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Dear Musicians: Conversation Is The New Connection

Image1-fansAlthough interacting with fans via social media is often touted as an excellent way to expand one's fanbase, and one of the best ways to do this is take a genuinely conversational approach to how you interact.

By Leonard Patterson of IndieBandCoach
It’s an interesting balance between you and your fans. They feed off of you as much as you feed off of them. And sometimes, just sometimes, if you’ve got an engaged group of people that have bought into your “thing”, they might even know you better than you do yourself.
 
All that aside, from a social media standpoint, it was never meant to be a replacement for real interaction, but a compliment. So one of the best ways to treat our glorious social media landscape isn’t as a channel to merely broadcast our thoughts and promote our next show, but more so as a place to converse with our followers and fans.
 
Social media is a method of conversation, 
not a replacement for it.
 
So when you're having a quick conversation with someone in person, do you normally start with a broadcast? Or might it be a question? Even if it’s considered “small talk”, a good habit to get into is asking your fans questions and giving them a chance to respond, interact, and engage.
 
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it: Ask your fan’s opinion to get objective feedback, spark up a conversation, and maybe even do some market research while you’re at it.
 
Here’s a quick list of social conversation prompts to start with…
  • Where do you like to see live music?
  • Which t-shirt design do you like the best?⠀
  • What’s your favorite song on our latest cd?⠀
  • Do you prefer to download music (iTunes, Amazon) or stream (Pandora, Spotify?)⠀
  • What venue would you like to see us play?⠀
  • Which cd artwork would you pick for our new cd?
  • What other bands do you like to see?
  • Who’s your favorite (genre related to you) artist?
Image2-qmarkWhat other questions have you used? And now — what do you do with the results?
 
Some of the questions are just letting them into your process like if you have multiple merch designs you’re thinking about — a new t-shirt or your iTunes cover art (see new Facebook poll options below). Yeh, you might already have a favorite, but why not give them a chance to give you some input? You never know what gems you’ll uncover and (heaven forbid), you get a negative response to the option you were originally thinking about.
 
If there’s one thing people have plenty of - it’s OPINIONS.
 
If someone gives you a venue recommendation, follow up with them and find out why they like it (and more importantly) if they’ve got a contact there. You never know who’s connected to gatekeepers in your area.
 
It’s happened on numerous occasions where we’d be in a conversation with someone and realize that we were only 1 “warm” degree of separation away from an introduction to a talent buyer or committee chair.
 
One of the polls we would post on social media every few months was pretty simple and something we KNEW our folks would have an opinion on: “what song(s) would you like to see us cover next?”
 
We obviously couldn’t fulfill all of the requests, but there were some awesome answers and we knew we had a winner when there was a song or two with multiple votes!
 
Image3-checklistAnd speaking of voting…
 
Using Polls & Surveys
 
If you want to kick it up a notch, you could also think about creating a poll or survey. It shows your followers that you care about their opinions, which in turn helps to build trust and loyalty, which will help strengthen your brand (band) image.
 
There are several tools that exist for you to get input and ask structured questions. Obviously, you can format them pretty easily inside a Facebook post.
 
If you want to go a little deeper, a couple options that are easy to set up (and free) are Survey Monkey and Google Forms. 

Facebook has also made it suuuper easy to create polls on your music page.
 
Image4-createpoll
 
There’s even an option on your music page to create an image poll. Put two images side by side and have your fans vote!
Image5-imagepoll
 
 
At the time of this being published, Facebook will only allow for two options. But regardless of what method you use, get creative and most importantly — have fun.
 
Your fans want to see you succeed! They want to be a part of your success story and just need you to ask them the question (whatever that is). So don’t be afraid to get their attention by getting their input.
 
Conversation is the new connection. Ok, technically, it always has been, but we tend to forget stuff every now and then. Enjoy the journey!
 
#WorkSmarter #GigHarder
Leonard Patterson

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