Tag Archives: Twitter

Community Is The #1 Key To Ongoing Success

communityWhen you begin something new, you’re always on the lookout for keys to make “the new” work better and grow. That’s inherent to the process of creating and building. Once you’ve been doing something for a while, you amend your processes to be more efficient and operate better. And after building something for a long period of time (let’s say over a decade), you’re able to reflect back and see some of the key elements to what made your work successful.

I’ve been working with musicians for over ten  years (hence the time illustration), particularly through the medium of indie radio. In that time I’ve also built and grown The Appetizer Radio Show to international syndication, been a part of some great concerts, collaborated on music events, and worked closely with artists on establishing their unique brand.

Lindsay Katt and I before our concert at the Paramount Theater in Abilene in 2013

Lindsay Katt and I before our concert at the Paramount Theater in Abilene in 2013

I spent some time this week reflecting on what has made all of these endeavors successful over the years, not just for me as an individual, but also for the artists and bands I’ve been privileged to work with. What I found was what I believe to be the #1 key to ongoing success no matter who you are, where you live, how widespread your platform is, or the size of your following.

 

You know what that key is? It’s a cultivated and enriched community.

Public radio has been a great resource for me, as it has for many individuals both in the arts as well as other business. As a former station manager, I got to experience first hand the dynamic power of community members coming together in support of a platform that brought something powerful to our region every day. The impact that the station had on individuals was supported in immense ways through a group of very dedicated and loyal individuals.

Experiencing how community can come together when it’s responding to a need is what has fueled the rise of crowdfunding and social media. All it takes is having your best message presented clearly to the people who want and need to experience it. This is where the cultivation and enrichment part comes in.

Tools-for-Community-ManagersWe’re no strangers to the concept of community building. We do it everyday on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other online portals. We build community daily with people we have never met in person, nor spoken with on the phone. Our community members share a common passion, interest, belief, or other similarity that binds us together. Cultivating community is a different ballgame than simply being a part of community. Cultivation requires a mixture of listening and sharing, remembering what it is that people confide in you and a commitment to helping out when called upon.

Our social communities can be a great way to engage people. But cultivation is best exhibited when you can meet in person. This is why artists starting out and in the first few years of their careers need to focus on their local community and region. You decide how wide of a spread for your region you want to reach. I encourage musicians to extend their area up to a 50 mile radius if they don’t live close to a high populated area. This gives you more opportunity to grow your network with the right people who will follow and support you.

Cultivating these connections leads to more diverse interaction online through social channels, and makes communication a little easier. Enrichment opportunities happen in live performances where your music is experienced first-hand. House shows are one of the best places to start (and continue in a broader aspect).

Community enrichment comes from both the community you live in geographically, and the sub-community you build with your art. Supporting and collaborating with other artists in your area is one of the best ways to build and nurture these communities. Relationships are what create new opportunities in everything we do. The better you can get at cultivating relationships, the more success and longevity you will find yourself with, and the stronger connection you’ll have to the communities that matter most to you.

Master One Simple Way To Grow Your Fan Base

Image of young businessman taking pleasure in his favourite music in office

What you imagine your fans to do when they listen to your songs. Air guitar.

As musicians, our primary focus is on making music and finding ways to grow our fan base.

As entrepreneurs, our primary focus is on expanding our business and grow our revenue streams.

Other things we need to do to grow are marketing and promotion. We turn to social media like Facebook and Twitter to make this easier.

How to gain the focus we need to succeed

Like you, I get distracted by the amount of other things to do that take my time, energy, focus, and attention. Do you find yourself distracted, especially online on places like Twitter and Facebook? You’re not alone.

While trying to use these platforms to let your fans know about your next gig or product offering, you find yourself swamped with hundreds of videos, pics, and other posts that take your focus away.

What if you had just one little secret that allowed you to get the word out and grow your fan base that didn’t require a ton of time or money?

And what if I told you not just one, but a few different ways to do this, each producing their own degrees of success for you?

Sounds like a winner, so let’s cut to the chase and get you rolling!

I’m all about simplifying how you do things for growth and success. It’s easier to remember when the process is just one or two steps. And when we achieve results in a timely manner, it makes repeating those easy steps even easier to do because you know it works.

Grow your fan base with this one trick on Twitter

Here’s one way to grow your audience today: Go on Twitter and engage with just one or two of your followers. Pick someone you don’t know well and start a conversation with them. You can just ask a question or say hello.

