Table of Contents
- Watch The Video:
- How To Build A Fanbase (Part 1)
- How To Build A Fanbase (Part 2)
- Building A Fanbase Takes Time
- Bonus Resources That Can Help You Build A Fanbase:
- Things Worth Tweeting:
Watch The Video:
Do you know how to build a fanbase in Hip Hop? Not Twitter followers, Facebook likes, or Soundcloud plays. I’m talking about real people that look forward to your music, support you, and eventually spend money on you and your brand.
Most likely you don’t know how to build a fanbase, but don’t worry. Many upcoming rappers have little knowledge how to build a fanbase. They think that as long as you create good music you’ll be able to build a fanbase, but that’s not true.
Good music is helpful for building an audience, however, good music will not make you successful or build that fanbase for you.
That’s your job.
How To Build A Fanbase (Part 1)
There’s no one way or right way to build a fanbase, but I am going to give you a few tips for building one.
Don’t Ask Them To Listen To Your Music
As much as you may think your music is the deciding factor between having fans and not having fans, it’s not. Telling someone to check out your music, even if they like it, doesn’t mean they’ll become a fan.
The moment you ask someone to listen to your music, you set the tone for the conversation. You make the conversation focused on what you want them to do for you, but in reality, nobody cares about you. They only care about themselves.
Instead of asking someone to listen to your music, have a genuine conversation with them and relax. Your fanbase will initially be built up of relationships from people that like you. The more they like you, the more support you can expect from them. Music plays a small role during the early stages of fan building and becomes more valuable as you scale up.
But Darius, how do I promote my music?
Once you start building relationships and getting noticed, people will look you up. This curiosity is what makes them more likely to listen to your music than if you were to ask them.
And also, if someone asks what you do or where to find your music, feel free to tell them. That’s perfectly fine.
You just want to avoid forcing your music on to them.
Give Them A Reason To Support You
No one will support you if there’s nothing to support. You’re going to have to show your potential audience that you’re putting in the work necessary to become successful.
Every fan you have (or will have) is making an investment in you. They’re investing their reputation, their time, and eventually their money. It’s your job to make them feel like you’re a good investment.
For example, Machine Gun Kelly has a private Facebook group that only his fans can get into.
In this group:
His fans get to connect with each other. This strengthens their fan loyalty to him, because, without him, they would not have become friends and built a relationship. The more the community talks and spend time with each other, the stronger that bond becomes. It eventually becomes a big family.
He occasionally post in the facebook group from his personal facebook account and gives an update on what’s going on with his career, his feelings, and whatever else he’s feeling. This further increases his fan loyalty, because now, they’re not only getting a personal update from the man himself, but sometimes they’re also getting exclusive information before it’s released to the public (if ever). Talk about giving people a reason to support you.
You don’t have to do the exact same thing, but you still need to build a community. A community can be built on social media, your music website, forums, and more
In addition to giving people something to support, you need to support others. This goes back to building relationships. By showing support to others, you’ll not only build relationships, but you’ll make other people want to support you as well in return. Connecting with other rappers is a great way to network.
Showing support to someone to can be done in a number of different ways, but here are a few:
- Attending their live event
- Purchasing their items (music, merch, etc.)
- Promoting a song, video, and etc. with a comment showing love
- Telling them directly
Be Active & Be Seen
Being active and around when things are happening is a great way to get noticed, especially if you have 0 connections in your local area. The more you’re seen and noticed, people start to ask the question “who is that?”.
Eventually, you’ll start building relationships with people and getting attention. The more quality relationships you have, the more credibility you’ll gain, and the more you’ll become “cool by association”.
Basically, this means the people that are fans of the people you hang with, become fans of you due to your association with them.
This marketing technique is one you’ll see heavily used with new products. They’ll package the new product with something you already know and love. This creates the idea that the new product is of equal value and quality as the product you already love.
Make Sure Your Content Is High Quality
Although your music won’t be the deciding factor during the early stages of building a fanbase, however, the better it sounds, the more likely you’ll get some good opportunities early on. So make sure it sounds good.
I know I talk a lot about how music isn’t the biggest factor during the early stages of building a fanbase, but don’t release bad music. Bad music won’t benefit you in any way. If anything, it’s going to make organically building a fanbase slower.
How To Build A Fanbase (Part 2)
Clarify What “A Fan” Means
The first tip I want to share with you as far as building a fanbase is to make sure you clarify what being a fan means.
How do I be a fan of you? What does that actually mean? Does that mean I follow you on Twitter or I follow you on Facebook? Does that mean I share your music online?
A lot of knowing this revolves around having goals. Once you have goals, you need to clarify what it means for any potential fan to become a fan. What do they have to do? What is the process?
Make sure you make it clear to your first few fans what their job role is. Your new fans are not going to follow you, they’re going to follow what your current fans are doing right now. If your current fans are sharing on Twitter and talking highly of you, that’s what your new fans are going to do. So, Make sure you let your first few fans know exactly what they need to do in their role as a fan.
Build A Community
The second thing you want to do to build a fanbase is to build a community. You can build a community in a few different ways. There are rappers who form a community via private Facebook groups. Then, there are rappers who form communities off of text message.
And yeah, it’s okay for a fan to have your phone number, especially in the early days when your fans are likely going to become your friends and hopefully your friends become your fans.
Don’t Be Afraid To Be Vulnerable
Another tip is to be vulnerable. A lot of upcoming artists don’t show vulnerability because they’re following the model set by popular artists.
Upcoming artists love to act like they’ve got it all figured out. However, what they should do is let their fans know that you’re still a human. Let them know when you fail, let them know when you don’t succeed at something or how they can help you.
Let them know exactly what you want them to do because your early fans are really like your team.
Have Fan-Only Events
Next, you want to have fan only events. Now, you might be thinking I’m talking about fan only shows or fan only autograph signings. No, I’m talking about real people events, especially for your early fans. Invite them out to the movies or out to dinner for free. Yeah, you’re going to have to pay for that but the relationships and connections made during those sessions are invaluable.
Focus Your Efforts
Last but not least, you have to focus. Use your analytics and data to figure out what’s actually working.
If Twitter is working for you, use Twitter all day. Don’t worry about Facebook. If things are working for you on YouTube, use YouTube. Don’t worry about Twitter or Facebook.
The benefits you get from focusing will greatly outweigh trying to manage your Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, while trying to blow up on SoundCloud. Once you have a core fan base or decent size audience, you can start to expand to further help you propel your growth.
Building A Fanbase Takes Time
“It’s not about who did it first, it’s about who did it right”
This is a game built on longevity. Take your time. Make sure your fans are happy and you’re happy with the direction you’re going in.
Make sure that you’re strengthening that bond between you and your fans. You don’t need a lot of loyal fans to build a career out of making music.
And, last, but not least, don’t focus on the numbers, focus on the quality. 10,000 Soundcloud plays or Youtube views may sound nice, but if they didn’t result in any new connections or fans, then those plays don’t matter.
Focus on people, not numbers.
Bonus Resources That Can Help You Build A Fanbase:
- How To Grow Your Fanbase At A Live Show
- How To Get Your Music On Hip Hop Blogs
- Tips For Becoming A Successful Rapper
- Mistakes Made By Upcoming Rappers