Building a dedicated fanbase is a vital part of sustaining a music career. Every person who shows that they truly believe in your music will make a difference in the long run. However, many bands often make the assumption that once they gain a fan, they’ve automatically acquired a lifetime’s worth of support. This is not the right attitude to have!
The top mistake bands make right after gaining a fan is thinking they don’t need to work to keep that fan. It takes a lot of effort to keep your fanbase consistently engaged, especially when you consider how many different artists the average music fan listens to.
It's essential to spark a potential new fan's interest at the right time in order to push them to the next level of fandom. The best way to accomplish this in the early stages is by simply interacting and showing that you care about them. A lot of nurturing must go on between the point of a fan streaming your single for free to buying your album, so get perfectly in tune with what your fans want out of you and deliver it on their behalf.
Take the time to personally thank your fans for coming to your show. Send them something special, like a free download, for joining your email list. Respond to their comments on social media. Remember that it's a two-way street – you need to deepen the relationship and give something to your fans before you ask for something from them.
No matter what stage of the creative process you're in, you need to keep your fans constantly involved in order for them to maintain interest in you as both an artist and a person. Run a special promotion on social media, do interviews with journalists who will ask the right questions, perform at well-curated showcases, collaborate with similar artists, and come up with cool concepts for merchandise.
Ultimately, do whatever it takes not only to garner that initial spark of interest, but to get fans directly involved with your art. By keeping fans engaged on a daily basis in a natural way, you will solidify the strength of the people who matter the most in helping your career progress.
Eric Bernsen is a marketing/public relations professional and music journalist who specializes in the genre of hip-hop. You can find more of his work at HITPmusic.com (where he is an editor/writer) as well as HipHop-N-More.com, where he contributes album reviews. Follow Eric on Twitter @ebernsen.