Building a Fan Base: You’re Doing it Wrong

Fans

 

Not to be harsh but, really, this will not net you results. What will? Build real relationships with other musicians you admire. Play gigs with them if your compatible, comparable and on or near the same level in your careers. Or, share ideas. At the very least, get to know them first. Other musicians don’t exist to promote you. Of course, we all appreciate it if you are a musician who likes our music and shares it with your fans. I share the music of musicians I like with my fans because I like them and not because I owe them one for liking my page. That’s not what a fan is. And, trust me, you don’t want fans who are only “fanning” you out of obligation. You want fans who truly admire your work. 

So, go ahead. Introduce yourself. Even invite musicians to listen to your work or tell them about your projects. That’s awesome. But, the above…is just silly. 

Facebook, what have you done? (nerd blog/FB groups)

A word to bands: avoid adding your Facebook friends to groups without their permission or risk annoying them permanently. 

I simply don’t understand it. They give people the option of creating groups and automatically adding their friends to these groups AND the default setting for is for friends to receive email on all postings to the group. NO!!!!

Now, you can go to “notifications” under your account settings and uncheck the box next to “adds you to a group”. BUT, then you won’t know when people add you to a group and that could be annoying down the road when you start receiving all the posts to the group or chat messages from the entire group. This has happened to me and it took me several minutes to figure out how to unsubscribe from the chat. 

Me: UNSUBSCRIBE!!!

Chat: DING! hey what’s up DING! nothing much, how you doin’ DING! What’s going on this weekend DING! Love the new pics on the group page. ❤ ❤ ❤ DING! DING!

Me: UNSUBSCRIBE!!!!

 

Here is how to UNSUBSCRIBE FROM GROUP CHATS: 

1) Go to the group page

2) Hit “edit settings” at the top of the page

3) Pick and choose what you want from here

Group

You can also unsubscribe from the group by hitting the “leave group” link on the right hand column. Oh, and you see that “add friends to group” link there too? Leave it alone unless you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that your friends don’t mind being a part of whatever group you are creating. I can say that there are only five groups I’ve been okay with people adding me to. Two were created by very close personal friends. Two are for organizations I fully support and the last was created by someone who asked my permission before adding me. 

If you have a different opinion of groups, please share it with me. I am clearly speaking from my own perspective here. What do you think of groups and/or people adding you to them? 

 

 

 

FB Page Design How-tos (Nerd Blog)

I love having other techie-nerds as friends… especially, when I don’t have the time to navigate the ins and outs of the every-changing social networking system. After all, just when you have it all figured out, something will be updated, redesigned, reconfigured or done away with. All it takes is one trip out of town or a week with 4 or 5 gigs in a row and I’m lost. So, TGFM! Thank goodness for Madalyn!

If you don’t already follow Madalyn Sklar, founder of the GoGirls organization (a worldwide network of female musicians) and both  SN4M.com (Social Networks 4 Musicians) and socialnetworksforbiz.com, what are you waiting for? If you go to any of the major music conferences, you may have already seen her on a panel giving out a wealth of info on how to promote your music online. She knows all the social networking tips and tricks and she stays on top up the trends. I’m telling you from experience, you can’t have a conversation with her without learning something.

Madalyn recently invited me to view an e-class she gave on how to work with the new Facebook page design. I had already been working with it and thought I knew everything I needed to know. Wrong. Madalyn has adopted the motto “work smarter not harder” and, she helps you do just that. The following video gives us a sneak peek and explains some of the FB page changes and how to use them to our advantage. The e-class, which consists of 3 videos, is available here and includes a Q&A segment with her class attendees: http://www.socialnetworksforbiz.com/biz/video0311.htm

Madalyn is also available here:

 

 – Laura Marie

Next up: I build my new website using Bandzoogle.com. Let’s see what happens…

Social Networking No-No’s: Responses (blog)

I’ve drawn a line…

On one side, people who agree that mass emailing people on Myspace is getting pretty pointless (and annoying). On the other side, people who get all offended that we think it’s annoying. 

But, it’s not about who is right and who is wrong. It’s about what’s effective. And, I get it. I mean, if this kind of mass emailing is working for you and it’s translating into tons of people at your shows and sales galore, then, well…I stand corrected. I know that Myspace has been a very effective tool for many musicians. It’s helped me too. And, it’s still important to some radio promoters who say they prefer to listen to bands via Myspace because they always know exactly where to find the music. I just wonder how often they read your emails when they are addressed “Dear, fan”. 

To be fair, it’s not Myspace’s fault that I have to wade through pages of mass emails from bands to get to one person who is actually trying to reach me personally. It’s just that there is no way for me to make a connection this way. So, I’ll put my energy elsewhere and into places where I can better connect with people. 

But, maybe your goal or experience is different. Maybe you’d like to get as high a number of “followers” as you possibly can. Perhaps you’ve heard of all the people who got picked up by record labels and handed all their dreams simply because they had huge numbers. Name them. And, are you sure? I’m willing to bet that most of them did more work for longer than you think they did before they hit it big. Sure, there might be a handful who sprang to fame “overnight” but, of all the millions of musicians out there, do you really want to go with a strategy that equates to getting struck by a bolt of lightning. Believe me, plenty of people want to sell you on the idea that big numbers are your goal. (They are usually the ones selling you a program on how to boost your numbers). I guess I just want to sell you on the idea that good music is your goal. And, I don’t want anyone to lead you astray. 

