Every Artist Has Three Communities – they are separate from one another.
The problem is most artists have only one strategy for marketing and promoting to three totally separate groups.
The online space has helped to create a problem that many artists are unaware of – that problem is: the billions of people. It’s amazing to have such never-ending access to our fans, but it also means everyone has this access, and thus standing out can become more difficult.
In the desperate desire to try to connect with as many fans as possible artists are forgetting something: not everyone out there is the same in how invested they are in you and your journey, and they need to be treated differently depending on where they’re at.
Some may be following you simply because they liked your sunglasses or your cat and have no idea you are even a musician, while others are waiting to like and comment on every post.
You need to understand the differences and create a separate way of communicating with each community.
Your 3 Communities Are:
Community #1: Your Super Fans
These are fans who are primarily Your Live Audience. You know them by name. If you play out live, they attend your shows regularly and buy many things you offer (not just music). If you have a street team they are on it and they evangelize strongly on your behalf. They are the first responders when you post on your socials and they are following you on multiple channels.
Community #2: Engaged Fans
Those fans are your Active Online Audience. They are newsletter subscribers, blog readers, video watchers, RSS subscribers, active Social Media engagers who frequently comment & engage with you on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Community #3: Ambient Fans
These fans are your Passive Online Audience and they are your social media friends who are aware of you via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. but don’t actively communicate with you and may not have ever even heard your music (yet).
The way you maintain your relationship with each of these communities requires a different strategy because you have varying degrees of engagement with each of them.
The way you create and develop your relationship with them should also take some careful consideration. Yes, there will be overlap between them but not as much as you may think.
Community #1 – Your Super Fans
Your Most Engaged Social Followers
These are the ones who are fastest to like and comment when you post something new. This group probably includes your mom and your bestie and that’s a great start. The key is when people who you know in passing or don’t know at all start to comment make sure you respond in kind. This means check in on them and nurture these types of engagements. This is how you create Super Fans.
Your Crowdfunding Backers Who Pledge Over $25
If you have ever run a crowdfunding, Pledge Pre-sale or a Patreon campaign then your REALLY know exactly who these superfans are. Better yet, you know their names, email addresses and how much money and support they are willing to give you. This is one of the main reasons I advocate for crowdfunding and I think every artist should execute a crowdfunding campaign. I have written a book called CROWDSTART all about how to succeed with crowdfunding and you can download chapter one right here.
Your Live Audience
The fans that frequent your live shows and your friends who truly support you (in attendance and wallet) fall into this group as well. They’re the ones at every show, singing your songs, sharing with friends, buying merch. They’ll go to every show you have even if they’ve already been to four that month.
Before social media was around this was the only community that indie artists really had. You didn’t need to grab them within the first 3.5 seconds online because they most likely stuck around for at least 2-3 songs. You didn’t have to worry about a signature story or a pitch to describe what you sounded like – the only reason you were up on stage was for them to see.
This is still a great way to build an engaged community of fans.
How to Engage Community #1 Super Fans
We’re just being honest.
While this advice might seem overly simplified, it’s the thing we hear the most when talking to the experts. Being excellent at what you do is the baseline for success in this industry. It’s the foundation of everything that comes after, so always be honing your craft.
Have a Long-Term Social Media Strategy
This means – be prepared in advance. It’s not a good idea to wing it the day of a release or disappear from your social media for months at a time.
We manage full Social Media campaigns for our clients and use this handy organizer to keep all of the content, tribe, VIPS, and platforms organized and clean. Try it out and get your social media game polished. Your fan engagement depends on it.
When you do this you will be, as Seth Godin says, “remarkable” and the word will spread naturally.
“Remarkable doesn’t mean remarkable to you. It means remarkable to me. Am I going to make a remark about it? If not, then you’re average, and average is for losers.” – Seth Godin
To expand on this, it means being so brilliant that people can’t help but talk about you. To their friends, to each other, to anyone who will listen. Kind of like when you discover your new favorite band or song or restaurant and won’t shut up about it. Be that.
Factors to consider:
|Connection to the audience
|A fantastic live show
|The audience experience
|Word of mouth
If your live audience is not building consistently, one of these elements may be missing and your live show may need work. Without having fans to spread the word for you, your audience will not build and you should go back to the drawing board to work on your songs, and improve your show, as it all starts there.
Create a Riveting Live Show
The most extraordinary live music coach I’ve ever witnessed is Tom Jackson. He runs a company called On Stage Success and works on developing live shows using a series of effective techniques to both create a cohesive show and a connection with your live audience.
Tom rightly points out that your songs don’t all sound the same, but in most cases when you perform, they all look the same when played live. Tom’s DVDs, blog, and workshops will help you work on your band dynamics and stage presence. I have seen him work miracles with bands. In just a few hours, he completely transforms shows that are hum- drum into riveting stage performances.
Tom is unlike any coach out there and what he teaches needs to be seen to be fully understood.
No matter what, remember this: the bands you know and love today almost certainly got there in part due to playing out non-stop and putting on an unforgettable show. You can choose how to connect with your audience once you’re up there, so long as you’re doing exactly that.
Capture Your Super Fan’s Data:
Once the live audience is at your gig, ask them for their e-mail addresses for your newsletter or for their mobile numbers for your text messaging list, and keep in touch. Having an already set up nurture series is a great way to kick things off with them right away. You want to capture them when they’re most interested in you, not let them forget about you for months at a time.
Add Social Media columns when collecting emails, so your fans can write their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram handles. Then take the time to connect with them after the show!
If you haven’t made a concerted effort to connect the dots between your live audience and your email list you are sacrificing a direct line to money.
So, sign up for a newsletter management system to help get you on the way.
Want more? Here is Part Two of Your Three Communities: Engaged Fans!
Want to learn more? Download our FREE Musician’s Communications Map.