Here are 10 proven ways to reach a bigger audience and get more real fans.
Having followers is one thing, but true fans are really what you should be after. Followers will add likes to your posts, but as an artist, you’re obviously more interested in people who genuinely follow you for your art, and that will do more than just double tap on Instagram.
1. Start on a local scale
Start building a relationship with a local station (that plays the kind of music you make, that’s #1) that organizes music events. Showcases, multi acts concerts…at this point it’s useless to try with the likes of z100, Kiss FM, capital, Europa plus or NRJ. They’re only interested in big names. However, think about it. For just one of those major stations, how many much smaller stations are there around? Stations that don’t have access to big artists doing promo tours and that would love to have some artists to interview, showcase, etc.? Tons.
Also, if they probably don’t have the same kind of ratings the big guys get, it’s still important enough for these guys to sell enough advertisement to keep playing the game, which they wouldn’t if nobody listened to them.
College radio stations are also a good bet as you might end up performing at the ball or similar events hosted by the school.
To find out the best ways to contact radio stations successfully, check our Essential Guide to Radio Airplay.
“Collab Bro?” Yeah, you’ve probably received plenty of those and even sent quite a few yourself. However, appropriately done, collaboration is one of the best tools at your disposal for getting new fans. Why do you think so many major artists collaborate? It only makes sense: when collaborating, you reach a potentially entire different fanbase that didn’t know about you. Some Drake fans also love Calvin Harris. Some of his fans also like listening to sad songs from Lana del Rey, etc.
Collaborating with artists making music in a genre different from yours is a great way to make yourself known to a whole new audience that might have never heard of you. Do you remember the song “Stan” by Eminem that featured a pop chorus performed by British singer-songwriter Dido? She totally blew up after this. Also, these stories happen ALL. THE. TIME.
There is twice as much promotion power for the joint project. You advertise for that project of yours, but so does the other artist. You’ve got everything to win with it!
The most important thing when reaching out to collaborate is to deliver. Loads of musicians are like “yeah sure, let’s do something,” and shit never happens. Make sure to find similar-minded artists and push for that thing to happen and to be done.
3. Be active on Social networks
You can’t do without them, period. Presence and consistency on social networks are vital today for an artist to reach people.
Algorithm change regularly, so you’re going to have to stay up-to-date with how Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others work and which strategies work best at that moment. Currently, you need to post consistently on the ones you focus on. Also, make sure to cater content to the social network you use. Photos and videos are big on, obviously, but Facebook likes to push text, among other things.
Your posts need to be engaging, as well. A post twice a day with no engagement and soon you’ll dive down and will never be seen by your audience. Use call to action (CTA) like “should I drop this tonight?”, “what do you think about this new song,” “which artist would you hear on this beat,” etc. Instagram is moving towards a system where people can’t see likes anymore and where comments are a crucial factor to bumping your posts in other’s feeds.
On Instagram, using the proper hashtags is must-do too. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags in your description or comments. Use those cleverly. Search for the most relevant hashtags that match your content and the ones your audience might be searching for.
Various ideas are running out there about the best number of hashtags to use in the description. We’ve personally been experimenting this ourselves and couldn’t actually back any of the numbers we found in so-called expert articles.
On Facebook, we strongly recommend going as far as possible with a regular account before focusing your attention on business pages as those will require some money to be spent on advertisement so your followers can actually see what you post. You can go up to 5000 “friends” on Facebook. Feel free to add and remove as you see fit if someone in your list doesn’t engage at all with your content. Engaging with as many of them on facebook too will also translate into them interacting with your content in return.
Social networks are invaluable for artists, but it requires a lot of work and efforts.
Don’t use the same hashtags over and over again. Otherwise, the Instagram algorithm will consider this spamming and will decrease your exposure significantly.
Go back to old posts of yours and reply to someone’s comment, add an emoji or anything. This will bring the post back into your friends feeds!
Your content shouldn’t all be about your music either. Fans like to know what artists they like are into, what they like doing, see behind the scenes stuff, diversify your content!
Let’s get this right immediately: Networking is about giving. When YOU’re the one looking to expand YOUR network, YOU’re in the giving game. YOU have to give value to the person you’re talking to.
Spending time outside of the studio networking is just as important as spending time in your zone or the studio making music. Maybe even more. Some say a successful career in the music business is 20% music, 80% marketing. You are your own marketing, get out there, be a friendly and easy-going person, find common ground.
Whatever you do, though, be subtle about it!
Nobody owes you shit. You have to earn attention, favors, and everything else. When you meet someone, try to find out what you could bring to that person. Then later down the road once you’ve delivered, you’ll be part of that person’s circle, and you’ll be introduced to a broader sphere, recommended, suggested, vouched for. Word of mouth. It doesn’t come from harassing people with your demos, your Soundcloud or youtube links. This is as much valid online as it is in real life. Build relationships before trying to sell anything.
