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100 Ways for Musicians to Gain 100 True Fans

This post was inspired by Kevin Kelly's captivating blog post called 1,000 True Fans.

Kevin Kelly basically suggests that artists only need to acquire 1,000 True Fans to make a living. I always thought that 1,000 fans was a stretch (until I read about the success of Amanda Palmer, Tim Schafer, and others via Kickstarter).

To make things easier I thought it would be wise to focus on how musicians could acquire 100 true fans. Imagine having 100 true customers that will buy anything that you release. Think about that for a second. 100 true fans that will serve as your marketing team. 100 true fans who will tweet your content to their network. 100 true fans who will share your Facebook posts with others. 100 true fans who will help you tour.

The ideas revolve around the basic concept of friendship. In order to gain friends and sustain them you have to show them that you care about them. This includes being an effective listener, suppressing your ego, being thoughtful, offering your time, respecting their opinions and more.

A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can't wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans. - Kevin Kelley

100 Ways for Musicians to Gain 100 True Fans

1. Write a handwritten letter to a fan

2. Call a fan via the telephone

3. Setup a Skype call with a fan

4. Setup a Google Hangout with a fan

5. Follow a fan on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine etc

6. Customize a birthday song or poem for a fan

7. Customize a gradation song or poem for a fan

8. Customize an engagement song or poem for a fan

9. Buy pizza for a fan

10. Offer a solution to a problem

11. Share helpful links (via Twitter)

12. Send stickers to a fan

13. Send merch to a fan

14. Personalize physical product for a fan

15. Setup a house show for a fan

16. Meet and Eat (hehe) with a fan after the house show

17. Share your Gamer Tag with a fan

18. Ask questions

19. Respond to emails, comments on SoundCloud, comments on Facebook and comments on Twitter in a timely manner

20. Nominate a Fan of the Week on your Facebook Fan Page

21. Interview a fan

22. Have a fan tweet a new song

23. Have a fan tweet a new video

24. Have a fan share a new song via Facebook

25. Have a fan share a new video via Facebook

26. Have a fan premier your video on his/her YouTube channel

27. Have a fan create your album artwork

28. Have a fan create a music video for you (lyric video, animated or official)

29. Record a Vine message to a fan

30. Record a short audio message to a fan via SoundCloud

31. Create custom merch for a lucky fan

32. Send a signed rhymebook to a fan

33. Send a 100 or 500 piece puzzle to a fan

34. Send a gift certificate to a fan

35. Have a fan send you pictures of them holding up your latest project. Create a customized music video from the pictures (picture collage)

36. Invite a fan to play Words With Friends/Solitaire with you

37. Invite a fan to play Draw Something with you

38. Share recipes with a fan

39. Have a fan write your press release

40. Send a Get Well Soon card to an ailing fan

41. Incorporate a fan's name into your next song

42. Have a hot wing challenge with a fan

43. Send a customized drawing to a fan

44. Start a game of Tic Tac Toe. Mail the letter to a fan and have him/her mail it back (Include postage haha)

45. Send a customized word search to a fan. Get creative with it, base it on your release

46. Encourage a fan to add witty captions to your pictures (Caption This usually works)

47. Send a fan two additional CDs if they ordered one. Encourage him/her to share

48. Send a fan a few blank CDs and a copy of the album. Encourage him/her to share

49. Send a fan 5 business cards and encourage him/her to pass out the business cards

50. Send a fan a flash drive with your entire discography loaded on it

51. Invite a fan to the movies

52. Send a fan an iTunes Gift Card

52. Hold Contests!

53. Auction off your studio equipment (given you have accessibility to a better one haha)

54. Send a fan coupons (you have to make sure you know what the fan is interested in)

55. Send a fan a piece of your sole (an autograph shoe sole)

56. Send a personalized email to a fan

57. Send an Electronic Birthday card to a fan

58. Send a postcard to a fan with an encouraging quote on it

59. Send an item to a fan while you are on vacation (the item can be a keychain, shot glass, magnet, etc)

60. Provide donuts for a radio station (this works if you have a radio interview)

61. Provide refreshments and snacks for the sound crew before a show

62. Hand a customized Thank You card to the sound engineer following a show

63. Invite a fan to a BBQ

64. Invite a fan to a video shoot

65. Disperse five disposable cameras to five lucky fans before a show, encourage them them print the pictures and tag you in them

66. Let a fan organize your setlist

67. Create and send magnets to a fan

68. Premier songs to a fan via Ustream

69. Start a Kickstarter campaign

70. Send download cards to a fan

71. Invite a fan to join you for Karaoke night

72. Invite a fan to volunteer with you at a specific location

73. Buy a fan breakfast, lunch or dinner

74. Invite a fan to go bowling with you

75. Encourage a fan to send you pictures of his/her favorite album or song (share these via Social Media sites)

76. Invite a fan to join your weight loss/gain club

77. Start a book club and invite a fan to join, hold monthly meetings

78. Buy a book for a fan to help them achieve a goal

79. Give away a book that you have read to a fan

80. Encourage a fan to share his or her dreams with you

81. Invite a fan to a Super Bowl party at a public location

82. Invite a fan to accompany you to a sporting event

83. Host a poker tournament at your house

84. Host a card tournament at your house

85. Mentor up and coming artists

86. Break down your lyrics for international fans

87. Teach a fan how to write song lyrics

88. Invite a fan to participate in your organized charity event

89. Provide feedback to a fan

90. Promote a fan's ideas to your network

91. Setup a speed dating event for your fans

92. Send a Starbucks gift card to a fan

93. Make a fan the head of your Street Team or Online Street Team

94. Invite a fan to go vinyl shopping with you

95. Invite a fan to scout music video locations with you

96. Invite your fans to share jokes and post the best ones via Social Media

97. Invite a fan to create your music website

98. Ask open ended questions to your fans to facilitate communication

99. Be transparent to your fans, the transparency can create talking points and establish connectivity based on the presented emotion

100. Be yourself (this is the most important quality to gain and sustain fans)

Thank you for taking the time to read this list. A lot of these tips are not just exclusive to hip hop artists. These tips are universal due to the need for musicians to gain fans.

If you find this content valuable please share this post via Twitter, Facebook, Google +, email, and other social media sites. I count on YOU to help spread the word, I know that I can't do this by myself. Share this post with your friends who are managers, emcees, singers, rock musicians, fiddlers, beatmakers, Djs, A&R's, publicists, etc.

I would love to hear innovative ways that you use to gain true fans. Please provide them below and I will make sure I respond as soon as possible.

Image provided by Danny Stanford

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