Photo: Nicole Mago
So here we are with another common sense piece of advice. I’m sorry that we keep having to write over-simplified stuff like this, but there just aren’t any other options because people keep asking us how to advance their careers before they do so many of the most foundational level things! It’s kind of infuriating if I’m being honest. If I’m being extra honest, sometimes even more established artists also need a reminder to do this. It’s easy to get into a comfortable situation where you forget that the most important thing you can do to keep your fans engaged is to actually MAKE them engage directly with what you’re doing. That traditionally comes in the form with interacting personally with them.
Give your fans a reason to feel loyal and like they'll care about what you’re doing.
Here are a few ways to do this:
If this list bores you, GOOD! That means you’re doing the right thing. If you go through this and realize you aren’t doing some of it, then ask yourself a big, fat WHY.
Actually respond to them when they write you on social media. When you’re starting out this will be super manageable to do on all forms of social media. There is no reason not to say thank you to a person that has gone out of their way to tell you that they like something that you’re doing or that they gave you money by purchasing a ticket or streaming a song. Once you get a little bigger this might be tough, but still try to take time to respond when you can - it will make an even bigger impact at that point.
Ask them questions. The easiest way to make people interact with a social media post is to ask them their opinion on something. Making a set list? Ask what should go on it. Going on tour? Ask where you should go. Making merch? Ask if they want bracelets/phone cases/pillows/ceramic of your face. EASY.
Create a super-simplified contest. Google Forms is the best thing since sliced bread to make the world-easiest contest entry form. It’s free and you can have your fans do as much or as little as you want to enter into a contest. Sharing/follow/like contests are ALSO incredibly easy and no one really minds entering them. Which leads me to...
Give things away. Even if you don’t want to do a contest, you should give something away for free every once in awhile. More on this in a future post, but people love free shit.
FACE.BOOK.LIVE. Do this while it is still relatively new and not completely useless and before Facebook decides to bury it. We have all of our artists regularly doing it in some way, shape, or form and it always pays off.
Meet and Greeeeeeeeeet. This doesn’t have to be some formal thing, but if you aren’t meeting your fans at shows and thanking them for giving you an ounce of their time, you are doing something wrong.
Keep releasing stuff. Like, all the time. It’s cool that you want to put out a full length album, but ask yourself if you really need to right now. Maybe you do, but chances are high that you don’t. At this moment in time (May 1, 2017 exactly), it’s honestly better to keep the voracious appetites for “something new” fulfilled by continuously releasing singles. If you have an album out and new songs aren’t ready yet, make videos - just keep creating content to feed out regularly.
That will get you started. Start doing this stuff now, test it out for a few months, and you should definitely see more engaged and interested fans. Go forth, little babies!
REASON TO IGNORE THIS ADVICE: it’s 1995! If so, be mysterious and put out an album every 3 years! Also, if you’re in 1995, please let us know where you found that time machine! I really miss my slap bracelets.