Building a larger following is one of the top goals of almost every band. Having a large following means more opportunities to perform, gigs at better or larger venues and or course, more money. However, building a following is not easy and can take some time. I’ve seen many artists invest time and money in learning songs or buying better equipment, but I seldom see artists “investing” in building a following. Here are some ways you can start building a larger following:
- Expand the area in which you perform
I’ve seen many bands that are successful at a few clubs within a certain area but can’t seem to pull a large audience when they travel more than 10 or 15 miles away from their “home base.” If you keep playing the same venues over and over you will not grow your audience. Even with the best bands, audiences will eventually grow tired of seeing the same band over and over and start to look for something new. When you start to book in a wider geographic area, you are opening yourself up to a large number of potential new fans. These fans are looking for something new and different and you could be their choice! Remember, the more areas you play in, the bigger your fan base can be.
- Lowering Your Price
Of course, you must be willing to invest in the growth of your fan base. Your band may be really big in one county but unheard of in another area. Bar owners don’t pay bands according to “how good you are” or how popular you are in a different area. They pay according to how well you draw at their venue. We all know that is not the “right” thing to do but that is the reality of the bar scene. You may need to reduce your fees the first time or two that you play at an establishment. Be willing to work with the owner. If you put on a great show and are professional, you will gain new fans and start building your fan base in that area. If your goal is to build a large following and have gigs all over, you must be willing to invest in your long-time career by being open to fee negotiations in the short term.
- Promoting Before & After
When you enter a new market, you should start promoting that show about a month in advance. Be sure to engage heavily in social media. Create exciting and engaging posts describing your show and including reviews and testimonials from other venues or fans. Be sure to have exciting photos on your page. Don’t have all the photos focus on you or the members of the band. The majority of the photos should show the audience having a great time and interacting with the band. This not only engages the people who go to the club but it also is something the venue owners want to see. Be sure to get printed flyers or posters to the venue at least a month in advance. Have a professional graphic artist design an engaging poster. It is worth the investment. Make your poster and other graphics stand out and look professional. It will set you apart from the many bands who have sloppy materials or none at all!
- Paid Promoting
Consider taking out ads or paying for boosting a post on social media. When you are trying to build a larger fan base you need to look at many ways to reach people. Paid ads are just one part of the equation but they do help to reach people. Be sure the ads are specific and include where and when you will be playing. You may even want to run a contest with the ad to increase the level of awareness.
Remember, building a larger fan base takes time and in some cases, money. As a musician, you have invested in great instruments, a sound system and lights, so why not invest in growing your audience and your geographic reach. The result will be a longer career playing to much larger audiences. Sometimes you need to sacrifice in the short-term to ensure long-term success