The music industry does not give you a career, but your fans do.
Everybody can do marketing on social media, trying to get their content out, but great fan engagement requires the right attitude followed up by target- and goal-oriented actions.
Remember, this is about growing your fanbase, not raising your sales numbers. It will take time and effort to see some results. The key to a sustainable career is turning listeners/customers into fans and superfans.
To plan the proper approach, you need to know who your listeners are or could be.
You can track them on all different kind of sites. Using analytics as an essential tool will help you to evaluate your audience and carry out your fan engagement accordingly. Where do they come from, how often do they interact with you and when? What is their individual interest in your material? What else is of interest to them? Only if you know who you’re dealing with, you can interact appropriately.
Imagine approaching your listeners as going into a job interview. You have to be confident, but at the same time be well aware that there are hundreds (in case of music, thousands) of other applicants for just that one job. Half-hearted conversations or the slightest suspicion of being unauthentic will most certainly destroy all the chances you had in the beginning.
One rule is, to handle the fan engagement yourself and not task a PR team with it. People prefer a direct connection. Being approachable is a great deal of being authentic. And don’t leave them hanging waiting for you. Means, you have to interact consistently. React, take the initiative and do your research.
The next step would be turning fans into superfans. Those superfans are the ones who welcome and appreciate everything you put out and take actions into their own hands promoting you.
Fans become superfans for two reasons: You and your art is special to them and you make them feel like they’re special to you. You can do that easily by knowing your audience and getting them involved in what you do, socially and as an artist. Giving out special content only to them, e.g. by means of a mailing list, creating contests, involving them in creating content like songs and videos…
The options are only limited by your own creativity.
If I had a fanbase I wanted to turn into superfans, I would
– get to know them,
– involve them in the creative process, contribute lyrics, melodies, titles,
– ask for graphic designs to use,
– create a monthly newsletter with special content that’s not available anywhere else,
– create contests for the funniest meme, best cover (of a song of mine), “Team-Shirt”-Designs and more,
– always give the appropriate public appreciation for their contribution.