3 Steps to Identifying and Understanding Your Fanbase
This article first appeared on Sonicbids
Are you frustrated because you want to find music fans for your music, but you can't seem to reach beyond friends and family? Despite all your best efforts to engage people on Twitter or Facebook, do the retweets, replies, comments, and likes seem to be a method of mystery? In order to engage your fanbase and build upon it, you need to speak their language – not just your own. First and foremost, you need to know who your fans are if you want to stand a chance of engaging with them.
I've always had a knack for filling in the blanks and knowing exactly who a person is and where he or she is coming from pretty quickly. This talent translates well when I'm determining a band's fanbase, what motivates them, and how to communicate to them effectively. How do I do it? Here's the simple, three-step process I use identify a band's fan base they can use to create a social media strategy.
I often start with Twitter to see who's following a band and notice if there are any themes with the followers. For instance, maybe I notice a lot of followers mentioning social causes in their descriptions. This tells me that a social component, charity, or world perspective is important to them. Or perhaps I notice most of the followers are pretty girls in their early twenties who follow fashion. I know in this case that they probably read fashion magazines or blogs and care about their appearance.
Look around you at your shows and who's engaging with you on your social networks. Who are they? What do they like to do outside of listening to your band?
2. Fill in the blanks
Now that I know their main interests, I need to fill in the blanks and determine what would be important to them. In the case of someone who's interested in social causes, I look at what else could be of interest to that type of person. Most likely, those folks are avid readers, like music with a message, hang out or work at coffee shops, volunteer for nonprofits, and are well-traveled. This may not include every fan, but the characteristics run through many of them.
3. Communicate the message
Now that I have a clear picture of the fan, it's time to start communicating the message to engage with them. Once again, taking the example of the socially passionate fanbase, I want to think about what would be important to them. In 2018, I could write a book on this topic. We have Puerto Rico, gun violence, racial inequality, sexual harrassment, education and environmental issues all at the forefront. In this case, you would want to tweet your support of the particular cause (as long as you do genuinely suport it). Perhaps you would line up a benefit show for that cause that would be important to both you and your fans, and then communicate via your social networks on how they could make a difference. If you know they're avid readers and a thought-provoking book came out that you’ve also read, you could engage that way.
At this point, you may be shaking your head in disbelief that I have yet to mention anything about your band in regard to your fans. That's the point in the case of social networks. It's not about you. It's about your fans and how to build loyalty so they do want to know about your band. Yes, you should mention what your band is working on, but you should also identify with your fans by talking about what they're working on that connects with you as well. They're going to be much more likely to connect with your band and music if they feel they can connect with you on common interests or issues.
Above all else, any messages you communicate should be authentic to you as a band where you can easily connect. Most often, the fan is a clear reflection of the band's interests and values, so it comes easily.
Green Light Go: Download the fan avatar worksheet at the link below to learn how to find music fans for your music.
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