What if I told you that there was another way to talk to your fans directly? That using messenger apps is actually the best way to build a fanbase or convert fans into super fans!
Using direct marketing methods to promote your music is a crucial strategy for musicians. The easiest way to do this is through email marketing. Direct and personal, using email marketing means you can send an email out to everyone on your list that has ‘opted in’.
They’ve given you permission to send messages to their inbox. 100% of people on that list will receive your email and at least read the subject line. That’s way better odds than any social media platform! You’ll be lucky if just 10% of your Instagram or Facebook followers see your latest posts and content.
So why start using messenger apps as well? Let’s start with the basics.
What is a messenger app?
You will have used so many of these before. Not only to talk to your friends, but to talk to businesses online:
- Facebook Messenger
- Instagram Direct Messaging
- Text Messaging
Messenger applications have an open rate of 70%, which is far higher than emails and socials combined. The number of users on these apps have overtaken the number using the big 4 social media platforms.
So why aren’t you using them?
Chat marketing is the future. We’ve heard this for a while now. But what does this actually mean for musicians?
You don’t exactly have the same need as other businesses. You’re not exactly going to use chat apps for customer service, like other businesses might. But you can utilise them to work for you.
Let’s look at how we can use each one of these to your advantage.
But first, the facts:
- 42% of consumers prefer live chat compared to just 23% for email, and 16% for social media or forums
- Messenger open rates ranging from 70% to 90%, much higher than the 15% to 25% open rates you experience with email
- 38% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company if they offer live chat support
What do musicians use chat marketing for?
In this day and age, you can’t rely solely on revenue from Spotify and small shows. You need to focus on building a digital audience and having meaningful conversations with your fans and supporters.
People like to communicate in the places where they already hang out. And on top of that, they want that personal connection with you. Full access to the behind-the-scenes of your life. It’s simply not enough to be a face on a stage (or more than likely on a screen) anymore.
Though you may already be collecting email addresses through your website and landing pages, you can easily increase your contact points. This means your followers can choose themselves where they’d like to communicate with you. Giving someone the opportunity to use their favourite platform to hear from you gives you much higher odds of them happily devouring your content.
So, whether that’s email, text or Whatsapp — get ready to make yourself available.
Chatbots & Chat Marketing
Let’s start with my favourite. The most technical feature, yes, but I absolutely love it when tech and automation comes together and disrupts marketing.
Chatbots and chat automation aren’t new. But, surprisingly, few musicians actually use it. Maybe it sounds too complicated. Or maybe because it requires a little bit of technical knowledge to get it set up (or at the very least, the willingness to watch a few YouTube videos).
With the growth of chat apps being used for businesses around the world, the chatbot companies are now making it so much easier for everyone to integrate them within their websites and messenger apps. So, it’s the perfect time to get started.
But, what exactly are chatbots?
A chatbot is an artificial intelligence (AI) program that can stimulate a conversation (or a chat) with a user or consumer in messaging apps, using natural language.
I’m sure you’ve seen more of these online than you realise. Ever seen a chat box appear with a message when you’re online shopping? When you interact with one of these, you’ll get a variety of different options to help answer your question, and whichever you choose will lead you down a different path of conversation.
Does this seem too complicated? Let’s break it down even further with an example.
Aurora, the Norwegian musician, recently launched her new album artwork using chatbots. The artwork was split into 11 pieces and fans were sent a random piece of the puzzle when they interacted with the chatbot.
Fans who interacted with the chatbot and received their piece of the puzzle were invited, in real time messages, to share it with their friends. This gave them a better chance of receiving more pieces of the puzzle. And only through sharing their pieces online would Aurora’s full album artwork be revealed.
What a hype! It’s genius!
What a creative way to launch album artwork. And all done through chatbots.
Because the conversation seems so natural and so real, it encourages fans to type answers back, bringing them closer to artists and musicians that they follow. It made Aurora’s fans feel like they were interacting directly with her through her Facebook Messenger.
It can give your fans a foot in the door to your life. That ‘all access pass’ they’ve been dreaming of. And it’s so simple to do.
The amazing thing about these chatbots and chat apps is that you can place them pretty strategically through our website and on Facebook Messenger (and soon, Instagram DM’s too). This means, wherever your fans are, you’ve got the opportunity to interact with them. Catch them while it’s hot!
How to set up a chatbot.
When setting up your chatbot, you will set up the automation and order of messages. Basically, you will set up different options for each step, and then add the content that follows.
This is done through the chatbot services, whichever you choose to use. You then integrate this into your website or place it on your Facebook messenger.
TalkBe has some cool chatbot services to use, aimed directly at musicians, but you can also use something like MobileMonkey if you’re looking for something a bit more basic and wallet friendly (there’s even a free version!).
WhatsApp For Business & Text Messaging Apps
Whatsapp is the number 1 messaging platform in the world. In 2020, it’s audience grew to 2 billion active users every month.
On average, a user checks WhatsApp over 23 times a day. Better yet, you can be sure they will read your messages, as text messages have a 98% open rate. Did you know that Whatsapp will soon be integrated with Facebook? And then Instagram! Think of it like one big super chat app.
