How To Engage Your Band Fans With Video
A common challenge for bands is to keep in contact with their fans, to keep them interested in what the band is doing and aware of any important news, such as announcements of tours, or a new album release. In today’s blizzard of attention-demanding messages delivering the right message, at the right time, has never been more important.
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Lack Of Something Good To Send
Often artists will highlight that they lack good, worthwhile ideas to keep communicating with their fans. They lack good content suggestions for ongoing fan engagement to help them both keep in contact and engage with their fans. When they run out of decent ideas, too often communications get boring, unnecessary and pointless, and so far off-topic that the fans are seriously questioning why they signed up as a fan. Either way, the band clams up and either stops sending messages out altogether, or they send out so few messages that they might as well have stopped altogether.
The easiest way to keep sending out good quality, interesting videos that fans will want to see is to integrate tasks like filming into your normal daily flow. Why? Simple. By doing this you keep the content fresh and vibrant. It’s also easier for you to create, and faster too. You compress the whole schedule of coming up with ideas, planning the activity, and then doing it, into just doing. Your fans want to know the information because it is up to the minute, directly related to your music and to you the artist. All you need is some core ideas and activities.
Fan Engagement 101
Good quality fan engagement. Get used to doing it all the time. Whenever you do anything with your band, anything as an artist, film it! If you have friends hanging about, get them to film it too. The more camera angles and perspectives you have, the more shot options you will have to edit together for your finished videos. Options are good!
Write down your ideas. Create mock-ups. Design fan engagement campaigns for specific purposes. Ultimately, learning to engage your fans in a good way will help you to build buzz and create momentum in promotional campaigns.
15 Ideas For Fan Engagement With Video
As said above, it pays to have some killer ideas when it comes to engaging with your fans. So, without further ado, here are 15 excellent ideas to make your fan engagement videos not only stand out but to keep standing out, time, after time, after time:
1) Promote Your Song And Album Releases – The Launch Party
Whenever you release an album, don’t just have a launch party, record it with a few video cameras! Invite the local movers and shakers, your strongest supporters in the local music scene. Your album and your band are showcased on video with good-quality sound. Of course, your fans want to share in the excitement, so make a video for them!
These videos are ideal fan engagement videos and make for excellent promotional material. Try using excerpts on your general channel and fuller videos released to your fan list only.
2) Live Events Promotion – Your Gigs
In addition to posting leaflets and fliers in the area around venues, and any online equivalents, create a video all about any upcoming shows.
Make sure you include the necessary details about the event, for example where the gig is and when the gig is (both day and time). It might sound obvious but such details have been omitted before.
Build the buzz. Make sure to mention anything special about specific gigs. This means fans can get excited in anticipation of a particular show. Buzz can be communicated very effectively using video. Video is a far more effective medium for building buzz than any flier or poster.
These videos are generally ideal fan engagement videos.
3) Breaking News
Whenever you have any news announcements, don’t simply bury a standard text message in your Facebook stream. Bring yourself into the 21st century and release breaking news as video announcements too.
What qualifies as news? It has to be something meaningful. It could be a new band member joining your band or announcing a release date for the new album, a new gig, or a string of gigs. Assuming the news is worthwhile, grab your video camera or smartphone and give your fans something eye-catching to look at. Announce contests, announce the results too, and of course any prize giving!
These videos are ideal standard fan engagement videos but on occasion, they can be targeted as special bonus videos, for example where your super fans are the first to hear.
4) New Merchandise (Merch)
Standard t-shirt photographs, downloaded from your Merch provider site, just suck. They might be ok in the shop on your website, but when it comes to letting people know why not supplement your promo by going a bit further… put one of your t-shirts on and model it for your fans in a video!
Don’t just stand there. Tell a story about your new designs. Make a tongue-in-cheek commercial for your merch, or do something wearing your tee in lots of places. Something and interesting and different wins hands down over “plain and boring” and “seen it before” any day!
These videos are ideal standard fan engagement videos.
