Many would agree that you need a thousand true fans to build a sustainable music career.
However, in Dancehall, getting those first few diehard fans who play such a crucial role in building momentum can feel almost impossible when you’re just starting out.
Since Dancehall is such a competitive genre, effective marketing is very important.
There are several ways to get more fans for your music, but it’s ultimately going to come down to your level of commitment and finding the right balance of tactics that works best for your Dancehall music career strategy.
The list below isn’t exhaustive, of course, but if you nail these 10 essentials, you’ll be well on your way to getting more music fans from the Dancehall scene.
1. Create and Build Your Brand Identity
Your brand encompasses and is impacted by everything you do including your musical content, from how you present yourself (both in person and online), to how you communicate with your fans.
Take the time to discover what’s truly unique about you, your artistry, and your story, and build out your brand identity from there.
Create and use social media accounts “professionally.”
Be yourself, don’t follow others. Be open and honest. Dancehall fans love authenticity and transparency.
2. Engage Your Fans
There’s no way around it; you have to engage your fans as much as possible if you want to maintain and grow your following in Dancehall.
It will require consistent effort on your part to keep them informed of you, deepen the relationships, and ultimately create superfans who will help promote you and support your career in the long run.
3. Be Consistent
In order to break through the barrier and hold the attention of Dancehall fans, you have to be consistent across all of your communication channels.
Whether it’s your email newsletter, social media pages, or new music releases, you have to give your fans something to expect and look forward to on a regular basis.
4. Get Your Personal Website
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times before… as a musician, you need to have a website.
Owning a website will develop a sense of strong online presence where fans and propects alike can go to for credible information.
That said, many Dancehall artists underestimate this. However, some of Dancehall’s biggest acts including Shaggy and Sean Paul have their own website which features news about their music releases and tours with digital content such as high quality pictures and videos.
Your website should be connected to all your social media pages and offer a newsletter.
5. Play Charity Events
Performing at charity events is always a win-win!
You get to give back to your community and support a cause you care about, while also giving you positive exposure to a new audience.
An ideal partnership provides valuable cross-promotion for both parties, while raising awareness for an important issue.
6. Partner with local nightlife events and brands
Just like with playing charity events, partnering with local nightlife events, companies and fellow musicians allows you to leverage each other’s audiences.
You could trade support slots on upcoming shows with an artist that’s similar to yours, or collaborate on new projects. You can also try reaching out to local visual artists to create cool, unique band merch items, and in return, you can help promote their work at your shows and in your online merch store.
Some Jamaican Dancehall artists partner with corporate companies such as Digicel and Pepsi.
7. Build Relationships with Influencers; Radio, Entertainment Blogs
As you already know, relationships are everything in the music industry. One tweet from an influencer with a big following could be a game changer for your music career.
Arrange and take trips to local radio houses before thinking about the international scene.
Connect with radio hosts and build decent relationships. Same for entertainment websites such as Hype Life Magazine, which offers digital marketing solutions to Dancehall musicians.
8. Use Facebook Ads
With a little bit of experimentation and the right audience targeting, you can run Facebook ads that reach new music fans very inexpensively and effectively.
With social media marketing, there are pros and cons to every platform, but ultimately there’s one obvious reason you should be on Facebook. It’s by far the biggest social networking platform in existence.
This means that whether you’re focused on your existing fans, or looking for how to get more fans for your music, it’s almost guaranteed they are already on Facebook.
You can use ads to promote your page and increase likes, promote shows, a new music release, etc. You can even target specific geographic regions, demographics, and interests.
9. Hire a Publicist, Run Press Campaign for your New Album or Tour
At first, you’ll probably want to start small and do it yourself.
Even if you only get a couple of features on entertainment websites, that’s enough to put you in a better position to score even bigger coverage the next time you have something newsworthy to announce.
Once you starting gaining significant traction, though, you’ll want to consider hiring a professional music publicist to oversee your campaigns and write press releases for you.
10. Release Great Dancehall Music
When it comes down to it, if your music and shows are anything less than remarkable, you’re going to have a really hard time gaining true fans.
Focus relentlessly on building up your songwriting and performance skills. If what you’re doing is really unique and amazing to your target audience, you’ll turn them into superfans who will gladly promote you to their friends and followers.
11. Do A Giveaway (Bonus)
Everyone loves getting free stuff!
Offer a download of an exclusive track in exchange for an email address, or run a merch giveaway on social media. If you can incentivize your existing fans to share the giveaway with their friends, you’re likely to earn new Dancehall fans of your music in the process.