Do You Really Know Your Fans?

Do you know your fans? Like, really know them? Where they are from, what they do, what drives them, what are their struggles, what apart from music do they like? In the absence of such evaluation and identification, you may be doing what most mildly successful bands do – carpet-bomb them on social media with your songs, videos, gig announcements, and other happenings in the band’s life. But then that’s living on hope and not on creating an intelligent strategy.

Without one, you’re ignoring a lot of the information that is out there, just waiting to be mined, understood and used to create a plan around who you should be focusing on.

There’s no problem with working the way you’ve been doing so far. With truckloads of luck, enough time and a lot of money, you will probably garner a decent enough fanbase. Facebook and other social media channels have already caught on that if you have a page on them, you most likely have something to sell and will be willing to spend money to do it. But even they let you select the demographic according to interests that you want to pitch to. Without knowing where your music sits, you will end up getting the page likes you want but these won’t be the people who will talk to their friends about your music, come to your gigs, buy your merchandise or support you in the ways you want. They will just be numbers. So, get smart and look at who your real fan looks like.

Know your music: Does it sound insulting when someone insinuates that you don’t know your music? I’d say feel offended but then move beyond that. What one is asking you to do in this context is to know where your music sits in the lifestyle of your fan. Is it peppy, upbeat and the kind that gets people on their feet? No, really. Does it do that? Will it fit in with someone’s workout to pump them up enough to get beyond the struggle we all feel when we think about exercise in boring gyms?

Or maybe it’s the elixir for the romance they are looking for in their life. Does it get people fired up about a cause?

Once you have objectively looked at your music and decided the setting in which it works best, you’re ahead than the rest (who can’t). Now you know how to place the music with the right kind of person. After all, it does something for them. Like the best things in life do. They work well with who we are.

Give her an identity: Once you can objectively look at your music, you can decide what kind of person it works for. Imagine this person. Is she outgoing, energetic, yet has a romantic side that she keeps hidden away because success means that she has to put some things on the back burner? Is he someone who’s working on his artistic side while slogging through his days as a graphic designer? Who is your music working for? What are the other bands with music very much like yours they are interested in?

You can get a sense of this from that band’s following on social media channels, and because of the way that they are, somehow Twitter works best.

If the band that comes closest to yours has a significant following from 20-year-old girls who also follow cosmetic and fashion labels, you will get a sense that they invest in their appearance.

If, on the other hand, they are people who also follow a lot charitable causes, share petitions or news relating to world issues, you can build another picture altogether. They are most likely well-travelled, interested in books and interested in widening their world view.

See where this is going? We are trying to identify what goes on in the mind and lives of these people beyond your music. Now you can get a sense of her age, location, education level, socio-economic class and interests.

Go ahead. Fill in the blanks. Give her a name. She’s the one who’s likely to get committed to your music enough to tell her friends about you.

Make the connection: If your potential fan is a socially aware person, think about which cause resonates with you. We’re looking for a sincere connection here, Once you know it, tweet or post your support for it consistently while keeping up with the developments around that cause. You could also show your support on the ground by doing a charity show for a protest, group or happening connected with the cause. This is just an example. It could very well be an activity like running. A lot of Haruki Murakami fans connect with him over this because he’s clearly and consistently shown he’s interested in it.

Make sure that everyone in the band is on board with this. Anything coming from them that contradicts your stance is the best way to lose your fans. Authenticity trumps everything.

I guess you now have an idea of what we’re talking about to each other. While it is still about your music, it’s more than just that. Fans connect with music that connects with their lifestyle, values and aspirations. The better you are at identifying who your fan is and what matters to them, and how to connect with that, the more loyalty you can hope for.

Are we on the right track? We welcome your constructive feedback on everything we do. Do you know a better way to connect with your fans that we might have missed out on? We’re all ears. Share your insights in the comments section with us and the community.

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