5) Interviews – Answering Questions From Your Fans
This is nice and simple. Ask your fans to send you their questions and then answer those questions in an “interview” video. Yet again, It’s a great way to include your fans and helps to make them feel more important. Make sure to give credit to the author of any question by mentioning their name and thanking them for the question. This, in itself, might encourage them to share the interview video with their friends.
These videos are great for regular fan engagement videos or for bonus items for your fan list.
6) Engage Your Fans – Involve Them In Your Goals
Maybe you are trying to raise money to record an album, or to set up a national tour using Kickstarter or another crowdfunding campaign.
You may already be recording an album or EP, but what are your goals for that album or EP? Do you have a gigging goal? So many dates in so many places, in so many days? Perhaps you have a songwriting goal, to write so many songs in so many days?
If so, use quick and simple video updates to include your fans in the progress toward your goals. By including your fans, by keeping them in touch with the details of the project, they will feel involved and more inclined to help you to achieve those goals if they can, or to cheer you on if they can’t. By keeping talking about your goals you keep those goals in the minds of your fans. This helps to build a buzz about what you are doing.
These videos make excellent ongoing fan engagement for your video channel.
7) Show Off The Cool Things Your Fans Do
These videos are all about the amazing things your fans do. For example, a fan could send you some awesome artwork, or you could gather a collection of photos of different fans wearing your band tees at different landmarks, or you could get some fan testimonials from the queue at your gigs, or perhaps a fan gets a tattoo related to the band.
If you can find interesting ways to show these things off to the rest of your fans, to say thanks to those fans, and to let possible new fans know just how great your current fans are, it can pay huge dividends. Your fans will feel valued, and people encountering your fans for the first time this way will also see that you value your fans. Not a bad message to pass on at all!
These videos are ideal for both your fan list and your artist channel.
8) What Goes On Behind The Scenes
Take your fans behind the scenes of the various things that your band does: your band in the studio, backstage at gigs and festivals showing your load-in and sound check, even showing the making of your music videos, or compiling shorts or stop-motion footage of green rooms (backstage band rooms), band hotel accommodation on tour, your transportation, etc.
Fans love to feel included in the band’s activities, to feel a part of it all. So why not let them see the process of recording a song in the studio, or the behind the scenes on a publicity stunt, or show them the daft stuff your band does and says before going on stage, or click on your video camera to let them share some of the experiences your band has on the road, let them be a part of the experience of being a musician, in a band, living the life.
These videos are good for regular fan engagement videos, or for sign-up or bonus items offered to your fan list.
9) You, Being You
Your fans want to feel like they know the real you. While being a musician is an important part of who you are, it isn’t the whole picture. Who inspired you to become a musician? What bands do you listen to? What was the favorite gig you attended as a fan? Have you been to see other bands? What causes are you interested in? Who are your major songwriting influences? Do you have any hobbies?
Videos about the real lives of artists appeal to fans in general, but they really appeal to “super fans”. They want to know and share any details about you they can.
These videos are ideal for sign-up or bonus items for your fan list.
10) Band Member Video Diaries
These fan engagement videos are a cross between the “Behind The Scenes” feel and “You, Being You”. You can create individual vlogs and/or edit the individual video diaries together into a combined vlog. It’s a great way to create a real connection for fans, and ideal for them as a way to get to know band members. Include things like footage taken by individual band members on stage looking out at the audience etc. “Tour Check-ins” are quite popular amongst fans.
Band members should be aware that they should avoid discussing band politics other than good-natured rivalry. The overall purpose of creating a positive image of the band should remain in place and be kept in mind when members record their diary entries.
These are ideal fan list or super fan list-only items
11) A Full Production Music Video For Your Selected Promotion Songs
Ideally, for each song, you intend to promote you should have a full music video prepared. If you intend to promote all your songs then a video for every song would be a good idea.
A properly made music video takes effort and budget, but there is little point in creating promotion videos without putting the effort and budget into promoting them. Traditionally bands made videos for their singles. The video was a promotional tool for the song. While there are ways to leverage videos as an income stream their primary usage remains as a promotion tool for the song, and the individual song as a promotion tool for the album.
