This year, our holiday parties and Christmas shows are going to look a little different.
While we might be dreaming of a big party indoors with tons of treats and potluck style sharing, topped off with a night of holiday-themed cocktails and a 4-hour show to celebrate, it’s just not really possible this year.
Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t put on an incredible show for your fans. After all, most of us have been figuring out how to make this whole thing virtual for the past year anyway—and you’ve done it successfully! Learning how to get on IG Live for a 30-minute performance or sell tickets via another platform, learning to engage with and entertain your fans, even when you aren’t right there with them ahs been an incredible skill and honestly a great way to meet fans where they’re at—which, right now, is their homes.
Plus, think of the benefits. Not only are you saving yourself a commute to and from the venue, and having to drag all your gear back and forth, but the big one is that you get to reach more people—it doesn’t matter if they live in your city or not, now all your fans can join you. That’s an incredible benefit that live shows can’t have.
So, ready to embrace your inner holiday cheer? Check out how you can put together a memorable holiday performance for your fans. And the best part? These don’t require a ton of advance coordination. You could read this article today and throw your show next week!
Let’s dive in.
Run giveaways throughout the night
One really fun way to keep your fans engaged is to run a giveaway that happens throughout the night. It keeps them staying for the full performance (which they no doubt would anyway but, you know, this doesn’t hurt) and if they find themselves distracted by other things (because it is our phones and computers we’d be on after all) this reminds them of why they’re there.
For instance, say your virtual show is an hour and a half long. At the start of the show you announce what you’re planning to do and then every 30 min or so you could give away a different prize. You could make it three of the same prize (a bundle of merch for instance) or two smaller prizes leading up to a bigger prize (like, a sticker pack for the first prize, a shirt for the second, and a full merch bundle + two tickets to an upcoming show for the third)
It’s a great way to keep things fun and interesting and keep fans engaged.
Bring in special guests
Part of the appeal of an in person show is that it’s not just you, you bring your friends, and those friends just happen to be other talented musicians. So why not do that for your virtual show as well? Invite other bands (local or otherwise—remember this is virtual so there’s no reason not to invite some out of state bands you’ve been wanting to collaborate with) to come perform with you. It also encourages fans to stay throughout the performance, similar to the above option.
Even having just 1-2 other bands on there with you, each performing a 15-20 minute set will help give the show added layers and interest, and help bring you new fans, as well as introducing your fans to new favorites.
Build up the hype
Why not go beyond the normal “we’ve got a show coming up!” banter on social media and instead do something outside the box like say, an advent calendar or 12 Days of (band) where you do giveaways, or fun facts, or 12 days of going live, or anything you think your fans will like, that also brings awareness to the upcoming performance and drives ticket sales/views.
Offer a VIP experience
If you can do it in person, there’s a way to do it online, and VIP experiences are no exception! You can offer VIP tickets for super-fans that include things like exclusive merch bundles, access to the show ½ hour early to chat with the band, maybe tuning in to a secret session where the band performs their fan’s favorite songs, ability to have a song request during the show, etc. Just make sure your VIPs know how special they really are, through this VIP experience.
Decorate your performance space
Look, just because you’re probably going to be coming at us from your living room doesn’t mean it needs to look like your living room The Front Bottoms did this really well in their Twitch performances early on in the pandemic, really going all out with decorations in their performance space. A few lights and cardboard cutouts from the party store really go a long way.
Remember, your fans want to escape reality just as badly as you do during this show—so spend some time creating a fun atmosphere for them to get excited about, and make it feel like a real, live, in person show.
A little bit of creativity goes a long way here—and if the holidays aren’t exactly the time for a little magic and creativity, i don’t know what is.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placements on Alternative Press, American Songwriter, Noisey, Substream, Spotify and gone on to sign to major labels and tour nationally. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.