This serves you because it starts a dialogue. Dialogue shows you how your audience engages with what you do. Make the start of your conversation about them, not about  you. Here’s why:

People are more interested in themselves than anyone else. If you want to get someone’s attention, make the focus on them instead of on you.

Here’s an example from a conversation I started on Twitter:

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A conversation on Twitter gets the person (fan) more engaged with you as a human and not just a musician they happen to follow. Somewhere in the ongoing chat you can mention a song  you have that you want to share with them and send them a link. Or you can ask them a question about the music they’re listening to. Once a conversation is taking place, you have a more receptive avenue to get your music in front of an engaged participant.

That’s one more engaged fan, and all it took was a focused approach instead of a blanket post sent out to no one in particular.

Grow your fan base with this one growth hacking trick with radio

Here’s one more simple way to grow your fan base and have the potential to impact a greater number of people: listen to an indie radio station online who plays music similar to yours.

Give the thing you want to receive. It’s a principle Ghandi promoted.

Spend a little time enjoying their programming and finding something about the station you really enjoy.

Then go to the station’s Contact or About Us page and find the email for the Music Director/Program Manager. Send them an email saying how much you enjoy their programming today, in particular the part you heard that really stood out. You can ask if they accept music submissions or requests and then sign off.

The purpose of this email is two fold. One, you are identifying a radio station that may be a good fit for airplay for you. Second, you’re making a direct contact with a station manager that is not built around just pitching your music. Station managers get unsolicited emails daily from artists they’ve never heard of, all wanting the same thing. The focus of the emails they receive are usually just on the artist and not on the station programming, or how the artist’s music might be a good fit for their programming.

Remember, a station has an interest in serving their audience great content, not just playing music from someone who sends in a few songs. By taking the approach of being interested in the station’s programming (and praising the people who make that happen), you’re appealing more to the interests of the station manager. It makes them more willing and interested in hearing what you have to say.

When you get a reply in your inbox, you know you’ve achieved something, potentially a response that tells you how to make a radio submission. You are now on a more first-name basis with the station manager and have a little more connection to them than just an outsider promoting their own stuff.

Do something taught in the 1930s that has tremendous impact in the modern age

Both of these tactics are organic ways of building connection. In the social media marketing of modern day, where everyone is their own evangelist, it’s uncommon for people to take a genuine interest in others. But when you do the uncommon thing, you stand out so much more than the herd that is all shouting about their latest thing. It’s a similar principle to what Napoleon Hill taught for decades in his book How To Win Friends and Influence People.

To master this simple method, all you have to do is repeat it. Try this every day for a week, then for a month. Look back and see how much you’ve gained and how connected your audience is.

Be uncommon. It’s simple to not follow the herd. This way, you avoid stepping in all the crap that gets dropped, and you make out with better connections.

Indie Music Submissions music guide diy musician radio handbookGain more insights into how to communicate with people to get them to take action in my  book The DIY Musicians Radio Handbook. While it may seem like just something for musicians and radio, there is a pervasive theme and philosophy throughout the book that anyone can use to gain better attention with real people. Pick up your copy here.

How To Initiate Connections With Influencers

Oprah-Magazine-2013-10

Growth.
Benefit.
Increase ___(fill in the blank)__.

These are what we want with our lives, our projects, our work, and our connections. Often though, growth means reaching outside of our social circles and into uncharted (or unknown) territory. This new world is where people we don’t know reside.

We may know some powerful influencers’ names and faces (since the online world is so transparent; thank you Facebook) but we can’t call up folks like Oprah or Richard Branson and say “Hey, haven’t heard from you in a while. Let’s go grab a beer on Thursday and catchup.” We don’t have that kind of connection.

So what do we do?

We jump on “connection outlets” like social media’s Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, and the lot. We “Like” and “Follow” influencers and then send them private or direct messages hopeing to make a connection. Sometimes we get a reply or a “Like/Favorite” but mostly we get silence. And then we search for what to say that will build the connection we seek so that what this person has or does can benefit us with where we want to go.

Sound familiar?

Does this quest for connection seem a little selfish? It does because it is. That’s ok, it’s human nature in a way, but it’s also one reason that making good, strong relationships with people we don’t know (or have direct access to) is so difficult.

