Wherever you turn, as an artist, you are always bombarded with messages such as ”you have to engage with your fanbase”, ”you have to stay creating content for your fans”, ”you have to keep your fans’ taste in mind when you create new music”, esentially being told left and right: it is all about the FANS. And that is absolutely true. However, many independent artist waste precious TIME on people that like their music but will never help them reach more ears. So we’ve put together a list of 7 questions that will help you decide who’s a hardcore fan, because THAT is who you should be putting your time into. Not a random follower who only likes you when many others tell him it’s okay to.
7. Do they follow you on more than 1 social media platform?
If someone went through the trouble of following you and your music on more than just Instagram or Facebook, you focus on THEM! People have become so lazy with millions of companies across the globe fighting for their attention daily, that they don’t even bother checking in with a business on multiple platforms. Yes, you are a business as well. So when you do find that precious, rare fan that wants to stay in touch with you everywhere possible, hold on to them!
6. Do they voice publicly their support for you?
You might be thinking someone is supporting your music and message, because they DM you about how awesome your songs are but… if they only let you know their feelings in private, they will NEVER help push your music to more people. Pay attention ESPECIALLY if they post about ANOTHER artist openly on their profiles and in their stories! That means they ARE ready to march for someone, but that someone is NOT you.
5. Do they support your other endeavours as well?
Living in 2020, art can not be separated from the artist. That means YOU, your personality, your ideas, your goals, your ambition IS THE SAME as your product, your music. If you got ”fans” that only ask about another song, keep it moving. You want people who are genuinely curious about YOU and your life, your progress. Those who only wait for another song, they only care about adding another 2 minutes to their Spotify playlist. And most likely, they will never take the time to google you later on and read about your lifestory and upbringing. That also means they will never buy anything else you might put out (calendars, merch, mixtapes, live albums etc.)
4. Are they eager to help you promote your music?
A real fan is the one who understands that you are not famous, not rich, you do not have a staff to help you, so you need everyone else to ”chip in”. And because they realistically understand the position you’re in, they want to help you reach those levels where you actually don’t need their help anymore. If you have posers on your timeline that say stuff like ”oh so you ain’t put no new music videos in the last year? you fell off!”, cut THEM off. Completely and permanently. Fans don’t judge. They HELP because they are closest to you and your journey. Ditch every dumb ass-kisser that is there for you only when all is roses in your career.
3. Do they tell you how they’ve introduced your music to their friends and family?
Real fans are like 24/7 supportive family members. And what do real friends do when they find something exciting? They SHARE! with ALL their other friends! These people will take joy in tuning others to your music and will be very proud when they’ve successfully done so, coming back to you with plenty of stories how their friends and family reacted to your songs. If you are lucky enough to get such supporters by your side, you memorize their names, birthdays, and shout them out as often as possible.
2. Do they have a favorite song of yours?
With the passing of time, it is only natural for you to have more money, more appeal, better music, and generally to attract new listeners at higher and faster rates. However, if you have to choose between replying to an older fan or a newer one, you choose the one that’s been supporting you for A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME. The way you find that out is you ask them what’s their favorite song of yours. If they mention that one song that made you famous, keep it moving. They only liked the final work after YEARS of struggle. Those fans who, on the other hand, were able to accept your lack of a good mix and mastering, the crappy home-made videos, and were stanning you before everyone else caught on, they are worth GOLD!
1. Do they spend their dollars on you?
You need to eat from your music at the end of the day. So you have to focus, as a business, on your TOP PAYING CLIENTS. That translates to following back those fans who bought your merch, your vinyls, your book, who came to your shows without asking for free tickets, who donated on Patreon or to your GoFund, and any other instance where they’ve put their time AND dime behind YOU. Not to be confused with rich kids who only want to jump the bandwagon when you start getting clout, so they show off their new acquisitions online for 24 hours in order to get reposted by you, then on to the next artist. Check their loyalty (by going through the aforementioned questions) before giving them your personal time.
Life is too short to be focusing on the wrong people. Give back and love back those, who gave and loved you first.