What is A Fan’s Journey?

A fan’s journey is when a fan or potential fan first finds out about you. It’s the journey they go on to discover you and what helps them become engaged fans. This fan journey may start on Google, Spotify, SoundCloud, or Instagram.  The word journey means that it won’t end there – the potential fan will then look in multiple places.

The fan journey will most likely be from their phone or computer (of course, it may also be because they saw you live).

The key to creating a solid fan journey is ask  yourself (and your team if you have one) probing questions such as: What exactly happens during each interaction? How can we enhance the overall experience, or boost the frequency of interactions?”

Here’s an example of a Fan Journey that starts at Spotify

A potential fan hears you on a Spotify playlist. They like what they hear so click on your artist profile. Is that profile fully updated with the maximum amount of photos, an annotated bio, and links? Have you selected your focus track?  Do you have Spotify Canvasas on your tracks uploaded?  If not your Fan journey just ended.

Let’s say that you’ve done this well and the fan heads over to Instagram to continue their fan journey.

Here’s an example of a Fan Journey that starts on Instagram

Is your Instagram bio clear making it obvious that you are a musician?  

Is there a link in your bio that is updated like linktr.ee?

Have you made it clear throughout your posts that you have new music out (or coming out) 

Are you updating your Reels and Stories often?

Do you respond when fans comment and seek connection?

Have you diversified your posts so that they reflect your brand?

Of course, you need to stay on top of every platform and make sure that you have systematically checked all the boxes.

If it does not you need to seriously check yourself, go back, and connect the fan journey dots.

A Fan Journey Needs to End At A Destination

Most artists focus on the wrong things when it comes to a destination – I get it – the industry has told you that you need more Spotify Plays, More TikTok views and more followers But I advise you to consider that these destinations are not owned by you and in the end, you won’t benefit as deeply as you should.

WHY?  Because Zuckerberg, Ek, and ByteDance aren’t really interested in sharing your fans data with you.  They keep it to themselves! 

The destination should be an opportunity to gather email addresses or get a phone number so you can build your text messaging list.

Think about it this way: you might notice some artists blowing up on TikTok or getting tons of streams on Spotify, right? But here’s the catch: just because people are liking and sharing their stuff online doesn’t mean they’re invested in the artist. It’s like a quick fix—they listen to a song, maybe add it to a playlist, but then it’s onto the next thing. It’s like fast food for your ears—tastes good for a moment, but it doesn’t stick around for long or leave you wanting more. So, while it might seem like a big deal, those viral hits rarely  translate into real fans who’ll come out to see you perform live or support you – thats where strengthening your relationship is the next step. You want to create superfans not just ambient fans.

The Backbone of Fan Journey Needs to be a Solid Brand

Your brand isn’t just a logo or a catchy name; it’s what drives emotion in your fans. A strong brand communicates who you are as an artist, what you stand for, and what makes you different from the rest. I always loved what Simon Sinek says about branding which is that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” People might love your music but the reason they’ll buy from you or drive three hours to a show is because of what it says about them. 

Brand Pillars are key.  Once you have yours you will be able to create social media posts more easily and you will also be able to stop being pulled in the wrong directions.

Brand First, Then Fans

After you understand your brand you should match it to your fans.  Believe it or not, you have different fan personas you’ll be working with. Roughly speaking, each will fall into three categories:

Fan Persona #1: Your Super Fans are the dedicated enthusiasts who comprise your live audience, attend your shows regularly and actively support you. They’re the ones on your street team, spreading the word, and engaging with your content.

Fan Persona #2: Engaged Fans represent your active online audience. They’re not quite superfan status but they are subscribed to your newsletter, consistently engaged with your socials, and paying attention.

Fan Persona #3: Ambient Fans, or your passive online audience, are aware of you, most likely through social media but may not be actively engaged. They’re the friend of a friend of the online music world. Converting them into Engaged Fans involves more of that sharing of brand-specific content that shows your personality beyond music. Over time, this will foster a deeper connection and engagement.

None of this works without a Solid Mindset

It’s not just about talent; it’s about cultivating the right attitude towards practice, performance, and setbacks. You will need these things if you hope to make a career out of this — it’s not easy!

It’s important to shift your view from “I may have failed” to “this is a stepping stone” and from seeing everything as a roadblock and instead just a path to navigate. Musicians who understand this also understand that things take time. You have to approach your craft with dedication and enthusiasm each and every time. 

Lastly, the way you interpret feedback is also a huge part of this. Not all criticism is bad! Think about which parts might ring true, how to make meaningful change, and ignore the rest. Ultimately, a positive mindset empowers you to have the kind of career you want.

You are in this for the LONG HAUL because that’s how long it will take.

Want to learn more about increasing your fanbase? Order Ariel’s latest marketing book Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity today!

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