Today, it’s much easier for individual musicians and bands to develop a fanbase. No longer do
they need to depend on record companies to do this. The tools and strategies are available for all. However, there is a fair amount of work to do in order to accomplish having a devoted fan base that actively seeks out a particular musician. Having a brand strategy is of vital importance if a musician is going to attempt this. It also requires patience as it will not happen overnight. Here are a few ways for a musician to develop a brand strategy.
1. Decide on a sound/style
Having a unique sound, style or focus sets musicians apart from one another and serves as
a calling card, as it were, for their audience. Think long and hard before committing to a sound
or style though. It’s important to be consistent in developing a brand strategy as a musician.
Constantly changing a unique sound style or focus will confuse and maybe even frustrate fans.
2. Blog: Be an authority
These days it isn’t enough to just be a musician selling albums on the internet. Fans and
customers want more. They want to connect in more ways than just financially. As a musician
developing a brand strategy, one must offer their fans something of value. A blog is the perfect
way to do this. Topics can include everything from a journal while on tour, advice on guitar
strings, the songwriting process, the stories behind the songs, insights into the sound/style, album release dates, tour dates and locations and so on. The important thing to remember is to make a connection with fans. Musicians need to be willing to go the extra mile. It’s also very important to blog regularly. Let fans come to expect something on a regular basis.
3. Decide on an image/logo for social networks
Just as big corporations use logos or an image to help customers identify them and their
products, so a musician developing a brand strategy needs a consistent appearing image/logo to help fans find them on the Internet and social media. It’s assumed today that most people are
connected with some form of social media. Musicians developing a brand strategy should
definitely take advantage of this. This is another way to connect with fans and offer things of
value to them. Make sure when choosing an image/logo that it is something that will be used
consistently among all the social media platforms used. This makes it easier for fans to locate a
musician. Remember to be consistent. Don’t change your image/logo. It will confuse fans.
4. Link social media platforms
A musicians’ time is valuable. Time management is an important aspect for a musician
developing a brand strategy. Linking social media platforms allows one to post in one platform
and have that post appear in all linked social media platforms. At the very least, a musician
should have a Facebook page, a Twitter page, an Instagram page and a Soundcloud page. The
best way of setting these platforms up is to go into Instagram and link to Facebook and Twitter.
There is no option to link to Soundcloud from Instagram. However, in Soundcloud there are
options for linking to Facebook and Twitter. The important thing to remember is that the more
platforms that are linked, the faster a musician developing a brand strategy can get their posts out quickly and to a larger audience. Like blogging, it’s best to have a regular schedule of posts that fans can rely on. Be sure to post more than links to songs. This is another opportunity to make a real connection with fans and offer them something of value and talk directly to them.
5. Use Hashtags
It goes without saying that hashtags are a very important tool. They should always be
included in every post. A good idea is to have an established set of hashtags that are included in
every post. These should sum up the musician. Develop a list of about thirty hashtags to include.
When mentioning something unique, it’s a good idea to include a hashtag for that particular
thing. For example, if visiting Abbey Road studio, include a hashtag for that.
Video has fast become part of the social network fabric, Facebook even has it’s own video
option. This is a tremendous way to reach fans and further establish a brand. Methods ranging
from live video to vlogs (video blogs), to messages to fans are all great ways to further establish a
7. Plan Ahead
It should be becoming clear that keeping up with regular posting in blogs and social media
platforms is, or can, be time consuming. In order to stay on top of things, its a good idea to plan
ahead. Pick a day of the week or month to sit down and plan posts for the week or month to
come. Know ahead of time what topics, events and or photos will be posted and when. It’s
important for musicians, when planning a brand strategy, to plan ahead for social network and
8. Website SEO
Musicians should definitely have a website. One critical thing to stay on top of is SEO. This
allows people on the internet or fans to find a particular musician’s website. A musician should
take time to think of all the terms they want their fans and others to think of/use in an internet
search to find their website. The SEO function should be relatively easy to find on most do it yourself website, like WordPress or Wix.
There are many tools available to todays’ musicians for establishing and maintaining
their own brand. However, as has been noted, there is a fair amount of work to do in order to
accomplish having a devoted fanbase that actively seeks out a particular musician. Having this
brand strategy in place is of great importance for a musician. It requires patience as it will not
happen over night, but the eventual payoff will be with it!