What if I told you that you can make money, see the country, and engage your fans in a truly meaningful way all at the same time? With all the right ingredients lined up, your tours can be an incredible way to pull all of that off.
While we’ve talked about touring in the past, today we wanted to focus on your fans. It might seem obvious that you want to make sure your fans are getting the best part of you when you visit their city, but somehow, in the planning of making sure your routing is perfect, that the venues you’ve chosen are the right fit, and that you have enough merch, gas, and snacks to survive, creating a truly authentic, memorable experience for the fans fall by the wayside.
Today we look at a few creative ways to make your fans’ experience truly personable, memorable, and leave them looking forward to the next time you’re in town.
Create an exclusive experience
When it’s time to hit a new city, improve your experience by calling on your fans. Say you’re rolling through Chicago and it’s your first time in the city. Put out a call to fans on your social media asking where the best pre-show pizza is, and then invite fans to join you. Not only is that one-on-one kind of experience going to be incredibly memorable for your fans, but it lets you get to know who your super fans really are. Don’t forget to snap a photo for socials!
Or, for a more interactive experience maybe you ask what the best record store in town is. (Bonus points if you can score some kind of acoustic performance in there pre-show) and grab one of your favorite records. At the show that night, give it away to one lucky fan as you share a (brief) story about why it’s so meaningful to you. Don’t forget to sign it or include a note thanking them for coming out. That kind of thing is incredibly special.
Get personal & get creative
Personalizing anything is always guaranteed to get you a stronger response than anything generic. This is why despite living in the age of technology, most of us still enjoy a hand written Christmas or thank you card, and choose to keep them out and on display. There’s something about that personal touch that warms our heart.
For each city you’re in, consider making the experience exclusively about them. This could mean that in Austin you set up a taco bar and for an extra $3 people get to snack on tacos during your show. Even if you don’t turn a profit from it, the whole thing would likely cost under $20 and it’s an incredibly unique experience that’s also going to look great on flyers and turn a lot of heads.
Hype it up
There’s no escaping the power of social media. But don’t get stuck in the trap of just promoting your shows into the void and wondering why no one is listening. Take the time to craft interesting, eye catching posts and captions, as well as hype up your tour by putting tons of content in your IG stories, or partnering with other bands or blogs to do takeovers on the day of special shows. It’s a great way to get in front of a new audience, forge those partnerships, and provide unique content that fans new and old are bound to love.
Make house shows part of your routing
House shows are one of the most interactive ways to bond with fans. Whether it’s a city you have a massive following in and want to offer a special experience for your most loyal fans, or a city you’re still breaking into and want to make sure the experience is special, house shows are a great way to get to know your fans on a much more personal level. By nature, they provide ample opportunity for the fans to not only feel close to you throughout your set, but to actually get to know you before and after.
Create a campaign
Your fans love to feel like they’re a part of something. To feel like they’re included in your world, and to follow along even if they can’t be at every single stop on your tour. You already know that creating a level of FOMO helps drive interest and gets people pumped for the next time they can see your live show, and one way to do this is to create a campaign for your tour.
This can have a lot of different faces, but whatever you choose, I’d encourage you to tie it into your brand and/or the theme of the tour. For instance, if your new album has the word “Hope” in it, and is all about coming out of the most trying time of your life and learning to find inspiration, then perhaps the campaign is centered around that.
You create a hashtag that could be the album name (#HopeAfterDarknessTour for example) and ask users to share their stories and tag you in them (and then you respond/repost/compile them into an inspirational video to release mid-tour), you post quotes and photos with introspective captions, do IG lives, all around this one central theme.
Having that theme to work towards not only gives you a clear idea of social content to post, but it makes your fans feel a part of something, and makes it easy for them to participate and be a part of the process.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR.She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.