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February 22, 2013

Step 7: Work hard to maintain those relationships


VIP 015

The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is
not what we say 
or what we do, but what we are.

- Stephen R. Covey

Most musicians think that their job is to get on stage and play the best music they can. That's true - but it's only part of the story. If you want to turn your love of music into a career, your work does not stop when you leave the stage. You need to meet people, impress them and make them want to see you again. Make regular contact with fans, peers and colleagues just for the sake of touching their lives again (see Step 8 'Novelty').

This needs to happen online and offline; face-face and in virtual space; with a little bit of give and a little take - like any relationship. When you meet people who see you as successful, offer to help them and take up their reciprocal offers of help. Asking many people for a little help each makes for a mighty pool of labour for your business and is much easier to do than finding one source of lots of help. This is how you allocate the 30% of your time to telling people about what you've done.

After the show. You've just played a kick-ass show and you have the crowd in the palm of your hand. NOW is the time to really make it count - and it's a great opportunity to make sure people know about your CDs, merch, etc. Although this may feel awkward or unnatural at first, many artists say it becomes the most rewarding aspect of their careers. Sammy Hagar and Tupac are famous for spending hours after each show just hanging with fans. The biggest acts get to charge fans extra for the privilege of 'VIP access'.

Emails, status posts. Amanda Palmer has built her career on hanging with fans on Twitter as well as in person. But many acts get this wrong by only posting about their shows, releases and other sales. Fans want to know about YOU - your likes, your experiences, your inspiration. Make sure you post regularly about the things fans want to know about - nothing will lose fans faster than a constant stream of spam.

Community. Nothing makes people feel good about an artist more than a selfless act. Get involved in music communities - online, offline, local, global - and figure out how you can help other people meet their needs. If you've written a song people like, recorded and released it and played more than one show in a month, you've had experiences that others have not. They will appreciate you sharing.

Special offers. This is not about the expensive VIP tickets, it's about turning devoted fans into super-fans. Little things like a photo in an e-newsletter, or a "Bring 5 friends and you get in for free" offer can make a big difference. Think of little extras that make fans feel special.

Step 7 Exercises

List your points of contact with your fans

  • How regularly do you update FB/Myspace/ReverbNation/Twitter status?
  • How regularly do you update FB/Myspace/ReverbNation events?
  • How regularly do you issue FB/Myspace/ReverbNation bulletins?
  • How regularly do you email fans?
  • Do you feature a fan in your regular emails?
  • How many of your fans are street teamers?
  • Do you issue jobs to your street teamers?

List your points of contact with your peers

  • How many of those peers are also fans?
  • How often do you contact them separately and/or offer to help them?

List your points of contact with your colleagues

  • How many of those colleagues are also fans?
  • How often do you contact them separately and/or offer to help them?

Exercise to take home

Check out Ariel's Social Media Food Pyramid:

Ariel's Social Media Food Pyramid

Write a schedule of fan contacts that matches this pyramid:

  • What topics can you talk about at each level?
  • Schedule time to write content that makes contact in this way.

Check out the Social Media Scientist's research into the best time to post/email/tweet/blog.

Figure out a weekly schedule for making contact like this.

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Posted by DrHuge at February 22, 2013 10:42 AM
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