With the new blog, I wanted to take an opportunity to revisit this article from last year, about bands spamming fans, and expand upon it. This is definitely a music industry-related post, but it applies across industries and businesses. Take it to heart, and treat your fans and customers like friends, not people to spam. Oh, and you do’t think you’re spamming them? Think again.
Many of the social media posts I’ve made for Rockstar Mindset and Rock Band Success Coaching were inspired by this one article, so I also want to take the opportunity to restate a lot of those posts and expand upon them as well.
Like my team said, we love Cyber PR, so we will play nice on their guest, Joshua Smotherman of the ever useful Middle Tennessee Music blog. There’s a LOT of great things in this article about how your band is using social media incorrectly and what to do differently. This is HIGHLY important for bands to know, so please share. To quote the original article:
In an ideal world…
- Bands would stop acting like rock stars and start acting like leaders
- They would build self-sustaining tribes
- They would listen to their fans
- They would understand that growing organically will always win over view counts
..Unfortunately, this world does not exist.
Completely agreed. The focus needs to be on the fans and connecting/engaging with them. Sadly, the focus in general has earned bands the stereotype reputation of spamming their followers.
We’ll be quoting a bit from the original article, but you can read the whole original article here if you like:
Me, Me, Me Marketing
You need to engage with fans and listeners instead of blasting them with links, videos, and nonsense about buying your album.
Sadly, most bands qualify [as what the marketing world refers to] as spammers.
Joshua goes onto explain just how easy it is to engage with your fans by asking them questions, engaging in conversation, involving them in what you’re doing, etc. The focus is on building a community, not getting people to listen to you and buy your stuff.
Please, stop spamming your fans! Also, you don’t have to share something about yourself before engaging in conversation. Your fans have other hobbies and interests besides your band, or even besides music. Pin down the interests you share with your fans, then talk, share, and ask about those things as well as band stuff.
Why is it that so many bands ONLY talk about themselves? Have you ever had a conversation where all the other person did is talk AT you and all about them? It’s worse than Spam mail! Sure, you want to like them, you want to relate to them, you even want to be a friend and a help, but the relationship is very one-sided.
Here’s what I usually see and expect from bands, rather than actually engaging me:
- “Check out our new song!”
- “New track up, let us know what you think!”
- “Vote for us!”
- “Help us…” …do whatever it is we think is cool because we’re totally awesome!
And the list goes on, especially on LinkInMyFace or letters to gatekeepers. Notice a pattern? Why do bands expect anyone to pay attention when they only talk about themselves? What if instead they talked about how it would benefit the person they’re talking to? What if you talked about what that person likes; about their life; about what they’re doing?
Focusing on the wrong metrics
More important than a follower, view, or like:
- How many fans have signed up for your mailing list?
- Do you pass around a mailing list signup sheet at your show?
- How many people have you met at shows? (You do hang out with the audience after the show…right?)
- How many people have bought a CD or t-shirt?
Stop putting all your energy into increasing numbers on social sites and focus on converting the followers you have into loyal fans.
A mailing list is definitely thousands of times more valuable than social media followers. You can personalize the emails. That email is from you, not mixed into thousands of social media posts all competing for attention, and often getting list in the mix – or worse, not even being shown to them in the first place. People on your mailing list gave you permission to contact them directly. They told you to email them. And every relevant email you write can and should invite them to engage with you in some way.
The problem is that people are afraid of being spammed, because..well…that’s what bands are known for. Hell, that’s what most business mailing lists are known for.
Prove that you are different. Truly connect with them in person, on your blog, or wherever you’re asking them to sign up. And while you’re at it, make your incentive to signup irresistible to your ideal fan. Go far beyond the free song or short report that everyone else seems to be offering. Go big, go relevant, and go extremely valuable from THEIR point of view. Have you asked your fans what they think would be incredibly cool to get from you for free? Have you made suggestions and measured their response?
Repeating yourself on every social network
People who use Twitter are different than people who use Facebook and the people who use Google+ are not like the others.
It is imperative you consider these facts when developing a social media strategy and act accordingly.
Make sure you actually use social media as a music fan before deciding how to market your music using these tools.
It can definitely be overwhelming for people that follow you on every network for you to post the exact same thing in each place and treat each network as if people interact the same on each one. To be honest, your ideal fan will gather mostly on a single social network, and you need to be right there with them. Know precisely where you ideal fan hangs out online and engage them there. Also, learn about how each social network works differently than the others. Once you start using them as they are truly intended, you might find out that you like engaging people on all of them for different reasons.
Sell Without Selling
If you focus on building a community around your band instead of acting as a bulletin board, you will start noticing the true power of social media.
Highly and very clearly define what your ideal fan looks like: their interests, their other hobbies, where they hang out, what they like to do with their day, and in what ways they are similar to you. Start learning about who THEY are. Most of the time, you’ll find that the people you naturally attract are a lot like the very people you like to hang out with in general. And like the people you hang out with, you share similar interests, values, and hobbies.
If you feel the need to constantly tell your fans and potential fans to check out your band or something new you put out, then you’re missing the point and power of truly engaging and connecting with people. Instead, ask them what their favorite band, song, or video is. Ask them what they’re doing this weekend, or something related to your ideal fans’ hobbies. Of course, share what you have with them too. But let it be a two-sided relationship, rather than constant spam about how awesome you think you are. If you want to promote something, add a lot of value first.
In fact, offer your fans something of value every time you interact with them. At a show, they expect music and a good performance. In your sales, they expect great music and merchandise. On your social networks, they expect you to share cool and interesting things, make them feel special, ask them questions, and be a part of their everyday lives. On your website, they expect news, posts that are more personal and intimate to you, and information that helps them interact with you more. And on your mailing list, they expect free stuff, cool offers, and special notes that show you’re thinking about them and care about their interests. Notice that nowhere in the above did I mention what amounts to spam about your shows or new releases. If you want to promote something, add a lot of value first. And believe it or not, people highly value the opportunity to connect with you and share with you about who they are.
- Build your tribe
- Nurture your community
- Stop acting like a corporate sales machine
GO TO your fans, ENGAGE with them, and build FRIENDSHIPS.
And remember, friends don’t let friends spam each other.
Don’t forget to pick up Rockstar Mindset’s Band Booster Pack for free, for more great tips on getting bigger shows, building your fan base, and growing your band’s career.
*image by Jason Howie