Building an Engaged Audience for your Livestream

So you’ve planned the perfect live-stream. Built a jaw-dropping set, involved a brilliant choreographer, collaborated with a fantastic cinematographer. Everything is set for you to wow your digital audience.

Except hardly any of them tuned in.

It’s a harsh truth but unfortunately spot on: all your grand efforts and behind-the-scenes work live or die by how well (or how badly) your event is marketed. The right strategy is essential for success. Plus, creating an organic buzz can be a long-term game changer in your relationship with fans. So how do you do it?

Draw A Road Map To The Event.

While in the planning stages for your live-stream, you need to create a marketing campaign to run in tandem with your event. From announcing the date and creating event listings (through FB, your band newsletter, Songkick/Bandsintown etc.) to promoting via your social media channels, every step needs to be planned to amplify and ensure maximum visibility in the crowded live-streaming ecosystem. This will require resources, time, and a carefully thought through budget. So be sure to plan adequately and accordingly.

Build Meaningful Fan Engagement

Yes, creating a marketing plan with ads is important, but a crucial part of the formula is developing organic interactions with your fans across multiple platforms. This can truly set you apart. Do this right and the barriers between you and your audience break down so they become your advocates in their extended circle, thus introducing you to more fans and ensuring a successful event.

There are a number of ways to approach this, and some worth considering include:

→ Create Q&As: One of the most exciting things for fans is having a shared moment with their favourite artists. So use that to your advantage. You can create an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit where you invite fans to ask you a variety of questions. The real-time and candid aspect of this approach will foster a more intimate and genuine interaction with fans which goes miles beyond the generic social media post.

→ Design Exclusive Merchandise: Fans will always want to show support by rocking sweet gear, so creating unique merchandise to mark the event that will only be accessible through the live-stream is a sure way to get more eyes on your event, and help generate additional revenue.

→ Contest Giveaways: Who doesn’t like winning? Hosting a raffle or a giveaway can generate excitement amongst fans, and there are a multitude of prizes that can be up for grabs to reward ticket holders: From giving away some of merch to hosting one-on-one video call with a lucky fan, these are enticing opportunities to build event anticipation.

Create A Special Set

It’s been a long time since you’ve shared a concert moment between you and your audience, so really make it count. Think of alternative ways to heighten the experience. If you have a deep album discography; why not do a rare set where you perform an album in full? If you’re part of a label with many contemporaries and previous collaborators, why not involve them in your set as guests? How about a unique cover set paying tribute to some of your musical heroes? Or maybe something as simple as taking fan requests? This could be as easy as creating a poll on your social media platform where fans can vote for songs they want to hear from your catalogue. Yet another clear way to make fans feel that they are part of the process and to ensure their presence at the event they’ve helped shape.

Picking The Right Date (& Time) For the Stream

Previously, bands and bookers were challenged to avoid gig clashes when playing in the same town at the same time. This is now amplified as you are competing with an incredible number of artists simultaneously streaming the internet on a limited number of platforms. So how do you ensure that your stream won't be lost in the shuffle? Understanding what qualifies as peak times for streams can be very handy. A majority of events occur during the weekend, so potentially setting up your stream on weekdays (especially several hours after the end of the work day) could be beneficial.

This can also tie into your fan engagement strategy. You could set up those chats with fans, giveaways, and promotional content to premier at the same weekly/bi-weekly time slot as your live-stream, and build a consistent schedule that fans remember and look forward to.

So many variables to consider and approaches to master, but each of them is customizable and needs to work in tandem with your marketing plans, regardless of how big or small that budget may be. The key is always to foster something natural and authentic that goes beyond the screen.

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