As an independent hip-hop artist, the most powerful tool and solution to boosting your popularity is quite simple – online interaction with your fanbase.
Now, you can just use the web and do it from your home. Marketing has never been more expansive or effective. Therefore, you have to understand that online fan engagement is utterly vital.
Of course, online engagement is more than a fancy smile or a cheap gimmick – it’s about managing the following aspects of your online profile.
The first element we want to try and tackle is your website. If you’re an independent artist and you don’t have your own website, ask yourself why?
This is your online portfolio and the place that people are going to come to if they want to get more information about your music. Your website needs to be very specific and has to give people plenty of information and advice about your music style.
Sure, this means taking the time to create blog content and offering regular updates. If you don’t have the time or the skills to make convincing content that gets read on your website, then hire a writer. Fiverr is one of the most powerful sources of quality writers for cheap on the web, meaning you can run a quality blog on a budget.
Blogging is incredibly powerful for long-term fan engagement. Even as a hip-hop artist where most of your fanbase wants to share your music, it’s helpful to have a blog that people can be a part of and enjoy using.
Blogging allows you to forge a natural and authentic connection with your fans. I shows them that you have a personality, and this is the major difference between random artists on the radio and the big dogs.
Blogs allow you to add context to what you spit about in your music. This is absolutely vital and makes it much easier for your message to be heard, understand appreciated accordingly
If people like your music then that’s great – but if they like you as a person, that’s even better. Music only has a certain level of loyalty and the first PR problem or faux pas that happens, you are finished. Using a blog to make people see who you really are behind the tunes, though, stops this.
Another major source of improvement for any independent hip hop artist with aims of growing up and changing, though, is using email newsletters.
An email newsletter is easy to add to your website and to get people to sign up, meaning you can build a list of several hundred to thousands of people who wants to hear from you.
The main reason for turning to running a newsletter, though, is that it can help you to inform fans of your next shows, upcoming releases, tours and merchandise that has just hit the market.
Try and balance it out to 1-2 messages per month, though. A weekly update from an artist is not as expected as it would be from a pressure group, for example.
However, one or two messages means you stay in their minds more regularly and it makes you come across as far more active than many of your competitors.
A simple message once or twice a month telling them about the latest changes and ideas that you hold is a great idea. It will also guarantee that you start to amass new fans, and solidify your relationship with old fans. It shows you don’t forget about your current fans, and you want to keep in touch with them all the time.
You can turn to programs like FanBridge and ReverbNation if you want to have an easy way to start building up a newsletter. If you are more technically minded then you can do it all through things like aWeber or MailChimp, but the two above selections are more music-specific and will make it easier to manage for newbies.
Offer out rewards once per month, too. Discounts for just newsletter readers, competitions to win gig tickets and merchandise, and lots of little individual pieces of content that makes it feel exclusive.
One of the most powerful tools that you have, though, is social media. Social media engagement is very powerful as it takes you out of the more rigid medium of the above two suggestions.
With social media you can be 100% you. Depending on the demographics that you target then it will determine what kind of social media engagement you’ll be using, but for most independent hip-hop artists using social media just gives you more power and more credibility.
Use social media to promote the website, blog and newsletter. Also use it to offer out fresh interviews with other artists, exclusive social media events, and fan engagement.
Hold Q&A sessions, reply to as many fans as possible, and offer genuine opinions. When your account just posts merchandise and videos, it feels stage managed and false.
Talk about stuff that is going on locally and in general. Make people see that you have your own opinions and takes on the world.
Make the most of social media by making sure you update it regularly and you update it with real tweets as much as you do pre-approved, automatically generated messages that look to promote merchandise, gigs and other product releases.
You know who you are talking to and what the overall outlay of your target area should be. Are they Twitter users or do they use websites for information more? Your circumstances and how you use all three of the suggestions above for fan engagement will be carried by your location.
Those based in vibrant cities can detonate their popularity when they start using social media. Those in more simplistic areas with older populaces can find it harder to make that impact. However, you should definitely plan to engage with fans whether it’s with newsletter, blog posts or social media.
Whatever you find is most suitable for your own fans and your long-term target fanbase, you’ll have to use all three at one point. They all provide valuable times to give fans new information, to build trust with others by coming across as more genuine and alive, and building trust.
For any independent hip hop artist, this can make an absolutely major difference to your chances of long-term success and prosperity.