As an independent musician, it can be difficult to gain traction and build a loyal fanbase. However, with the right strategies and mindset, it’s possible to connect with your audience and create a strong community around your music.
Here are 10 tips to help you build your fanbase and grow as an independent musician.
Offer exclusive content or experiences to fans
One way to build a strong fanbase is to offer exclusive content and experiences to your fans. This could include early access to new music, behind-the-scenes footage, or even private concerts or meet and greets. By offering something unique and special to your fans, you can create a sense of loyalty and appreciation that will keep them coming back for more. Consider using platforms like Patreon or Bandcamp to offer exclusive content to your most dedicated fans.
You can also set up Reward Links through PUSH. These will allow you to create a unique gift for your fans. You’ll be rewarded too. You’re able to set up tasks for them to complete, from there your fans will need to complete these, and then they’ll have access to your hidden reward. This is a digital reward so could be anything from an exclusive behind the scenes video, to a hidden track no one has heard before.
Connect with fans
You’re never too big or important to connect with your fans. The larger you grow, the more difficult it may be to keep on top of it. However, you don’t need to reply to every comment, all the time. A little goes a long way. As an independent musician, your fans should be your driving force. They’re the ones who are going to help you progress in your career, so you shouldn’t overlook all the comments they spend their time leaving on your posts.
Reply when you can, follow loyal fans, share their messages. There are so many ways you can choose to connect with your fanbase. The more, the better. It will give your fans a sense of community, and all fans enjoy being part of the musician’s community. They’ll also feel appreciated which is key to keeping fans on board. Otherwise, you run the risk of them losing interest, especially when you’re so new to the scene.
You don’t need to be on top of all the latest trends all the time, however, being aware of changes is a good thing. Your fanbase might not be the type to be social media savvy, or perhaps they’re not interested in politics, taxes etc. It all depends heavily on the age, and social class you appeal to. Perhaps this will be mixed, but typically most artists tend to have a majority. Being aware of what is going on that is of interest to you and your fans is key.
If something big has happened within the news, or there is an important movement – get behind it! You’ll show you’re a real person behind the screen. Also, as an independent musician, your image is everything. Therefore, you want to come across as caring and compassionate. Ignoring huge global events won’t help your cause. You need to show you stand with your fans.
Build a routine
Your fanbase will become stronger once you establish some form of routine. Many will follow someone when they know what they can expect from them. If someone knows you post twice a week, and can pin point the days you post, they might be more likely to follow. This is because they know when they’ll see new content, rather than just waiting around for it. You don’t need to have a strict routine, but perhaps in the beginning it could be helpful.
For example, if you start out posting on certain days, you build up a routine of having content ready multiple times a week. Whereas, if you just post here and there from the beginning, there isn’t much content to share. Your fans don’t know when or if you’ll next post. Having a steady feed of content when you’re first trying to make a name for yourself on Instagram and other social channels, will also make your account more appealing to follow.
Get out there and perform. As an independent musician, you need exposure. This isn’t suggesting you should go and perform for everyone for free, and put it all down to exposure. Many companies or events will expect this from those new to the industry. However, remember that exposure isn’t a bad thing at all. You don’t however, need to be taken advantage of. So, just be careful when stepping into any exposure based deal.
Performing is the best way to build a fanbase though, which is why we do suggest getting involved with shows and gigs where you can. Even if it is for a small payment in the beginning. People seeing you perform shows who you are as an independent musician. It shows your personality, your style, genre and of course, your music! You’re hitting all the checkpoints from the very beginning, so go and perform!
Go live on socials
If fans can’t see you physically, then why not let them see you virtually? Going live across platforms like Facebook, Instagram or YouTube allows your fans to connect with you on a different level. They’re able to get all the energy and personality that they would through a gig, but from the comfort of their own home. You don’t even need to perform, you could just be having a chat.
Fans will love being able to get to know you on a more personal level. Having the chance to hear their comments or questions read aloud by you as an artist. It bring them together with other fans and again creates a sense of community which will encourage them to stay. It shows you in your most comfortable but also most vulnerable state – from your own home. It will bring you closer to your fanbase.
Connect with other artists. Don’t be afraid to collaborate, or at least suggest the idea to other musicians. When you’re an independent musician, one of the most powerful tools you could have is connections. You’ll find you grow as an artist throughout your time working closely with others. Whether they know others in the industry that could help you out, or they’re able to share tips that could take your music to another level.
There will always be someone out there with the time or resources to help. You just need to be willing to find them. Also, you’ll discover that the more artists you work closely with, the more fans you add to your following. That’s because fans tend to trust the artists they like. If you’re working with their favourite artist, they’ll probably want to follow you too. Always be up for new challenges and meeting new people within the industry.
Being told you could do something differently is not a bad thing. You’ll never grow if you continue to do everything the same as you always have. People have had different experiences to you, and might know something you don’t. There are always positive changes we can all make. Nothing is perfect the first time. To continue to improve you need to be able to take feedback, both the good and the bad.
Your fans will likely make suggestions too. Take these on board because they’re the ones who are backing you all the way. As an independent musician, you have more of a chance for trial and error than someone who has been in the industry for a long time may. This is because you might not have a set style just yet. You can take chances others can’t as they’re far more restricted with what they do. See what your fans want to hear from you and give it a go.
You don’t need to upload every day, but make sure you’re consistent. As mentioned previously, you need a routine. Uploading regularly means your fans won’t forget about you. As an independent musician, you need to be current, so you’re fresh in your followers minds. They might follow multiple independent artists, how do you stand out against others? You need to ensure you’re memorable and one good way to do this is by uploading often.
The more you upload, the more you’re seen. This might push you into pages like the Explore page on Instagram. Meaning more and more people will see your content. You want to be on the ball with posting because it will show social platforms that you’re serious about your accounts and what you offer. They’ll be far more likely to share your account with users who follow similar musicians.
You’ve likely been given quite a bit of help so far. Therefore, the best thing you can do is pass on the advice. Don’t gate-keep things you’ve discovered, whether it’s something you were told, or something you have found out for yourself. Be helpful. As helpful as you can be. Ensure you’re an approachable artist because this will set you apart from your competition. If people know they can come to you for music tips, they’ll be more likely to follow you.
Put tips out across social media that people can interact with. This will mean anyone who comes across your tips, might be likely to follow you for any future advice you give. Remember, all independent artists are figuring things out for themselves, so giving someone else a helping hand will really be appreciated. Share tips with your fans, with those you network with and everywhere you can. Focus on getting a good name for yourself in the industry.