Over the last few months, DIY musician and indie label producer Abi Robins has been using an online app called Popplet to gather feedback from her fans in preparation for her next independent album release. Here, Abi shares some of her ideas about fan polling that can help you build and maintain a loyal audience for your music.
5 ideas to help you engage your audience with fan polling tools
1. Get Creative With Technology
Abi used the web app Popplet as a way to gather feedback from her fans about which songs best suited her new album. She was able to add short videos and commentary to a ‘popplet board’ – like a mind map – which showed the work in progress so fans could vote and comment on which songs deserved more polishing in the studio.
The novel use of the app was immediately engaging and spurred a strong response from her followers: “A lot of my fan base thought it was really cool to use Popplet as a way to provide feedback. It gave fans an insight into the new album production – much more than just asking a poll question – and a lot of people thought it was a really neat idea. It was a way of presenting the information that they hadn’t seen before, which, I think, turned quite a few heads. The fact that it looks really neat and it is easy to navigate helped a lot, too.”
2. Know your social media
Abi has been using social media to discuss her music for the past 5 or 6 years and understands how her fans use the various channels. “I started out when myspace was on top and if it wasn’t for that, my music career wouldn’t be where it is now. It’s sad that it’s gone under but it’s important to cultivate all the other social networks. Twitter, for example, is high volume, so you can post the same message 2 or 3 times in a day without people getting angry. You do need to be persistent so people notice you when they are online – It’s how the whole music industry works nowadays: be persistent and be flexible. If people are on Facebook for example, they don’t want to leave Facebook to reply to you, so you need to be available within the media they are using, be it Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc.”
3. Ask the right questions
Most recently for her fan polling, Abi solicited feedback from her audience about which songs should be included on her next album release: “With so many songs, it was hard to be objective about which songs fit together and which ones fans would like best,” she explains. Being authentic and asking her fans about information she could use has been central to her fan polling efforts in the past. “Fan polling about tours, in particular, usually works out really well. Fans help us get connected with cities and venues we may have overlooked when planning a tour. The internet is great because if you don’t know something, you just have to ask!”
4. Listen to your audience
“Don’t ask questions if you’re not going to listen to the answers,” Abi says.
Through her recent fan-polling approach, she could see how the audience feedback related not only to how she creates music, but to how to provide a more consistent image of her music identity to her fan base. “It’s hard to be creative and to think about how to market your music at the same time. The feedback I get from my fans helped me get a better perspective on each one of the songs and which ones fit together the best for the next album release. They were doing the hard work for me, I just had to listen.”
5. Stay connected
Maintaining an ongoing connection with your audience is essential to building and keeping a loyal base of music followers who remain interested in your music as your career builds. “Fan polling is a good way to keep in touch with the fan base. Who better to give you advice about the album than the people who’re going to buy it?” Abi stresses. “Keeping fans active and involved in your music is essential. If they feel like they’re a part of it, they’re more likely to support it! The key to indie music success is to stay connected with your audience.”
You can read more about how Abi has used Popplet to keep her audience engaged on the popplet blog. Keep up with Abi’s music and her up-coming album “Such A Mess,” out September 2012, at www.morningbordrecords.com and www.abirobins.com, and on CD Baby, of course!
[Photo courtesy of Corey Woodruff Photography www.coreywoodruff.com.]