There are plenty of conferences and events organized for artists and musicians. These are great places to spend time making new friends with the same goals and making new contacts in the industry. You can teach them stuff, but they can also show you stuff. Also, then it’s all about getting in a bigger circle that will benefit you at one point or another, guaranteed!
5. Convert followers to fans
You’ve got a few hundred or thousands of followers on Instagram or Facebook. That’s great. However, are all of these fans?
Engage with your followers. Please spend some time every day to check your followers’ posts and engage with them, like, comment. As they see you engaging with them more, they’ll do the same. Also, one thing leading to another, some will eventually realize they’re actually into your stuff and not just about liking the pictures you post on Instagram. And because you don’t know how social networks will let you interact with others in the future, it’s always a good idea to start building your email list. Tools like Hypeedit let you create “download gates” where you can allow people to download something (a song?) in exchange for an email address.
6. Reach out to blogs, podcasters, youtube channels
These people need content. A lot of it. Also, if you’ve got a good story to go along with your art, then you’re gold. Seek out for validation or introduction from them. The amount of followers here isn’t that much relevant. Or it actually is but not how you might think.
Channels with a lot of subscribers, followers, etc. are sometimes hard to get to listen to your stuff. Moreover, many channels show staggering numbers, but engagement shows a different story. You could be better off reaching out to smaller channels. A lot of them will a more modest following actually have a much more significant engagement. Also, since they’re smaller, they are much easier to get attention from.
When it comes to reaching out to any of them be cool about it, tell them how much you like what they do and how much you’d like to collaborate. Why not offer to write a few blog articles for them about the scene in your area? Bring value first before asking for something in return.
7. Collaborate with bigger Artists
We’ve mentioned it already, collaborating is one of the best ways to get more real fans. However, collaborating with a more prominent artist is another level.
The process is a bit different though, as, in the first place, it seems you would have everything to gain about that partnership, but they wouldn’t. That’s why you must offer value to the artist you’re approaching. Before you’re in a position to collaborate, maybe it would be a good idea to offer one of your unreleased songs. No matter how you do it, you have to grab the attention of more prominent producers and artists by making good music. Only get in touch with them when you’re sure that your shit is high quality. One only have one chance to make a first impression. Also, those are usually the ones that last.
How about making a remix of one of the producer or artist’s track. It will show your skills and show that artist or producer what you added to their work and how well that works (hopefully!).
There won’t be a lift to the top though. This is a patience game, and you have to be in it for the long run and be ready to climb a ladder one step at a time.
Working with small producers in the first place and working your way up is always how it happens.
If the last song you posted about is 3 years old, chances are your fans from then moved on to follow other more prolific artists. You don’t have, and you shouldn’t post a new song every couple of days, but your audience needs to see that things are happening music wise. Sharing other stuff from your life is also strongly recommended, your fans like what they do but they also like to know what you’re into, what you love doing, etc. Sharing consistently is also a right way for social networks to keep showing your content to as many of your followers as possible. Deliver great content day after day.
Set up a website to get your fans email addresses. Offer a track of yours for free. Your true fans will give you their email address, and you’ll be able to reach out to them directly when you have something coming up. A gig, a new track, an interview…
9. Spotify playlists
Streaming platforms are the big players now when it comes to exposure and even revenue in the business industry. There are many ways to have your music featured on Spotify playlists. We honestly don’t know how efficient paid services are. What we do know is that you can manage to get playlisted without spending a dime. Sidekick music recently listed 10 free opportunities to submit your songs to playlists curators for free. We definitely recommend going through the hassle to send to all these places as we’ve seen excellent results ourselves.
10 .Tik Tok
Formerly known as musical.ly, Tik Tok is promised to be one of the biggest names in the social network game along with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. While it isn’t yet as mainstream as the other social networks, the app has been downloaded more than 800 million times already!
Similar to what the deceased Vine used to be in a way, Tik Tok allows you to post clips of up to 15 seconds, mostly dance and lip sync videos.
This platform has been widely adopted by influencers, who already cumulate vast numbers of views and followers. Even celebrities and artists use it. Many have paid partnerships with the app, while others have deals with brands jumping on board.
Contest/challenges are good ways to gain exposure. The app is super popular due to its lip-sync videos. It’s perfect for you to create a challenge based on your song and have users replicate a dance move, do a lip sync choreography or anything that you can come up with.
Tik Tok recently launched Tik Tok Spotlight aimed directly at indie artists to support unsigned artists and help people discover them. The service opened back in April for a few countries in Asia, but this should become global pretty soon, so stay tuned! As there were youtube discovered artists, maybe we’ll become familiar with Tik Tok Artists really soon!
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