Recently, I was searching an artist’s social media sites to try and come up with interview questions for them. They didn’t have a large following or heavy interactions and it got me thinking about how they can connect to their fanbase.
Unless you’re a really huge artist and all your songs go to #1, you’ll probably have to spend some amount of time connecting with fans on social media. Not everyone likes to be on social media a lot, which is definitely understandable. For one, it’s time consuming and as an artist there’s a million other things you have to do, not to mention living a life outside of being an artist – with friends and family.
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However, as a smaller artist or one that might not have had much exposure, social media is the only way to really spread the word about your music and who you are. Country Artist, Kelleigh Bannen stated recently that it’s difficult to connect with fans when you’re releasing a single every 18 months. In an effort to keep that connection alive, Bannen started her own blog ThisNashvilleLive.com where she talks about everything from music to fashion to work outs! She also takes the time to reply to fans on twitter or simply just favorites a lot of tweets.
Favoriting tweets is a great way to connect with fans with minimal effort. You don’t have to reply to every single person, but the fans at least get the sense that you are seeing what they are writing you and you appreciate it.
The smaller the artist is, the more they have to work to build up their fan base and following. As you start to grow as an artist and your fan base widens, you won’t have to do as much, but you still need to keep the interactions alive.
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It’s like this; imagine you’re a fan and you’re following an artist who’s music you enjoy. Say they only tweet every so often. Maybe after a show, thanking fans who attended (always a good idea), or when they release a new song or music video, or maybe they post photos every now and then about their lives. Well that’s cool and all, but if the only time you’re going to be tweeting doesn’t connect the fans to the artist, it’s not really productive. If you want the fans to download your music, to RT you and share things, you have to give a little to get a little. That’s why interactions are so important.
Another thing I feel strongly about it staying humble and remembering how hard you had to work to get to where you are. Remember how hard it was for your publicist (or maybe you’re your own publicist) to get any kind of promo for your music. To get sites to list you on an “artist to watch” list or review your new single. I recently had an artist personally email me asking me to do a review of their album. That’s the kind of hard work it often takes to get your music heard.
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Now let’s talk about the small sites vs the big sites. It’s pretty much the same as a small artist vs a big artist. Everyone wants to be on the big sites, they feel honored if they talk about them or mention their music. It is exciting after all to be able to expand your audience with their promotion. So you RT their articles and their interviews and maybe you favorite another interview you did from a smaller site no one has really heard of. That smaller site is you! The smaller sites, who were at one time the only ones willing to write about someone they’ve never heard of and give your music a chance and now they are getting scoffed because their audience isn’t as big.
Now, that’s not to say you have to RT every media outlet who writes a review of your work, but at least if they take the time to interview you, whether it be via email, phone or in person during a big festival… the least you could do is share that with a quick RT. It takes only a second but it means so much. You see, when those smaller sites start getting ignored, it does feel personal. Here they are championing you and have been there watching your career as it’s beginning to rise and then they get ignored because they aren’t prestigious enough. All that does is make them not want to promote your music because you no longer seem genuine. You know how it feels to not be heard, to feel like no one is taking your music seriously. You know you can reach people with your music if given the chance. That’s how smaller sites feel too, they’ve got a voice and often times they are the ones writing the most passionate articles, the kind that gets people to listen because of how much they believe in you.
Another way to connect with fans is by sharing photos directly on social media sites. That means, if you have instagram you can’t just press “share to twitter” and call it a day. The post on twitter shows a link and that not only makes your twitter feed look less appealing it’s also less inviting. It takes a lot for someone to click a link, and you’ll get more RTs and favorites if you post the actual picture on twitter. Plus that way fans know you took the time to open twitter and check it and you’re not only using instagram. It’s also the perfect time to check your interactions and favorite some tweets!
Fans also want to see a real side to you. Sure it’s cool to see all the fun places you get to travel and the people you get to meet, but they don’t connect with that. They connect with you being a regular person who shops at Target and takes the dog for a walk. The most mundane moments in your day are the most relatable ones.
Snapchat is another great way to connect with fans, it’s probably the best part of social media in the sense that fans can feel like they’re a part of someone’s day. There’s things you shares on snapchat you wouldn’t share anywhere else and all in a dog filter! No but really, you can snap you cooking dinner, or walking to soundcheck and wanting to say hi. It’s short and quick and you can make multiple snaps a day without clogging anyone’s feed because it all shows up as just one post.
As Lori McKenna and Tim McGraw would say, “Always stay humble and kind.” At the end of the day, to get your songs on radio and up the charts you need the fans to call and request. Show them you’re someone worth picking up the phone and dialing for in an age of texting and tweeting. Happy connecting!