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Janelle Borg explores the five key principles of fan engagement, a key component of marketing for any musician or creator.

We live in a fast consumerist society driven by the needs of the “Everything Customer”. As a musician or content creator, you need to nurture your fans by keeping them interested in what you’re doing. This means a stream of releases and collateral content that engages your fans and doesn’t let their attention wander to another artist or content creator. This is what marketers call “fan engagement”. 

Fan engagement is a growth strategy that prioritises the musician/content creator-fan relationship. It’s a relationship that enables fans to interact with their favourite musician or content creator and provides social value. 

Fan engagement isn’t as complex as it may seem to be: it can be boiled down to 5 key principles that you can execute using social media. 

Here’s a quick rundown of what these principles are and how you can put them into practice. 

Understand your fan persona

Before blindly targeting people via ads, you need to understand who your core audience is, what your fans like, and what they need. You can’t attract loyal fans before understanding who they are and what they’re all about. Have a quick look at your social media insights, and add a Google Analytics pixel to your website to gain a deeper insight into your fans’ online behaviour. 

Focus on storytelling

Prioritise storytelling over constant self-promotion. By engaging in interesting two-way conversations with your fans, you’ll ensure that they’ll become more invested in your journey. After all, invested fans are more likely to purchase your merch, music, and tickets than casual listeners.

Emphasise the value of the fan experience

When fans are ready to move from the consideration stage to the decision stage, you should promote the fan experience over costs. Your message should focus on interactivity and community rather than financial gain. This indirect way of marketing enables your fans to see the value in the experiences you’re offering them.

Work on brand loyalty

After encouraging fans to enroll in an interactive experience, you should do your best to maintain and sustain that brand loyalty. You can do this by creating even more engaging experiences that make fans feel like they’re insiders to your brand. If you’re still growing your fanbase, following up with your top fans by liking their photos and asking how they’re doing is a good way of making them aware that you truly care about them. 

Empower your fans

Gone are the days when the artist’s mystique entices fans. Sure, it works for a select few, but nowadays, fans want to feel empowered. You should recognise that your audience has the power to influence their own audience by creating collateral content inspired by your content…essentially become your brand ambassadors. A clear example is the way BTS ARMY operates as a fandom and a movement for social change. After all, a truly fruitful fan-artist relationship is one that empowers rather than limits fans. 

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

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