3 Social Media Fan Scenarios That Musicians Frequently Get Wrong

Social-media-is-sound-CRE-marketing-practiceSocial media has closed the gap between artist and fan and given rise to greater accessibility than ever before, however if artists handle this new level of interaction poorly, the effects can be highly detrimental to the artist's online image and overall career.


Guest Post by Amy Sciarretto on the Sonicbids Blog

Years ago, a colleague told me that he hates how social media has diluted music journalism. When he was a teenager and Aerosmith was playing MSG in NYC, he would find out what Steven Tyler was doing beforehand by reading the cover feature in a magazine that was published after the fact, in which the writer was granted unfettered access to the band and then shared it with the fans.

Nowadays, that mystique (and the media filter through which it’s funneled) is long gone, since you can find out what every band member is doing at any time because they tweet or Instagram about it. Social media leads to accessibility.

Bands and fans interact directly on social media, and that can be a beautiful thing, since it deepens the personal connection between the fans who are an artist's lifeblood. However, it can also be a major nightmare, especially if a fan gets too close or if the relationship goes awry.

Here are some hypothetical situations and how to handle them when dealing with fans on social media.

1. You want them to repost something


You released a cover song and you want your fans to share on Facebook, retweet it, or post it on their socials because you want it to spread and go viral among your fanbase, or to catch attention from the music industry. You send a mass tweet saying, "Hey guys, share this."

Good or bad?

Bad. First off, there needs to be a "please" and a "thank you" in there. There also needs to be a call to action. Why do they need to share it? Tell ‘em. Give them a reason to get on board. You should write, "Let's get this song trending! Please retweet to all your friends." That’s an appropriate ask. But what's more effective is tagging a select few of your biggest fans directly. Reach out to them with a personal, single tweet or follow and direct message them, and ask them to do it. Chances are, they’ll be so stoked at the personal communication and contact that they’ll go ham.


2. You want them to stop overzealous or negative posting


You have a fan who’s either angry about something you said or did or a follower who’s just young, overzealous, and keeps "LB"ing ("like back") your feed and harassing other fans. Or suppose there’s a fan who tried to get your autograph at a show, and it didn't happen, so he or she is flooding your feed with negative comments, expressing frustration. You send a threatening tweet, suggesting legal action if that person doesn't stop with the nonsense.

Good or bad?

That's, like, really bad. It could scare the "fan" into stopping, sure. But it could be like adding an accelerant to a raging fire. It's also a last-ditch resort. Don't go there unless you must. Try directly reaching out and trying to fix the matter one on one. If whatever made the fan mad requires an apology, give a sincere one.

If it is a case of a tweet-happy fan who needs to take things down a notch, politely ask him or her to chill. Be friendly and be nice, but also be firm. Do it privately as well. Posting a tweet on your main feed and tagging him or her for all of your other fans to see, which could cause them to pile on, isn’t a good idea. Be kind, firm, and discreet.

If it still doesn't stop, then you have to perhaps get serious and mention that they need to consider the consequences of their actions. That's a vague way to suggest you might take matters into legal hands.

3. You want to maintain direct contact


A fan tweets at you and you follow him or her back. If it's your biggest fan, whose wallpaper or phone skin is your album cover or logo, why not reach out and send a DM? "Hi, thanks for being one of our biggest fans! Let us know if there is anything we can do for you."

Good or bad?

Bad. Wait… why? Well, I'll tell you. Be careful with ambiguous language in that sort of interaction, because that can mean something very different to fans than it does to you. You don't want them to be expecting something and then get disappointed in a roundabout way. So in conversing with fans, be specific. Like, "Hey, can we send you a signed poster?" You’ll get a lot more mileage out of your relationship with your fans that way. Remember, they keep the wheels of this machine turning.

Here are your main takeaways: be kind, be accessible, be specific when the situation calls for it, and be firm when you need to be.

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Amy Sciarretto has 20 years of print and online bylines, from Kerrang to Spin.com to Revolver toBustle, covering music, beauty, and fashion. After 12 years doing radio and publicity at Roadrunner Records, she now fronts Atom Splitter PR, her own boutique PR firm, which has over 30 clients. She also is active in animal charity and rescue.

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