When you first start out in your local scene, you may realize that you don’t draw a big crowd at your shows. This may be disheartening to you and your bandmates, but you shouldn’t worry about it. Just by playing a show, you’ve taken the first steps towards growing your fan base.
When I was taking my entertainment marketing class, one of the things we learned was how to use social media to your advantage. Social media marketing is one of the best ways to inform people of your existence and engage with the fans that you have.
You should post on your Facebook page or Twitter profile at least once a day. If you stop posting, you will lose the interest of your followers and they will either unfollow or just ignore your posts. Now you should try and keep your fans engaged by posting things that are somewhat relevant to your music.
Memes are fun but if you know that the majority of your fans just come to your page to see videos of you performing or look at pictures of your shows, then don’t waste your time making the memes. Try and find a way to engage your fans on a regular basis that works for you.
If you have a YouTube channel, great! If not, you should stop reading this article and go make one. I’m serious, do it! This is one of the best ways to make fun and engaging content to share with your fans.
Manchester Orchestra made a short video series on their YouTube channel to help promote their album’s Cope and Hope. They would make funny skits, an acoustic performance, interviews and give fans some insight into their daily lives, this was a great way to engage with their fans and get some new ones too.
You don’t have to make the same content as Manchester Orchestra, but you should post something on your channel as a way to inform your fans on what is happening with the band. On my band’s YouTube channel, I post videos of my guitarist writing new riffs, quick videos from our practices and videos of our shows. If you have recorded audio, why not make a fun DIY music video?
Neighbouring, a small band from St.Catherines, Ontario made a music video by sitting on a couch outside and eating cake together.
TL;DR version: Make any content you can and post it on your channel.
Now, another thing you should do is record something and post it on a music sharing site. It doesn’t have to be the perfect recording, just make something and get it out there. If people don’t know what you sound like, they won’t come to your shows.
To grow your live audience, you need to grow your at home audience; to grow you at home audience, grow your live audience. One affects the other. The more people at your shows, the more people will download your music; the more people who download your music, the more people at your shows.
What I did for my band was I took the video from our previous show, converted it to an MP3 file and made a live album on Bandcamp, this way if people see our name on a bill and want to look us up, they can find something that we made on the internet.
When you’re selling your music you should make it available for free, with the option to donate. This will encourage people to get your music. Obviously, if you use music as your only source of income you should charge people, but don’t make it an extortionate price. Most people are only willing to pay $0.50-$1.00 a song.
If you make a 5-song album price it at $5.00 with the option to pay more if it’s on Bandcamp (only if you use music as your only source of income). If you have a physical copy of your album, bring it to every show you play and keep a couple in your backpack when you’re going out and about. Price the album at $5.00 or more (gotta account for those pressing and printing costs).
Two good books I read about growing a brand is Marketing For Dummies and Social Media Marketing For Dummies. They teach you the nitty gritty side of the marketing world. Just remember to keep your fans engaged and always post your shows and social media. You should also message your friends and family personally and ask them to show up to your shows.