In a previous post I talked about why it’s important that musicians interact with their fans. But how often should this be done? And for how long? Can managers, labels, or interns handle fan engagement for you? Here are 3 important things to keep in mind when developing a strategy for fan engagement.
1. AuthenticityFirst and foremost, communication with your fans must come from you, the artist, in your voice. Not your manager, label, or intern. People aren’t interested in hearing generic updates from your label or agent. They want to get to know your personality, hear about your experiences. Essentially, fans want to feel like they’re on the journey of your career along with you.
Now, can updates sometimes come from your manager/label/intern? Yes, but sparingly, and it should be made clear when the updates are not coming directly from you. For example, on Facebook and Twitter, any updates coming from your management/label could be tagged with “- Team Example Artist”. Nobody else should try to “sound” like you if they’re updating your social media profiles on your behalf.
2. ConsistencyConsistency is key when it comes to engaging with your fans. You can’t post an update on Facebook one day, then disappear for several weeks to come back and find that a bunch of fans responded with questions that you never answered. People will likely stop paying attention if you don’t have a consistent presence. There are tons of distractions out there, so to truly break through the clutter, you have to be consistent. Take some time every day to check your social media profiles, respond to fans, ask questions, and start conversations.
3. SustainabilityAnd finally, when it comes to fan engagement, you have to sustain it over the long term. Don’t expect immediate results. It might take months of being consistent to start seeing more quality interactions with your fans, which in turn could lead to new fans, more people at your shows, and increased sales.
There are literally thousands of distractions out there for people. But if you show up every day ready to engage with your fans in some way; answering a few emails, responding on Twitter, asking questions on Facebook, and you sustain that over months, then years, you will no doubt develop a solid fan base to give yourself the best opportunity to build a sustainable career.
Never Leave Your Fans HangingOne extremely important thing to keep in mind when it comes to fan engagement: never leave a fan hanging. If they email you, email back. If they leave a comment on Facebook, respond, or at least “Like” it. If they reply or ask a question on Twitter, respond back. A short answer or a quick thank you can go a long way in making that fan feel special, like they're an active part of your world.
As an artist, it really has become part of the job description to interact with your fans. And since fans now have access to an unlimited amount of music, if you leave them hanging, chances are, they can easily find an artist that won’t.
Hypebot contributing writer Dave Cool is the Director of Artist Relations for musician website and marketing platform Bandzoogle. Twitter: @Bandzoogle | @dave_cool