One of the most effective marketing strategies that any brand, business, or individual can use to boost the reach and efficiency of their campaign is word of mouth marketing. Ever since the first words were spoken, people have been discussing their favorite things. From food to music, one of the easiest ways to get someone to try something, listen to something, or watch something is to simply tell them about it. There is a deeper psychology as to why people are more likely to try something that was recommended to them by a friend rather than something that was recommended to them by an advertisement or stranger, but the simple answer is that people are just generally more likely to take advice from people that they trust. If your friend tells you about his favorite song and a random stranger at a bar tells you about her favorite song, you are way more likely to listen to and act upon the recommendation of your friend. In fact 83% of people state that they trust a friend’s recommendation over an advertisement, proving the fact that word of mouth marketing is extremely efficient.
In terms of marketing and promoting your music, the same statistics ring true. The more people who speak about your music, the more likely you will be heard. There are a number of different ways to encourage your audience to tell their friends about your music, in turn enhancing your word of mouth marketing strategy as a whole. This article will provide you with 5 specific examples that you can use to encourage word of mouth marketing for your music.
Give Your Audience Something to Talk About
Many musicians have a hard time breaking through the clutter of the music industry because they do not catch the attention of their crowds quick enough. In order for your audience to be intent on discussing your music or your live performance you must give them something to talk about. There have been countless concerts where the opening act simply stands on stage, performs their set without moving from the microphone, and then walks off the stage. Performing live is your opportunity to show off your talent and your ability to control a crowd. For example, bands like Twenty One Pilots and the Arctic Monkeys pride themselves on their live shows. They interact with the crowd and instantly build a connection with their audiences through unique ideas like playing drums on a stage held up by the crowd or having the audience hold up the lead singer. Ideas and executions like these give the audience something to talk with their friends and families after the show ends for years to come. They would say things like “remember when we held up the drummer at that Twenty One Pilots concert” or “remember when the Arctic Monkeys crowd surfed and we held up Alex Turner.” Things like these stick with the audience. Obviously if you’re a smaller musician or band you won’t be drumming on the crowd, but coming up with unique ideas to get the audience involved in your shows will propel your ability to find new followers.
Tell Your Story
Another great way to get people to talk about you and your music is to tell your story. There are millions of people who may be going through the same hardships that you have and they would be grateful to hear that someone else has dealt with and fought through those same tough times. Whether that be discussing how you got to where you are between songs in your set or just simply talking to the audience after the show, you need to build relationships with the people you want to listen to your music. Even if you haven’t had hardships, discussing the meaning behind your songs or your story in general could give your audience a better idea of who you are as an artist. This is a great way to encourage word of mouth marketing as well because a majority of musicians simply play their set and then leave. Again, if you are a popular musician you may have to leave the show immediately, but if you’re just starting out it is extremely important to build relationships with the people who you want to become your fans. The more personable and relatable you are, the more likely people will discuss your music with their friends and families.
Social Media & Word of Mouth Marketing
Many marketers would place social media marketing and word of mouth marketing into two completely separate categories, but they work together beautifully in many ways. All social media platforms give the user the ability to tag another account in their posts creating a call to action for their friends, families, and followers to click into the tagged users page. This can be integrated with word of mouth marketing in your music campaigns in a variety of different ways. The most effective way would be to take pictures with your audience at your live shows and have them tag you in their post. For one, this will give your social media pages an extra boost, but it is also likely that the audience member you took a photo with will show this photo to their friends and families to brag about how they met you, in turn encouraging word of mouth marketing.
Use Your Criticism in your Favor
In general not all word of mouth is good and there is some potential that it can hinder your growth. If you have a particularly bad performance or you make a mistake on stage the audience may talk about this rather than your actual music. This is not great for your image, but you need to learn from these mistakes. Of course nobody’s perfect and every single musician has made a mistake on stage at one point or another, but these mistakes can and will help you grow as a performer. If you hear someone speaking poorly about your set or discussing a mistake you made after the show it is important to remain calm and listen to the criticism. It may seem destructive in the moment, but if you take their criticism to heart you will be able to learn from it and better yourself as a musician and performer in general. You could even ask your audience to criticize your set after the show if you have thick enough skin. Figure out what they didn’t like about your show and fix it for the next time you perform. The more you perform the better you will get and the better your shows become the more likely people will discuss your music with their network.
Use Your Network
Finally, one of the most basic ways to kick off your word of mouth marketing campaign is to simply tell your friends and family about your music. They may be biased toward your work and tell you that it is great even if it’s not, but these are the people who will support you no matter what. If you don’t at least tell your friends and family about your music you are missing out on a huge portion of people. There is an idea called the “six degrees of separation” that basically states that all people are six or fewer connections away from each other. That means that technically you and your favorite artist or producer are only six degrees of connection away proving that using your own network can be extremely efficient in spreading the word about your music. Your roommate can tell his co-worker, who may tell their brother, who could be an artist manager at a major record label. You never know until you try!
As you can see word of mouth marketing can become one of the most efficient marketing strategies to promote your music if you are strategic about it. Maintaining relationships through your initial network as well as building new relationships with potential fans will allow you to reach an even wider audience than ever before. It is extremely important for you to kick off your word of mouth marketing campaign by telling your inner circle, but there is always a wide variety of people who will be willing to listen to your music. Creating a unique experience for your fans, telling your story, using criticism in your favor, utilizing social media, and benefiting from your network will all propel your career as a musician.