Think about all the hugely successful musicians who made it because they were simply awesome and don’t stress. Be awesome. The numbers may come slowly at first but, I believe, if you are consistently putting out great music and genuinely connecting with fans, the numbers will follow. Keep the momentum going and they’ll eventually snowball. Have a strong online presence but don’t put your cart before your horse. 

So, anyway, I sent the blog out in a mass email to Myspace. Subject line: Can we all agree this is stupid?

Hypocritical? Absolutely. But, I couldn’t resist. Since I don’t regularly send out mass emails on Myspace about my music, I thought I’d give it a try with my blog and see how many people agreed with me or even bothered to read it. I mean, maybe I was totally off base and missing a gold mine of dedicated followers! I needed to find out. The results were completely mixed. I was actually thinking that everyone that is still active on Myspace would disagree. That was not the case. It was a mixed bag. Several musicians agreed. A couple called me out on the irony of using a mass email to point out the ridiculousness of a mass email. A few were really upset with me and, to my delight, some did just what they always do. Here you go:

Response2Response7Response3Response1ResponseResponse4Response5Response8

 

And, this says so very, very much:

Response10

 

 

Myspace is killing me…

For so long…

For so long I said I wasn’t going to complain. 
I was going to refrain from making public complaints about the atrocity that Myspace has become. 

It is beyond ridiculous and gets worse with every passing moment. Where can I start? 

The endless spam emails. The “friendships” that consist of some band adding me without me knowing because I don’t have an option to approve or disapprove after so many connections, that band publicly thanking me for supporting their music or being a fan (still, no idea who they are) then endless posts with their music players or gig flyers regardless of where in world they happen to be in relation to me. The new layouts that make absolutely no sense. The new “news feed” that now brings the dreaded auto players and gig flyer posts right to your home page. Great.

Yup. I can’t even check my myspace mail (not that there is ever anything worth reading there) without having some unwanted music go off on my page. You know what that reminds me of? Those obnoxious people who drive around with their radio blaring so that you can’t hear yourself think. Closing your windows doesn’t help. Nothing helps. Until, you drive away. Just like Myspace. 

I’m not sure the people who run myspace even use it. You’d think that if they did, they would make it less annoying for users. Who is really using myspace these days? Clearly, a zillion musicians are on it promoting, promoting, promoting at a feverish pace, seemingly taking all their tips from some “how not to promote you music online” manifesto. 

But, yes, it is true. We must keep our Myspace profiles. As musicians, we need a page that music industry contacts recognize as a place to easily access our music. Music accessibility on Facebook is only as good as the app you choose but, you have to know which apps to choose, how to use them and how to direct people to them. And, just like our own websites, they aren’t uniform and searching beyond a few clicks can get tedious for contacts.So, for those reasons, Myspace is necessary. Increasingly frustrating but necessary. Does anyone read the bulletin board anymore?

If only there was some other site that offered free streaming music in a pretty much uniform format that music industry professionals could recognize as an easy place to hear the music of whatever artist they’re considering. 

Hmmmm:

Reverbnation – Not just the music but bios, show info, pics, fan info, etc. etc. and easily searchable too!!! Musicians have no excuse because the basic page is FREE!

Bandcamp – just the music but, again, free and free streaming. You are guaranteed to hear the tunes when you visit an artists Bandcamp page. 

Sonicbids – yeah, despite my recent beef with the ‘bids, their EPKs have all the standard stuff. Though, searching the website can prove problematic without a direct link to your press kit. 

All this to say that I’m going to keep my Myspace page. I’ll probably also keep bitching about it but I’ll likely keep the grumblings to myself until some new feature makes me blow a fuse. 

On that note, can anyone tell me what will happen if I connect my Facebook to my Myspace? I’ll try a lot of things just to share the experience with you but, the longer I can keep my Facebook page from becoming like my Myspace page, the better. 

 

Laura Marie

ArtistData changes

Just the facts

There’s a new version of ArtistData and it no longer provides CSV downloads for Reverbnation or Sonicbids. Sonicbids acquired ArtistData and, about the same time, removed CSV upload capability from their site. But, ArtistData can not update your Sonicbids calendar. You have to do it manually on the Sonicbids site. The new version of ArtistData has removed the Sonicbids CSV download (which was useless anyway since Sonicbids removed the capability) along with the Reverbnation CSV download so, now you have to enter the data manually on the Reverbnation calendar as well.

Just the opinion:

Three major players on the indie front and none of them work together? Well, I mean, two of them work together but they don’t work together on the calendar feature. Sadly, this is the feature that sold me on these services in the first place. And, maybe Reverbnation hasn’t played nice-nice. They haven’t been cooperative with ArtistData according to ArtistData. Ok, I’ll buy that. But, removing capability from the service draws a clear dividing line and it’s getting to the point where we’re going to have to compare and choose. I guess that’s what they want. 

I don’t know. ArtistData alone didn’t seem to be about the competition and fighting for position. That’s what made them easy to work with and stay with. In my opinion, anyway. ArtistData+Sonicbids …meh. Though, I’m still hanging in there. ArtistData still posts my upcoming gigs to Twitter with little interruption and I was with them first so…yeah. But, is that enough to keep the relationship going? And, does any service really want artists to ask themselves such questions? Probably not.  

Just so you know:

I’m a paying customer for both Reverbnation and Sonicbids. Someone has to try these things out for ya.  Which do you prefer?