Aside from the fulfillment you get from playing, this is the whole darn point!
Biggest tip: If you’re looking to play professionally and make a living doing music, you have to get over any fear regarding self-promotion, inviting people to your shows, introducing yourself to strangers, asking people if they want to sign up for your e-mail list, and talking to people at your merch table.
The other important thing to recognize is that we’re in a new era and not only at your shows should you be talking to people, but nowadays it is so important to be active on social media and connect to people and your fans.
Your fans will find a reason they connect with you and your music - this is what brings them out to your shows and keeps them listening on their own time. This will happen naturally but you have to keep that connection in tact! It’s your job to keep the give-and-take going… at shows, on stage, off-stage, and online through social media and e-mail.
Engagement is a huge reason why so many creative, influencing people have a lot of followers. They are not selling to their fans all the time - they’re maintaining their viewer’s interest and entertaining them consistently.
As the numbers grow, it can become more difficult to keep in touch with each one individually, but you don’t have to do this all the time - set up meet and greets after your shows if there are people who want a signature or photograph - get in touch with local record stores and see if they’d let you do an in-store signing day of your record release. Talk to people at your shows, go to the merch booth, engage with the audience between songs, and give them time to clap after songs, it’s their way of responding to you.
⁃Unfortunately there’s not always enough time to respond to every single person who reaches out online (it can be overwhelming if you have a large following, or if it’s growing rapidly) ...You are not obliged to respond to anything (especially with the online reach these days, people can sometimes demand attention or write tons of messages) but there are ways to do posts where you can acknowledge your fans as a whole.
⁃Keep your fans engaged/interested by being spontaneous, on-stage and off.
- Come up with social media ideas that involve them or are really fun and entertaining.
⁃Your fans are a good portion of the reason why you’re able to play shows and sell your product - don’t take them for granted.
⁃Be active anywhere you can on social media to stay in your fans feeds and to stay on their minds.
⁃Give your fans the opportunity to help you - some would be so excited to be part of a street team, promoting shows or hanging up fliers in their hometown, and reward them where you can.
⁃Come up with a clever name for your followers - here are some examples: Katy Perry: KatyCats, Lady Gaga: Little Monsters, Justin Bieber: Beliebers, etc. etc.