File Under: Marketing Your Music, Getting Your Music Heard, Creating and Selling Your Merchandise

Your fans are one of the most potent resources you have as a musician and are far more than just customers. While they will definitely promote you on social media and talk about you to their friends, they’re an even more effective force if you can direct them since they can put your name and music in places that you haven't even thought of.

To get the most out of your fans, use the following techniques:

1. Provide Direction.

Be clear when reaching out to your fans about the mission — what you want them to do and when. Keep your requests actionable and they’ll be more likely to do it and you'll have far more success. Good things to ask for include:

  • Share a link
  • Retweet/Share a post
  • Request you on a music service to get your music played
  • Hit a pre-sales target
  • Pledge to and help out with your patronage or crowdfunding campaign

And beyond being explicit with what you want them to do, if you can share your overall goal as well, they might come up with ideas or other ways to succeed that you haven't even thought of.

2. Help them help you by giving them tools.

Give your fans a single link to share (to your playlist, patronage page, video) or other tool to use which will help them achieve the action you want them to take. This works best if you share the actual link, provide an entertaining video message, or a graphic or animated gif to share. And it’s not just about social media. If you want them to help promote a show, provide flyers or posters to canvas the neighborhood. Don’t leave it to them to create them.

3. Use rewards to encourage them to help you out.

Laying out a reward at the outset of the mission gives your fans something to aim for. Rewards are up to you, so be creative. And it doesn’t have to be money. Suggestions include:

  • An unreleased song (Or alternate version)
  • An autographed item
  • A t-shirt
  • Merch (buttons, stickers, posters, etc.)
  • A streaming session of your top street team fan's favorite song
  • A house concert
  • A shout out on your next album or video

You can reward the top performer or the top few performers, or even everyone who meets your goals.

4. Get metrics.

You won't know how successful you are unless you can track the work your street team of fans are doing. You should track your mentions, shares, and retweets through tools like Google AlertsMentionSocialOomph, or Hootsuite. Video view counts and other YouTube channel statistics can give you insight on any video campaigns you’re doing. So too can any streaming statistics and purchases. And don’t forget to track your web statistics. Also, feedback when they see posts about you which can help show you the reach of your online campaigns. Setting up rewards will help you track as well since your team may be reporting their progress back to you to earn the reward.

Most importantly, remember fans are like all people, they like being a part of something bigger than themselves. This is especially effective if you're asking them to do something bigger than simply promoting you and your music, such as promoting a charity concert you’re putting on or trying to meet a major goal such as promoting a band from their hometown to win a contest. Another good time to ask is when they are thanking you for something. And the more you can ask them to do something which is in it for them, the better success you'll have of them taking part.

Finally, keep in mind you don't really know what resources or connections your fans have. Each one has their own social network with hundreds or perhaps thousands of followers of their own they can reach. But they also might have business connections or talents you need. This could get your music licensed, help you book shows, or get you covered in the media or press. The more you make your goals understood by your fans, the better chance you have of succeeding.


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Photo credit: Matt Lemmon