Swipe Right: I Marketed Myself on Tinder

Dylan Young
December 11, 2015

I’m a musician. Recently, I embarked on my first-ever trip leaving the U.S. to perform in Canada. Not only was this my first departure, but also the first time I was performing outside my country. This was huge for me.

Hi! That’s me.

I wanted to make my first Canadian performance a lucrative one, so I thought, “How can I get people to come to my show when I don’t know anyone out there?!

That’s where Tinder came into play.

By now, we all know the basic gist of Tinder: Hotties in your current location appear in a card-stack formation, and you choose whether you “like” them or not via swiping left or right. If two users like each other, they can connect, chit chat, set up coffee dates, etc. However, the free, ad-supported Tinder limits the amount of likes you give out and has a pretty small geolocation radius.

Tinder Plus, on the other hand, allows users to swipe anywhere in the world and offers unlimited likes, among a few other neat features for a monthly subscription.

The Method

It was about a week and a half before my performance that I cringed and charged my student checking account to pay for a month of Tinder Plus. This reaction subsided as I then quickly got to work creating a short bio detailing how I’m a singer-songwriter coming up to Canada to perform and so, I began swiping right to everyone who appeared in  as I filtered for potential matches in Toronto, ON.

If you ever see this profile, I may just want you to listen to my songs.

After multiple bursts of this absent-minded right swiping throughout the next few days, I had hundreds of matches. Not only was this a huge ego boost, but also I saw hundreds of potential #fans to get out to my show.

This is where I was faced with a moral dilemma: How am I going to approach this? Should I be all flirty? Or strictly business?

I decided to go down the business route. I thought it may be problematic had I decided to flirt with 50 people, for example, make implications, and then have these 50 people come out and tear me apart. I just didn’t have the stomach for deceit, so I would simply start a conversation with my match and then after chatting a bit, plug in a little promotion.

I thought it would be prudent to “soften” these Toronto Tinder users up a little before saying, “Hey! Come to my show!”

Christine seemed interested in a little bit more than coming to my gig.

The Result

After several days of this chit-chat to show plug-in, I had begun generating solid interest and matches were telling me how they were thinking of coming out with their friends. I felt I had done a decent job at building awareness; I estimated at least 15 to 20 people coming out for me.

However, this sense of accomplishment soon disappeared on the night of the show where only one of my matches came out with her friend. Adding insult to injury, they left before my set.

My Tinder campaign wasn’t as successful as I had hoped. The match that did arrive texted me hours later, claiming she did not have the $5 cover to get in, which is why her and her friend left.

I did get a bunch of “Omg! I’m so sorry I didn’t come out because ________” texts the next morning. This was comforting because after all, I was successful at creating interest. In a classic Tinder move, potential online fans react similarly to potential online dates.


These results made me wonder: Would I have been more successful at drawing in heads if I decided to flirt with all these matches?

I think the answer is yes.

But this, of course, would have its negative implications in the fact that many of these matches would arrive with the same idea in mind. Unfortunately, there’s only one Dylan Young to go around, ladies.

So yes, in the short term, it would have been a win: I would have ended the evening with a larger takeaway from ticket sales. But in the long term, I would have created scorned Tinder users and obviously, that hurts the possibility of building a legitimate fan base in Toronto, which is kind of the whole point of travelling to Canada in the first place!

So the benefit of me taking the “professional” or “business” route worked out in the long term. In the short term, I didn’t get the attendance I had hoped for that night, but I did gain followers on social media from matches, those who couldn’t make it and random people at the show, which creates the possibility of substantial attendance the next time I decide to venture out to Toronto.

Final Thoughts

This isn’t what I had in mind. 🙁

The interesting thing that myself and other folks have realized is that Tinder has more use than what it’s designed for. Many have used Tinder and found good friends, band mates or other buddies, while others have been successful in finding relationships and flings. We’re only now just realizing its potential in furthering one’s audience. 

Who knew you could accomplish so much through a dating app?

One more thought before I go, what makes Tinder marketing so compelling? I think it can be tied to a few things. For one, it’s exclusive interaction between two people – it makes for a more personal experience.

Also, the fact that you’re only communicating due to mutual attraction is intriguing – are we more likely to listen to someone we’re attracted to?

A study conducted by the University of British Columbia suggests that we are motivated to pay more attention to people we find attractive. It stems from curiosity, romantic interest, or a desire for friendship or social status – all of which are great in selling yourself to someone.

So would you try Tinder marketing? What would you use it for?