Social media has become a massive part of our culture. In fact, it has changed our culture. It changed the way we do business, how we talk to each other and how we entertain ourselves. It also changed how music fans experience music and how they experience the artists behind the music. So, if you are an artist promoting your music on the Internet and you’re not already plugged into a social media outlet or two, it’s time to jump in. If you’re not connected, you are quickly becoming disconnected with what’s going on around you, socially speaking.
The explosive popularity of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter demand that you, as an artist, become more immediately accessible to your fans. It’s not enough to have a website or even an Instagram account. Your fans want to know you, they want to follow you and they want to interact with you. They want to chat with you personally, comment on your music and see what you’re doing right now. Your fans expect you to be part of their daily “friend-checking” routine. Your life is entertainment to them. Your life is a reality show and you didn’t even know it!
On one hand, the level of personal interaction social media encourages is a good thing. When it comes to networking, developing relationships with your fans is a key element. It always has been. But now, as you get more involved with social media and start posting your “status update” several times a day for the world to see, things begin to get personal, perhaps a little bit too personal. How do you cope with this?
Having been active in the social media world for a while now, I’ve discovered the importance of setting boundaries for what I do and do not post for the world at large to read. I have learned that if you cross these boundaries, there can be social consequences. Have you ever really thought about how the words you post come across to your fan base? What you post can drastically change your reader’s opinion about you, in both good and bad ways. While a fan might be thrilled to find you on Twitter or Facebook at first, after following your posts for a while they may become bored with you, disappointed in you, turned off by you or even angry at you.
Social interaction with your fans is a good thing, to a point. But it would be wise to give yourself a few rules to go by; rules to help protect you not only from yourself (because you can be your own worst enemy) but also those who follow you that may or may not have your best interests in mind.
Measure Your Words Carefully. And Then Measure Again. Think twice about every word you’re about to post before you post. When you first get involved in social networking, the most natural thing to do to is to just “be yourself” and post your true feelings, thoughts, and opinions about everything under the sun. This can be a two-edged sword when it comes to how your fans perceive you. Your fans like your music because they relate to it somehow and as a result on some level they think they know and understand you. But the truth is, they don’t know you at all. That means that with every word, thought or opinion you post there is the potential to taint someone’s image of who you are. Always measure how your words match up with your public image. If you write beautiful Christian songs of love and compassion, but your posts are filled with cynical ramblings, harsh language, and sexual innuendo, how does that affect your fans image of you? Destroy your fans image of you and it will cost you long term relationships and sales. So, before you post your opinions on this or that, always make sure what you post is truly how you want to represent yourself to your fans.
Stay Positive. Listen, no one likes a complainer. Don’t use your status update to tell the world how lousy you feel, how stressed out you are, how hard life is, how unfair you’ve been treated, how misunderstood you are or how much you hate your job. People tire of whiners quickly. Do you enjoy listening to people who complain? Neither does anyone else. Complaining is the fastest way to lose friends and followers (in real life too). Whatever you do, when you post a status update, be positive and encouraging to others. Present your life as good, blessed and happy, even if it isn’t at every single moment. If you are a joyful person, people will be drawn to you.
Social media is a great thing, and a fantastic way to stay in touch with your fans on a day to day basis. But words are powerful, lasting, and shape people’s perceptions of who you are. So always be watchful of how you present yourself in writing. Think twice before you post, stay positive, be enthusiastic and avoid being negative or boring.