While albums have generally less relevance, artists do still tend to release collections of songs and super fans will buy them. The first step along this route is the proper promotion of the individual songs, and the best way to do that is with video.
Don’t be tempted to do poor-quality videos. If you are going to be promoting it, the video has to be worthwhile, and poor-quality videos are almost entirely hardly worthwhile.
These are general release fan engagement videos.
12) Acoustic Performances / Alternative Arrangement Performances On Video For Every Song
Acoustic versions of your songs are nice and easy to put together. You can pull together a version with just one or two band members, perhaps performing them in your rehearsal studio or even your local park.
Acoustic performances or alternative arrangements demonstrate musicianship and versatility to your fans. Alternative arrangements should be significantly different from normal. This can be achieved fairly easily by using different instruments in your arrangement, but you can also try including solo sections for instruments that don’t normally get a solo and by using different harmony and chord voicing.
These videos make ideal sign-up or bonus items for your fan list. Live performance videos of any kind also make excellent fodder for clips you can use for many promotion purposes.
13) Live Gig Videos For Each Song
In addition to arranging for an official videographer to film your gigs, ask your band entourage and friends to film your gigs to give you lots of options for format and perspective. Multiple camera feeds can really make live performance videos seem far more professional. Try and have at least one of the cameras mounted on a tripod. Edit the footage together to create a very low-cost, dynamic, finished video for each and every song. Use sound recorded from the live front-of-house mixing console, if you can, as that should have a better sound.
You can even composite together the same song recorded at a number of different gigs (with either the sound recorded at one of the gigs or from each of the separate gigs).
Pretty soon you will have one or more live videos for each of your songs.
Yet again these videos make excellent signup or bonus items for your fan list, or for regular artist channel content. As mentioned above, live videos also make excellent fodder for clips you can use for many promotion purposes.
14) The Story Behind Your Songs
Make videos documenting your song creation process for all your songs. Fans love to hear how you came up with a song. So do other songwriters and musicians. In general, people are fascinated with the inspiration and creativity that give rise to artistic works.
Using your camera to capture exactly what your inspiration and thought processes are may highlight the differences between what you had in mind when you wrote the song, versus what other people interpret your song to mean. Although this is a point of interest for fans, your fans will still be interested to know exactly what the back story is.
In addition to talking about the inspiration for a song, you can also discuss the approach you took to writing the song, the arrangement of the song, how the song was first introduced to the band, and the experience you all had recording the song in the studio.
These videos can be useful for either regular fan engagement content or as bonus items for your fan list. They can easily be targeted at songwriters and at super fans depending on the story and the emphasis.
15) Performance Tutorials For Your More Popular Songs
Some of your fans will want to learn how to play your songs. So, give them what they want, and pull together your own videos demonstrating how to play your most popular songs.
Your fans might as well learn how to play your licks and riffs straight from the songwriter who wrote them, you. Even when we are talking about a cover song, you can still show your fans how to play the song, your way. You can show them firsthand tricky details of the performance that are often overlooked by other musicians jamming your track.
Tutorial videos make ideal fan engagement videos making playing your music more accessible. Each musician playing your songs is an advertisement for your music.
Whatever you do, speak in your own voice. You the artist. Don’t get your manager or a hanger-on, agent, or label intern to do it for you. It is important that it is you who connects to your fans. Your fans are not there to connect with anyone else. Were they to discover that it was not you, your following and credibility would evaporate faster than you could imagine.
Consistency and Sustainability
Posting content regularly to Facebook, to your blog, and to your video channel is important. Posting a few times over a couple of weeks followed by not posting for several further weeks while you disappear to do other things is not a good way to interact with your fans. When you return there is a good chance you will return to find a queue of unanswered comments and messages from your fans.
Fans can easily be distracted, and be drawn away to do something else, somewhere else on the internet. Retaining the attention of fans takes regular, dependable activity on your part.
The fruits of fan engagement take time. It’s not a short time either. It takes a long-term investment of your time to truly reap the benefits of fan engagement. However, patience will allow you to develop a very solid and robust fan base.
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