Forget the numbers. Streams, likes, shares, they’re not generally as important as we think they are. Unless your goal is “more likes”. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube etc. They’re important, with vast numbers of users, data, and good analysis tools, and big numbers can be pivoted on and developed into your audience. But they’re just channels to communicate, and there will be another along soon. Plus, they’re somebody else’s platforms, and your fans are really theirs.
Numbers really don’t matter as much as, well people. They’re not the same thing, understanding your fans. Choosing your goal as a musician, working out how best to achieve it, and picking the one or two, right indicators of performance with your fans is what will be a success for that day. Create your content around what you’re most comfortable with in line with your goals – whether new tracks, live gigs, video, track teasers, studio / backstage photos or funny analogies on your blog, and see what works best (make sure you have the main tools set up like Google Analytics and a grasp of social listening tools). And learn and adapt from there.
As long as you’re trending upwards is what counts. Career stability? Full control? Live shows?
An example is a great new artist I know that had a great 1st album’s worth of tracks, released, distributed. And then? No plan. No goals except “all of it”. It’s nice to dream but that’s nothing specific. So that’s where he stayed. A few gigs, a few sales, but no focus. I know, in fairness it’s really too much to do, when the main goal is just to play. But a focus that you’re comfortable with is alot better than likes. And on someone else’s platform? Try and bring your fans closer to where you have more control i.e. from all the social media channels, onto your website, app or email list.
So, below are some main elements of marketing for your music, with the main purpose of creating your own platform of engaged fans. Usually I’d suggest your website, some great apps to generate your platform of fans, or an email/contacts list, as being the main points to point to from all your other marketing channels to (social or distribution platforms). So here are a few points to:
- Create a strategy. Choose your goal. Pick time frame. Rough bullet point plan. And actions. Here’s a few first steps, tools and resources for creating your platform, and then next steps below.
- Get resources: build a team of friends and trusted people around you
- Make and publish your music – choose your distribution partner. Here’s a few compared together…
- Live performance – I’m trying to copile a database / list of venues and promoter contacts – TBC. The key is don’t SPAM! Have a plan! Around how you contact, and what you say
- Networking – here’s a list of events you could try…
- Content marketing – a biggy there so we’ll deal with that over the course of a few future blog posts
- Email marketing – in my mind the key to a successful fan engagement strategy (whether artist, label or festival). A monthly newsletter usually works well as a good way to highlight main news, top performing blog posts, and engage with your fans without spamming. Thursday afternoons also still work best for these.
- Social Media – think who your fans are, what type of sites and blogs do they like? Think where your fans are, and try those, see what works. And try and point people back to your website, email list, or app if you have one. Here are the best times to post on each platform, but try and test to figure out what get’s the best reaction from your fans over the coming months.
- Get some referrals from your close network of band members, other musicians,
- Feed back the performance of those into helping your goal…
Rinse and repeat until a picture starts to develop of who your fans are, how they interact with you, what they like and don’t.
I’ve helped some artists before and ended up doing a bit of everything, often the case and often you just roll your sleeves and get on with it. Because I think the sooner things are learned, and there’s focus on the 1 or 2 things that work best – or there’s a small team created around you with clear responsibilities – the less stressful, more productive, and more effective things will be in the long term.
Take the risks I reckon and learn going forwards. There are always gaps in knowledge, things to do and learn, and a never-ending pool of improvement to be made.
It’s not always like that at all, but at least being able to break it down into steps like that, enables a clearer and more effective strategy in future. And things might seem a bit clearer 🙂