Updated: Nov 7
Think of building a fanbase as the final stage in a funnel. You have to get people into that funnel, but once they are there you have to keep them in it. That's why so much attention has been paid over the years to things like fan clubs and street teams (read: groupies). But these days, it's not hard to find ways to build your online presence and engage with fans directly through platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. In this article, we'll look at 15 ways to build an online fanbase by engaging with potential fans on social media or other online platforms.
Engage on social media.
One of the most effective ways to build a fan base is by engaging with people on social media. That means posting regularly and responding to comments, as well as using hashtags and other tools to get your content in front of more people.
But engaging on social media isn't just about driving traffic back to your website or YouTube channel; it's also about building relationships with your audience and sometimes that means taking a step back from direct promotion so you can focus on being human.
Think about your brand.
Branding is the first step to building a fanbase.
You have to know who your target audience is and what kind of person you’re trying to reach. You need to consider your music, image, mission, values, and message. What do you stand for? What are you trying to say with your music?
The more specific you can be about these things, the better off you'll be when it's time for marketing efforts later on in this guide!
Play live shows.
While playing live shows is a great way to grow your fanbase, you need to make sure that you are also doing other things on this list. This is not the only thing that will help you grow your fan base, but it is extremely important. In fact, if you look at the top musicians and bands in the world today, many of them have built their careers by performing live shows and building their fan base organically.
You should perform at local venues and events as well as festivals and free shows. You don’t want all of your content being paid because while some fans can afford it, others might not be able to afford it or won’t buy tickets just because they like one song or video. If there are multiple people involved in putting together an event (such as putting on a concert), try asking around for advice about how best to promote themselves before making plans for things like posters so that they know how much money needs to be spent upfront versus later down the road when advertising starts happening even more aggressively after initial marketing efforts have ended successfully!
Upload content to YouTube.
Uploading content to YouTube is a great way to get your music in front of new people. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and it's a great place to build your brand and promote your music. Additionally, uploading videos can help you connect with your fans through comments on your channel or by responding to their comments.
Submit your music to blogs.
Submitting your music to blogs is an effective way to get exposure. Find a list of blogs that cover your genre, and read the submission guidelines carefully. Make sure you have a good relationship with the blogger and that they've written about artists similar to yours in the past. Also, make sure you have an excellent song to submit!
Build an email list.
A good place to start when building your fanbase is by building an email list. This is a collection of people who have opted-in to receive emails from you about your content, updates, and offers.
If you have a small brand with a little-to-no budget for marketing, it's important to know that email marketing can be just as effective as other methods if done well. Email lists give companies the ability to engage with their customers directly and on a deeper level—even after they've been sold! They are also relatively easy to manage: once you've built up your list and sent out an initial message or two, the rest falls into place almost effortlessly.
It's not difficult (or expensive) to build an email list these days; all it takes is some basic HTML knowledge or some help from someone who knows what they're doing (like us). The first step towards setting up your emails is choosing which service provider will host them—we recommend MailChimp because they're free for up to 2k subscribers and has great features such as A/B testing and automation tools. Once you've set up MailChimp, there are plenty of tutorials online that will walk you through how best to utilize its features so we won't go too deep into this here - but suffice it say there are lots of cool things about having an active subscriber base!
Collaborate with other artists.
Collaborating with other artists is a great way to build your fanbase. You can find artists that have similar fan bases to your own, or you can find artists who are in the same genre as you, or even artists who are not in the same genre as you.
You should also keep in mind that there are different ways to collaborate:
Collabing on a song (or more) with one other artist
Collaborating on an album together (e.g., 2 rappers making an album together).
Encourage user-generated content.
In addition to creating your own content, it's also a good idea to encourage user-generated content. This can be done by hosting a contest on your social media channels and asking fans to share photos or videos of themselves with your product. You can also get them involved by posting a question that asks fans to submit their best answer with the hashtag #yourbrandname. For example, if you're running an Instagram campaign for a new pair of sunglasses, ask people why they need shades this summer and share the most popular answers on Twitter. Finally, consider offering prizes in exchange for valuable feedback from customers:
Getting more engagement is only one part of building an audience; another important element is getting fans to become loyal customers who evangelize about your brand when they recommend it to others.
Start a podcast or radio show.
If you want to build an audience, starting a podcast or radio show is a great way to do it. Podcasts are easier than ever to create and distribute because of the many free and low-cost services available. Here are some recommended services:
Blubrry - This service is completely free and simple to use. You can have your podcast up on iTunes in just two minutes (and other platforms too).
Podomatic - This service offers both free and paid options, but their free plan will get you through most of what you need for podcasts. It also has built-in analytics that help you know how well your podcast is doing!
Soundcloud - This is another paid option that allows you to upload audio files directly from your computer or smartphone using its app interface (no uploading via FTP required). The app interface makes it easy for listeners as well as creators--you don't have to download anything before listening!
Release a music video.
Music videos are an essential part of building your fanbase. They can be used to promote your music and introduce fans to the personality behind it, while also keeping them engaged through visual content that complements the song.
You should make sure that you’re sticking true to yourself in everything you do as an artist—don't try and be something or someone different just for the sake of having a music video. If it doesn't feel authentic, people will notice, and then they'll probably stop listening.
It's also important to have quality equipment when shooting a music video; otherwise, it's likely that your efforts won't turn out very well!
Perform at events and festivals (even if it's for free).
Performing at events and festivals is another great way to gain exposure, build relationships with other artists, get feedback on your music, meet new fans and make money. While most artists charge a fee for their performances (and rightfully so), there are many opportunities out there where you can perform for free or very little pay. For example, if you're an up-and-coming artist looking to build a fan base by performing at local venues in your area then consider offering your services as an opening act for bigger acts that are coming through town. Or maybe offer some of your music as part of the background music at parties and events? In these cases it's all about doing something for others so that they'll do something for you later down the line when you've got something to offer them.
Get interviewed by a blogger or journalist.
This can be a great way to get your message out there, and it's sometimes a lot easier than you think.
Let's say you're an up and coming rapper who just released his first album. A journalist from the local paper might be interested in interviewing you about your journey from rapping in the subway to becoming a full-time professional musician. This kind of article is usually more fun for them than writing about political issues or even how to fix potholes (the reporter's typical beat), so they'll probably jump at the chance to interview someone interesting like yourself! The key here is not only having an interesting story but also being able to tell it well otherwise this could turn into a disaster instead of something awesome that helps promote your brand.
Create shareable quotes, memes and infographics.
Sharing a quote on social media is one of the easiest and most effective ways to engage with your audience. You can use a quote from an inspirational speaker, or write your own! If you're feeling especially creative, try putting together some fun memes or infographics that illustrate a point about your subject matter. These types of shareable content are easy for people to spread around online and can be fun and light-hearted, which helps build rapport with potential followers.
Following these steps will help you build your fanbase one person at a time
Following these steps will help you build your fanbase one person at a time:
Focus on one step at a time. Don't worry about what other people are doing or how they're promoting their work. The best way to grow your audience is by focusing on what's important for YOU and YOUR project, and not following someone else's lead just because it worked for them.
Don't try to do everything at once! Trying to promote yourself in multiple places can be overwhelming, which makes it really hard to see results from any one thing (like an Instagram post). Instead of spreading yourself thin across all social platforms or all types of promotion, focus on just one thing at a time and give it enough time before moving on!
Building a fanbase is not easy and it’s not something that can be done overnight. You have to build relationships with people over time, showing them that you care about what they think and that you want to communicate with them. The more time you spend engaging your fans on social media or performing at local events, the more likely they are to buy tickets when you go on tour!