Emanate.live
Published in

Emanate.live

Community 101

A Musicians Guide to Growing An Online Community

So you want to grow an online community, huh? But you’re not too sure how to get started, or what tools you’re going to need?

Do you go all in on TikTok? Do you Tweet twenty times a day? Do you stream on Twitch or post on YouTube? Do you create your own Discord server?

The platforms that you decide to use, and we’ll get into which ones are worth your time in just a moment, almost don’t matter. You can grow an online community using a number of different methods and you’re more than likely going to use a few, but one thing will always, ALWAYS remain true:

Consistency.

Without consistency, your chances of growing an online community are slim. What this means is showing up on a daily basis and checking in with your community in some way. Without regular connection, your community growth will stay stagnant and you’re unlikely to get anywhere.

Check out Musicians: Level Up In 2022 to effectively plan your growth.

You see, online communities are a little different to those in the real world. They’re more like a temperamental house plant than that new friend you made last weekend. They need daily care, but not too much or they could get saturated. Too little, and they’ll shrivel up and die.

This is because online communities are for the most part, two dimensional relationships; you don’t have all the advantages of real life interaction. Couple that with the amount of noise and people’s diminishing attention spans, you can be easily forgotten. The secret is finding the balance of attention, coupled with a real, valuable offering to your community. What you’re offering is up to you.

Consistency + Value = A community coming back for more²

Step One: Weapons of Choice

The first step in growing an online community is deciding where you’re going to grow it. For the vast majority of artists, a simple landing page will do just fine in place of a fully developed website, so we’ll look at social platforms first. We recommend the platforms listed below, in no particular order.

TikTok — Twitch — YouTube — Instagram — Discord — Reddit — Twitter

Now we’re not saying that you need to be using each of these every day. Instead, pick one or two that will be your core focus, then the rest can be on your peripheries. At the very least, it is worth having an account for each, even if it is private or laying dormant so you can quickly start it up when the time comes. Make sure you have a basic understanding how each of these platforms work and how you can use them to your benefit, in doing so, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which platform you’ll lean into.

If you’re a charismatic person, who is comfortable in front of the camera, TikTok could be the place for you. And since you’ve done some research, you’ll know that Instagram Reels is the same format — instantly doubling your content output.

Maybe you’re good with words; witty and well spoken? Then Reddit and Twitter may be better suited to you.

“It takes three years to be an overnight success, sometimes more.” — Seth Godin

Step Two: Your Pillars of Content

Once you have picked your platforms of choice, it’s worth spending a bit of time thinking about what it is you’re going to post. If you’re trying to grow a community around your music, then posting a video of you cooking might not be the best idea. That said, you’re likely to be more than a one tricky pony, so define your ‘pillars’ of content — these are the kinds of content you will post.

To do this, think about your personality or strengths and write them down. Are you outgoing and funny? Are you unique looking? Are you a good writer?

For our example, let’s imagine our artist is a music producer, who likes making people laugh and is also an effective teacher. Their content pillars could look like this. And note, they all revolve around music, but more importantly, they provide something for the audience, whether it be entertainment or educational:

  1. My Original Music — Performance & production videos (Entertainment)
  2. Comedy — Music meme style videos (Entertainment)
  3. Education — Teaching people how to make music (Educational)

These pillars become the foundation of all content that this artist posts. If they have content that doesn’t fit beneath one of these subjects, it won’t be posted.

But my dog did something really funny, why can’t I post it?

Because you’re building a consistent brand that your community can easily recognise! This is called ‘niching down’, and it’s a vital part of community growth.

The old saying goes, “a jack of all trades, a master of none.”

So pick your strengths and stick to them! People will start recognise and remember you for this and keep coming back to you for it.

Tip: If you stick to the same pillars and have not found any community growth within six months, it’s either the quality of your content, or the subject matter.

Step Three: It’s A Two Way Street

So you’re posting videos of you playing music to TikTok three times a day, you have a weekly Twitch stream and you post in depth production tutorials to YouTube twice a week, but you’re still not growing! This is because community building is a two way street. Giving entertaining or educational content is great but you also have to show some love to your fellow creators.

Community building is about giving and not taking. You’re already giving great content, but you can take this one step further.

In most cases, this can be really simple. If you get a comment on a video, reply with something meaningful. If someone joins your Twitch stream, say hello and thank them for joining in. If someone retweets something of yours, send them a DM and say thanks for sharing.

To be successful in music industry, it is no longer about having the best music, it’s about who is the nicest. Foster a community by showing them genuine gratitude; focus more on relationship building than numbers.

Tip: You’re much better off with ten die hard community members than a hundred who are barely engaged.

Step Four: Don’t Forget The Ones You Have

It’s natural to want always strive for growth when it comes to community building, but it can be a double edged sword. Growing a Discord server to fifty active users feels great, but you quickly find yourself pushing for a hundred, then two hundred and so on. Satisfaction is fleeting.

Remember, the goal is to have an active, engaged community. An army of half hearted fans is of no use to you when trying to promote a new NFT release or music video. Instead, put your energy into making the first members of your community feel special, welcome and looked after.

How you do this is up to you and your budget. It could be something as simple as giving them the first listen to your song, or a free NFT airdrop of your cover art — the more creative, the better.

Community building takes a lot of time and hard work, but follow the steps we outlined above and your chances of having a vibrant, dedicated online community will sky rocket! Happy community building.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store