Today we’re excited to have the opportunity to share a blog post written by one of Marketing Zen’s content marketing interns, Matthew McFarlane. Matthew is an English major at the University of Missouri – Columbia. In this article, he gives musicians insight into how they can increase their fan base through online marketing. With the advent of the Internet and the current ability of its users to share music, legally or illegally, the way artists and bands market their music has changed dramatically. The ability of an artist to expand their listening base and find more fans across the country, and even the world, has increased exponentially, but the way those fans consume their music has changed as well. Without using the Internet to their advantage, an up-and-coming artist can be hurt by its disadvantages, namely piracy. Let’s take a look at some of the more creative ways a band or recording artist can make use of online marketing.Social MediaUsing social media to connect with fans is a must. There is no easier way to expand your fan base and keep them updated as to what you are doing. Someone who hears your biggest song might use Shazam to find out the name, and you want your website, Facebook, and Twitter pages popping up when they search for that song online.A like on Facebook allows you to update that person with new music, tour dates, and the newest merchandise you are putting out. Twitter lets you quickly and easily interact with fans on a personal basis. Thanking and interacting with your Twitter followers after a show is a fantastic way to build a larger following in the city or region. This is one of the first steps in getting your name and music to a wider audience.Start a BlogIt might seem crazy at first, but you have fans that want to know what you’re up to, when you’re recording the new album, or just want to hear some funny stories from the road. Updating a blog regularly is a great way to stay visible to fans and get them to revisit your music, even when you’re between albums. Behind the scenes photos of practice or travel establish a more intimate feel that might be lacking in your larger social media presence.Special OffersTry a special offer on your website with a free exclusive download. Advertise it on social media with a link, but have the download available on your website. This could be some kind of remix, acoustic number, or stripped down version of a popular song, but make sure it’s unique and something that will likely be shared by your fans.Special offers for those on your email list are also excellent ways to give people a reason to sign up, and to keep your emails from being moved to the trash without a second glance. Email newsletters might seem like old technology, but you can still use them effectively. They allow you to keep in contact with your fans over the long haul – no matter which social media site is in vogue five years down the line.In today’s industry, an artist or band needs to have a strong and active presence on social media if they hope to successfully market their sound. Engaging and growing a fan base is essential and easier than ever with the resources available online.