As a business account on Whatsapp, you can include a catalog (think products and merch), website information and email address within your profile. As a musician, you could link this up with new releases, your Spotify account or your website.
Whatsapp is the perfect platform to build profound relationships with your fans and followers. It allows them to feel more connected to you, having that backstage experience all through a messenger app. You can send a personalised greeting message, send out a broadcast message to your entire list or set up quick replies to respond to commonly asked questions. Whatsapp for business can be easily integrated into your website so you can start chatting right there and then.
Remember when celebrities and all of those huge artists just started giving out their phone numbers? Even Gary Vee got involved. Fusebop is a great text messaging platform where you can sign up for free and start collecting phone numbers. Once you’ve got your list all set up, it does turn into a paid process, but you can build your contact list for free right up until you’re ready to send your first message. Another great app to use for SMS marketing is GroupieText.
Having your favourite celebrity or musician’s phone number saved makes a person feel special, right? Like you’re on the inside of the friend circle.
That should be your goal when using chat apps.
We’ve seen a lot of changes happening on Instagram and Facebook chat. In September 2020, these were merged into Business Suite, allowing users to access their messages on both platforms in one handy place.
I’m sure you already use the DM features on Instagram and Facebook, but are you using them to their full potential?
A huge proportion of my product sales are done through Instagram messaging. I tend to get questions sent to me through Instagram, which I am able to answer in real time. This gives me the opportunity to send the person through to one of my products on my website, and hopefully complete the sale. The conversion rate is much higher with chats that start through DM’s, because of the direct conversation. It’s much more effective.
You can also set up messaging ads on Facebook to generate traffic into your inbox with an automated response. You could put together a personalised message to your audience, telling them why they should check out your recent song or upload.
Content Ideas for Chatbots & Chat Marketing
There are so many things that you can do with your chatbot on Facebook and Instagram.
Something that’s particularly hot this year for chat automations is quizzes. Why don’t you
involve your fans in a quiz and ask them to guess who you sampled on your new track? Or maybe have them answer some questions about you, to find out if they’re a real superfan or not.
The FAQ feature on Instagram (being rolled out as we type) and Facebook messenger means that your followers can start a conversation with you by tapping on a commonly asked question in the chat screen. It’s a simple way to kick off the conversation, and just as easy to set up your quick responses so you can answer in a timely manner.
When you set up your FAQ’s and responses, make sure you’re being strategic. The goal here is to impress your users, capture their attention and build trust in you and your brand. It’s all about the personal touch, and making your followers feel like they’re part of your tribe.
You can use the messenger features to strike up conversations with people who have signed up to join your Facebook event. Maybe for your next live gig (whenever that will be).
When you set up your event, just check the box that says ‘allow guests to message’. When your followers reserve a spot by clicking ‘going’, you’ll get a confirmation on messenger. And since you’ll have event responses on Messenger, you can engage with the users just as if you’re having a normal conversation.
How To Use Chatbots and Messenger Apps
- Lead Generation
I have a chatbot installed on my website that welcomes visitors to my page. In this chat box, I give them a few different options on questions they need answering and how I can help them further, and once we’ve started to build a little rapport, I swoop in and ask them for their email address, promising them more informative communication from me.
- Fan Nurture & Trust Building
I love using automated chats and messaging to build trust between you and your followers. I mentioned before the effectiveness of a quiz, and it’s so easy to implement.
For example, my coaching client Vera loves using different sound effects in her music. She could easily create a quiz and ask people to play the sample and guess the different effects that she’s using. And because you can send all types of content through messaging (photos, video, audio) you can switch up the things you do and keep it fresh.
Quizzes are a fun way for your current followers to get to know you better, in a more informal but interactive way. Imagine learning something new about an artist that you love, through a fun quiz on their Facebook or Instagram chat? You’d definitely feel like you had a stronger connection with them after that.
Keep your fans updated on your events, or whenever you go live. If you live stream a lot, and you have a strong fanbase, you can ask them to opt in to your chat marketing to get reminders whenever you’re going live.
Keep in mind that text marketing should be short and to the point. People don’t like to spend a lot of time reading long messages. Type how you talk and use emojis!
New track? No problem!
You can also use chat marketing for promotion. Whether you’re dropping a new single or setting up a collaboration with another artist, you can tell your fans about it through messenger apps.
- Weeding Out Unwanted Messages
Now, we all like to be appreciated, but there are certain times and places. Most of the time, you don’t want someone ‘sliding into your DM’s’. Automated messaging can help deter those who aren’t there with good intentions.
It’s important to remember that, with chat apps and automation, it’s extremely important to be very clear on your purpose. If someone signs up to your chat marketing, they should have a strong understanding of what you’ll be sending them on a regular basis.
If your sole intention is to promote your music, tell them! Or if you’re looking to engage with your fans through different messenger apps and give them more of a back-stage pass on your life as an artist, make sure they know that.
My suggestion — start simple.
Create a quiz or some basic FAQ’s to start testing messenger apps as an engagement tool before you commit to sending out content on a regular basis through chat. If you’re looking for help implementing this in your business, make sure to check out the Smart Music Agency. Or, if you’d like to learn more about how to do it yourself, then think about joining the Smart Launch Club.