The online space is getting more cluttered, overcrowded and confusing. With the recent tumult over Facebook’s handling of privacy issues and its frequent policy changes that work against Pages, offline marketing has become more important than ever. In fact, nothing has ever worked better than word-of-mouth marketing for one’s music.
You need a team that can work on this for free (but not without certain benefits). Working at the grassroots level, this posse, or street team, can make a huge impact on potential audiences. It can create the curiosity necessary for people to want to hear your music, be interested in you and follow your work. Face-to-face interactions have been and still are the best way to do this.
Tap your fans to create this team. This group of people has the best motivation possible to promote you – love for your music and the need to have more people discover it. The added incentive for them is taking their first step at working in the music industry.
Whatever you do, always keep it extremely professional. Do not allow this engagement to become unpleasant or too casual in any way.
When to get one?
This is perhaps the most important question for you to answer. Some things to consider:
Is your music evolved enough for you to look for a wider audience?
Do you have a release or big news coming up you want to promote?
Do you have the money to produce the collateral or other materials for this team to use?
What should they do?
Among the many things that a street team can be effective at is working on the ground on activities such as, putting up promotional posters, passing around artist/album stickers, engaging with people at gigs and calling up radio stations requesting for your songs.
The same team can also work online sending out emails and talking/posting about new releases or other activities that the artist is involved in, such as new collaborations, etc.
How to build one?
While record labels put together street teams all the time, it’s much more rewarding for you as an independent artist to create one. Along with all the work that you and your band mates have to do, marketing your work too could be quite a strain. They all would rather focus on what got you all together in the first place—making music.
Find only the most sincere and dedicated of your fans to do this work. This ensures that once work is assigned, it gets done. Else, a lot of unproductive time is just spent in chasing people who didn’t really want to work on this anyway.
Motivate them by making them part of your band get-togethers, jams or rehearsals, the behind-the-scene peeks they would cherish as fans.
Using them online
Getting a team together online is certainly easier. Putting out a social media message asking people who care about your music to write in is the first step. Share a plan with them and ask them for feedback and suggestions on how to make it better.
Since this can be a location-independent team, you also have the advantage of building followers in different cities through the friend circles of the members of your team.
They can tweet and re-tweet about you and your music, sharing your YouTube videos, sharing (or even making) creatives about your music, spreading the word about your shows and getting others to attend.
As this team gets more involved, get them thinking around the offline activities that they can work on. Could they recruit a few more people around them for the purpose?
It’s best to focus on the market in which you are already popular. You could focus on surrounding areas later. If you’re planning to travel to another city to perform, you could ask your team to find people who could help with online and grassroots promotions there.
‘Free,’ did you say?
Well, yes they would be working for free but they would get benefits that would not be available to other mere mortals. They should be given access to backstage areas and even work on your shows if they would like the experience, exclusive merchandise, tickets or passes and other goodies.
You can also offer to give signed testimonials about the work that they’ve done with you which could help them as they look beyond college and start to work in, among other places, the music industry.
Did we miss something? Is there a better way to recruit and utilize a street team? We’d love to hear your creative and constructive suggestions and feedback in the comments section. Hit us up.