You Might Be a Spammer If… (3 Warning Signs You’re Wasting Your Fans’ Time)

How to Avoid Spamming Your FansIf 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.

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22 comments to You Might Be a Spammer If… (3 Warning Signs You’re Wasting Your Fans’ Time)

  • Buy my friggin album, right friggin now, right friggin here:  http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/JamesHooker5

  • Poobah has 12 psychedelic rock albums out and another coming very soon.
     12 appearances at the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and chosen by Rolling Stone magazine for Top 10 of the year. Watch our videos on Youtube ! Available on CD Baby, and iTunes.
    poobahband.com

  • Susan just might be a spammer.

  • That’s great. Thanks for sharing Randy.

  • I’m a concert-music composer, at the end of a big project that I worked on through last year in an artist residency. I frequently uploaded excerpts from my scores, posted updates about my studio time, even about rehearsal time and – good grief! – how much time I spent practicing the piano every day! 

    The posts were all in good humor, brief, and I tried to be witty about them. 

    Last April I finished the last of my recording sessions in a 4-day long gig laying down the tracks for a one-hour violin work. After the sessions ended me and the violinist had a bunch of people over and played through some of the material for them – I recorded that too!

    After that I scripted a podcast about the process of putting together that recording and posted that on FaceBook. The day of the post I didn’t get a lot of response, but I reposted it with a few introductory words – on a Sunday morning around the time when people are usually hanging out at home having a cup of coffee…TONS of response!

    Be judicious about the frequency of your posts too. I’m always shocked at one friend of mine who posts trivially so often, it’s impossible to discern when he’s promoting a gig – or why I should be interested in that over his last posting about the cocktail he just spilled! I’ve given up trying to be enthusiastic about his gigs and progress because…I never know when they are.

    Keeping in mind there’s a huge amount of babble out there in the world, making your posts meaningful and engaging in some way is really important. People should want to read your posts and support your work. You can encourage that pretty easily by transmitting your enthusiasm, or even frustration and being sure, again, that your posts are in some way meaningful. Even if it’s to say, “Kicking back after a five-hour recording session…feeling good about the tracks!” That says a lot about how you feel about your work, and encourages people to look forward to a release – because you feel good about it – right?!

    http://nfchase.bandcamp.com/album/free-podcasts

  • to stay sharp at songwriting i let fans come up with any song idea in any genre and try to do it in a 24hr period and shout them out when i post
    http://www.rodfatha.com

  • see  we are in this  contest,  so  we have been pushing really hard and reaching out to people…walking the fine line of spam/promo…..some people even deleted me for asking for help….which of course is fine….after 10 different major band projects, i can honestly say, fans will come and go and blow with the wind  so will “friends”…..and  a lot of artists spend too much time trying to please everyone along the way,  the others chase the never ending money pit that releasing music/instruments and touring has become…..and the rest are chasing some adolescent fantasy life they thought was going to be cool but didnt  realize was a lot of  work just like any other business….it is true i hate the 7 times a  day  update “buy my album”   we only post that once a month….even  less….but at the same time,  why  shouldnt bands be ok with making it about  the money?  cd baby  makes it  about the money…..we all have to pay you  first.   we dont get your  service if we dont pay.   so why shouldn’t bands make it very clear,  we can not afford to do this if you  do not  buy the album,  without  sounding like  some  money  grubbing  fools……in the land of eternally free  downloads,  i dont think it is right to villainize bands for pushing their product in the very same manner every corporation does……the  big  difference  there is  the time put into the marketing  campaign…..and the advertising budget….but anyways,  your  article is spot on,  and what seems like common sense if  all too often ignored…..as displayed by some of these promo posts!  lol   just  too funny and ironic :)

  • Vel Omarr

    I invite fans to listen to, and judge or rate my music. I’ll also have some friends of mind send out messages to their friends on my behalf. Many of my friends do this without me asking. What can I do to be more effective? Thanks.

  • KooKKy

    We were recently in an online BOTB, where public votes were part of the score.  What happened was that we all voted for one another, gave upbeat messages to one another, and became fans of one anothers’ bands from all over the country.  We ended up being each others’ fans on social sites, and our fans heard them, their fans heard us.  It was a very positive experience.

  • I retweet other DJ’s/Record Labels/Night Clubs tweets — about five a day.  Out of every 20 retweets I will tweet something about me, usually a photo, and occasionally a link to my music.  I feel like retweeting is like donating to the Bank of Kharma.  I may not directly receive anything as a result of a retweet but it really doesn’t matter.  It only takes a second to retweet.

  • if it dosent sell try something else and try to make it better and never give up someone will notice if its true and beautiful

  • Cindy Cook

    * We occasionally give away a free track download from a CD.
    * Ask the fans for their ideas for our next “cover” songs to add to our set list.
    * Free song download when they submit photos/videos/comments
    * We run weird one day sales (like “if it snows tonight” recently)
    * Let them know the next date we’re playing & details.
    * Free download of lyrics of our favorite songs.
    * List charity events we’re sponsoring & encourage them to help support the community.
    * Let them know we will pray for their prayer requests & their spiritual growth.

  • ShelleyPeck

     Good on you!  You can’t go wrong giving some stuff away.  That way, people don’t feel like they’re being spammed.  You’re giving them something of value.

  • Hi Mike, sorry, but where is the artistic integrity in trying to please the market at all costs ? Don’t let the mainstream format your work. I make a concert program like a good parent, I don’t give candy all day, I give the public what I think is good for them. Make your music, if its moving, touching, worthy, well, even if it doesn’t sell, at least you’ve spent your life doing something deep and beautifull.

  • I occasionally mention they can download my track for free in other sites. I let them know periodically that i’m workin on new music and possibly a video down the line. I try to comment or like some of their post even if they’re silly or boring.

  •  This is true! But be careful not to retweet too often.  People like to hear about YOU more often than you might think.  I’m guilty of unfollowing some people because all I ever see from them are retweets.

  • Matt Early

    You can regurgitate old links and old products, but the copy must remain engaging enough for people to realise you are rehashing old content. This is a great article, and I will be using it in the future for all my artists :) Matt x

  • This is encouraging.  Thanks!!  You’ve expressed my own attitudes and opinions on this.  Glad to see I’m on the right track.

  • Half of the people on my lists don’t put a word on the subject line and of course its spam, because I will delete it. If people just put someone like Suck or Happy Thoughts or something instead of putting nothing and clicking send will help me, sort out the real spam and promoting your works is fine, but not 10 times a day, it fills up people’s email boxes and that is BORING and I will delete you. That goes for Twitter, if you are going to promote YOU  do it ONCE a day!

  • Promoting and contests; a touchy subject when dealing with a email address. You can promote YOURSELF, but not 10, 20, 30 times a day. twice a day is fine, but when you have several people promoting all day long, it becomes BORING, because your reading the same damn email over and over again. People will start to ignore you and YES delete your email or delete you altogther from their mailing lists, because this is SPAM! If you are on AOL, AOL will send your email of what you wrote in the people’s spam folder and it sometimes gets deleted and the person doesn’t see it in the spam folder because AOL has deleted it. Please and I stress this. Do like Kenny Chesney does sends only IMPORTANT emails like Promoting/Contests twice a day or even once a day. That way you still have tomorrow to do it all over again and please say something like Promoting a song or album or Need votes for contests. 

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