How New Musicians (And Others) Fail At Social Media
Social media can be an unknown musician’s best friend. There are endless sites to connect with fans, share your music and even raise money to fund a tour or album launch. I have worked to promote numerous bands and singers in social media, and more often than not, I end up being contacted by hopeful singers and songwriters looking to expand their following and exposure. Very rarely do they say hello, they simply spam me with their music links believing that one listen will convince me to send a single tweet out that will bring in thousands of followers for them in 60 seconds. Sorry folks, but it simply doesn’t work that way.
The only way one shout-out can help you is if you’re already famous and people are just finding out you are on their favorite social media network. Even being retweeted by a famous person is not going to garner you much attention. The truth is people follow celebrities and bands because they love them…they don’t necessarily love the other people that follow that famous person. They rarely care about the people that celebrities talk to. All they care about is that their idol follows them and talks to them.
Before you read too much further, let me just say this, if you believe that one tweet from anyone with tons of followers can rocket you to a concert tour and a platinum album, you can stop reading right here. Because I can’t help you. No one can. However if you feel that you are ready to work hard day after day to build an honest following of people who truly like you and your music…let’s start learning how musicians fail at social media and how to succeed.
Buying Fake Followers
There is no easy way to say it, buying followers only gives you huge numbers of robotic spam accounts that are worthless to you. They will not listen to your music. They will not read your concert tweets. They have no clue you even exist. And more than likely a few days, weeks or months down the road they will be inactive or deleted.
Take your time and build true followers and fans by engaging with others, and by searching for new followers with interests similar to you. Make friends with people that are interested in the things you are interested in. Don’t open with “listen to my new song” or “watch my new video” … instead chime in on a conversation they are having about a common interest. First impressions are very important, make every one of yours count. If you do make a good impression, they will look at your profile and then your website to find out more about you without you ever having to share a link. The goal is to be so charming that they have to know more.
Manipulating Fans Into Pushing You To Popular Musicians
New musicians should cherish each and every new follower. Every new fan opens you up to their network of friends. You should never take that for granted. But if you convince them to promote spammy tweets to popular musicians, manipulate them into tweeting duplicate tweets over and over for your benefit, you will soon find yourself losing fans. Some will be lost because they no longer want to be a part of your needy behavior, and some will lose their accounts because sending duplicate content will get them suspended. Bottom line: You should never try to push your fans to do something you would not (and should not) do yourself.
Spamming Your Videos and Links
If you are constantly pushing your music links, videos and concert dates, your feed can be a bit boring and cause you to lose followers (fans) fast. But it gets much worse when you are pushing the same content publicly and mentioning multiple users in tweet after tweet after tweet. You may believe that it doesn’t fall under spam because you repeatedly change the user names, but it is spam, and it will guarantee you that no one will want to follow you,and most people that receive these tweets will probably block you.
However, don’t forget that sending links in private messages is just as bad. Imagine if someone sent you messages every day like: have you heard my new song?, watch my new video, check out my new blog, sign up for my mailing list, be my friend on Facebook. It gets old very fast.
The best rule of thumb is to have links accessible in your profile, but only share content when it’s new and relevant, and share it publicly. And constantly create new videos, blogs and website updates to share in social media….no one wants to see the same information over and over again.
Don’t promise fans the world if they help you, unless you are sure you can follow through. Work to engage the new fan and show interest in them, and slowly build a lasting friendship that can create a long term fan. Promising fans they can be fan club presidents, get free tickets, or free private music that no one else has heard before can backfire… especially when you have no intention of following through, or worse yet if everyone is getting the same promises. (You do realize fans in social media chat with each other…right?)
If you do get signed by a label in the future, you may not be allowed to make these decisions alone. Focus instead on street teams, private meet and greets at your live events, and giving away t-shirts, CDs and downloads of your music openly in social media. The key is to get your name and your music out there, but you must do it in a creative way, not in some empty back-door deals and promises.
Creating fake back stories to get attention on television or to be mentioned in social media and blogs will come back to haunt you. No matter how well planned out your story is, at some point people will tell your secrets, and the truth always comes out. And in social media when the truth is revealed it will get ten times the attention the original story received.
Think about the country singer on America’s Got Talent that created the military hero persona, in the end he was crying. It never pays to lie. You may believe orchestrating an event from behind the scenes can bring you lots of attention, but if every detail is not true, someone will claim their 15 minutes of fame by revealing what really happened. Be real. Be honest. Be you…. and if you are truly talented people will want to know you, and listen to your music.
Piggy-backing On A Charity To Increase Your Celebrity
Charity is wonderful, no one will disagree with that, but forcing fans to buy your music to donate to charity is not so wonderful. If you support a charity, then support it openly… from your heart. Using a nation’s grief over a terrible tragedy, or sick children, or a devastating medical condition to promote your music career is wrong. Instead, plan to perform live for free at a charity event; leave direct links on your website of charities you support; or donate CDs, t-shirts or even live private party performances to auction off. Give without the expectation of a return for yourself. Give because it’s the right thing to do.
Only tweeting about you, your music, your videos, or your lunch is very revealing to followers. You are only interested in you… and people who are interested in you. Everything you do is calculated to bring you attention.
Read through your tweets and shares, both private and public, and see what others see. Do you see an interesting person…or a desperate individual?
Faking Your Way To A Full Email Subscriber List
Having fans subscribe to an email list is a great way to consistently keep people notified about new music, new concerts and new fan gear, but adding people to your mailing list that have not signed up on their own is spam. Don’t do it…ever. Do keep links on your website to ensure fans can sign up when they are ready to hear from you!
However, if fans are not signing up, you may need to rethink what you have done to get them interested. The best way to get people interested in signing up is to give them free downloads of your music in exchange for signing up. Picking two, preferably three songs to download free when they sign up for your newsletter will give fans the call to action they need to sample your music and hopefully keep them interested in what else you have to offer.
That’s all for now. But feel free to let me know about your social media successes and even failures in the comments below. After all, we are all in this together.