Hi, everyone! I received a really great question last week and was just going to make it a short reply , and then just couldn’t stop writing. So, I decided to make that Question and Answer my article content for this week. Here goes:
How to build a true internet following
Question: Do you have any good guides how to reach for true fans, how to build a true internet following?
My Answer: Well that is definitely a very good question! I don’t really believe that there is a specific guide to follow in order to obtain “true fans”, it really depends on your style and your voice. A jazz band can’t market themselves online the same way a black metal band would… it just wont work. I think to truly find the people who will care about your music or your business, you have to go where they already go and be REAL. People can definitely tell when you are just trying to sell your band or business and most of the time they might not care. If you are real and conversational, you will have much success in gaining fans and having lots of online interaction on your social networks.
With that being said, I think these tips will help get you started building a network of “true fans” or increasing the ones you already have!
1. Contact bands you are a fan of to ask about cross promotional opportunities. Find bands that you like online that have a similar follow as you do (or find blogs, radio stations, etc) and just write to them and say “Hey I like your music a lot and I think our fans would, too. Can I post a link to your music and social networks and you do the same for us with your fans?” IT IS THAT EASY! Use as many networks as you can! Don’t just message people and say “check out our free download” or “we are opening for XYZ band in two weeks, check out the show info”. Bands talking only about themselves is a thing of the past with social networking. If you are boring or only care about what YOU are doing and post the same type of posts over and over, people are not going to pay attention to you, even if your music or product is great.
2. Pick one LOCATION per week that you can post on Facebook or Tweet about. This means making a post about where you had pizza, got your guitar worked on, or maybe you tried a new bar. It doesn’t even have to be related to music at all. This may seem lame at first, but it will work. Make sure you TAG the location (on both facebook and twitter).
3. Be real in the language style you use for your posts. And vary your posts from short to long to questions to videos, to funny articles or pictures you have found online. And if you are looking for engagement on Facebook, pictures are the way to go.
4. PLEASE set up an email mailing list. I know the argument is that not everyone wants to sign up for them anymore, but most email services offer a text messaging option, too. You can collect emails and phone numbers and text your fans updates. Some fans still really like their emails, but it is nice to offer the texting option since that is a fairly new feature and fans tend to like it.
5. Reward fans with free downloads or contests. A lot of bands are offering free mp3 downloads these days, but set yourself apart by offering free mp3 downloads AND PDFs or JPGs of band photos, artwork, or even lyrics.
6. Even if you feel like no one is interacting with you, just keep on posting. As long as you keep posting regularly in combination with searching for websites and online forums related to your band, then eventually the fans will start rolling in. One way to keep up on this is to create an editorial calendar (I am actually going to write an entire article on this in the future). Just create a calendar in a spreadsheet or online, use a calendar program, or just buy a cheap calendar booklet… the idea is to just jot out when you have events coming up, recording, etc and then tailor your posts around the major things. Make sure you have something planned out for each day and when that day comes you wont be scrambling at the last minute to find something to post.
7. Join groups on facebook, find blogs that appeal to you that YOU want to read and be a part of and start commenting in those places. It is really disappointing to see so many bands SPAMMING the heck out of people and promoting themselves all the time, and that seems to be the “marketing strategy” of quite a few bands (and businesses). Be different than the spammers, and truly try to interact with people. Find out what their likes and dislikes are before you promote yourself. An easy way to get started with Twitter is to go to search.twitter.com and start searching for topics that you enjoy (movies, games, food, music), start following people and start interacting! Eventually you can tell people about your band and where to check you out, but ease into it and start REAL conversations first.
8. Answer fans right away! Please reply to fan questions and comments in a timely manner. This is so important, even if it is just to say “thank you” to someone for saying they like your music.
9. Keep in mind that fans care about things that you might not think are that important. I think almost every client I have ever had has said something similar to: “But we don’t have anything going right now, we don’t have anything to post about”. There is ALWAYS something. The bands and businesses that have a high rate of followers and engagement are the ones who don’t take themselves so seriously. Don’t feel like you only have to post about shows or band related things. Post like you would on your personal profiles… you still want to keep it professional, but if you also are conversational and real, more fans will be drawn to you! Even things that you think are stupid (like taking a picture of a vending machine at the place you are recording) will get a conversation going.
I hope that helps to answer your question, I could definitely go on and on 🙂 And I am sure there are many more ways than this to get “true fans”, but this is a sample of what I would do to get started. (And big thanks to whoever sent in the question!!)
After writing this article, it has inspired me to write other articles on how to create an editorial calendar and what to post about when you feel like you have nothing to say. So, look for those topics in upcoming newsletters and articles!
Featured – ION VEIN
This week’s featured band is ION VEIN! They have an awesome gig coming up next week as direct support for Symphony X!
Click on the flyer to the left for all show information and details about how to win 2 tickets to the show on Sept 13th at Mojoes in Joliet, IL!
If you haven’t had a chance yet to check out Ion Vein, they have a 3 song download available here: ION VEIN “IV1.0” FREE DOWNLOAD. Get yours now, because the download will only be available for free until September 27th.
From the band’s Facebook page: “ION VEIN’s new music is laden with infectious grooves, catchy hooks, dynamic shifts, and intense “in-your-face” musical and rhythmic energy. Coupled with vocalist Scott Featherstone’s melodically guttural vocal magic this creates a sonic experience that has been missing from modern heavy music for far too long, so be prepared to crank it loud!“
Check them out on Facebook and you might want to ask them about some cross promotional opportunities like I discussed in my article! 😉
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