You know what really grinds my gears? Artists who are too good to spend quality time with the fans who are, in fact, funding their career. Well, as apart of Generation DIY I will not stand for this anymore! It’s time to make a difference, so let’s repair that terrible image that certain bands gave to us and give back to our ever so loving (and understanding) fans.
First off, let’s talk about ways to interact with your fans to give them some personal pieces to connect with you upon. One way a lot of bands connect with fans is by filming update videos or webisodes of the band that show what’s going on in their lives. This allows bands to keep up-to-date with their fans by letting them see what a band is up to firsthand. Many rock groups and hip hop artists already do this. Fans of Fueled By Ramen bands may have seen many Cobra Starship videos featuring guitarist Ryland as different characters giving a fun spin on updates. This is a great way for people to connect a name to a face as well as get the feeling that they personally know you without, well, personally knowing you. It’s very easy to create updates too. If you have a Macbook or access to someone who does, the application Photo Booth as well as the Webcam are perfectly suitable for filming a short clip. Be creative and have fun with it. Again, this is your band so portray the image you’d want your fans and perspective listeners to view you as. Another cool thing I’ve seen many bands do in the past is send out personalized messages through different social networking outlets (messages, comments etc.). Not a generic “Hey thanks for the add!” type of message but look at their profile and see if you find anything that peaks your interest and throw it into the copy like “Hey you like Snapple Peach Tea too?! We love it! That’s all we drank when we were recording name of track, so you should check it out. Might be your new favorite Snapple drinking song!” Cheesy, right? YEP! BUT, if a fan sees that you are more of a real person rather than this enigmatic musician then you will be able to lay down a better foundation for long-term fans.
Alongside the idea of video updates, if your band has an album coming out and have it available for pre-order then give away a package to entice people to purchase it. Throw in some stickers, maybe a poster and a personalized “thank you” video from the band to the first 50 (or 100) people who pre-order the album. This could be a HUGE thing for many fans (especially the younger ones) when a band thanks them personally for spending their hard-earned money. I can promise you this will hook the fan for life.
Moving away from the Internet for a second, let’s talk about at shows. You have a merchandise table or booth correct, right? Well you should by now, so why don’t you spend some time there? YOU are the attraction, not your merch boy or girl, so stick around your booth and hang with your fans. Not only are you giving them the opportunity to spend time with their favorite young artist but also get them to buy your merchandise. It’s a win – win for everyone! Find different ways of getting people to the merchandise booth by giving away different items take photos with your fans or be creative. One thing my band has done was set up a laptop for our mailing list but also had Photo Booth open so our fans could record a message on the laptop to say “Hi” or whatever else they’d like to say the band. We also put up a TV with Guitar Hero and set up a contest where whoever beat our guitarist (who is incredible at the game may I add) wins their choice of a free piece of merchandise. Not only did we have a lineup out the door and many new friends, but we sold more than the touring acts that night. It’s all about the little things that create a foundation for fans that will stick with you forever. Look at it this way; a picture with a fan will keep them interested for as long as they keep that picture posted on their wall. The little things go a long way!
There are all sorts of ways to interact with your fans but it’s all about how you want your band’s image to be portrayed. Have fun with it and be creative. Remember, Generation DIY is all about getting it done on your own and having fun doing it. Music is about expression first, business second. Make friendships instead of fans. I can assure you that your band will go a lot farther with a dedicated fan base throughout the years.
This is it for now. If you got any suggestions as always feel free to leave them in the comments, I’d love to hear them! Good luck Generation DIYers! This is YOUR year so keep that hustle strong!