TARGETING: Your Daily Key To Growing Your Fanbase, Contacts
Growing a fanbase on social media is a difficult task, and requires a carefully plotted out strategy in order to be successful. Here we look at how targeting other musicians and fans who are likely to enjoy your music can help with marketing and growing your contacts.
Guest Post by Jesse Cannon from his Free eBook
Targeting is the practice of figuring out some musicians that you can use to get ideas of how to grow your contacts and marketing ideas. You want to target similar musicians so you can find writers, promoters, and fans who are likely to enjoy your music. This will save you the trouble of trying to get people who may never enjoy your music to listen to it. Follow similar musicians and set up searches & alerts so you can find as many contacts as possible who have a high likelihood of enjoying your music.
Target - What I mean by “targeting” other groups is that you want to identify similar acts that have the attention of fans, writers, promoters, and other key players. By identifying these acts, you can find people who have the potential to be interested in you. This helps immensely in making sure your promotions are as effective as possible, since your targets will be those who have a high likelihood of being interested in your music.
You have already read the words “potential fans” a few times in this book. What this means is that there are some people who are never going to be your fan, no matter how hard you try. I like a lot of music my music library is equal parts punk, classic rock, dance music, pop, and hiphop. But if you sing about your pickup truck and going to church, my subwayridingAtheist self cannot relate in any way. One of the reasons it is important to target all of your promotions is we want to try to find fans who are most likely to enjoy your music instead of wasting time & money trying to market to listeners who will most likely ignore you.
Finding The Targets
Create a Google Doc listing 1020 acts (this list can grow later, if need be) that you want to keep eyes on in order to gain inspiration & knowledge for your marketing. When making this list, you’ll be researching which musicians will be best to target. The following are some qualities you want to evaluate:
- Similar In Sound All of the musicians you target should have a somewhat similar sound to your group. If you make diverse music, then scope out a few different acts that each share a part of your sound. The more similar each of these musicians are to you, the easier it is to make these targets effective.
- Local While every musician you target doesn’t need to be near you, it helps to have some who are. The more local musicians you keep track of, the better especially if you’re just starting out. If you need to build a bigger regional following, you can follow a few of the city’s native bands that might not sound the same as you. In fact, it can help to target a few musicians who aren’t even near your genre, but work hard on their music, in order to find some local opportunities that you may not discover otherwise.
- Smaller This may be irrelevant if you’re just starting out, but it helps to target musicians who are less popular than you. If they're getting covered by a blog, have some fans or are playing shows somewhere, it’ll be easy for you to get all of the opportunities this smaller musician has.
- Similar In Size The majority of the musicians you target should have a similar amount of fans to you. This means they have a similar amount of followers on their social networks and have been around for about as long. Within reason, you should find as many of these musicians as possible, since the majority of what they have going for them is within reach for you, too.
- Bigger Targeting musicians who are extremely popular in your genre may seem like a waste of time, but it can really help. They have more fans & press coverage than you and can help you form an idea of where you want to go.
- Spreading Out If you have exhausted the targets in your local scene, start looking towards musicians in another city you want to build fans in.
Better Targeting Through Science
What if you don’t even know where to start with finding acts who are similar to you? Relax, there are many ways to find these musicians. Even if you think you know who may be best to target, all of these methods can show you some musicians you may have missed:
- Bandcamp Bandcamp has a fantastic searchable tagging system. You can search tags of the genre of music you play, or you can search by state or city. Try any search criteria that you think may find musicians similar to you. If they seem similar enough that you might share fans, then you have a target.
- Last.fm If you have some plays on Last.fm, their algorithm will already have suggestions for musicians who are similar to you. This is a fine way to find similar artists that you can reference.
- Jango If you run a Jango Airplay campaign (more on this in the chapter about online radio), then you're able to see acts that your fans also listen to using their analytics system. These campaigns are an inexpensive way to expose your music to new fans and gain valuable information about who to target.
