Grassroots Promotion - How Your Biggest Fans Can Help Promote Your Tour
Word of mouth is as important today as it has ever been, plus now it’s got the engine of online social media behind it. People are more connected than ever and music fans, as you know, love to spread the word about their favorite music and bands. Fans also enjoy being a part of the discovery process and the more you enable them, the more effective their promotions can be. After you win them over with your awesome music, it is key to engage your fans regularly and show them that you really appreciate their support.
We put together some ideas on how your biggest fans can help promote your tour and your music. It all hinges on your engagement on stage, online, and in the streets. If you connect with your fans and provide the material, they will spread the word.
Online Grassroots Promotion
a. Social Media – Claim it and use it. Get all your social media profiles optimized, invite all your friends, and be as active as possible. Your updates and posts will spread to friends of friends quickly through newsfeeds and sharing. If you’ve got a little budget for marketing, consider using twitter and facebook ads to promote posts and reach a larger audience. The right video, interview, or review can spread like wildfire within the platforms if presented properly.
b. Music Sharing Sites – Music sharing sites like Spotify, SoundCloud, and MixCloud are made for grassroots promotion. Playlists and music are shared both within the platform and on connected social media newsfeeds. This is a great way for your fans to share your music and get the word out about an upcoming tour.
c. Forum Sites & Blogs – There are some valuable, high quality music forum sites where your fans could mention your band or your upcoming tour. If you get in on the action and post threads, comments, and genuinely engage with the users, your efforts could really pay off in terms of growing your fan base. Some popular forums include jambands.com, jambase.com, indierockcafe.com, raeyourmusic.com, and bandmix.com. You can also check out the Indie on the Move Press Directory HERE for some more options.
d. Podcasts on iTunes – You may have fans who publish their own podcasts about musicians, the music scene, or their favorite live bands. Reach out to get an interview, share their podcasts, and comment on the iTunes store. If it’s a popular podcast, this could be a great way to get your fans to help publicize your tour.
e. YouTube – Allow your fans to post videos from shows, even if it’s not the greatest quality or it’s not your favorite show ever. Fans will still appreciate it. If they were at that show, they can relive the moments. If they missed it, they can live vicariously through the video.
Offline Fan Promotions
a. Pound the Pavement – Go out to see other bands and DJs. The more that you support others, the more likely they are to support you. Feel free to talk up your tour or latest project while there. Maybe even hand out some flyers and/or free downloads to interested parties. You could also buy tickets for a friend or fan to go to a show and do the same. Old fashioned word of mouth is still a valuable form of promotion.
b. Merchandise - This goes without being said, but make t-shirts and other merchandise to sell online and at your shows (in addition to selling your music). Merch is a great way to get your fans to promote your band without a lot of effort on their part. Maybe even give away t-shirts to some of your biggest supporters in exchange for them spreading the good word. Every t-shirt serves as a moving billboard promoting your name and brand.
c. Local Record Shops – These shops still exist and can be the heart of a city’s music scene. Discuss possible consignment and/or in-store performances. Die hard music fans inhabit record stores and this is a great place to connect with them.
d. Radio Stations – Reach out to the local radio station that plays your style of music. If any of the DJs are a fan of your band, connect with them directly about ideas for promotion. If you don't have an "in" at the radio station yet, attend the local events that they put on and network while there. As mentioned above, people tend to support those that return the support. If you have a budget, you can also consider running an ad the week or two before your next show in that market. This will not only spread the word, but will make the DJs familiar with your name if they don't already know it. Use the radio media list on indieonthemove.com to find contact information in desired markets.
e. Local Newspaper – Invite the local music columnist to your next show with free tickets so they can write a review or an opinion piece about your performance. This can reach a lot of locals and get them to download your music or show up at your next gig. Before your tour, reach out to newspapers and periodicals along the tour route. A publicist can be helpful here, but if you can present your act as newsworthy, this can be effectively accomplished in a DIY fashion. Indieonthemove.com has an extensive press list you can use to get started.
There are lots of ways to involve your biggest fans in a grassroots campaign to help promote your music or your next tour. The most important factor (besides stellar music) is your engagement with these fans. Connect with them, show your appreciation, and they’ll make an effort to spread the word. Providing them with some direction (a playlist they can download and share, flyers they can distribute, videos, or merchandise) will go a long way towards promoting your act.
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