So by now you know you’ve got to connect with fans — go DIRECT to fans — to effectively promote your music. But there are so many ways to engage with your fans online, you can easily become overwhelmed with the options! How can you build a relationship with your fans using new media tools? Which ones are the best? And most importantly — how much is this going to cost you?
So you’re tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming… great! You’ve got the basic building blocks of fan engagement in place. So what’s the next step?
With the internet on everything from your smartphone to your wristwatch, fans have the ability to connect to anyone, at any time. If you want that anyone at anytime to be YOU, all the time, you’ve got to make sure they’re gaining something from that connection — the interaction has to enhance their life in some way to grow into a relationship. If you’re savvy, you can use technology to offer fans what they want while still staying in control of the message and the brand.
Magisto is an app that’s a one-stop-shop. Through Magisto, you can give fans a backstage pass to your life — however much you decide to share. You can shoot video on your phone and upload it with one of your songs, and from there the app does all of the editing for you! Take a few short videos of your day-to-day life (favorite hangouts, bars, practice spaces) and send it out to your fans through whatever social network you choose and link through the app. Did we mention it’s free?
Soundcloud is a popular free tool that lets you upload and share playlists. So many bloggers and writers prefer Soundlcoud now, and it easily embeds just about anywhere — this one’s a must, y’all. Beyond pushing your music out to fans, your fans can take photos (at one of your shows, maybe?) directly on the app and add them to a shared album that you create, turning the entire audience into your photographers — fan interaction at its finest. The interface is super clean, and basic accounts are free (with pro account upgrades not too pricey, either).
Another great option is CrowdStream, an app that fans can use to interact with you and with other fans. They can win prizes like signed merchandise, buy tickets, merch and music. You can also update your fans with photos, videos and messages at a show. Encouraging interaction among fans helps to build community, making their fandom about more than just music — it becomes a lifestyle choice.
And if none of that works for you, innovate yourself! Check out Dan Deacon — he approached some of his programming friends and had them make an app that turns his audiences’ phones into an interactive light display and accompanying instrument to the show!
The Gorillaz created a mobile gaming app around characters and artwork from the album Escape From Plastic Beach. This may not be a viable option for independent artists due to the price tag, but it’s ideas like this that really get fans excited. You’re trying to break through all the static to show your fans something different — and that is a concept you can bring to life on any budget.
Something to remember: technology is not “one size fits all.” There’s not a simple equation for every musician to follow that will result in a successful online presence. Get to know your fans. Figure out what they want and what they’ll use — meet them where they are.