Fanbase build-up is essential for every musician. Without fans, you will hardly make a living as a musician.
The digital world can help you a great deal in your fanbase build-up. However, you still need a lot of patience and the will to put in some work.
Are you ready for some fanbase build-up 101? Then read on!
Fanbase Build-Up 101 for musicians
The first thing that is super helpful in understanding how you can grow your audience is to analyze who your fans are right now.
The concept of fan communities can be useful here. It splits your overall fans into smaller sub-communities. As the first sub-community, you have a general online audience.
Those are the people that are following you on social media and might listen to your music on Spotify. However, they probably won’t heavily comment on your Instagram posts or share tracks from the Spotify app.
Next in line are your engaged fans. They are willing to communicate with you over social media and even will share your content and music.
The creme de la creme of fans are your super fans. Here you have a dedicated group of people who are willing to support your music in a meaningful way.
For example, they are happy to support you on Patreon as well as pay for concert tickets. They will probably also buy items from your webshop.
What to do if you don’t have any fans yet?
I hear you, it’s surely nice to research your fanbase. However, what do you do if you are just starting out?
The start is always the hardest. However, the most important thing to remember is that the main reason you’re seeking a fanbase is to make them happy with your music.
Having a valid reason to engage with people on the internet is the first step in building up a fanbase.
Check out this blog post on having a music rationale.
The more you are convinced that your music needs to be put out into the world, the more convincing you are for others. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t call for over-the-top arrogance or trying to behave like a rock star.
Nonetheless, hiding your light under a bushel isn’t an alternative either.
Start with a strategy
No matter the stage in your career you are in right now, laying down a solid strategy is key. This means planning out your releases as well as your social media content.
A strategy also gives you a timeline along which you can organize everything that needs to be done.
Part of any good release strategy is competition analysis. That doesn’t mean that you want to take anything away from other musicians.
On the contrary, it gives you the opportunity to collaborate and work together. Only that you have done research first about the possible partners and their respective fans.
Another thing to keep in mind with a competition analysis is that you need to have a strong unique selling point. When researching other musicians don’t look for ways to copy them but rather search for ways to offer something unique.
Ask yourself, what will the listener be doing when they play your tunes?Amber Horsburgh
Make sense of the context in which your fans will enjoy your music. For example, let’s say the majority of fans or people who will listen to your music are commuting every day to work. Then you know that a commuting playlist on Spotify could be a good place to gain more fans.
Come up with a solid content plan for better fanbase build-up
Part of gaining more fans is to come up with a solid and durable content plan. This starts with having regular music releases in the first place.
Next, think about how you can plan your content for social media, your website, and so on. Before the algorithm on any social media platform really starts to perform you need an awful lot of content.
Having a detailed plan can help you overcome disappointment and will also keep up the motivation.
What is more, having a clear content agenda gives your possible fans the reassurance that there is more to come from you. Anticipation is one major factor why we follow someone on the internet.
Not for nothing do professional YouTubers tell their fans when exactly they upload, for example, every Monday and Thursday.
Here’s the kicker: the less time you need to spend on planning and producing content the more time you have for actual communication.
What does that mean? It means that you not only need to post content regularly, but you also need to take it further and communicate with fans and prospect fans alike.
That means, laying out your content plan will also tell you exactly the time frames needed to talk to your fans. Spending time answering direct messages, leaving comments as well as sharing User-Generated-Content.
Fanbase build-up won’t happen overnight. Social media will let you believe that it only needs one hit or viral campaign to become famous. Far from it!
The key elements are consistency, longevity, and lots of dedication.
What is more, reaching fans is nothing that is ever finished. Do not take fans for granted, even if you are successfully established.