Have a bigger audience: how to get your fans to share your reggae music

Published: May 25, 2011

Vybz KartelHere’s 5 ways that you can make it easy for your fans to share your reggae band or music with their friends. Word of mouth and viral marketing are the easiest ways to spread news about your reggae band and increase the number of attendees at your shows.

All of this information assumes that you have a band website (if you have questions about how to set one up, post a comment and let me know) where your fans can find information about you. If you do have a band website, make sure to let your fans know, at shows, on posters, in your album liner notes, and everywhere else that you communicate with them.

Tell stories about yourself

It’s amazing how many new artists think their fans only want to hear the music. They often forget that many people attend dub, reggae, and dancehall shows to be entertained, expand their consciousness, and live a larger life. All of those things are about more than the music: they are about the message behind the music and about the band’s story, the whole experience that your band embodies. This might be as simple as forgetting their daily cares and having fun or as deep as rediscovering their roots and defining their role in this world.

Your fans want to connect with you through your story.

So tell your story on your website or blog, in your emails, Twitter stream, or Facebook account. Have a cool new concert poster? Share it. Took a goofy backstage video with your phone? Share it. Same with pictures, critical reviews, and anything else that tells your story.

This could be as simple as a Tumblr blog or as complex as a professionally-designed website. The important thing is that you share all of the things that go into your art. Your fans, especially your most dedicated fans, want to hear your whole story, hear about life on the road, learn how you write your songs.

Help your fans feel connected and they’ll be more likely to bring a friend to your show or hype your latest album.

Start small and grow over time. Make sure you do it yourself, to keep it real (some people try to outsource the storytelling, but an inauthentic story is often worse than silence).

Encourage your fans to share the news

Want someone to share your info? Ask them to do it! Again, this is something that sounds obvious, but I’m always amazed that people don’t take this simple step and ask their fans to take action and spread the word. The more specific your request is, the more likely your fans will respond.

You can improve things even more by making your content sharable. To do this, add social sharing widgets to your site. If you’re using a common blog like WordPress, this is usually as simple as adding an existing widget to your page templates. AddThis is a service that provides free widgets you can add to your website to help people share your stories with 1 click.

If you have help from a friendly tech person, you should also add Twitter’s retweet button and a Facebook Like button to all of your stories. These are trivial projects for a technical person and they go a long way towards spreading the word about what you’re up to. Facebook Like buttons are particularly useful because they post your info on the fan’s activity feed for all of her friends to see.

Encourage your fans to sign up for more

If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, make sure your fans know about it. Put links in all of your stories and tell people to follow you and friend you on every social network. This has 2 benefits for you:

  1. First, it spreads the word because other people will see their friends following your dub, reggae, or dancehall music.
  2. Second, it gives you another place to speak with your fans if they forget to come back to your own website.

If you’re feeling really ambitious, set up an email list and encourage your fans to sign up for email messages. You can do this with your band’s email account initially just ask people to email you directly, and add them to your list but you’ll need professional email management software as you grow (which many people would say is a good problem to have!)

Host your photos and videos on social sites

Going to post photos? Put them on Flickr or another social photo site, then embed them on your site. Now they live in 2 places so twice as many people can find them. The same is true for video use YouTube (or Vimeo, if it’s a professional video) and people will find you there as well.

When you add your reggae photos and videos to other sites, be careful with the metadata – the title, description, and tags. Make sure they’re all very clear and mention the fact that you’re a dub, reggae, or dancehall band. That way, when people search those sites for dub, reggae, and dancehall music they’ll find you.

Share your fans’ stories

Remember, you’re not the only one telling stories: your fans are telling their own stories about your dub, reggae, or dancehall music. Make sure to shine a spotlight on their stories as well:

  1. Link to their blogs and websites.
  2. Retweet their tweets.
  3. Repost their pictures.
  4. If they’re cool with it, share their comments and feedback.

And tell stories about them too. They take pictures of you, so why not do the same for them? Take some pics of the audience from the stage so they can get inside their head. People love to see themselves, so give it to them. Post a video thanking your biggest fans. Take a moment before or after the show to get out into the crowd and make sure that experience gets back into the stories that you share.

When fans see that they’re a part of the story then they’ll become even more dedicated to supporting you. Now it’s not just you and me, it’s “us.”

Have questions about any of these tips? Post a comment. I’d also love to hear other ways that you’re getting your fans to share your story.

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