[Editors Note: This article is written by Lauren Gill and originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog. Lauren is the founder and chief power specialist at Power Publicity, a marketing, branding, and public relations firm that empowers entertainment, nonprofit, and lifestyle brands.]
If you’ve ever come across a flyer for a show in a coffee shop window or tacked to an electrical pole that’s given you pause (and I bet you have), you can oftentimes thank a street team for its presence. You probably know that street team marketing is a form of guerrilla marketing used to raise awareness of music among target fans. Street teams were heavily used by hip-hop labels to promote their albums; they hired reps to hang up posters and flyers to let people in the streets know about their new releases. Today, many people find out about new music online from their peers, but you can adapt this old-school tactic of street team marketing to form your own digital street team and reap the same benefits, including sparking conversations about your music and generating a buzz online. Here are a few tips to help you build your own digital street team.
Who should be on your street team?
Your email list subscribers
Your fans who have subscribed to your email list have a more vested interest in you than people who simply gave you a like or a follow on social media. They signed up for your mailing list to stay updated on what you’re doing and to personally hear from you on a consistent basis. Send an email to your mailing list asking them to join your digital street team first. Once you have given your mailing list a chance to join your team, open up your street team to your social media followers. Create a signup form that asks your social media followers to provide their email address to join your team. This will help you to grow your mailing list.
Your best brand advocates are people who believe in you and love your music. Ask your family, friends, and of course, your fans to be part of your digital street team. These people already support you and would be willing to help.
People with influence
Your digital street team members function as your endorsers, so they must have a strong influence on your target audience. Having a strong influence doesn’t just mean having a large number of followers on social media. A strong influencer has a large following and the power to sway people’s thoughts and actions. Find tastemakers who have a strong influence, access to your target fans, and the ability to persuade people to listen to your music. Reach out to these people via means already in your life: Facebook, Twitter, even Instagram. Ask around and see who’s a friend of a friend’s mom’s cousin’s college roommate. You might be surprised how small your world actually is. (Six degrees of Kevin Bacon is not just a party game.)
What do you do once your street team is in place?
Give them marketing guidelines
Your street team marketing must fit within your overall marketing plan. While you want to give your team members freedom to speak from their hearts about your band, you need to give them guidelines on how to represent you. Your street team must communicate the same messages you’re communicating in your other marketing channels. For example, you release your new single, and you want your digital street team to help you promote it. Ask your street team to post your song at the same time with genuine comments. The more people who are talking about your music online at the same time, the more likely it is that you’ll generate a viral buzz.
Your street team members are using their spare time to help you out because they believe in you. Treat your digital street team well and compensate them. Reward them with free downloads, exclusive content, exclusive access to your concerts and events, merchandise, etc.