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IHM Road Tips Vol. 13 – 5 Tips on Using Social Media to Increase Attendance for Your Next Show or Tour.


Posted By : IHM, Posted On : January 4, 2014

The following blog post assumes you have great music and a solid live show before hitting the road. Not sure? Contact Bram, head of IHM Artist Relations & Support about a show evaluation, bram@indiehitmaker.com, on twitter @bram_rocks or call 877.994.6446 xt. 2.

Congratulations on completing your first tour! We’re sure it was a long hard road (no pun intended), but hopefully you were able to use our #roadtips 2 & #roadtips 4 to plan properly and give your fans an amazing live experience. By now you’ve come to understand the value of a strong online presence and we’re here to give you a few more pointers on how to retain your fanbase while increasing attendance numbers through social media for the next time you hit the road.

To set the context for the following tips, make Twitter your default “go-to” social networking outlet to easily connect with individuals and hold conversations, but be sure to support these efforts with Facebook and Google+ posts to leverage their powerful built-in analytics and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This will help you reach the broadest audience possible while being able to measure your effectiveness.


  1. Engage New Fans and Re-engage Your Base

    While this advice teeters on the cliche, it’s still valid to thank new fans you meet on the road and/or bought merch (don’t use bots, it feels disingenuous). If they were particularly memorable and on Twitter, give them a follow back. You definitely want to show appreciation whenever and wherever possible. If they post a picture, give them props with a like, favorite, share or personal message. These are the people who will spread the word in their city bringing more people out to your next show. Remember, even in 2013, word of mouth is still the strongest promotional tool and best bang for your buck, which is why we say in #roadtips 9 that what happens on stage is critical to your success. A perfect example of using social media to engage fans comes from recording artist Danny! – he told us he likes to leave a little wiggle room in his set list. “I’ve never had a booking agent, so my fans treat the few shows I do as a rare and special occasion. Most artists have set lists, which I do as well, but if I’m headed to a city what I’ll do sometimes to engage my followers is ask what their favorite Danny! record is. Depending on the feedback I’ll try to include at least one or two songs from that record into my show. That way I’m not just performing the latest single or the latest album, and the fans feel that connection.”

  2. The Importance of Visuals

    Posting a Facebook photo of the band and a message to the effect of “Tour was awesome! Can’t wait to see y’all again” is cool, but the public is hungry for richer content. Hopefully when you were on the road you had a chance to document your experiences on and off stage. DON’T SIT ON THIS CONTENT! In the age of Youtube, Daily Motion and Vimeo, having slick visuals and rich media available to the public will do wonders for your draw. If you need some tips on getting the most out of your performance footage, check out #roadtips 10: 6 Steps to Creating Great Online Content With Your Live Performance. Combine this with great off-stage footage and you’ll create a “visual journal” that tells your story, makes you more endearing to your established fan base and attracts new ears to your show. Release it in episodic format so it is easily digestible for those with ADD – the youtube generation has an attention span of a goldfish, you have about 9 seconds to get them hooked or they’ll move on. A couple examples of artists doing it right are Big K.R.I.T’s “4Eva N A Tour” series while on the road with Macklemore, Talib Kweli (Part 1 here), Joey Bada$$’s “Smokers Club Tour” with Ab-Soul (Part 1 here) and Rita Ora’s Radioactive Tour Dairy (Playlist Here). Once your tour or shows are locked down, get your dates into circulation by leveraging the major calendaring sites like songkick, eventful, jambase, bandsintown, etc. – or better yet, syndicate your show dates to all of them by using the artistdata.com(it’s a hidden feature called “Concert Databases” under the tools tab). Then get creative with it and inject some personality into your show promotions. Check out HoneyHoney’s teaser for an example.

  3. Hashtags and Onstage Promos

    Hashtags aren’t just for making snarky comments and engaging in other hipster antics like cataloging your handlebar mustache pics. They are an invaluable tool if used properly. Once you settle on a hashtag for the tour by keeping it consistent and short – you can modify it to track your fans easier like #TourSTL for a stop in Saint Louis or #TourATL for Atlanta and inform your followers in those cities to use them. Giving fans the option to live tweet at a show can get new followers and even bring in last minute people to the show. Back in 2011 Katy Perry incorporated live tweets into her California Dreams tour which ended up earning 59.5 million dollars according to Pollstar Although you probably won’t be incorporating a Jumbo-Tron into your tour budget anytime soon, you can achieve the same result with a projector and a laptop.  There’s a list of sites you can use to adapt this strategy into your shows. Be forewarned that some of these sites charge a fee for their services. For a site that’s aesthetically appealing, you might want to check out Visible Tweets. Instagram API based programs are constantly being developed and services like Eventstagram display photos that people take at your show are available for use now. Fans like feeling involved and tactics like this can increase attendance.

  4. Contests and Freebies

    Although you want to keep as much money from the door and merch as possible, setting up a contest or giveaway can get extra bodies in the room. Comping two $5 tickets  isn’t a bad approach especially if they spend $20 on merch and join your mailing list.  Before you set it up, be very mindful of Facebook’s Policies on give-aways and contests before you post. Sure you might fly under the radar, but don’t risk the chance of getting your page deleted or suspended. Thankfully, Twitter is a bit more relaxed, so start by trying some of these promotional concepts rather than doing a standard “RT to win”.

  5. Build a Community with Artists from Other Markets

    One of the best ways to gain new fans is to expose your music to fanbases of other artists. Do this by solidifying your relationships with the artists you meet on the road and reach out to others in markets where you want to perform. Establish a symbiotic relationship by trading shows and exposing each other to your social networks in order to foster a sense of community.Tef Poe goes into more detail: “Developing a strong relationship with noteworthy artists that are currently capable of promoting and performing on the same bill as you is always a plus. I have a network of friends and associates in other markets. We all talk on a regular basis and we have even formulated a system by which we trade shows, street team each others mixtapes and promote each others music. Trading shows is easy, but we’ve decided to take things a step further and actually organize under one umbrella and formulate a collective body of artists that look out for each other. Long story short, networking with artists  to get gigs in your own city is great, but doing the same with people in other cities can and will expand your fanbase. If you have a friend with a buzz in Detroit and you have a buzz in Houston. You two should trade shows, send promo packages to each other and cement each other in your respective markets.”
Now that you have some solid social networking #roadtips that can immediately be used to move your career forward, review the classic pointers below for effective social networking before getting started and always be sure to report your live show sales to make every show count. Tour smart and have a great show.IHM Road Tips Readers get one month free when you register for IndieHitmaker monthly live venue reporting services. Click to Sign Up for the Newsletter Now and receive your immediate discount code.  Code lasts for a limited time only!
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