Every aspiring artist recognizes how crucial fans are to building their success – every major artist has their own. Whether it’s Justin Bieber’s “Beliebers,” Lady Gaga’s “Little Monsters,” or Insane Clown Posse’s “Juggalos” – the fans and followers create the success of major artists. If you’re looking to succeed as an artist or on SoundCloud, you’ll need to build your following – and here are the Top 10 ways to do that.
1. Optimize Your Account + Tracks
The first step in growing your SoundCloud following is to make sure that when new and potential fans find you – your profile is optimized to convert them to full-fledged fans. You need to upload nice images for your account and track art, build out your bio, and add relevant, diverse tags to your tracks.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your SoundCloud Account for a step-by-step checklist on what to do.
2. Go Pro
Going Pro on SoundCloud is by far the most effective method of building traction on SoundCloud. For $6 a month, you double your upload time and gain access to basic analytics data for your listeners. At $15 a month, you can upload an unlimited length of tracks while gaining access to the advanced analytics offered by SoundCloud. Both plans come with SoundCloud’s Spotlight feature – and for about the cost of your Netflix subscription, you gain the ability to explode your SoundCloud growth. While it does require an investment, it’s one of the best investments that you can make in your music career especially because:
Most obviously, increasing your upload time allows you to create and share more of your most popular music – increasing the chances that a prospective fan will find your music.
Beyond the upload boost though, the Spotlight Feature that SoundCloud makes available to you allows you to “pin” a particular track to the top of your profile. Whether that’s an awesome cover of a popular band or a heartbreaking solo track – you effectively get to decide what new users get to see first. By building a first impression is something you only get one shot at – so make it a great one.
A lot of SoundCloud guides fail to give proper attention to the Analytics feature included with SoundCloud Pro, which in our opinion is a tragedy because they are so strong. Perhaps it’s the inner data nerd present in the staff here at SoundCloud reviews, but the wealth of information you can gain from SoundCloud’s built-in analytics are huge. If you’re a talented artist on the road to success, imagine being able to plan out your initial tour dates by targeting the cities where your fans are most present. If you’re a talent manager, you could approach venue owners with detailed reports in hand of who and where your music is popular, you can build your presence on targeted apps or websites, etc. The possibilities are honestly endless – you’re tapping into the virality of your fanbase by going to where they are.
3. Stay Social and Share EVERYTHING
Any artist worth their salt knows how important social media is for driving traffic to their music. Building a presence on different social channel (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, etc.) can make or break your careers potential success, and yet, so many artists neglect crucial aspects of social media. The key to a well-rounded digital presence is one word – consistency. Put together a set posting schedule, and stick to it. Weekly posts are the easiest to execute, but you should honestly shoot for daily posts. These can be re-posts of your old content, tracks that you enjoyed, tour/production updates, etc. The point is to stay current at all costs. Social Media Management software like Hootsuite or Buffer can assist you in scaling up your social game. When you start to automate your SoundCloud posts you may wonder how you ever lived without such useful tools! We recommend using a service called IFTTT (stands for, “If This, Then That”) because it allows you to connect SoundCloud and a poster scheduler like Buffer automagically. For instance, any time there is a new public favorite on your track, you can add that data into buffer! Check out this recipe Add a public SoundCloud favorite to Buffer. Using this and many other recipes you can manage your entire SoundCloud marketing campaign through one tool. It saves time and energy because you don’t have to search through SoundCloud for the information you need, it’s all central in one interface. We feel these tools are almost a necessity to be succeed on a larger scale.
4. Start A Blog
Blogging is the way of the future – get aboard or get left behind. Every band, artist, DJ or MC should have at least one blog. Not only is it a great way to get noticed, but it gives you an opportunity to record your journey and engage new fans with the story of your progress. Everyone loves a success story – why not start writing yours? Keep in mind that blogging doesn’t need to be exhausting – set up a free, easy to update band page on a site like Tumblr or Medium, update it once a week and see what sort of traction you get – if your fans like it, consider expanding your presence! A touring band could have several different blogs for different purposes: personal blogs for each member, a “behind-the-scenes” page, upcoming tour announcements and an official band page. Give your fans exactly the type of content that they want, and you’ll be halfway to creating an army of followers.
