8 Steps to Gaining More SoundCloud Followers
It's often hard to gain any following whatsoever, no matter how good your music is. It can often take months to gain even 100 followers, even if your are an active member of the SoundCloud community. Building a strong and passionate following on SoundCloud is a gradual, no immediate process, that will take time and commitment. I gained 100 followers in the space of a year, and it still continues to rise, using these tactics. However, it is a fact that some genres of music are more popular than others. If you compose for a very niche audience, don't expect that audience to grow as fast than someone composing EDM using the same tactics here.
1. Build a network of friends
Friends and family in real life are your best allies, as they will consistently be the most engaged in your work. They are the most likely to share your work with their friends, and through them you have a very large potential audience. Treat your friends as your 'core' audience, something to get started with and the ones who will consistently be the foundation of your following base.
Depending on what kind of music you make, it is a good idea to think about DJ-ing around the neighbourhood. This will help you make more friends and only grow your core audience. Many of your connections will be other DJ's too, who will often have quite a modest following that can easily become interested in your work too.
If you compose music not suitable for DJ-ing, try to find other ways to promote it in the real world. Small concerts, performances and collaborations are other great ways to increase your core audience and make more friends interested in your work.
2. Regularly tag your work
It's very hard to gain followers if those potential followers cannot find your work. Tagging in SoundCloud is a powerful tool, as anyone who searches a particular tag might come across your work. Tagging is also a good way for listeners to quickly determine if they are interested in your work. For example, look at the two images below
The vast majority of my followers compose similar music to mine (as is often the case), which is a cinematic/electronic epic fusion. Thus, tagging one work as "Cinematic" will greatly increase the number of people who listen that particular work, as opposed to tagging it as "Jazz", which many would be less interested in. Of course, the disparity is not expected to be as much as shown here, since one piece was posted several months and several hundred new followers after the old one.
It is a good idea to tag your work with both the 'mainstream' tags and more niche ones to broaden your possibility of drawing in an audience.
3. Engage with your audience - message and comment regularly
If you listen to someone's work and like it, it is often best go go above and beyond just hitting that 'like' button. Commenting on their work will often get them to listen in your work in return. This is a fast and easy way to gain new followers, but keeping them is harder still. Engaging in their work in the long term will help to guarantee that they become an avid follower of your work, becoming part of your core followers.
Messaging someone is also a good idea, but don't go overboard and spam everyone. Every message should be sent for a particular purpose, either praising them, asking them a question about their work or asking for help on yours. Simply attaching your work in a message and asking them to listen will get you nowhere and will often work against your favour. Messaging is also a very good way to keep in touch with your followers
4. Collaborate with others
Messaging is also a good way to ask someone if they want to collaborate with you. Collaborations can go a long way, accessing two or more possibly unique audiences that can become part of your own. Collaborating with other composers is a great way to gain new experiences and learn new things, as well as adopt their audience as your own.
5. Create good visuals
If you're going to photoshop someone else's photo, make sure that it is in the public domain!
A good logo and good image accompanying your work will catch the eye of potential listeners. Keep the logo consistent too, so you are more recognisable by your followers. It's easy to create good visuals yourself using Photoshop or similar programs. It's also possible to create decent logos by overlaying photos in Word, although that can be a lot more tedious.
Otherwise, it's easy to get a logo designed for you, but it will cost some money, depending on the difficulty and quality of the logo that you want.
6. Soundcloud groups
Posting your work regularly to many Soundcloud groups is a good way to get new exposure to your music. There are many numbers of Soundcloud groups that are for general works, ones directed for much more niche styles and everything in between. Creating your own group is a good way to get even more exposure, as quite often people will check out the group moderator's work.
Forums are he unsung hero of music promotion, if done right. Find a good forum and become friends with a few people on it. Generally smaller forums are better as you can become more well known. People are more likely to check out a familiar name, and you can acquire more people in your core following. Similarly, Facebook and Google+ communities can be effective, but typically have much less engagement than that of active forums.
8. Make good music!
This should go without saying, but the better quality music you make, the more likely it is for people to share that music. It's ok if your production quality isn't stellar, but it can go a long way to make a good piece sound great. No-one is going to be interested in listening to an 8 minute monotonic drone, but will be interested in listening to a dynamic work with an interesting melody and unique texture. If possible, try to post this music on a steady schedule too. I've found that posting a work approximately once a month is a good way of retaining audience.
Check out my compositions here!