5 Ways to Treat Your Fans Like Gold

Not THAT kind of gold!

This guest contribution is written by Jon Ostrow (@jon_ostrow), cofounder of MicControl.com, Publicity Director of Cyber PR and blogger for Songtrust.com. Jon can be easily reached at any time on Twitter

As an emerging musician focusing your efforts online, building a strong and loyal fan base is the ‘secret sauce’ to success. Loyal fans purchase music, attend shows, evangelize your music and help you exponentially grow your fan base. Ultimately they’ll give you the leverage you need to pursue music on your own terms. When you have a cult following, you maintain creative control; no label in the world will try to mess with someone whose fan base is making them big money.

While this all sounds great, unfortunately there’s no “secret sauce” to help grow this kind of fan base. Some people find themselves naturally at the forefront of a movement. And others try for years to make it happen with little success. And while a secret sauce would be nice, the truth is there’s one constant that is guaranteed to get you moving in the right direction: Treat your fans like gold!

The idea of customer service may sound a little too ‘corporate’ for some of you, but in all honestly it’s something that you should ALL be thinking about as you’re interacting with fans and building a presence (and hopefully influence) online. Here are five important ways to treat your fans like gold.

1) Fans Are Not Numbers, They Are People

Something that so many artists and brands are guilty of doing too often is promoting the fact that they are only a certain number of fans away from hitting some milestone number on their Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Youtube videos,etc. This obsession with growing the numbers as big as possible is a continuation of the myspace era of social networking, and it really needs to stop. The best way to grow a truly loyal fan base is to nurture their loyalty from the very beginning, and nothing makes a fan feel less appreciated then making them feel like just a number.

Forget for a second that you are only 10 away from 4000 fans, and start to actually spend time appreciating and nurturing the fans that you DO have. Treat them as human beings, with care and respect, and they will start to reciprocate.

2) Give Your Fans a Human Response 

Speaking of treating your fans like humans and not numbers… fans want to know that on the other end of the computer there’s a human, not a robot responding to them. When fans reach out to you online — whether it’s to complement your music or ask you a personal question — respond with a personal touch and you’ll show them that you care enough to take the time to personally get back to them.

3) Under-Promise and Over Deliver

Regularly delivering value to your fans online is a big part of nurturing their loyalty. The more value you deliver on a consistent basis, the more loyal they will become. But with the idea of delivering value comes a problem that many artists run into, which is to make promises they don’t carry through. This could be in the form of promising a new song release on a certain date, promising a live performance like no other, or even simply promising that your music is”like nothing anyone has ever heard before.”

Let’s get something straight: fans hate nothing more than when a promise to them has been broken. Fans, as any customers and brand loyalists, are very delicate and will quickly feel betrayed and disrespected when they are promised something and then let down. The easy solution? Stop promising things…but you don’t really want to do that. The better idea is to under-promise and over deliver so that everything you give to your fans is received with delight!

4) Bring Your Fans on Your Journey 

You need to give your fans something to be loyal to if you want their loyalty to be directed towards your music. If you talk AT your fans and focus on “me, me, me,” they won’t have much to feel a connection with you. As far as they are concerned, they don’t exist in your world and so whether they stay or leave won’t mean much to you.

But if you talk WITH your fans and make them feel as though they are truly an important part of the well-oiled machine that is your music career, you can give them a sense of meaning and a reason to stick around. By bringing them on your (‘your’ as a collective of you and your fan base) journey on a regular basis, your fans will have that special something to feel loyal to and support in all ways that they can.

5) The Follow Up! 

This couldn’t be simpler, and yet it’s one of the most important things you can do. If your fans come out to a show and sign up for a mailing list, or join a mailing list to download a new song, or have commented saying how much they like your music, FOLLOW UP with them and thank them for doing so. The follow up is widely viewed as THE most important part of growing a loyal fan base and it’s absolutely essential that you embrace the idea in any way that you can. Nothing says ‘human response’ and ‘I truly appreciate you being a part of our journey’ as a simple follow up.

Plain and simple, don’t make the mistake of missing this incredibly important  — and incredibly easy  — opportunity to nurture the loyalty of your fans.

How Do YOU Treat Your Fans Like Gold?

These five ideas above are just the tip of the iceberg! We want to hear from all of you about how you treat your fans like gold, so please leave your stories, suggestions and/or feedback in the form of a comment below.

