An up-and-coming musician’s guide to building a loyal fanbase

the guitar pal build a loyal fanbase

This is a guest post from Natalie at guitarpal.com.

As an emerging artist, you may be solely focused on working on your music, finding a label to represent you, and getting as much airplay as possible. What you may not be too worried about at this point are fans. After all, there will be plenty of time for that later on, once you have hit it big. Well, if this is the way you feel, you are probably going about things the wrong way.
In this day and age, there are more struggling artists than ever. So, it can be tough to get the attention of producers, labels, or even music blogs over all your other competitors. However, building a fanbase is a lot easier to manage. If you get the right kind of attention, it is precisely these individuals who will start coming to you. So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can gather a loyal fanbase:

Find your identity

It can be difficult for indie artists to come to terms with the fact that they are, to a certain extent, a brand. However, this is precisely what you are. This doesn’t make you a sellout or part of the corporate machine, though. It is simply supposed to help you understand why you need to construct a cohesive identity for yourself.
Stop for a second and think about who some of your favourite artists are. While it is certainly their music that you drew you to them, it wasn’t the only reason that you continued to follow their career. You stuck with a particular artist or band because they expressed a certain element of your own identity. Perhaps it was a rebellious streak, a deep soul, or something else.
Well, your future fans will want to make that same connection with you. Nevertheless, you first need to give them something to hold onto. So, figure out who you are as an artist and share this version of yourself with your fans.

Begin with your friends

Now, there are some fans who will stumble across your work, perhaps through social media or channels such as YouTube. If you keep waiting for this to happen, though, you may end up wasting a great deal of time. This is why you will need to take a different approach and start with your friends.
If you are honest with yourself, you will know that your friends are some of the only people interested in your music when you just start out. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t mistake them for fans. Their main goal is to support your dreams and so, it isn’t really the same thing.
Still, they can help you extend your fan base. Once again, this is largely done through social media. Ask your friends to introduce your music to people who they think might like your songs. Remember, don’t turn your friends into your hunting party, simply get them to pass the message along. With enough support, you just might be able to build that fan base that you need.

Always be nice

Even if you decide not to listen to any other piece of advice in this article, try to focus on this point. Always be nice to your fans regardless of how you are really feeling. So, whether you meet them outside a show or online, be as respectful as you possibly can. These people are investing their time and money in you and the very least they deserve is a bit of common decency.
There are times when you may feel rushed off your feet or even slighted by something one of your followers has to say. In these moments, you should realise the importance of keeping cool – even a small blowout can have a ripple effect and could end up casting you in a bad light.

Offer Sneak Peeks Into Your Life

Like any good, modern musician, you would have learned the importance of social media. It is a powerful tool that can be used to spread your music far and wide, even to people on the other end of the globe. At the same time, look at what your social media pages look like. Are they chock full of your tracks and items only related to your music? If so, it is time that you changed this. 
If you want your fans to be able to connect with you on a more personal level, you need to show a more personal side of yourself. Certainly, you don’t need to overshare to achieve this but a few sneak peeks behind the scenes can help. Post random goofy videos and images or share your thoughts about your favourite music, movies, books, and so on. Sometimes, just sharing relatable content and messages is enough.

Create Open Lines of Communication

Obviously, posting images and videos isn’t enough. If you want to build a fanbase, you need to actually speak to your fans. Now, there are a few ways to do this, but the most common way is by replying to the messages and comments people leave you. Even if they don’t appear to be outright fans, take the time to respond to anything they have to say. This is something you should do even if the comment is simply complimentary.
Hopefully, as time goes by, you will find that there are more fans following you than hours in the day. As such, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of messages you receive. Still, it is important not to let things slide. If you don’t have enough time to reply to each message, create videos where you talk about how important their support is and how thankful you are to have them on your side. A few thoughtful gestures can really go a long way.
Building a loyal fanbase may take some time and certainly quite a bit of effort. In the end, though, your hard work will pay off. Sure, your followers may not number in the thousands but you can be grateful for the people who do support you every step of the way.

This was a guest post from Natalie Landecker of theguitarpal.com.

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