Bands: Social Networking No-No’s #2-5

The ridiculousness of adding a bunch of people on Myspace and then treating them like your loyal fans is what has made Myspace a joke. Of all the emails you received from bands on Myspace, how many of them are from bands or musicians that you actually know and like? Chances are, if you’re a band, you’re probably treating all of them like your loyal fans too. If I didn’t know better, I know I would. Why? Because I don’t add people on Myspace. Haven’t in a long time. After I reached so many 1000 friends, Myspace automatically removed my right to approve friend requests and just adds them to my list. The only exception, I believe, is for those who are running paid ‘add’ campaigns. I have to manually approve those and, for the most part, I don’t. Initially, I did this so that I could safely assume that people adding me were fans. But, I can’t assume that at all. They add me and, in the backasswardsness of it all, I’m considered their  fan. 

Can’t we all agree that this is stupid? This was the reason Facebook created fan pages. And, now, bands are trying to bypass that by doing several things that are proving to be HUGE turn-offs to fans and fellow-musicians:

2) Adding you as a personal friend and then bombarding you with excessive event invites and personal email invites to shows. 

That’s a sure fire way to get deleted as a friend or have your events added to the “ignored” list as in “ignore all future invites from this friend?” Um, yes. Do send out invites but, be mindful of how many you send out to the same people or people who aren’t even in your area. You can filter friends by hometown and create lists for different cities. I’ll work on a how-to for that. 

Side note: If someone replies “no” to your event, don’t send them emails telling them it’s their “Last chance…” or “Change your mind….”. Or worse,  if they haven’t replied, don’t send them an email saying “Why haven’t you replied?” . Ugh!  I repeat, people are being bombarded with this stuff. Don’t add to it with your need to have everyone acknowledge you. 

3) Posting their events on your page or tagging you in their videos, pics, wall photos of band flyers so they’ll show up on your wall. 

Oh, no you didn’t! Don’t try and figure out how to make Facebook as “useful” as Myspace was for spreading the word about yourself. That’s not the way it works in other social networks. It’s just obnoxious for bands to post their stuff all over everyone else’s “walls”. Personal pages are for making personal connections! That’s what is important on Facebook. And, don’t get me started on people who post their gigs on other bands fan pages. Unless the musician your tagging is involved in the show: tacky. I even had one person comment on an event link and say “Hey, if you can’t make it to her show, you can go to mine over here…”. Really?!

4) Becoming a fan on any social network and then saying something along the lines of “I’m your fan, now be mine” or “I follow you, now follow me” (which always reminds me of Phil Collins ❤ but, that’s beside the point)

The definition of “fan”: an ardent admirer or devotee. Short for “fanatic”. Call me crazy but, I think, if you want fans, you want people who really like your stuff instead of people who feel obligated to like your stuff because you liked theirs. You can’t make people like your music but, if you are nice, they might support your music even if it’s not their favorite thing in the world. It’s fine to politely invite people to check out your music but, don’t take it personally if they don’t. Let it go and remind yourself that they’ll see what you are doing in their home feeds. If they are going to get interested in your music, they’ll do it as they get to know you. Post a link here or there (not everywhere and not all the time). Suggest your page to them (don’t post it on their wall). 

5) Taking it one ginourmous step further and asking you to do the advertising for them.

I’m not talking about bands asking their fans to help spread the word, I’m talking  about bands saying. “Hello, I like your stuff. Here’s my stuff. Tell all your friends about me.”

Can you imagine this in any other business? “Hey, Wendy’s? This is Billy Bob’s Burgers. Love the  value menu you have going on. We liked you on Facebook and/or follow you on Twitter. Could you tell all your customers to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, come to our restaurant and buy our stuff.”   Huh? I have so many of these…it’s like someone wrote a blog suggesting that musicians should do this. If so, please tell me who. I really want to know. 

And, it’s not even about competition…it’s about honesty. 
I don’t mind promoting other bands and musicians at all! I love doing it. I cross promote with several musicians I work with and some I don’t work with but, just because I love them.  I think it should be this way. We should be helping each other out in ways that make sense. It makes no sense for me to promote people I don’t even know or whose music I don’t like. I don’t expect anyone who doesn’t like my music to support or promote it. That would be silly. And,if you are only promoting someone because they guilted you into it (or, even paid you to do it), you lose credibility. No thanks. 
Now, on Twitter, it’s often customary for people to “follow back” when someone follows you. Musicians, please, don’t take this as an opportunity to address everyone on Twitter as your biggest fan. Big, huge, famous people can do this. You know, those that only follow 10 people but have thousands of followers. In that case, it’s safe to say that most of the people following them are fans. Also, on that note, don’t just follow people to have them follow back and then, stop following to drive your “followed” numbers up. That’s just silly and annoying. Again, social networking is about building relationships not making yourself out to be something you aren’t. 
All that said, go on… THINK BIG!
Be EVERYWHERE.  You should be making it stupid easy for people to find you. 
You are awesome, you are amazing, you are all that and a can of confetti! That in itself will draw people to you.  So, put yourself out there in a big way, just not on top of everyone else. That’s the old way. The playing field is different now. You have to find creative ways of standing out while being part of the music community instead of just trying to step over everyone else in it.  
 – Laura Marie
Next Up: SXSW stuff, the low down on apps used

 

Sonicbids Reinvents the Wheel (Nerd Alert Blog)

But seriously, if you haven’t heard, Sonicbids is catching up to what’s cool and hip these days so, I don’t want to give them too much crap about it. They’ve done an awesome thing here allowing their users to sync their Sonicbids account with Facebook and allowing calendar dates and status messages to be synced with Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and Pure Volume. That is, if you are one of the artists that still inputs all your data into Sonicbids in the first place. Which leads me to the biggest WTH? ever: They still don’t import your dates from ArtistData even though THEY OWN ARTISTDATA!!! AAAARG! (Ok, I’m done) And, it seems that the “calendar updates” only apply to Pure Volume and the rest (FB, Myspace, Twitter) get status updates whenever you post a show with day-of-show postings to Twitter only. All of these things you’ve likely set up through other avenues already (ArtistData and Reverbnation) so, the best thing I can say about this is that it’s a huge leap forward for those artists who, for some reason, have not tried any other service but Sonicbids. 

