If you’ve been struggling to get new fans, I’m sure you understand the pain behind this phase. It’ll always seem like no one is listening whenever you promote your music on social media. Although this may be due to a number of reasons, have you thought about who exactly is your target audience and how to grow your fanbase as an independent musician with this information?

 

To grow your fanbase as an independent musician, one of the most fundamental steps you need to take is to identify your target audience. If you want to earn from creating good music, you need to understand who you’re marketing or promoting your music to. 

 

Now how do you do this? In this piece, I’ll share with you details on how to find your niche to determine your target audience and grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

Why You Should Reach A Target Audience

A widely common mistake made by independent and growing musicians when starting their business is having the mindset of reaching everyone. To get the utmost results from your marketing campaigns, you need to be very strategic and mindful of who you’re marketing to. This is why you need to find your niche and reach the audience in that niche.

 

This will not only help you get the best out of your marketing campaigns but also help you grow your fanbase as an independent musician. It’ll also help you save time, effort, and money. After all, the most effective type of marketing and promotion is one where you’re specific about who your target audience really is.

Why You Should Focus On A Niche

I’m sure you know what a niche is, but if you don’t, here’s a definition according to Merriam Webster:

 

A SPECIALIZED MARKET”.

 

Finding your own “specialized market” is the key to growing your fanbase as an independent musician and also building a strategy around reaching your true fans effectively.

 

Here are some reasons why you should focus on a niche:

 

  • To help you better understand the cultural signals of a niche so you can use it to your advantage and entice the audience. This will allow you to tailor your music and its promotion in ways that connect with the audience.
  • It’s easier to locate the communities in niches online or locally because they always come together and organize themselves.
  • It’s cost and time effective as the more you connect with the target audience within this niche, the more you are easily discovered by mainstream audiences.
  • It’ll be easier to develop a stronger relationship with the audience.
  • Most brands are created through niches. In the process of doing something good and different within a specific audience, you may get recognized and gain more exposure naturally.

Step 1: Self Assessment- Distinguishing Yourself Via Brand Positioning

The foundation of this process is “self-awareness” and assessing what makes you unique in your own way. 

 

How can you present yourself as a musician and interact with others in a way that creates a viral, public impression that may lead a section of your target audience to take an interest in your music? What signals attract your ideal audience and help you connect with them? This is how branding is done.

 

As an independent musician, you have a reputation whether you decide to cultivate it or not, so you might as well take advantage of that and create a brand positioning plan that can help you take control of your reputation and brand image. This way you can have control over your growth and also grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

 

When you’re trying to reach niches that you feel connected to in some way, I believe that assessing yourself and knowing yourself is what you should start with because as an independent artist, you want to connect with others like you and vice versa. So take your time to assess yourself and determine what you connect to, then build a brand around it.

 

In the long run, your brand will be positioned in the niche and subsequently, you’ll grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

Step 2: Niche Identification

Now you’ll need to brainstorm. You’ll need to list all the different possibilities and angles for a niche based on the following 3 categories:

 

  • Music Related: Elements directly tied to the music, like genres or similar artists.
  • Music Influences: Aspects of who you are that directly influence your music.
  • Interests and hobbies: Other aspects of you that don’t directly influence your music.

 

Identifying your niche with respect to these 3 categories will help you determine your passion and the target audience that connects with your passion and in turn, grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

Music Related

Here you can think of all the genres, sub-genres, and similar artists you resonate with. Although it’s been very hard to distinguish genres lately because the line that separates genres has become much more blended and mixed, you can still determine what genre a popular artist you sound like is soupy can classify your genre. 

 

This will help you easily determine your niche by using a list of genres as your criteria or referring to similar artists who create the kind of music you create. Every artist will have their own unique audience, but you can still go on to dissect every artist’s brand and their fanbase to uncover ideas for your own niche. 

 

This is also a great starting point for you to create an audience to promote your music to via networks like Facebook and Instagram, while also achieving the goal to grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

Music Influences

Examining aspects of your origin that influence your music directly can be an awesome way to help identify a more specific niche.

 

The most obvious starting points are:

  • Ethnic identity / background
  • Religion / Spirituality
  • Life Experiences
  • Lifestyle 
  • Goal-Oriented 
  • Geographic / Environment

 

When you begin to combine these aspects, then you’ll be on the path to finding your niche and helping you grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

Interests And Hobbies

These aspects may not influence your music directly but may influence your brand positioning. It could be your interests, passions, or hobbies. Here are some:

 

  • Fashion
  • Food 
  • Sports
  • Dancing
  • Comedy
  • Nature
  • Traveling
  • Pets and animals
  • Health and fitness
  • Photography
  • Other forms of artistry expressions

 

Although all of these may seem like a hassle because why can’t you just be about the music? Well, with how the world is moving today, you need to give more than the music to grow your fanbase as an independent musician. You have a better chance of growing and maintaining your fanbase if you explore and expand the criteria for your brand positioning. 

