How are you attracting new fans to your band? Are you connecting with your community? Have you found great collaborators to help promote your band? There is an endless stream of content out there competing for people’s attention, and new bands can be challenged to break through and build a fanbase from scratch. One of the best ways to get people to listen to your band is to show up authentically in the spaces your potential audiences are already spending time and connect with them and share music. Whether you already have a marketing plan or you’re just now setting up your own first social media account, these five tips will help you to cultivate an audience and create a long term strategic marketing plan. This is our guide on how to build a fanbase and possibly get 1000 fans in 90 days!
Your first step toward growing an adoring fanbase is figuring out who might be interested in your music. Is there another band you love who has had a big influence on your music? Are there online communities based around the specific genre of music you make? If you can find out where potential fans are already spending time online, you can work to create a presence in those spaces and turn new people onto your music. You can also monitor the hashtags and trends your potential fans may care about, and make an effort to join those conversations when you can!
One key aspect of making this work is authenticity. If you make a new account on a forum site or go spamming your bandcamp link in the comments of well-known artists’ posts, you may not get a lot of mileage from that approach. On the other hand, if you spend time in the communities you are targeting, engaging in conversations and getting to know how people communicate, the right time to share your work will present itself, and by that time you’ll likely have already made some connections with people who will be interested in listening! It takes time, but it’s a strategy that can pay off.
Show Your Work
It goes without saying that you’ll want to share your music using any platforms you can. If you’ve got a personal account on social media sites, re-share your band’s posts there when you release new music.
But your sharing potential doesn’t begin and end with finished songs, you can also take advantage of social media to share photos, snippets of in-process work, and any other interesting moments from your musical journey (rehearsals, soundchecking before a show, silly moments in the studio, etc.) by giving fans a window into your creative process, you’ll create a heightened sense of investment from the people who are keeping up with you.
Here’s a strategy that will help you grow your fanbase and create new connections in the musical world at the same time. If there’s a band (especially one based in the same city as yours) that you admire a lot, reach out and see about setting up a show with them! This will give you an opportunity to showcase your music to the other band’s fans, and vice versa.
This will also help you build your music scene rolodex. Other bands may know the booking agents for venues around town (or around the world), or who to reach out to when you want to go into the studio and lay down a polished release. They can also help introduce you to members of other bands you’ll want to collaborate with.
Music especially is a business built largely around relationships, and having friends and peers in the scene—finding your people, in other words—creates a sense of community and enriches your experience as an artist. Making these connections can also lead to unexpected opportunities down the road, but again, authenticity is key with these relationships. Make friends with another band because you love their music first and foremost, and good things will follow.
Although many bands connect with fans mainly through social media, there’s still no substitute for a solid email list that you can hit when you have new songs out, live shows to promote, or cool merch to sell. One of the reasons email is so important is because you don’t have to compete with the ever-changing algorithms found on social platforms, which dictate what posts get shown to whom.
With an email list, once your fans sign up, you can feel more confident that your messages will reach their inboxes. To get started, create your email database on an email marketing platform, then put a signup box on your band’s website! You can even offer cool perks like a free song download code or a sticker for signing up when you first launch. Having a tried and true way to reach out to fans will pay off time and again as you navigate your musical journey.
Keep in Touch
Everyone with a creative streak has experienced the enthusiasm of putting something out there for the first time, followed by a slow and steady waning of interest as life continues on and we become engrossed in the next thing. With that in mind, you want to keep your presence in places your fans are seeking you out (i.e. your website, your email list, your social media pages) up-to-date and consistent. Got a social account that hasn’t been updated in a month? Fans may start to wonder if you’re still making music. Keep them engaged by posting consistently, even if you don’t necessarily feel like you have anything new and exciting to share. It’s never a bad time for candid rehearsal photos or reminders about your most recent releases. Commit to cultivating a strong presence on your platforms, and you’ll consistently grow your audience every time you post an update.
Now that you know how to build a fanbase from scratch, let us know what works for you and if you ever tried these methods!