With billions of people using the internet daily, it’s easy to assume that a bit of content here and a promotional post there, will be enough to bring in fans and customers.
This is not the case. It is very easy for a consumer to scroll on to the next person/brand/businesses post that they find useful or meets their needs if your message and content is useless – and boring.
When casting your net out to the sea of internet, it’s a much better tactic to throw it in the direction of the waters that house the kind of people that match what you’re providing.
Whenever I ask a musician who their fans are, I get answers that are all over the place.
“Everyone can be my fan because my music is for everyone”… This is the most vague answer and the worst strategy to start a business/brand around.
If you ask a business who their audience is, they would give you a detailed description of their target audience. Musicians need to start implementing the same concept.
This is something called ‘buyers personas’ in the business world, but let’s call it ‘fan personalities’ for the sake of music.
Essentially, what buyers personas will allow you to do is to start with the end goal in mind.
Who are the fans listening to your music? Who are the ones who will buy a ticket to your show? Who are the guys engaging with you online?
If you have a deeper understanding of these people’s personas, you can actually start growth hacking your visibility very strategically.
Why is This Important?
When you have this knowledge, ta-da! You can use it to your advantage.
How? Let me break it down for you:
Who do your fans listen to at the moment? Start thinking strategically with your collaborations. Collaborate with artists who your fans are an audience of.
Who can you collaborate with in order to get access to your fans? You see examples of alternative collaborations all the time.
For example, why do you think Bad Bunny and Drake collaborated? Because their audiences are similar, and by collaborating, Drake got a stronger presence in the Latinx world; while Bad Bunny was suddenly on everybody’s radar in the hip hop world… and I’m pretty sure they swapped some fans in the meantime
What other accounts do they follow on social media non-music related? E.g. If your fans are snowboarders then you should collaborate with Snowboarding Influencers.
If you know who your audience is, you also know where they hang out.
Are they active on Reddit? Then you should be on Reddit. Are they spending hours on Pinterest browsing inspiration? Then maybe you should consider hanging out there.
If you know their online behaviour you can create your engagement profiles/accounts exactly where they are already hanging out.
Knowing your audience helps to produce inspiration for music creation as well as social media content. Create content around what you know about them and what they enjoy.
What are they involved with? What interests do they have? Imagine the amount of content you can then create for a specific audience.
Remember Adele’s album ‘21’ that was written with the specific topic of breakups at its core. If you don’t know about it and are going through a break up, it’s thoroughly recommended (get tissues ready).
These are situations that people relate with. What situations are your fans going through? What are their political views? What problems are they currently facing?
Remember 2 Pac, Biggie, Nas, Kanye, Outkast, Drake and the list goes on – they all paid tribute to their ‘hood wherever they could because sometimes you can connect through location and geography.
If you know your audience and want to make money on branding, you will have a better and more appealing pitch if you can tell advertisers who your followers are.
They are paying to get their product in front of people, right? And sometimes, some very specific people.
By having a clear knowledge of your fanbase, you also make it easier for companies to work with you.
Of course tons of gaming companies are working with Marshmello and Deadmau5 because they know their audience are gamers.
How to Create Your Fan Persona
Check your current metrics
You probably already have some great metrics on your channels already. Analyze these metrics and check them all to get lots of useful information on your current audience.
Insights on Social Media
Spotify/Apple Music/Tidal/etc. Insights
2. Engage & Research your audience
By actually engaging with your audience, you will also start getting to know their interests and personality.
By understanding who is currently following you, you will then begin to see common interests unfold amongst your followers.
You will see how they respond to your different types of content and what different sides of your personality triggers people to engage with you.
Try to find common themes and threads amongst your followers. If you can start pinpointing specific areas, it will help you be more specific in your activities as well.
3. Understand how you can help
What value are you giving with your music? What subjects are you talking about? What energies are you triggering?
If you know the feelings and emotions you are evoking, you know the value of your music.
Where do they listen to your music? In what situation?
If you can visually place your song being played in a specific setting, you understand how you are “helping” your fans with your music.
What value are you giving?
When Drake makes music, he makes it for driving around Toronto at night.
Place your music in that place, with that emotion and understand why it’s giving you that feeling.
4. Turn your research into ‘fan personalities’
While doing your research begin to compile some fan personality profiles.
Fill in the information below and use it to create a profile of your typical current fan. Alternatively, you can use this online tool which is a web application that allows you to create and export your own fan persona profiles.
Of course, one fan profile will not speak for everybody but it’s a good starting point to begin noticing trends amongst the profiles you create.
By using the tool you can then print out the buyer persona and put it together your portfolio and pitch you send to labels, magazines etc.
If you show you have an understanding of who your audience is, you will have an upper hand throughout the whole journey
Below is a complex example of a buyer persona taken from the Xtensio online tool I mentioned above.
Your profiles need not be as intensive as this example. The more information the better, of course. However, you can use the questions below to create a good starting point:
Demographic Information: (age, gender, income, political and religious preferences, etc.)
What’s their personality like?
What are their interests?
What problems are they going through?
Where do they hang out online?
What brands do they like?
Where do they shop clothes?
What other artists do they like?
5. Use your fan personality profiles
Head over to the spots they’re hanging in, become active and engage with people on that platform.
On-board new fans not with promotional content but create connections with them on a personal level first.
Use your new understanding to create content around any problems or issues they may be facing – take note of their behaviours, tones, attitude and what they’re vocal about – recreate these.
Start reaching out to other artists or creators who they like and take inspiration from what those guys are doing.
Collaborate with them too! Get access to their fanbase.
When you know where to look for inspiration and why you’re creating your art – your fanbase will become stronger, more loyal and more importantly – it will grow.