For the first time in history, if an artist wants to keep their fans updated about each and every aspect of their musical and personal life, the technology now exists to let them do it. What you had for breakfast, lyrics to a new song you’re writing, a picture of the green room at the venue you’re about to play––these are all things you could potentially share with your fans through social media if you’re interested in forging deeper connections with your fans.
But just because you now have the power to share everything with your fans doesn’t mean you should.
Put yourself in your fan’s shoes for a minute, and you’ll soon see just how much information they’re bombarded with on a daily basis. The things you share online are not only competing with stuff other bands post, but also everything else your fans see online––the non-stop news cycle, pet memes, notifications from dating apps, video recommendations tailored through algorithm technology to keep everyone engaged and clicking. Simply throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks when it comes to promoting your music online is a bad strategy because everything you post competes against an incomprehensibly massive swath of engaging information. Combine our society’s ever-shrinking attention spans with the fact that free and organic posts on social media sites are designed to not reach nearly as many users as they used to, and it’s clear that sharing each and every little thing online is a bad idea.
Choose what you want to say and make it strong
Sharing a picture of the pizza your band is about to eat doesn’t carry a fraction of the importance debuting new music does, and yet many artists don’t realize that they only have so much internet real estate to work with when it comes to promoting their music and identities online. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to get close with your fans online by being genuine and accessible, and, in fact, it’s now something that’s expected in music. But artists lose a great deal of promotional power when they barrage their fans with a constant feed of information. If you share things that are mundane and not relevant to your music multiple times a day, the chances of fans paying attention to the important things you have to share go down.
To get the most out of sharing your music and identity with your fans online, you’ll need to decide what’s most important about you and your work. For example, if you’re about to release an album, that should obviously be the focus of your messaging online, and sharing anything that’s not related to your new music runs the risk of distracting your already very distracted audience even more. Make what you say and how you say it as strong as possible. A simple status update announcing new music is one thing, but a thoughtful video capturing your recording process that previews some of your new work is another. This idea also goes for the non-musical aspects of what you share with your fans. If you want to share something funny or personally revealing or socially poignant, make it as strong and compelling as possible. Whether it’s through music or something else you share, if you want your audience’s attention in 2019, you’re going to have to earn it.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.