From growing a fanbase to creating channels to engage directly with audiences, artists consultant and music marketer Amber Horsburgh shares her tips on sustainable fan development.
On this episode of the Co.Lab Sessions podcast, Amber Horsburgh digs into fan development and why it's crucial for artists to create their own channels for connecting directly with their audience. Amber is the founder of Deep Cuts, a music marketing newsletter where she shares resources and industry insights with independent artists plus, she's designed successful promotional campaigns for artists like Miike Snow, Cold War Kids, and Chet Faker.
Here, Amber shares her expertise while debunking myths around growing a fanbase, reminding artists that it's not just about accruing large follower counts but actually communicating with fans on and offline. She also talks about the importance of using social media as a traffic source only so artists aren't at the mercy of constantly changing algorithms. Listen to the episode, plus check out key takeaways from Amber below.
Highlights from Amber Horsburgh's Co.Lab Sessions episode
Create your own channels of communication
The way that you want to approach social media is[to] use it for what it is, which is a traffic source, and siphon off that traffic into an owned channel. What I mean by an owned channel is somewhere where you have more power over the way that you reach those people and engage with those people, more power over when and where your messages appear. Everybody knows that if you're beholden to algorithms and you don't own anything, it's really difficult to reach people and you're subject to when the algorithms change.
Focus on fan development, not just growing your fanbase
Another common pitfall, when it comes to growing fan bases, is focusing too much on getting new fans and not enough on what you're doing to actually maintain your current fans. It's more expensive to acquire new fans. It's more expensive to get them to become a fan than it is to develop the people who have heard of you. Maybe they're a light listener, maybe they know one song of yours, but they don't actually know that you're the artist behind that song, it's going to be cheaper for you to develop that fan.
Don't rely on social media alone to connect with fans.
One of the biggest challenges and pitfalls that artists face when they're growing their fan base is relying on social media only. I've worked on many campaigns where this is a big problem, where say the artist starts out [with their] first record, it does really, really well and [is] really successful, and they amass quite a large following on social media at that time. Then they go away, they make the next record and they come back and maybe it's been a couple of years and the whole landscape has changed.