Getting Comfortable In Your Local Scene?
Hey UPSTAGE family! Happy Tuesday. This week we're talking social media + streaming statistics, and their influence on marketing shows. (Also known as the part of the business that most musicians hate the most.) Important to acknowledge though, as it is how we expand our audiences until being able to tour wherever and whenever we want.
Touring for musicians is more of a luxury these days. When smaller independent artists do tour, the focus often becomes geared towards breaking even rather than making money. If not to make money, that means the actual goal of a small tour is to expand and nurture the fanbases outside of the local scene.
This is where statistics become a big influence in the initial decision to tour. Do you intend on breaking out of your local scene? Many have asked me, "Why is it important for me to be growing my online following when I can just focus on just playing in my local scene and growing that way?"
My answer to that is, you have to play your local scene, absolutely. You have to beat it dead. But do you want to put a limit on your reach? That puts a cap on your growing potential.
Eventually, you will outgrow your local haunts. And honestly, that's probably sooner than later for most independent artists. There's only so many small- venues that entry level artists can get into consistently, especially in the Twin Cities. (And we are fortunate to have the number that we do.) However, being a small to mid- tier level artist is usually a long phase and it's common for artists to play the same places for a long time. If you're trying to break out of the entry- level tier, you'll have to start thinking about expanding your reach to hit that following in the high thousands to move up to the next size of stage. And in order to get booked for shows in these levels, you need the proof. You need the follower count, streaming numbers, and show statistics to prove you're pulling an authentic audience in more than just your local communities. Even if you're just trying to play one state over, what happens if your audiences are only local?
Once you've decided to do a small tour, using your online analytics to plan your stops sets you up for targeting the areas where you can ensure the best turnouts. For example, If you have no social media followers in Denver, don't go to Denver. Go to Colorado Springs instead if that's where more of your followers are. This is an audience that is already seeing your posts, so when you're coming to town- they'll know! Your music isn't only streamed in Minnesota, so it's your job to reach the people who are streaming it. "Jada LaFrance" for example, has a spontaneously high number of followers and streams from New Jersey. Once it's time for me to hit the road, I know where one of my stops will be.
Once you've made a plan, you need to promote your own shows. No one else is going to do it for you. You have to think like a marketing professional. Start grabbing your social media followers emails and zip codes.
Once you have their zip codes, you can
1. push paid ads specifically to those areas when you are coming to town.
2. Send out emails to the right geographical audience at the right times with an invite to you show in their town.
Expanding on that second point... this works better than one massive email to your whole database with all of your dates listed before you hit the road. No one is going to remember that email, or when you're visiting their town. Alternatively, if you email the right contacts a couple nights before, personally inviting them to your show with a link to your tickets... that might just work!
If you're posting online, you're setting yourself up for success. Although it's hard to see now, you'll need those followers to have a launching point when you're getting ready to hit the road. And when it comes to social media's longevity- I wouldn't keep all of my eggs in that basket. So use social media platforms while you can, gain the followers, and then get your followers to connect with you off of the platforms, while grabbing those contacts.
How to do so without sliding into their dms like your high school classmate inviting you to their pampered chef party- in the next letter.
Have a great week ya'll.
Jada & UPSTAGE LLC