Boosting your fan base
The music industry is one of the rare industries which is almost wholly reliant upon fan support. No matter how talented you are as a musician, there is only so far you can succeed without a loyal and enthused fan base. Think of Beyoncé and the Béyhive, Rihanna and her Navy, Lady Gaga and her Monsters, and the most infamous (and fearsome); Justin Bieber and the Beliebers.
The biggest artists have the biggest fan bases, but don’t think that you need an army of overzealous fans to be successful. It’s better to have a smaller loyal fan base who are enthused about your new music, than a vast fan base who have little interest in your music, and barely engage with your content. There are more emerging musicians than ever for fans to follow, but your deciding factor will come down to your image, and your ability to connect with your audience.
Be engaging on Social Media
As consumers have become inundated with content from all angles, the window of opportunity to capture and boost your fan base has become increasingly competitive. Therefore, for you to stand out as an artist, you need to play it smart with your social media content; prioritising snappy, and relevant high-quality content over uninspired spam.
So rather than using your online accounts only to promote new music, you could create a more engaging social media plan, using social media management tools such as Tweetdeck, Buffer, or Hootsuite. These tools allow you to spread your content across multiple platforms, at the click of a finger.
Remember that fans want to connect with who you are, as well as your music, so whether you’re traveling around the country or just hanging-out in the studio, don’t neglect the power of a candid snapshot. Such posts are windows into your world and can even serve as some much-needed escapism for your fans. Let your personality shine through.
Diversifying your social media usage is equally important in maximising your fan exposure, so try to use all major, relevant social media handles including Facebook, Twitter Instagram, and even Snapchat if you have a younger fan base. You will need to post with regular consistency to stay relevant to your fans and followers.
For more tips on boosting your profile on social media and wider online, read our Independent Artist’s Guide to Self-Promotion.
Analytics tools are not only a great way for artists to obtain insight into the behaviour of your current and potential fans, but also to develop strategic advantages. All the major streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer have rolled out comprehensive dashboards for artists to track and analyse how your songs are performing, as well as providing you with invaluable streaming data that can help you understand who your audience is, where to tour, and much more.
Additionally, the Spinnup dashboardshows you a detailed report of your streams and sales from each country and in the biggest distribution stores in your sales reports. You can filter this view to break your report down by release, store or country for a clearer breakdown. Similarly, you can find fan data on your social media platforms, for instance Facebook allows you to view fan engagement rates, and gauge which type of content works best for your audience.
Try not to obsess over streaming figures, but focus rather on actionable metrics, which can help you make data-backed decisions that can steer your music career such as sharing rates, playlist adds, and geographical activity.
And if you want to know how you too action your data to push your music further, read our Decoded article on Data for Independent Artists.
Attending and performing at gigs will be one of the best ways to boost your profile with your key audience: people that love (and spend their money) to go see live music. Look up local bands/singers who have a similar sound with a larger following and try to attend and support their shows, chances are if their fans like their sound then they may like yours. Plus the music industry is very small so building up your network is great way to gain visibility not only amongst your fans but also bookers, and venue managers.
So, make sure you have an online press kit detailing your contact information, a short biography, your music style and your previous experience – you can even use your Spinnup artist profile for this. Open mic nights are the most straightforward gigs to book and are essential in testing out new material and perfecting your live performance style, especially when you are just starting out. You never know who could be in the crowd, whether it be your next biggest fan to a local A&R scout for a record label.
If you are trying to break out as a producer, try and reach out to DJs who mix within your genre and send them your promo tracks. For every hundred ‘no’s’ you receive, all it takes is one ‘yes’ to completely change the direction of your career. Once you start gaining momentum with your music, you can start aiming for bigger venues that attract a broader audience, such as The Ned in London who hold regular music nights on Monday for upcoming artists to showcase their music. We’ve had Spinnup artists from pop singers to country bands perform here on Mondays.
If you want to step up your live game, make sure to download our Guide to Playing Live.
Remember that these tips won’t provide you with overnight success, so take your time to find out what works best for you and your fans and try to make use of all your available tools. This is all about figuring out a way to attract more fans that fit your sound rather than adapting your sound to attract a bigger audience. Your priority should be to consistently release high-quality content, and then once you feel confident with your sound, you can focus on creating a plan to boost your fan base. If you are passionate, and smart with your techniques and content, then you’ll see a boost in your fan base in no time.