 

This part may require some time and experimenting hence you need to be patient. Don’t just follow the crowd, see what makes sense for your situation, and follow it to the latter

Step 3: Research

In this particular step, there are two general things you want to research and determine. You want to determine who your target audience is and where they can be found. Although you may not get all the data you need, any data you find is a step to help you understand your target audience and grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

Who is your target audience?

To get into the fundamentals of understanding your niche or target audience, you can begin with a tool like Facebook’s Audience Insights. This is a free tool provided by Facebook and can be accessed with a Facebook Ads Manager Account. 

 

If you don’t have a Facebook Ads Manager Account, you will need to set up a Facebook Business Manager account. Once set up, log in to the Facebook Ads Manager Account and navigate to Audience Insights in the menu tab. 

 

You can use this tool to determine basic demographic data on who listens to certain genres and follow specific artists. 

 

Search for genres and sub-genres that are closely related to the music you make. Also, look up artists that are similar to you musically and statistically. Remember, not all artists will show in “Audience Insights” but it’s worth a try. 

 

Look up things you listed as your musical influences and also look up your interests, passions, and hobbies.

 

Pay attention to the following whenever you make your research:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Page likes
  • Geographic Location 

 

The common purpose of this tool is to help with running Facebook and Instagram Ads, but you can also use it to get some basic demographic data. This plays an important role in helping you grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

Where is your target audience?

Now that you know who your target audience is, where is your target audience? Where do people of your niche spend their time online and in real life? 

 

This may seem like a hard task, so try researching the individual aspects of your niche first, use Google search functions on social media platforms. 

 

Here are specific things related to your niche you should look out for: 

  • Social media platforms
  • Hashtags
  • Facebook groups
  • Reddit / Subreddits
  • Music blogs
  • Online forums
  • Discord communities
  • Conventions
  • Festivals
  • Music venues
  • Local communities or gatherings

 

The goal is to learn everything about your niche’s culture to help you grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

Step 4: Take Action

With all the information gathered, it’s time to take action and grow your fanbase as an independent musician. This is the part where you may be required to be patient while also investing your money and efforts. Although this article is focused on building your fanbase, there’s a lot more you can do with this information. 

 

Since you’ve identified your niche and you’ve researched where you can find your target audience, here are 5 action pieces for the last step:

1.0 Target Audience For Promotion

The information gotten will help you find ways to reach new potential fans online with tools like Facebook and Instagram Ads and in turn grow your fanbase as an independent musician. To run a successful ad campaign for the purpose of reaching new potential fans, you need to have determined your target audience or you’ll be wasting your money. 

 

If you need more information, here’s an article I wrote on Music Niche Marketing

 

It doesn’t end here though. Building a fanbase isn’t only about promoting your music, there’s a lot more to help you grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

2.0 Join Communities and Tribes

There may be communities built around your specific niche. Hence you need to use the information that you’ve researched to find where you best fit within your niche. 

 

It’s extremely important that you immerse yourself in your niches in a way that you become a part of the community or tribe. This way, you’ll develop a relationship and integrate yourself with people like yourself that represent or have access to your target audience. Interacting with your community makes it easier for new members of the community to follow and listen to your music thereby helping you grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

3.0 Networking, Partnerships, and Collaborations

Meet people in your niche and network with them. Find other musicians in your niche that’s like you that you can collaborate and support. This way you can get features from these artists and potentially reach their target audience and convert them to your own listeners and grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

 

Keep in mind that people will always love musicians that create good music that appeals to them. So if you and the other musicians share the same niche and target audience, then it’d be great if you collaborate and bring to each person’s audience, new sounds from a new artist. This will easily help you grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

4.0 Branding

You’re definitely more than just your music but in this case, your music will be a catalyst to achieve this. With branding, you should hone and emphasize certain aspects of your authentic self meaning you should figure out what makes you unique from other musicians and use it to your advantage to grow your fanbase as an independent musician. 

 

You can also use your research to understand how you should approach your branding so it will be appealing to your new audience and help you grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

5.0 Content

As they say, content keeps you on top of your audience’s mind. Content is one of the keys to successfully building your fanbase as people love good, consistent content. So you need to create good educating or entertaining content for your target audience to keep you on top of their minds. 

 

You need to constantly think about how you can appeal to your target audience with the things you post on social media. This doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to things related to your music. 

 

These contents will help you stay on your audience’s mind and if you get creative with it, it could appeal to new audiences and in turn grow your fanbase as an independent musician.

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