This is an addendum to the article on using Social Media for keeping fans in-touch.
I received this question:
Re Facebook: What is the best stuff to post?What should this be:
- work related (the work I’m doing on my music and progress; does anyone care?)
- life related (what I experience in life; the outside world)
- musings (what I experience in thought; the inner world)
- technical: related to what I do with mixing and songwriting (shouldn’t that really be a separate blog…?)
If you have any advice, that would be good… also you might turn it into an article… 😉
This is a good question and something worth expounding on as I have been asked this a few times.
Talk That Talk
The basic theory is this: post what you would want to see, hear, know about a similar act that you like (or would like to know more about).
Before you post anything, ask two test questions: Would fans like knowing? Would it add value to the relationship?
Let’s look at a few examples:
- Would you like to know what Beyonce ate for lunch? Hopefully not. Would knowing add any value? Not at all.
- Would you like knowing what was in Bob Dylan’s mind as he wrote “All Along The Watchtower”, and how he felt about Hendrix’s cover? Yes indeed. Would it add value? For sure.
- Would you like knowing what Kylie looks like in her pajamas? Yes please. Would it add value? Against the wishes of a certain part of me I have to say that Kylie in her PJs adds no positive value at all. Matter of fact it probably adds negative value as it is tawdry and takes people off-topic of Kylie’s songs.
Rock The Casbah
Now in each case the actual answer will vary based on who you and your fans are. Madonna decided to show us what was inside her pajamas in a book. It caused a lot of concern. It did get a lot of coverage for Mads but in the end even she says it wasn’t the best call – it took the focus off her latest record. Otherwise it really comes down to “levels”. Metals fans are likely to want to more about some things whilst pop fans not so much (and vice versa).
Let’s expand on the core questions:
Work related (the work I’m doing on my music and progress; does anyone care?) : This passes both of the test questions so mostly we want to share these things. This one is really just a matter of scale. If you are every day posting an update saying that you added four notes to the track you have been working on for 3 years, this is not useful or even good for you. Announce when you are going into the studio to make a new record. If you are an at-home DAW-in-the-bedroom artist then don’t call this till you know you have a record in the scope. If you follow my suggestion to have a new record every 6 months then leave it at least 3-4 months before you are talking about the new record. “Great day in the studio as we laid tracks for two songs we think sound great” is a good post.
Does anyone care? : I’m breaking this one out as sadly the answer is largely no. 🙁 You can’t make posts hoping for feedback. That will end poorly – for you. Post because you want to share with anyone who is interested. You just don’t get to decide who that is going to be, or if it will even happen. However, if you meet the criteria of making good music and build fans then you are in with a chance.
Important: If you make a promise then keep it. If you can’t keep it then explain to fans why you couldn’t and what the new plan is. Saying you are releasing a new record in June is good. It builds excitement and desire. If June comes and goes with no record or explanation then you just made yourself a big ole fibber. Bogus. Fans no longer trust you. If the truck carrying your printed CDs fell of the Khyber Pass then tell people that and what the new ETA is. If you let June deadline pass because you were on a bender then either don’t make promises in the first place, or better still address the real pain. Promises are a great way of building trust so use then but never ever, ever abuse them.
Life related (what I experience in life; the outside world) : We need to ask our test questions a bit closer on this one. We already know that what kind of sandwich you had for lunch is probably of no interest or value. That says skip the trivia. Also skip posting that your wife left you because you have a drinking problem and beat her. Eew. Not good. Firstly stop doing those things and don’t share (till you are recovered). Post things that add value to the understanding of you without crossing that line. If unsure then wait or ask a friend. I read a bio on Neil Young and the parts about his son and how it influenced his writing the “Trans” album really helped me to understand that record a lot more. It got me closer to the art so it was good. Conversely I just discovered that Shreikback’s “All Lined Up” is about coke (yeah I was a bit slow in the uptake on that one) so I would probably have been better not knowing that when I first heard it (or even now). That said, if you write drug-music then maybe your intake is a good share. Although personally I think just let the fans work it out.
Musings (what I experience in thought; the inner world) : This is very much going to be a personal choice. I like it when there is a bit of this attached to a record (or any work of art). It doesn’t have to be huge but just a line about a song can make a difference in how it helps me get into what the songs are about. Not everyone cares but those who do will appreciate it as you are building the story and helping them engage. Go carefully on the political unless that is part of your thing. Again, think what the impact is and if it is a good share then make it. If you want to post op-eds then make that a thing you do – regularly. If you are not going to make a feature of sharing inner-world things in a regular format then don’t start.
Technical: related to what I do with mixing and songwriting (shouldn’t that really be a separate blog…?) : This one depends on your fans but generally I think no as while it is probably a yes on the first half of the test questions it is probably a no on the second question – at least till you are famous. If you made it to being Lamb of God then Metal musicians will want to know about your drumming skills. If you are not famous and start posting trivial details about what VST you use to make the bass sound in your latest track then virtually no one cares except perhaps two kids in a music forum. Sadly they aren’t likely to be part of your fan base (well not a paying part anyway). If you want to make a how-to part of your Facebook, or better still, website then you’ll know. Otherwise don’t bother till you have the media asking you these very questions. Then chose what you share carefully – Don McLean has very good reasons for not telling what every line in “American Pie” is about. Of course I am dying to know what happened up on Choctaw Ridge to make Billy Joe MacAllister jump off the Tallahatchie Bridge.
Walk That Walk
Just always remember that posts are part of a conversation. You don’t want to be making them like you are some kind of prat so avoid what I will call “wibble chat” which commonly goes something like “Yo dawgs wots up my niggas. So i dropped this dope Hip Dub Ambient Tribe beat u need to be down with”. Yeah don’t do that. Also avoid the too-formal thing where you are acting like this is a corporate mission statement. “We are committed to designing and building the best CD which will please all of our fans and other stakeholders.” I’m disinterested already.
Keep it human and you will do fine.