You love what you do. You have a gift and people are moved when you share it, but here’s the thing...you’re not alone. Thanks to technology, there's a much more level playing field for listeners to discover new music. This means that your fans have options and you are not the only one asking for a few of their discretionary dollars. So how do you turn a fan into a loyal supporter?
Take a look at the word "support". Independent artists tend to utilize the word often when promoting events, music and the like.
sup·port (sə-pôrt′, -pōrt′)
1. To bear the weight of, especially from below.
2. To hold in position so as to keep from falling, sinking, or slipping.
3. To be capable of bearing; withstand: "His flaw'd heart ... too weak the conflict to support" (Shakespeare).
4. To keep from weakening or failing; strengthen: The letter supported him in his grief.
5. To provide for or maintain, by supplying with money or necessities.
6. To furnish corroborating evidence for: New facts supported her story.
7. a. To aid the cause, policy, or interests of: supported her in her election campaign.
b. To argue in favor of; advocate: supported lower taxes.
8. To endure; tolerate: "At supper there was such a conflux of company that I could scarcely support the tumult" (Samuel Johnson).
9. To act in a secondary or subordinate role to (a leading performer).
1. a. The act of supporting.
b. The state of being supported.
2. One that supports.
3. Maintenance, as of a family, with the necessities of life.
When you think about it, that's a huge request...why should your fans feel obligated to do so? I do not profess to have all the answers. However, as a producer it is important for me to be a fan of artists before working with them, so these tips I offer from my perspective as a fan.
Don't Be a Bot
Promotion is key, but don't forget that your music is a part of you. If people connect with your music, they want to connect with YOU too. Don't use social networks solely to push your shows, music & business ventures on your fans. No one wants to be friends with someone who only reaches out to them when it's to reach into their pockets. It's annoying and a huge distraction from the talent that you are actually trying to share. Take the time to share thoughts, life experiences & interact with people as well...it will get you a lot further.
Say Thank You
Unless you are in the position where you have thousands of actual fans constantly interacting with you, you CANNOT be too busy to say thank you. If someone purchases your product, shares your links or publicly acknowledges your talent, say thank you. That's simply good manners. Whether it's public or confidential, you need to let your fans know that you appreciate their support. There are other things that they could have done with their time and/or money, they didn't have to choose you but they did. When people feel you appreciate them, they are much more willing to support you.
Show the Support You Wish to Receive
Again, thanks to technology leveling the playing field, there are a lot more artists these days. Believe it or not, many of them can be your biggest advocates should you chose to correctly nurture those relationships. Show up every now and then to a show you or your team and/or label mates are NOT on the bill for. Occasionally share the work or events of an independent artist that you enjoy but don't stand to gain a direct benefit from. Let your fans know that you care about more than your own personal gain. This will make people more willing to contribute to your endeavors.
Image Credit: NY Daily Times