When all the numbers and the platform choices start to overwhelm you, take a step back and ask yourself – “If I was a fan, what would I want to see on my page?”
In the grand scheme of things, your pages are not about having the most views, the most likes or even the largest number of email subscribers – it’s about connecting with the ones that care enough about you to do something (Think: recommend your music to a friend… show up to a show… spend time at the merch table… buy something). When the platforms have evolved, changed their rules, or disappeared, those types of fans remain loyal and seek you out. These are the types of fans that are willing to pay for things that the fair-weather fans may not. Establishing good relationships with your fans is an essential step to monetizing your art.
One of my favorite ways artists are connecting with their fans and promoting fan engagement is contests. Contests are great for three important reasons:
1. Contests create fan engagement and bring fans together – they ask them to participate in your community and bring your fans together in friendly competition.
2. Contests give you new, fan-generated content to feed your page and share.
3. Contests give you a chance to give back – fans are a big reason why you are where you are at right now, and will continue to be a driving force in your career.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few contests to get your brain juices flowing:
Paramore asked their fans to submit a video of their best karaoke attempt to their recent single “Still Into You” – once all submissions were in, they picked their top six and asked their fans to vote to determine the winner. The lucky Paraoke Queen (or king) was up to grab the bicycle from the music video, two tickets to a show, and a merch pack.
This contest flooded YouTube with Paramore covers, allowing the band to promote their new release without shelling out big bucks. They used the contest to turn their fans into marketers.
Third Eye Blind used instagram to run a contest, which they cross posted to their Facebook page for 20 fans to win a chance to attend a private practice at the rehearsal studio. All the fans had to do was upload their photo entries to Instagram and hashtag their entry #3EBontheroad– winners were chosen daily the entire week – encouraging fans to keep their eyes on the page all week.
The internet has given artists the opportunity to connect with their fans any time and anywhere, but how do you convert those interactions into sales? With so much information being pushed into social media, how can you be sure your posts aren’t being lost in the crowd? Founder and CEO of BandPage, J Sider, believes that data and context will be key drivers of fan engagement in the coming years. Check out his article below.
As an industry, we’ve gotten pretty good at reaching our fans, engaging them and driving conversions. There is a general understanding of how to reach them on social networks, traditional online marketing and mailing lists. But now, with the rise of major streaming and entertainment platforms combined with advancements in technology, there are two things that will make it much more powerful to engage and convert fans: data and context. While social networks opened new channels for fan engagement over the past few years, we believe that going forward the biggest untapped potential for artists will be in streaming and entertainment platforms that offer context-relevant channels and data-driven targeting techniques.
Why Streaming & Entertainment Platforms?
Streaming and entertainment platforms, like Spotify, Pandora, Xbox Music and VEVO, have emerged in the last few years as places where hundreds of millions of users are deeply engaged in content. These users, a.k.a. your fans, go to streaming platforms for the main purpose of listening to your music, that’s why these channels are key to increasing fan interactions and your bottom line. These platforms know what types of fans are listening, how many times they’ve listened and the other content (concert listings, pictures, videos, etc.) they perused. This comprehensive picture leads to increased conversions, such as revenue, new fans and a better understanding of your current fans.
Think about it: when you post an update about your latest album on social networks, that status swiftly floats down a real-time stream of content posted from your friends, family and thought leaders about every subject possible. Although your fans may see it, they can easily be distracted by everything else. Page posts organically reach about 16% of their fans on average. The key to reaching fans with content is targeting & context. That same album update will be more impactful when it hits a fan who is currently listening to your music on a streaming and entertainment platform because they are only focused on you.
We already see streaming services that let users know when their favorite artists put out new songs or albums. Now let’s take that same idea and apply some more nuanced targeting to it. We’ll identify three types of fans — Passive, Active and Superfans. You wouldn’t show a Passive fan a $200-VIP offer because it would feel like spam to them, so you present them with your new song or a nearby show instead. Meanwhile, we target the $200-VIP offer to the Superfan. This fan-focused targeting can lead to higher conversion rates and, ultimately, more revenue and a larger fanbase. It’s the most effective “in-context targeting” we’ve had yet.
When BandPage first started, my goal then was, and it still is, to connect artists directly to their fans to increase engagement and revenue. At that point, fans were found on large social networks, and that’s why we started there. Then we looked to where we could help artists expand on other platforms and properties in effective ways. That’s when we began to power musicians’ websites and blogs. But today, the action has grown on major streaming and entertainment platforms.
Social networks are still a very influential part of the puzzle. But looking forward, I believe these new entertainment and streaming platforms will become just as important, if not more important, than traditional social media networks for generating conversions and reaching fans. The aggregated number of fans across these platforms gives artists the unprecedented opportunities to effectively reach hundreds of millions of fans they weren’t able to engage before.
In the past, artists couldn’t effectively and efficiently communicate on streaming and entertainment platforms. Our bet is that these platforms will become an incredibly powerful way to engage and convert your fans. My company recently started powering musicians profiles on VEVO and Xbox Music via their BandPage profile, and you will see us expanding our platform to help musicians successfully reach their fans.. This is just the beginning of what’s possible for the music industry. And I’m very excited for that potential to become a reality.
YouTube and music work very well together. You can easily hype up a new release, create awareness for your music, and engage with your fans by giving them exclusive or more in-depth content.
Check out this infographic from The Music Bed to learn more about the tools YouTube has to offer.
Twitter is a very powerful resource for fan engagement, but it is often misunderstood, and therefore underutilized by musicians and bands. Many will ask questions like “How much information can I really get across in 140 characters? Is it really worth it?” Additionally, it can be time consuming enough to manage a musician presence on multiple platforms, not to mention learning how to most effectively use each one.
It is, however, in your best interest to really get a good understanding of a few different social media platforms like Twitter. That’s not to say that you should be on every platform out there – choose the ones that most suit you, your music, and your brand. Remember that different platforms offer different ways to connect with fans and your content of Facebook will be different from your content on Twitter.
To help you use your Twitter account more effectively to engage and interact with your fans, here’s some tips on Twitter for musicians:
1. Be consistent. Whether you tweet once a day or once an hour, stick with your schedule for a little while and you’ll see your retweets and follows increasing.
2. Share other peoples’ content. There’s an unwritten rule in the Twitter world: you share my content, I’ll share yours. By retweeting, you’re earning karmic points and increasing your chances that you’ll get followed back. Plus, if it’s interesting content, your followers will want to see it too! Tell your fans about some other great bands. Hype their shows and releases. Link to other folks’ blog articles and YouTube videos.
3. Don’t autopost everything. There are tools you can use to post a single update to multiple social profiles — Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. — with the push of a button. But people who follow you on every platform want to get a unique experience in each place. So while it’s ok to use the autopost method occasionally, try to give your Twitter audience a little something different than they’d get on Facebook.
4. Pretend the whole world is watching. Unless you have a private/protected profile, everything you tweet is public. Don’t write something you’ll be ashamed of later.
5. Interact! You can’t just tweet “listen to my new song” every couple hours and expect to see your number of Twitter followers growing. You have to be more interesting than a simple advertisement for your music. Here’s few things you can try instead:
* Share exciting news about your musical life.
* Let your fans go behind the scenes on a tour or recording project.
*Reply to those folks you’re following.
* Join existing conversations.
Be useful to others first. Then you can expect your followers to help promote your music.
6. Write longer tweets. Internet marketers like to tell you to keep things short. But a tweet is only 140 characters, so it’s one of the few cases online where you actually benefit from using all the space you’re allotted. Also, some data shows that longer tweets get more clicks.