- Facebook When you’ve begun to target a band, you can see who they play shows with and who they talk about those are other potential bands to target.
What To Do With Your Targets?
Alerts – There are a few different alert systems that will notify you whenever a name is mentioned on the web. Each of these services will allow you to find opportunities once they begin to follow your targets:
- Google Alerts – Google Alerts is a free service that will email you everyday with links to where your targets are mentioned. While they are somewhat flawed and can miss a lot of mentions of your targets on the web, the price cannot be beat.
- Mention Mention is a service that will track your targets both on the web and over social networks. Their extensive alerts can be customized to learn to not bring up false triggers and you can disable social network mentions if they get to be too annoying. Their price starts out free and has both $7 and $20/month tiers in order to track more targets. While I find this to be the best service for the job, the price is discouraging.
Once you have chosen your alert system, type each target’s name into it to become notified when news is posted about each target. Each day when you begin to work on promoting your music, open your alert system and there will be a list of the blogs, promoters, and fans that’ve been talking about your targets. This will continue for as long as you keep the target’s alert active, giving you constant suggestions of new places to try to market yourself. Here are some ideas of what to do with the results:
- Press Add all of the outlets that write about these targets to your press list. Look around for their contact information and add them to your database. In a few weeks, you'll start to have a great list of blogs, news sites, and newspapers that will hopefully write about you.
- Venues With each new show announcement, make note of where they are playing to get ideas for new places to play.
- Fans Fans who blog about your targets will come up. These are fans that share and promote the music they love and will do the same for you if they like yours. Make it a priority to interact with them so they become aware of your name which will lead them to check out your music.
- Community Message boards and other communities will come up on these lists.Participating in these communities is a fast way to find potential fans.
- Potential Team Members Record labels, writers, managers, and others who work with your targets will show up in your alerts. You can add them to your contacts database and try to get in touch with them in the future.
Twitter Search Using Twitter search will let you see who is tweeting about your targets. You can then follow all of these people, interact with them, and subtly try to introduce them to your music. On this search, you'll find active fans of your targets that promote the music they love; follow and develop a relationship with them (more on that in the Twitter chapter). This will also alert you to more blogs, news sites, and venues that cover these targets.
TweetDeck Using TweetDeck you can create a column of a search for your name or targets that you can scan each day in order to find more targets. I find TweetDeck to be the easiest way to get through my promotional Twitter duties each day. The service is free which makes it even better!
What You Should Do With The Targeted Musicians, Contacts, Promoters, And Press You
- Follow Like and follow all of the targeted acts on all of their social networks. Watch & take note of the smart things they do and the ways they interact with their fans. Look for more press outlets and venues you can play. Note their superfans and try to develop relationships with them by following them and striking up conversation on things you have in common. DO NOT PUSH YOUR MUSIC ON THEM IMMEDIATELY. Bookmarkthe target’s website and take note of the smart strategies they utilize on it. Follow everyone interacting with them.Community This is who you should build rapport with. Play shows with the musicians you find, attend their shows, meet their fans, and pass them flyers. Team up with them for promotions and build friendships. Trade shows with them if they're from out of town and venture out on tour together when you're both ready.
- Find Sneezers In his book Unleashing the Ideavirus, Seth Godin uses the word “Sneezers” to define people who are influential, have a lot of social media followers and like to spread the word about what they love. A Sneezer is someone who enjoys spreading their opinions. By finding the fans of your targets that talk about what they love all the time, you can lock in on these fans and make sure you develop a relationship with them.
- Connections When you identify these targeted musicians, be sure to look at the contacts section of their social networks and website. The managers, lawyers, record labels, and booking agents you'll find here are who you should target for your team. Find them on social networks and participate in their world.
- Refine Most alert systems allow you to focus your searches to only alert you when there’s relevant information to your targets. Whether it is using minus keys for words you don’t want them to include or flagging bad results, most of these services will allow you to target more effectively if you take a few seconds to tweak them.