If you’re a musician at any stage of your career, performing live is often what you live for. If you’re a musician at the early stage of your career, then your live performance is the biggest opportunity you have to connect with your audience. Even in the modern age of social media where anyone, just ask Justin Bieber, can put themselves on YouTube or Instagram and try and build a following.
Think about the type of places you perform at when you start playing live. These tend to be intimate, even grimy and uncomfortable venues, but lend themselves to you getting to know the people who have come out to see you and give you a great platform to build a loyal following organically.
What can you do to build a following of fans when and after you perform live?
Publicize Your Social Media Presence
If possible, it would be great if you could do this on any promotional literature, such as flyers, that might be handed out prior to your performance. Whether you do this or not, be sure to somehow publicize your social media presence while performing. This might mean putting your Twitter profile on the front of your t-shirt or hoodie, or simply telling people to find you on social media after the gig. If you have a YouTube channel, you could use this to attract social media followers by saying you’ll share a private video of a performance with all your followers.
As a musician, you’ll already be using social media to try and get your name out there, and a live performance is a great opportunity to build a following. This can start a snowball effect, as a larger social following means better exposure for your next performance, which will gain you more social followers, and so it continues.
Hang Around After Performing
Many musicians who looked like they could have "made it" never did. Nothing new there, but the percentage of these who didn’t make it because of their own doing is alarmingly high. If we were paid each time a performer turned into a diva after a handful of gigs, we’d be able to retire and live it up in the Seychelles 365 days a year.
You have to hang around and meet and greet those who have attended the show. This is particularly important if you’re not the "headlining act" as the venue will get busier throughout the evening and you’ll get the opportunity to meet many people; those who weren’t there for your performance might even be inspired to come to your next show after meeting you.
Never underestimate the power of community within music, either, even at the very foundation of the industry. Bands and other performers will remember that you hung out after your own performance to support them, which could lead to you picking up additional fans later as they thank you and acknowledge the fact you stayed, both at the gig and online later.
Think of Ways to Make Them Come Back
In an ideal world, it is your performance that will inspire people to come back and see you again. However, what you cannot guarantee is that your fans will go away and tell 10 people how great you were. If you want to make a name for yourself, you should think of offering an unique proposition to your gig attendees from time to time. Something as simple as you’ll buy a drink for anyone that brings along five extra people to your next performance, or you’ll let them in free, for example, will work brilliantly and get your name out there.
Just remember that you will need to rein this in when your gig attendances move into the high double figures and hopefully into the hundreds and thousands.
There are many ways you can grow your following after a live performance, but ultimately they all come down to how you, as the musician and the person people have come to see, engage with your audience and use them to build a following.
Have you used any of these tips to build your fan base? Is there anything else that you would add? Share your tips below.
Image Credit: Demotix