5 Tips to Find and Nurture Your Audience
The reason why most of your favorite artists/brands/celebs are able to harness an opportunity (and make money at it) is because they have created and nurtured an audience. And not just any audience - their audience.
One of the most critical parts of an artists' success, and the catalyst to their failures, is due to their brand identity. The artists who see fleeting levels of success or have plateaued in their career are those who have departed from their brand identity, or not formed one at all; and in turn they deviate from the very people who make their career possible... their audience.
However, the artists who have built a successful brand identity and catered to their fans not only see continuous engagement from their audience, but audience growth. Here are a few ways those artists have found success by finding and nurturing their audience:
You Aren't For Everyone
The first step to identifying your audience is realizing you are not for everyone... and that is okay. In fact, it is awesome. To be something for everyone usually means getting rid of the very thing that made you unique. Booorrrrrrrring! Not only that, but when you try to appeal to everyone and ride the bandwagon, you lose the ability to have a loyal, dedicated fanbase. Trends come and go, and so will you. Unless you make your mark as a unique artist that speaks to a specific audience.
You are not responsible for being liked by everyone. You are not responsible for trolls on the internet. You are not responsible for how people feel about your work. You are responsible for you, and you alone. Do not allow people who are not your audience to have power over you.
Instead, invest your energy into creating your best work, which will attract your best audience.
Define Your Market
After you register that you aren't for everyone, it is important you realize that you do have a primary demographic, based purely on the brand identity that you have created. Be sure to build your brand around chasing those kind of people, and branch out from there over time. Your chance of success as an artist is going to vastly increase by working in a defined market.
For example, a rockabilly musician will not be received the same way in an EDM club as they would at a honky-tonk bar. An EDM venue is going to market and cater to EDM fans, because that is the type of audience they want and will attract. Many artists try to capture as many people from as many backgrounds as possible, but not everyone is into what you have to offer.
The good news is that the type of people you want to attract will show up at the same places that attract you. You will be able to create and market more efficiently when you are aiming at the people you know can appreciate what you have to offer.
So, define your target market. Identify the places that also caters to that market. What does that kind of place like look? Are their hubs where that audience exists? Make a list.
Stay In Touch
Nurturing an audience is kind of like adopting a new puppy. If you keep the puppy engaged, interested and well fed, they are going to keep coming back to you for more love. However, if you ignore the puppy and leave them to their own devices... well, we all know what happens.
The same goes for your audience. To stay at the forefront of your audience's mind and keep them coming back for more, you must feed them consistent [quality] attention. Here are a few ways you can nurture your audience:
- Engage in person. Whether you have art on display in a gallery, a live show or a brick-and-mortar shop, you have an audience already showing up to see your work. That means you also need to show up. It goes beyond making a sale, and investing in genuine conversations with your audience in real life. Spending even 5 minutes face-to-face will build a fan loyalty you simply can't get anywhere else.
- Engage online. Reply to comments, answer questions, thank people for following you, etc. etc.. This is a give-and-take relationship. Engaging online shows your audience you care, and that you are attentive to your fans.
- Post consistent content. Due to the algorithm of social media platforms, if you post inconsistently - no matter how large your audience - you will disappear into a sea of nothingness. In order to stay relevant, you must be timely. Try using a content scheduler like Hootsuite to help you schedule out posts.
- Build an email list. Choose a platform where you can build a list (like MailChimp), and get crackin'. Email marketing is the most powerful tool to drive sales and increase growth, because you have direct access to their inbox. Click here to learn more about email marketing.
- Get good at storytelling. There is a lot of power in a good story. It is a vehicle by which you can drive an audience into your world. People are intrigued by what you have to say - don't forget that.
Remember, this is a symbiotic relationship. What you put in is what you will get out. You will be easily forgotten if you do not put yourself out there.
Add Value With Every Exchange
It is really easy to put blinders on and become short-sighted. You think that people are not really paying attention, so you can do and say whatever. News flash! They are always paying attention. For this very reason, you must add value with every exchange. Every post, every caption, every comment, every dialogue, every interaction must add value. These all define your brand. People are paying attention to what you are saying and how you are saying it. They want to know if you are worth putting their two cents behind.
When you add value - meaning you are not just trying to promote yourself and make a sale, or you are not sharing content just for the sake of sharing content - they will buy into whatever it is that you are offering, because you are adding value and being authentic.
Become Your Own Die-Hard Fan
Try seeing yourself through the eyes of your fans. They do not see your insecurities, your negative thoughts and that passive aggressive attitude you have when you look at yourself in the mirror. Your fans see something special and relatable. Something about you shines, and they are attracted to that. We invest so much time in self-destructive tendencies and believing that we are not good enough. Wouldn't it be rad if we viewed ourselves the same way our fans do?
The universe gave you a gift, and it is up to you to share that gift with the world. If you do not believe in yourself, you cannot expect your audience to believe in you. People can sense when you are being genuine or have a chip on your shoulder. When you overcome the tendency to self-sabotage, you will begin to see a big energy shift. Become your biggest fan, and practice self-love.
(That being said, don't forget to put away the pedestal).