When someone you meet in a face to face setting smiles, shakes your hand, and says it’s good to meet you, you feel welcomed in their presence. Yet, if this same person then spends the next 20 minutes telling you all about them, sharing their life story with you, their work, their struggles, what makes them tick and on and on……..How do you feel?

Seriously, how do you feel?

Do you still feel welcomed by them or to them? Is it really nice to be met by this person, or is it nice that they’ve found someone to listen to them drone on and on?

The same is true with our communication to new people in the digital realm. Often, we get an email address or a Twitter profile and we reach out to make a connection. Once a reply or connection is made, we are tempted to unleash a LET ME TELL YOU ALL ABOUT ME message bombardment, which many of us have done (myself included).

Sometimes we get a response from this message.

Often we don’t.

The same social norms and relationship rules that exist with our face-to-face interactions apply in the online world too, perhaps even more so because the face-to-face is missing.

Here’s the thing: It takes time to build a friendship or any relationship, even work or project related networking. People are human, not machines, so an instantaneous click doesn’t create a solid ally who automatically has your back and will go to war for your to see you succeed. That kind of connection takes time.

Yet that’s what we’re searching for, right? We want powerful and influential people to celebrate our work so that others will too. That’s the end goal. While “beginning with the end in mind” is a proven piece of wisdom in having clear vision, it does require some foresight and objectivity. It’s not wise to ask for the end goal at the start of the engagement.

There are people and companies online who are marketing and selling programs that supposedly give you access to the Oprahs, Jeff Bezos, and Lebron James of any industry. I don’t know how real these services are but I do know this: Making a lasting and true connection will take time and will require you to give something of yourself, particularly sincere interest in the other person.

My growth strategy and how I took my 1-man radio platform to a nation-wide audience through syndication involved slow, relational nurturing steps. Quick, fast, Me-First tactics produced little. Community building, relational and reciprocal connections took time, yes, but also made the best promotion and growth results I could have wished for.

Which would you prefer: Me-First, quick & fast with little signs of true and lasting growth
Or
The Seeds that are planted, nurtured and cultivated to produce fruits to benefit you for years?

If you chose the latter, join me. I want to show you this process of building powerful connections.

It is a process and does take some time, but like learning how to bake or how to drive, once you know the steps you can adapt it to your own way of operation and grow even more.

How can you join me? Tell me here what influencers you want to connect with and what you are wanting from them to help you grow.

Want to Fast-Track your connection with Influencers by learning the process to take that makes it happen? All of the connection tips, insights, and how-to are mapped out and showcased within the Indie Radio Promotion Course, available for just a limited time.

Get signed up now to learn how to take your connections to a whole new level.

Following This Twitter Trend Will Burn Bridges

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“Twitter Tip: Keep tagging the same person in a post that you make every single day with a link from 9 months ago to boost your site traffic.”

That’s not really a Twitter tip, but there are people who are following this course of action every day. It’s certainly a way to burn bridges quickly with the people who are tagged. Here’s why:

Someone a while back must have found some success doing this on Twitter, so they told someone else to do it. Eventually it became a trend or a “How-to-grow-your-Twitter-following” tip.

Or maybe no one has had success with this but continued doing any way, and because they did it to someone it was copied. We tend to do what we see others do, even if it doesn’t work.

But the reality is, this provides little benefit to the people who are tagged when there is no response from the individuals posting the tweet. There’s also no response from the followers of either entity, no clicks to the link, and no traction from the post.

If a social media trend annoys you, it probably annoys others too. If something annoys you, do you want to have people do it to you?

Here’s what happened: I did a feature article on an artist who was trying to grow their audience. It was a short piece several months ago (close to a year now), a few words, a video, a brief review and that’s it.

The week the tweet was posted, I promoted it a few times. That’s appropriate. The promoter of the artist promoted the link as well. Two weeks later, they were sending the exact same tweet nonstop every other hour. Then 6 months (yes months not weeks) later and at multiple times a day the exact same tweet was being posted by this promotion group for the artist. And I’m tagged in it.

“Why is this annoying?” you may be thinking. Isn’t getting tagged so much by artists and promoters a good thing for rankings and publicity?

It might be, but I honestly haven’t see a jump in site views or links clicked because of that. What I do get are countless notifications that someone tagged me. Like you, I want to see who is engaging with me and how I can respond. But you can’t respond to the same message again and again. It’s Spam, and trying to respond to spam doesn’t do much.

