The New Year always brings thoughts of big changes and complete revamps when it comes to your music career, but I want to suggest a different approach. Instead of completely changing your strategy and mindset, make little changes gradually. Little tweaks in your social media strategy and simple messages, tweets, or emails can make a surprisingly large impact on your music career. And those little changes can add up to something game-changing.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some small things you can do to boost fan engagement and grow your fanbase. You can translate every single one of these examples into your music career with the tools you have available right now – your social media channels. On top of that, you can probably start executing some of these strategies today right after you finish reading this article, so let's get started!
1. Ask more questions
When you want a response from someone, you ask a question, and it's no different with social media. We're all guilty of posting statements on social media and wondering why no one is commenting or replying. You can actually revamp most of your regular social media posts to include a question every now and then. Instead of saying, "I have a gig this weekend," post something like, "I have a gig this weekend! What are your plans for the weekend?" In this case, you're still getting the information out, but you're doing it in a more engaging way.
Try out this strategy: Instead of just posting a new cover song to YouTube, try to get your fans guessing what song it will be. To make it more fun, tease a few hints to keep the conversation going. To help drive responses, you could turn it into a contest. Offer the first person to guess correctly a Skype call or a privately streamed concert.
2. Give shout-outs to specific fans
A lot of fans will want to get to know you, but if you take the time to get to know them, it can make a huge impression. You don't need to know their whole life story, and you don't need to spend hours talking to them on the phone, but if you spend just a few minutes each day learning something about them, it could mean the world to your fans.
As we saw above, contests can be a great way to incentivize people to share, but contest prizes don't have to cost you a fortune. Try asking your fans to share your page in exchange for a special message directly from you. For everyone who shares, go over to their Twitter page, find something out about them, and send a picture or video with a personal message.
You could also use a similar strategy for your cover songs. While you should be covering popular songs to attract new fans, you can also use covers to build a more personal relationship with your fans. Simply ask your fans what their favorite song is, make a list, and be sure to note the fan's name associated with each song. As you make your way through the list, give your fans a shout-out in the video.
3. Get fans involved in your creative process
Creativity is a very personal thing. It comes from within you as an artist, and it's important that you make creative decisions yourself. But it can be fun, energizing, and motivating to involve your fans in the creative process. Not to mention it also gives fans a really unique and powerful experience to see their thoughts become a creative work.
Social media is an amazing tool for real-time, direct feedback, and you can use that to create a fan-sourced song. Ask your fans which title they like best, which lyric line they prefer for the chorus, or their opinions on certain topics from the song. You could even create polls in Google Forms to keep track of your fans' answers. Obviously, you shouldn't do this for every song, but it can be a fun way to get your fans involved and challenge yourself creatively every now and then.
As you can see, there are little things you can try that could make a huge impact on your music career. In the New Artist Model online music business programs you'll learn how to turn your music into a successful business – a business where you're in control! You'll create an actionable and personalized plan that will help you achieve a career in music, and you'll be able to do it all with the resources you have available right now.
If you'd like more strategies like these, you can download this ebook for free. It will take you through some of the best strategies for indie musicians to help you grow your fanbase and your career.
Dave Kusek is the founder of the New Artist Model, an online music business school for independent musicians, performers, recording artists, producers, managers, and songwriters. He is also the founder of Berklee Online, co-author of The Future of Music, and a member of the team who brought midi to the market.