Now, about the Sonicbids/Facebook artist profile page. A few things can be confusing so, let me give you a heads up:

1) If you are going to use this feature, be sure you’ve logged into your Sonicbids account and under “content” unmarked the box that would allow people to download your audio files for free. Unless, you want to give your music away for free. Then, let ‘er rip!

and

2) There seem to be two customization pages. One is on Sonicbids and is self explanatory. Nothing complicated or fancy here. It is what it is and it’s easy enough to use. The second is when you go to the application on your Facebook edit page and sync it up. I only got there once and it asked me to upload a profile photo (as if it was re-creating my fan page from scratch) which, once uploaded, never changed anything. Meaning, I uploaded a new profile pic for nothing because there is no existing page that has it. It also invited me to share the page, invite friends, etc. etc. Once I navigated away from the page, I never found it again. Weird.

Bells and whistles:

You’ve got a custom banner, you can lock some content so that only people who like your page can see it (Note: this only locks them out of the Sonicbids tab, so, if you have your music, videos and pics on another tab, it doesn’t do much for you.), you have pics, videos, calendar (if you have that in the Sonicbids database) and a twitter stream. Plus, share and follow links. Comments are empty until someone comments directly on the Sonicbids/Facebook tab. Not bad. Not bad at all. Though, I can’t see a lot of people switching to this if they already make use of other apps unless they really, really want the “lock out until liked” feature. You can actually code that yourself with custom pages but most people don’t want to go to the trouble. 

 

Here is what it looked like when I used it: 

See it at work here!

Sonic

 

So, again, if you are a faithful and exclusive Sonicbids user, this is good news for you. If you want an easy way to “lock until like” your FB content, this is an option.

You be the judge. Let me know what you think.

 – LM

 

 

Bands: Social Networking No-No’s #1

In no particular order, really. There are many. But, in the interest of time and space, I’m going to attack them as they come up and their was an onslaught this weekend so, here goes: 

 

No-No Number 1:

Putting people on your email list who have not given you permission to do so. 

Here are a list of reasons you might think give you permission to put someone on your email list. 

1) You are related

2) You went to school or work together

3) You met at a show

4) You have their business card

5) You are connected via social networks 

6) They bought a CD or complimented your music

7) You went to the same conference and your email was listed in the directory

8) You belong to the same club or organization

9) You like their music and think they might be interested in yours

10) You, at one time, corresponded via email about something (who knows what) and they are in your address book. 

If you think these are valid reasons to put someone on your e-mail newsletter list, sorry, wrong. The only one that comes close would be # 6 IF they bought your CD online. But, no. The most appropriate thing would be a follow up email thanking them for their purchase and giving them the option to opt into your list but not actually putting them on it until you have their say so.

“But, then my list won’t be as big!” No, no it won’t but, your list is best when it’s targeted to your most loyal fans and even they won’t read everything you put out. And, it’s not just an issue of quality over quantity, it’s an issue of not getting into that dreaded SPAM ZONE. I can’t tell you the number of bands…um… AND BUSINESSES…who put me on their list without permission and now, the biggest thing I remember about them is that they are annoying. Hey, as a musician, if someone labels me as annoying I want it to be because they honestly gave me a shot and found me annoying, then decided to opt out. 🙂

“WTH? Who died and made you Ms. Manners?” No one, really, as far as I know. I say this as a musician and as a fan of musicians whose mailing lists I’m already purposely on. You do yourself NO FAVORS by putting people on your list who never asked to be there. It works against you. There is so much spam out there that I can’t imagine anyone opening up an unsolicited email each day, week or month from a band they know nothing about and saying, “Who’s this? Well, that was thoughtful!”. Trust me, you already have people who opted onto your lists who 1) delete your email as soon as they see it, 2) want to opt out but know you well and don’t want to hurt your feelings 3) forgot that they opted in at all and will mark you as spam next time your email is in their inbox 4) opted in for whatever you were giving away for free to signup but don’t really care what you’re up to.  

So, what are your options: ASK! If someone compliments your music at a show or anywhere say, “Can I put you on the list so I can keep in touch?”, “Can I put you on the list so you’ll be eligible for free giveaways?” or “Get on the email list so I can let you know when I’m playing near you!” Ask people to sign up at your shows, make it easy for them to do so in person and online (Yeah, yeah, Margaret…I know what you’re thinking  —  Sometimes, even I forget), then,  email them asap with a ‘welcome to the list email’ so they don’t forget they opted in. 

Recap!

The guideline: The word “YES” or “Put me on your list!” to any of the above offers to put someone on your list. 

The goal: STAY OUT OF THE SPAM ZONE

For the love of Daphne, please repost this for bands and businesses. 

 

Next blog up: Accepting credit cards for merch sales! It just got easier 😉

 

 – LM