain. What we mean by this is firstly you must be gigging regularly. The more you gig, the more people see you. You should tour around, try to go to places you haven’t been before. Bigger towns have greater numbers of potential customers, but don’t forget that smaller towns get fewer visiting artists and so there is less competition among gigs. And as amazing as it is to have everyone in the audience fall in love with you, even if only 10 people out of an audience of 100 leave the gig as fans of yours, you’re 10 fans up on the deal which makes it still totally worth it.
Before the Arctic Monkeys were signed they used to give away copies of their demos for free after they played a show. This meant the people who had been and enjoyed it would have something tangible in their hands to remind them of that incredible band they saw. They became fans, they put these demos up on the internet and more people heard the music and the number of people at the shows grew. Other bands give away t-shirts, bags or lighters. Whatever it is, by doing this you implant yourself in the audience’s memory, which can only be a good thing.
Enter Shikari in their early days would go around the UK playing small gigs and then afterwards spend the evening hanging out with the crowd, being friendly, talking about the show. This gave all the people discovering Enter Shikari for the first time a lasting impression of them. Their website data showed that it was a lot of those people who came from all over the country to help them sell out their first big gig at the Astoria in London.
All these things gear toward one simple bit of information. Engagement with the fans makes you prevalent in their mind, which increases the chance they will buy your recordings, your stuff or come and see your show. When somebody tweets at you or writes on your Facebook wall, make sure you write back and engage with them. Think of the fans like your boss, they pay your wages so make sure you’re nice to them. Make your music easily accessible, respond and thank fans who are messaging you and perform in front of as many new people as possible. That way you are increasing your chances of not only being heard by new people but being remembered by those that already have already heard you. Be active, be responsive, be busy.
To help you build this fanbase here are 5 things you should know about music consumers.