The advance in technology in recent years, coupled with the vast number of social media platforms, has offered many artists the ability to be in the spotlight constantly.
The unwanted side effect may be an oversaturation of the market, and only a true connection with the fans can address it.
It is becoming increasingly more important to engage fans on a personal level.
In the technologically driven mindset, one would believe that personal interaction is not particularly necessary. However, what seems to be providing the much-needed boost to many has been their panache for making fans feel more like friends or even family. This has become evident with the way many people speak about their artists. What used to consist of idol conversation obtained from a few select fan magazines has evolved into a more advance trade of intimate facts about the everyday life of an artist. The real question has become where one draws the line and does it really work. The short answer is yes, it really does work, but the level of sharing should still maintain your security. There are several things to point out with both answers.
The largest and most effective connection an artist can make is a face-to-face meeting
Either while selling merchandise when they are first starting out or meet and greets can be very beneficial, but they should also be approached very carefully as well, as otherwise at some point the crowd can grow exponentially and make it impossible for the band to meet everyone.
Relationships with fans are symbiotic, NOT parasitic. The relationship should be mutually beneficial.
Giving back small details or some attention develops a report between fans and artists and promotes both merchandise sales and music purchases. It also fosters loyalty. In my personal experience, having held meet and greets for festivals where artists were able to talk to fans, it created an environment where patrons seemed almost obligated to make a purchase in exchange for the time allotted to chat and take photos. This one simple act leads to many artists selling out of merchandise. Taking photos with fans leads to more social media posts, and results in many new, albeit passing, connections. Equally as important is the interaction on these social media posts.
According to the book “Socialmediology” by Jay Izzo, having individual pages, in addition to official artist pages, can be a large boost to if used in tandem. Maintaining the individual pages can be a challenge. It is always safer and easier to have the professional pages, but in truth, most of the information on them mirrors what the artist public relations is sending to all the news outlets. It is available from so many places that most fans have read it before the artist can post it.
The key to all social media is sharing
If a fan feels that they have some unique information, it gets shared. The next fan sees the share and shares it again and so on. Short, entertaining, slightly personal posts are the most engaging. Keep them light and positive. It is important to have a clear understanding that - as public personalities - artists should try to avoid alienating fans with polarizing posts on pages geared to them, including the personal ones. Some artists even maintain more than one personal page, with the second being for close family and friends hidden far from personal view. Keep actual locations to a minimum, unless it is pertaining to a show. Use common sense. If it is not something that should be shouted down the street, it is best kept off social media.
The reasoning behind using a personal account seems obvious, but in reality, most people still have a difficult time understanding analytics, and other forms of the money-making social media.
Phrases such as “on sale now”, “on tour” and even “free” get caught up in the wide marketing net and muted from most all newsfeeds. This was somewhat avoidable by using static images containing the words in the past, but now software is beginning to be adapted to catch those things as well. The days of a business Facebook page, for example, being cheap and effective are essentially over. The more you pay, the more you get. Using the person page to supplement the public page can help create the bridge to avoid such costly marketing. Seeing a few simple everyday photos can help bring more loyal fans to the public page.
Now more than ever, it is essential to take a more grass roots stance for success. Being in the public view or having conversations with followers and new potential fans is necessary. Nothing happens without the fans.