A friend of mine is a huge music-head. He loves anything related to music. And, although we may disagree slightly on which decade offered the best music, we generally have similar tastes. So, when an up-and-coming band, Twenty One Pilots, was coming to town, we took the opportunity to check them out. And, holy cow, was I impressed - on more than one level!
Talent-wise, these guys were awesome! I had only heard a few of their songs prior to the concert, so I wasn't too familiar with the lyrics (which can sometimes dampen the experience of a concert); but, I could have listened to them for hours! I'm not music critic, so I won't go into the details...it was just REALLY good!
But, what struck me most as I was enjoying the music was the experience and the crowd participation. And, within just a few minutes, I had this blog written in my head! Twenty One Pilots (aka two dudes from Ohio) have built and grown an audience that LOVES its music and would be willing to SHARE that music with the world!
So, that leads me to three steps required to BUILD and GROW your audience (no matter who your audience is):
1. GIVE THEM SOMETHING GREAT
It starts with your product or service (or in this case - the music). If your product sucks or your service is lacking, it's going to be tough to build on that! If this is the case for you - or if you even QUESTION whether your product/service is the best it can be, fix that first! You need to be 100% confident that your product or service is the cure for your industry's cancer. If you believe that (and it's true), then you're off to a great start!
2. TAKE CARE OF THEM (MAKE THEM PART OF YOUR "COMMUNITY")
Once you're offering something GREAT, then it's your job to truly "take care" of your audience. What does that mean?
Bring them into the fold by sharing exclusive content - early trials, pre-launch announcements, etc.
TELL them you appreciate them.
Give them more value than they're paying for.
Make them feel like they're a part of the family.
Because I was new to Twenty One Pilots, I didn't know the lyrics; but, EVERYONE else in the room DID! You can see from the video below...these fans felt like they were a part of the performance. Make your audience feel like that!
3. ENABLE THEM TO SHARE
The reason small bands like Twenty One Pilots become successful these days is because they allow fans to SHARE their music! Pictures, videos, etc. found all over YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - the more people who share, the more people know about the band. Don't be afraid to let your audience share - in fact, encourage them to do so! Only paranoid, unsuccessful companies are more concerned about the fear of "giving up their secrets" than they are about GROWING THEIR BUSINESS! When I hear businesses share their concerns about "opening themselves up" through social media, I cringe a little. Granted, there can be some legal issues to be aware of, but that shouldn't stop you from putting yourself out there. If you're not on Facebook and the competition is...THEY get the business!
Give your audience many opportunities to share - if you have something great to offer and you're taking care of them, it's the least they'll do for you!
(And, at the most, they'll write a blog about how impressed they are with you - thank you, Twenty One Pilots!)