Now, musicians are busy people. Often they play in several projects, or have day jobs, families, or all of the above. So whenever there is talk about social media, newsletters, and marketing in general, it’s understandable that it can seem a little overwhelming. It takes a lot of work just for the artistic side of things, between writing music, rehearsing, playing shows, and all of the logistics that go into those creative endeavors.
But the days of the reclusive rock star hiding backstage, letting record companies and managers do all the promotion and communicating with their fans, is long gone. It’s not enough to write, rehearse, and perform music to develop a sustainable career. Fan interaction has now become part of the job description for today’s musicians.
How We Got Here: TechnologySo how did we get here? We’ve seen recording technology reach the point where you can record professionally from the comfort of your own home. You can now take music you recorded at home and easily distribute it to online stores like iTunes and Amazon for a small fee. And the internet, with tools like websites, email, and social media, gives you access to a potential global audience of fans.
The result of these technological advances? A level playing field for all musicians where you can record for cheap, distribute your music for cheap, and reach a potential global audience of fans for practically free. Hooray! Everyone gets a career in music!
Unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward. The flipside of all of this has been that music fans also now have an unlimited choice of music. They can listen to whatever music they want, whenever they want to. Musicians are now competing for the attention of music fans, who are distracted more than ever by the thousands upon thousands of options available to them at any given moment.
3 Reasons to Interact with Your FansSo do musicians need to interact with their fans? In a word, yes. But here are 3 reasons why it’s important that you do:
1. Keeps fans aware of you
The biggest reason to interact with your fans is to simply keep them aware of you and your music. As previously mentioned, fans have unlimited choices when it comes to music, so it’s extremely important to keep them aware of your music on a regular basis.
2. Solidifies relationships with fans
More and more, fans want to feel a direct connection to the artists themselves. So interacting with your fans not only keeps them aware of your music, but gives you the opportunity to solidify your relationship with them. Every time a fan makes a comment or asks a question on your blog or through social media, you have the chance to respond and make them feel like they’re an active part of your career. But if you don’t respond, they just might pay more attention to an artist that will.
3. Creates "super fans"
As you solidify your relationship with fans and they start to feel like they’re going on this musical journey with you, some of them will become “super fans”. These are the fans that will buy almost everything you put out; from buttons to t-shirts, to limited edition items. They will also come to all your shows, and probably bring their friends. But most importantly, these are the fans that are going to talk about you and promote you through social media & blogs.
Whereas marketing used to focus on finding ways to communicate the value of your music to potential fans, now the key is getting fans themselves to communicate the value of your music to other people. Here’s why that’s so important:
Nielsen recently conducted a study that found that 54% of people are more likely to make a purchase based off a positive recommendation from a friend.
People are tuning out ads and giving more weight to the recommendations of their friends for what movies to watch, which books to read, and what music to listen to. So if you can get to the point where your fans are actively promoting you to their friends, chances are, your fan base will grow, and with it, the attendance at your live shows as well as your music sales.
And one of the best ways to create this kind of word-of-mouth marketing? Developing a relationship with your fans by interacting with them on a regular basis.
Hypebot contributing writer Dave Cool is the Director of Artist Relations for musician website and marketing platform Bandzoogle. Twitter: @Bandzoogle | @dave_cool