5. Network with Influencers
By far, one of the best ways to quickly expand your following is to work together with other artists – especially ones in your same genre. Each artist is going to have their own group of fans and followers, but by forming a friendship, trading shoutouts, re-posting each other’s tracks or even collaborating on a track – you can fuse the two fan groups in a mutually advantageous way. Just like the legendary friendship between Panic! and Fallout Boy, each artist has much to gain through collaboration and very little to risk.
Use the tools provided by SoundCloud themselves to find trending music in your genre. Reach out to these artists and see if you can leverage their influence in your favor.
6. Stay Active in The Community
To re-iterate, your fanbase is your lifeblood – take care of it. Engage with your listeners as often as you can. Reply to their comments, like their personal music, build relationships and form friendships. Find where your followers are active, and engage with them on their home turf. Join genre-specific music forums, subreddits (for example The Best Of SoundCloud, Twitter chats, etc. If those communities don’t exist yet – create your own! You’re building a movement around your music that will carry you far beyond what you could ever accomplish on your own.
7. Make Videos
One of the most overlooked ways to build support around your music is to promote it on other channels. Video has become a remarkably powerful marketing tool in the last few years, and harnessing it properly can lead to a big payoff. Create relevant, funny videos (music videos, behind the scenes, Q&A, etc.) and upload them to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Vimeo – but don’t stop there. Build a Vine channel and fill it with funny, engaging content. Live stream your performances or Q&A sessions on Periscope and then upload those videos to video sharing sites. The possibilities are endless, but the wider net you cast, the more recognition you will accumulate. If you’re interested in learning more, we have an entire guide to walk you step-by-step through Promoting Your SoundCloud Using Video.
SoundCloud Groups are a relatively new concept – much like Facebook groups however, they are excellent opportunities to interact with and build relationships with like-minded artists, fans and followers. As a budding artist on SoundCloud, connecting with groups in your genre should be one of your first steps – find big, high-quality (ideally moderated) groups and engage with them. Don’t just spam the feed with links to your tracks though, focus on delivering value to the community and creating friendships – those relationships will bear huge dividends later on. No specific community out there? Create your own! Curate related content, invite related artists, and position yourself as an influencer in your niche, and success will come to you.
9. Promote Your SoundCloud Offline
Despite the fact that SoundCloud is online, the majority of your time as an artist will be spent offline, so make the most of it. Get promotional material printed with your SoundCloud profile on it, and use every gig, recording studio and random conversation as an opportunity to market your music. SoundCloud provides a platform for your career – but it’s still up to YOU to build the success around your music. Put as much time into marketing yourself as you do into creating your music, and your chances of success increase dramatically.
10. Create Quality Music
Last but not least, and arguably the most important – make good music. Your music has to be high-quality in order to go anywhere. No matter how attractive your profile is, how many artist friends you have or how many videos you’ve created, if your music sounds like it was produced by a 4 year old with hearing aids, you’re not going to get very far. Invest time into writing appealing content, crafting lyrics, mixing great beats, and producing high-quality tracks, and your marketing efforts will become 10x as effective. Everyone loves a good piece of music, and if you can craft something appealing and heartfelt that you are proud to share with the world, chances are good that your fans will feel the same way.
Laying the groundwork for success is no easy task – but if you invest the time and effort into creating a comprehensive platform for your music, everything else you do becomes much more effective. If you’re looking to quickly kickstart your career with some instant credibility, check out our Top 5 List for SoundCloud Plays and Followers. You can also check out some of our relevant guides linked above – while there are many ways to skin a cat, we think we’ve found a few of the most effective.