Plus, the Promotion Company won’t reply to the tweets I have sent regarding this issue. So what good does their Tweeting do for them?

When you get publicity, a review, or mentioned by the media you should promote that link or video or whatever it is. You should promote that for a week, and you should use that to forward your marketing. But don’t rely on that one piece of press exclusively. Certainly don’t use the exact same copy every time you post something on social media, especially if you’re tagging the media contact in it each time.  It doesn’t make you look very good.

Let me be clear. I’m not opposed to being tagged, actually it’s a great thing because it usually builds connections. But when tagging someone turns into spam, it’s going to be really hard to get them to talk about you organically to their following, and that is what you’re really after. Organic shares generate so much more activity than any other kind of post, including paid promotions (which are also effective).

All this to say, be careful how you treat your posts and marketing messages online. If you’re saying the same things over and again, and if you’re not really working to make connections and conversations with people, that can come across the wrong way and burn a bridge. Do you know what your marketing and communication strategy is online or do you have one? If not, you and I should talk.

Spam doesn’t serve anyone’s interest, the musician/artist, the media platform, or the audience. It doesn’t work on social media and it doesn’t work when contacting radio stations. Yet, this happens every day. Have you ever tried to get noticed by radio, media, or online fans by tagging people? Have you sent the same message out to countless contacts, hoping to get a reply so you can get featured?

You may still be waiting for a response that won’t come.

There is a way to make real connections, both with fans and with radio. It has to do with how you reach out, not necessarily what you say. If this has been your experience, let me know what you are wanting to do that isn’t working. Your difficulty or struggle is something artists face everyday. Let’s talk about how you can overcome them.

Keys To Building A Focused Audience

Image by  Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

Image by Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

Get Insights On Focused Fan Growth: Sign Up For The Free Webinar Here

I wrote previously about the difference between trying to gain 100,000 Twitter followers (or simply a giant group of music fans online) and focusing your time, energy and money on a specific group of people. Numbers are a big sales point that most people are looking to increase, but when your focus is on the wrong number for the wrong reason, you don’t win as much as you want to. Here’s why:

You need to grow your audience to be able to keep making more music. That’s a bottom-line reality every musician and small business faces. And yes, you are a small business once money enters the equation. A focused group of fans is much more powerful than a giant number.

The confusion between real, prosperous success and fame (or what is considered “success” in young markets) is an obsession with the wrong kind of number.

Let’s say you have 10,000 Likes on Facebook. For some artists, that’s a small number, for others it’s a goal they’re still trying to reach. In either case, how would you view a band who has 500 Likes on Facebook or 600 Twitter followers? You might consider them to be rookies, newbies, or not very good musicians because the number of followers is small. But what potency does the 10,000 have that the 500 doesn’t other than sheer volume alone? You don’t know, because all you see is a number of followers.

Image by Dave Catchpole

Image by Dave Catchpole

This obsession with the high number without knowing much about WHO is in either group is what’s wrong with musicians and bands trying only to grow the number-base of their audience without trying to grow a specific group of people who are prime fans for their work.

You can buy Likes and followers on any social platform. You can purchase enough “followers” to make it seem you have a substantial fan base when reality tells a different tale. So how powerful is that giant number now, or better stated how real is it?

What the number metric misses is Potency, or strength. This factor is key to success in the short and long term of your music career. Potency is driven by real connection with a focused group of people who are passionate about the unique aspects of your music. Artists and bands with incredible potency include KISS, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Shins. Their fans go out of their way to showcase how much they love these bands including costumes, fan made documentaries, and traveling large distances to see shows.

Think about it in terms of two very popular and potent brands: Apple and Microsoft. Chances are you are using one of these brands right now in some capacity. Mac users are hardcore, passionate and extremely brand loyal. Most PC (Microsoft) users will go with whatever maker or brand they feel like who runs the software they’re used to, be it HP, Sony, Dell, etc. Yes both are powerful brands. But where Apple’s user base may be smaller in size compared to Microsoft, it’s more than compensated with user (customer) potency.

Can you say the same thing for your fan base?

If 10% of your fan base shares your content with their friends (be it online social posts or old fashioned word of mouth promotion), you have a really strong connection with your fans. That’s a high conversion rate for most bands and small businesses. What if only 1% of your fan base is an evangelist for your music? That’s still a good portion. But when a fraction of a fraction of 1% is talking about you, that big number of your fan base that you brag about isn’t as powerful. Actually, that’s more indicative of what your true fan impact is.

