A guide to marketing your music as a creative in South African - PART 1
Marketing is an area where most creatives fail. It's difficult getting your work out when there's no real fanbase available to send your music to. My suggestion is reworking your goal for marketing. Instead of giving your music to a non-existent fanbase or trying to make a profit from them, you should be on a mission to collect and cultivate fans at all costs.
Help! What do I do once I receive my song back from the engineer?
Once you are done making your music you need to set up a strategy to capture people who listen to your song. This may be an email, social handle or number you can reach the listener on. Also ask friends and family to listen and give feedback. Ask them to help spread the word in their own circles. Over time, people will let you know what they like about your music or whether they like it at all. Capture emails, cellphone numbers and keep up with DMs on social media. We call this fan interaction and audience cultivating. This part is what people overlook but it's actually one of the easiest ways to create a strong network of hardcore fans. Initially, you'll have very few listeners but you can still make this situation work for you. If I was an artist and I only had 10 fans I would make sure I text them individually each week just to touch base. It also doesn't always have to be about the music. I have people in my audience who share a passion for Healthcare or sports and we share ideas on that. From time to time I'd meet up with them to and just chill and understand what it is that makes them gravitate towards my sound. We call this market research. You may find that all your fans are your age and grew up in similar circumstances. This information gives you insight into what your fans will want to hear from you in future.
Content is the easiest way to sell yourself and your product without sounding pushy. There are so many creative (and free) ways to get people interested in your new music.
Make low-budget videos of you saying your new track is going to drop (you can even use a counter). Creating anticipation over the long-term will help you get a bigger amount of initial listens. This helps you get on the good side of social media algorithms and this is always a good thing. Creating hype by dropping artwork is not enough anymore. Show potential listeners that you're excited to release. You can also make videos talking about the struggles of putting the track together. Speak to your potential listeners about what inspires you and how the song came about. Your goal is to take potential listeners on a journey. If people feel like they're moving with you then they're more likely to help you get your brand out there to more people.
It's the little things
As your listens per track go from 10 to 100 to 1000, you'll start getting comments on your work from people showing appreciation for what you're doing. Don't sleep on these opportunities to talk and share more. Refrain from just saying 'I appreciate you fam' and other such comments as that puts a distance between you and your fanbase. Engage fully in your comments and try to always end your reply with a question. The more you have going on in the comment section, the more a social media platform will think you're creating good content. This will result in your content being shared with many other people organically.
Using these methods requires you to understand that one song is not enough to build a strong fanbase. You'll be releasing, sharing, engaging, content creating all the time. If done consistently, your numbers will slowly rise. When I first jumped on FB and made an artist page, I invited 33 people to like my page. Each week I released beats, videos in studio as well as any other content I felt was relevant. Over time I was able to see what types of content attracted the most people and I made more of that. A few years and 16 000 likes later and I'm still refining what I'm doing trying to find the perfect piece of content. I engage as much as I can in the comments section and it leads to opportunities in and outside of FB. Another plus side to consistency is that if your manage all your pages correctly for a long period if time, your audience members on FB migrate to your IG, youtube, twitter, etc. This ecosystem coupled with a viral piece of content or a viral song may result in quite a bit of social clout which will have a positive effect on your fanbase.
In my next post I will dive into types of content you can post that are engaging. In the meantime try to implement some of the tactics I spoke about and let me know what has or hasn't worked for you in the comments section below.
Follow part two here
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