 

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  • idle - February 15, 2012 reply

    “This obsession with growing the numbers as big as possible is a continuation of the myspace era of social networking, and it really needs to stop….Forget for a second that you are only 10 away from 4000 fans, and start to actually spend time appreciating and nurturing the fans that you DO have.”

    Agree. Something new I have run into a lot recently is when you take the time to go to an unknown (to you) bands My Space or Facebook page to listen to their music and when you click on the play button you are confronted with a ‘Requires Like’ prompt. You can’t listen to the music unless you first ‘Like’ the band.

    Do you want me to listen to the song or not? I’m not going to ‘Like’ a band I have never heard before and I am not going to be bullied into ‘Liking’ a band. If you want to promote yourself and want people to get exposed to your music I am more then willing to give you a chance, but nothing will make me hit the back button faster then trying to force me to add you to my like list before I even know what you sound like. Besides would you rather have a thousand false ‘Likes’ from people who will probably never come back or a couple dozen honest ones from fans who will support and share your music. When I come across a good sounding band who have only a few followers, I don’t think ‘gee these guys have such few followers, sucks to be them’ what I think is ‘Wow how can so few people appreciate this great band’

    idle
    MusicCavity.com
    @MusicCavity

  • Polly Punkneck - February 15, 2012 reply

    When I’m at a show I love talking to my Fran’s that have come out to support me!! Especially if it’s their first time! It’s disappointing when I see bands not talk to a soul at the show, it gives the fans the idea that you think your better than them, and they might think twice about coming back.

  • Jon Ostrow - February 15, 2012 reply

    @musiccavity – I hear you there and I’ve seen it more than a few times myself as well. I think this strategy can work however, if the artist uses it to offer a sneak peek or something exclusive in exchange for the like. The fans should ALWAYS have access to the music they want to hear without having to jump through hoops to get to it.

    @Polly – I totally agree with you. Far too many times artists look at their shows as a party and not a networking event. My question is – why can’t it be both? Instead of playing your set, packing your gear and taking off (or alienating yourself in the green room or backstage area), why not join the party in front of the stage and get to know those who came out to support you? The latter is a better choice every time.

  • Mariana - February 15, 2012 reply

    @MusicCavity — This is a very important and valid point. We always advise artists to carefully consider whether or not to make their potential fans Like their page before they even listen to the songs. In the end, it depends of what stage you are in your music career. If you’re unknown and all you want is to expose your music, then let people listen to it and decide on their own if they “like” you or not. Now, for the Rihannas out there, heck, people already know your songs and they know how they feel about you, so yes… you should ask them to officially “like” you.

  • 5 Ways to Treat Your Fans Like Gold « Corey Stewart - February 16, 2012 reply

    […] 5 Ways to Treat Your Fans Like Gold As an emerging musician focusing your efforts online, building a strong and loyal fan base is the ‘secret sauce’ to success. Loyal fans purchase music, attend shows, evangelize your music and help you exponentially grow your fan base. Ultimately they’ll give you the leverage you need to pursue music on your own terms. via blog.reverbnation.com […]

  • Nikki - July 17, 2015 reply

    Very well said! The bands I have encountered & helped are no good at treating their fans. They are local to me. I can’t stand them. One band (She Screams Of Royalty) I know they care more about popularity. I made a fan lyric video to one of their songs. I promoted them good. I spent my time making it. One of them told me I wasted my time making it. Most of the band insulted me, and other shit. I even said sorry when I shouldn’t at times, and said please. I still get rudeness in return. I was upset when I get treated that way. It’s really awful. There is more to it, but it’s nothing good. It’s just really awful. They blocked me one time on their Facebook page, because they was afraid I might put some negative comments down. They are BLOCKING me before I even say anything. LMAO……..I wasn’t even going to post nothing negative.

    Same goes for this other band (Death Of The Party).. I poured my heart out on promoting the hell out of them. They knew it. It was going real good with them. They messaged me first. At the end, you don’t tell your fans you appreciate their support then BLOCK THEM! I was like WTF. Left me thinking.. WTH just happened….I waited, and they responded nicely back to their messages. They handled it in a poor way. If something was bothering them, nicely tell the fans. The worst part, they blocked a fan who promote the hell out of them. I would try my best to be kind to the person like that. They also deleted my nice Youtube comments as well.

    I used to support them both. After really getting to know them, it was an awful experience. They need to learn to handle things better. REACT BETTER. BE PATIENT & KIND. If you going to treat a fan who helps you/shows support badly, don’t expect good reviews & good comments in return. I will NEVER EVER support the local scene. I’m glad I’m not like nothing like them.

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