The Pareto Principle, more commonly also known as the 80–20 rule, states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In business for example, 80% of a company’s profits tend to come from 20% of their customers, 80% of sales are made by 20% of the sales staff, and so on. For today’s music artist, this rule of thumb applies in a more indirect way in regards to how they should properly communicate with their audience.
And guess what? Fans want to interact with you! They're generally seeking those virtual pats on the back in the form of “Likes”, comments and retweets, but they certainly don’t want you bombard them with constant blasts of where and how they can spend their money on you. Besides, your true fans (your loyal 20%) will know all this stuff anyway because they’ve already subscribed to your mailing list.
How It Works
That being said, the 80-20 rule in regards to an artist's social media strategy should ideally work like this:
80% of what you say should be about things other than your music: These include things that speak of you as an individual, and how there are real people behind the band and/or brand. These can be posts about current events that are happening, other artists that you like (and that your fans will probably like too), or anything else that you think will entice them into commenting, liking, retweeting, etc…
20% of what you say should be about your music: Ultimately with social media, it’s a means to an end - you’re looking for fan retention and conversion. Keep them engaged so that when you do make your band announcements, they’re that much more impactful. Now that they have a better idea of who you are as an individual, they’re more personally invested in you and therefore want to see you succeed. Just be sure to keep it simple and avoid the "salesman" lingo.
Keep It Real
There was a terrific quote that I came across recently:
“Our lives are a series of defining moments, strung together by passing time.”
Not every post needs to be an epic post about how you've reached a new milestone. The world doesn't work like that, so drop the facade. Your approach to social media should be an extension of real world interactions you have with your fans. Think about it - the closest thing artists of the past had to social media were in-store appearances. And anyone who’s ever been to an in-store knows exactly just how “personal” those moments were; standing in line for two hours, getting 15 seconds with the artist (maybe a photo), and then telling your friends how you awesome it was.
Social media has made it easier than ever for an artist to nourish, and ultimately, manage their fan base. It has broken down the walls between artist and fan to create the possibility of a connection that was once never possible. To not capitalize on the true benefits social media has to offer is simply irresponsible at this point.
Have another viewpoint? Please leave your comments below.