Focus on connecting with a specific group of people, a targeted section of folks who make up your Ideal or Super-Fan group. This is the potent, focused group of fans who will increase your music success a lot more powerfully than an arbitrary number of followers online.

How can you grow your connection with a targeted group of people? The strategies and tactics for doing that are outlined in an upcoming webinar. Sign up here.

Best Practices For Musicians And Social Media

Social media is a resource now used by more industries, companies, businesses, and individuals to market themselves than any other medium. There’s hardly anywhere you can go where you don’t see a Twitter or Facebook icon, and that’s just the half of it. The influx of social media marketing (and the continued rise in people doing it) leads to a lot of messaging taking place.

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What do all musicians want? A larger following. Social media provides a way to make that happen. However, there are some very common ways that most musicians (especially DIY and indie acts) misuse the platforms. Here are a few ways to get the most out of your Twitter, Facebook, and other social endeavors, as well as a few common mistakes people make that short-change their efforts.

 

1. Have a web presence that is monitored regularly and updated.

This seems obvious but there are a lot of artists who have social media channels that they use often but haven’t updated their website or homepage in a long time. On Twitter, they’re sending folks to their Soundcloud or Bandcamp page for their latest song release, but the link to their homepage (accessed from their profile) is very outdated. The Artist/Band homepage has no mention of music from the past 3 years, contains only old graphics or pics, and lists a tour schedule from 2012.

There are several basic web platforms that offer hosting and domain registration for no cost (and some for a nominal cost) which can be built and managed by you with little time commitment. Keep your site current because potential fans are looking for how legitimate you are, versus just having a Twitter handle and a Bandcamp site.

If you haven’t reached the point yet where you have a domain name or website, don’t worry. But if you have a main homepage listed on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, (etc) profile, make sure it’s up to date.

15338308235_014a57c693_z2. Have an actual of relationship with those you tag on Social Media

Have you ever had someone tag you on Twitter to listen to their song, but you have no idea who they are? Welcome to my world, and the world of many of my colleagues in both radio, online media and in music labels/artist reps.

We get solicitations from every channel possible, but being tagged on social media by folks we don’t know is becoming a constant issue. It’s something we’re not keen on responding to, let alone following the link to the track or music. Tag folks you know, and tag folks you want to get to know. Use that to start conversations or make a reply to an ongoing conversation. This is a great way to build new connections and relationships.

However, when you don’t know someone and you tag them for the sole purpose of listening to your music (or just clicking on your link for site views), you lose a potential supporter and promoter. In essence, promotion is what anyone in media and label/management does. We talk about artists because we’re passionate about you and what you do. If you want to be someone who gets promoted by passionate people (in our realm of media or management or otherwise), have some social tact and connect with us first, before soliciting us to “check out” your stuff.

Follow as many people as you want/can to get reciprocated likes and follows. Do what you need to in order to build your followers and grow your brand. But me mindful of how you tag other people, especially folks you don’t know or don’t know well.

 

3. Be Inclusive Not Exclusive

The best way for you to build your fan-base and followers is to include your fans in your messages, pics, and content. The bands I have the strongest connection with that are also the most successful do this very well. After a concert or gig, post something online from the gig making mention of the folks you met and people you connected with. People love being included in content, especially when the posts come from the artist they just saw. Pics work well here too, but make sure you have people’s permission before you put a pic of them online. Most folks don’t have a problem with this but every now and then…….

There are a lot of artists and musicians who travel town to town, play a show and then instantly start talking on social media about the next place they’re off to. They don’t mention the great experience that they just had. All it seems that they want is someone in the next town to go to their next show. This doesn’t build connection or following as well as spending a little time in the moment with the people who just gave you their time, money and excitement.

If you want to see good examples of how to be inclusive, check out the Facebook stuff from my friend Kelley McRae. She and her husband Matt have spent the better part of the last 5 years on the road, building a following of very passionate people.

 

These are just a few examples of what works and what doesn’t with social media and social marketing. Your end goal is to increase the number of people who not only hear your music, but like it. Subsequently you want them to like you too. Not doing these social marketing no-nos as a musician will really help you build your brand, grow your fans, and be more successful in what you do.