If you’re using email, Facebook, and Twitter to promote your music, you’re in a unique position: you’re able to spread the word about your projects to people who’ve already shown enough interest to follow you or sign up for your email list. It’s not like placing an ad, where you just put it out there and hope it will reach your audience. Instead, you’re directly connected with people who are already fans, or those who want to get to know you better. These people are on your side.
Now don’t screw it up.
The term “spam” used to be reserved for those pesky emails we’ve all wasted hours of our lives combing through and tossing in our Junk folders. But these days, the phrase also applies to any overly solicitous messaging found on social networks, in comments sections, text messages, or anywhere else people don’t want to be barraged with vacant, one-track-mind sales pitches.
Are you guilty of inadvertent spamming? Find out.
You might be a spammer if…
1. Your email newsletter is nothing but an ad for your newest album/book/project.
Obviously there are exceptions to this. If you just dropped some new music or launched a new novel, you’re going to want to make that your focus, and that makes sense. But if your work is past its launch cycle and you’re still shouting about that and nothing but that, why would anyone pay attention? They already know it’s for sale. Worried they’re still on the fence? Entice them with a blog post, a video, a free track, or new sample chapter – something that keeps them engaged and puts you in their favor. It’ll work a lot better than just shouting the same thing over and over.
2. Your Facebook updates are nothing but links to buy your album/book/painting/etc.
I’m actually surprised at how often I see this. This is literally the least you can do. As a fan, it tells me that you care about my money, and nothing else.
3. You tweet a link to buy your work/book/etc. more than once a day.
In fact, I think even once a day is pushing it. Everyone uses Twitter differently, so it’s understandable that you want to make sure the word is spread. But consider this: I read Twitter like a book. I follow a small group of people and I keep up with their tweets. If you’re tweeting out the same generic “BUY MY ALBUM ON ITUNES” message every day, I’m going to unfollow you. Because it’s boring.
You get the idea. Barraging potential buyers with narrow, self-serving messaging probably won’t lead to sales, and even worse, it could turn them off completely. If fans feel like all they are is a potential paycheck for you, they’re going to lose interest in that one-sided relationship real quick.
What you should be doing to promote yourself through your email newsletter, blog, and social media
You’ve got to engage them on a regular basis, and do it in ways that benefit them, not you. Then they’ll see you trying. Then they’ll feel like they have a real connection with you. Then they’ll feel like they’re on your team. And then, when you mention that you’ve got something new for sale, not only will they not feel like they’re being sold to, they’ll look forward to supporting you and your art, because they feel like they’re a part of it. That’s the polar opposite of spam. And that’s where you want to be.
What do you do to keep your fans engaged? How do you avoid spammy messaging? Let us know in the comments section below.