How to turn passive followers into an active audience

I’ve talked many times about creating connections and building relationships. Turning passive followers into an active audience. The starting place is usually on social media. But how can you cut through the noise? Ignite a spark of connection?

Why be more personal?

People seek connection and belonging. Whether that is online or offline. It’s a primal need for all of us.

For me, belonging came from my school music department and Brighton Youth Orchestra. It was the first time I felt that I belonged with a big group of people. It boosted my confidence. It taught me to love meeting new people and being part of a creative group.

You have an opportunity to create a sense of belonging with your content. Why? Because it is the strongest route for strangers to feel like they belong in your audience. When you have a supportive audience, you have a strong base to establish yourself as a recitalist.

Instead of going for the grandmaster vibe (who hardly acknowledges the audience). Show who you are. It help’s people connect with you and your content. They start to feel they can belong in your audience.

Jessie Grimes is a great example of going personal. She presents a chamber music performance series called “Jessie’s Homemade Garden Jam.” It’s set in her South London vegetable garden. You feel like you’re hanging out with her and her musical friends enjoying fantastic music. It’s been picked for support by the Royal Philharmonic Society Enterprise Fund Trailblazer, to continue her work. She now has over 500 followers for this series.

Alexandra Park, Hastings, curving path, green trees, grass and plants either side.

How personal do you need to be?

Being professional or being personal isn’t an on/off switch. It’s a spectrum that you place yourself on. It can change depending on the context. For example, you might be more professional at the Wigmore Hall vs online.

To find out where you are on the spectrum, look at the values you hold as a musician. This can give you the vibe. For example, my values are Honesty, Excellence, Generosity and Friendship. So I’m on the more personal end of the spectrum. , I want you to feel like you’re having a chat with me. If we meet in person, there wouldn’t be much difference.

Remember to present yourself in a way that feels comfortable to you. If you don’t, it will come across. It’ll alienate people away from you. You’ll know if you’re doing this because it’ll feel like wading through thick gloopy mud. When what you do, aligns with who you are, it all feels more natural and in a state of flow.

How can you be more personal?

I’m amazed by cellists Johannes Moser and Alban Gerhardt. They have recorded their practice sessions for their fans to watch on Facebook or Patreon. It is like peering into an amazing workshop. You get to see these cello greats work through the basics like any other human. You realise that they are kind of like you and me. Improving shifts, correcting intonation, working out rhythms. This type of content is known as behind the scenes. It can be a video, picture or short written post showing your audience what you’re up to.

Another place to add your personal touch is your small copy. For example the footers of your website and email newsletters. MailChimp is fantastic at adding this to their website. It sends out the signal that you are fully part of your audience’s experience. You can see my example at the bottom of this email.

In your digital recitals, you can show your personal side. JP Ekin’s does this with his digital recitals. He talks about the pieces with you and there is the added bonus of the ‘cat cam’. He now has over 2.5 thousand followers on Youtube.

These little personal touches spark a journey of deeper connection. This is crucial to building an active audience who will buy tickets for your performances.

In Summary

Being professional or being personal is not black or white. It is on a spectrum. You become more relatable to others when you show a more personable side to yourself. This is important because you want followers to develop into a supportive audience. When they feel they belong with you, you’ll have that support.

Use your values to gauge where you want to be along the spectrum. It wants to feel comfortable with who you are as a person.

Now you are ready to create content to show your personal side. This can be through behind the scenes posts. In your small copy, like footers in websites and emails. Or in your digital recitals.

Join the Digital Recitalist Weekly Email – a place that gives you practical advice, information and guidance so you can perform successful digital recitals and establish yourself as a recitalist.

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