FAN ZONE or FRIEND ZONE?
Your friends love YOU. Your fans love what you DO
Since Day 1 or even before Day 1 your friends were there for you. Before you even had a career your friends invested in you. Perhaps they saw something that told them you were gifted, and worthy of spending time to get to know. That doesn’t even mean they have to like everything you do, but they stand alongside you and genuinely believe in your dream. It's more likely your personality that keeps them around no matter what you creatively produce.
Often they will be your initial cheerleaders. They stand outside the empty bar, you are singing in and persuade the general public to walk in and listen to you! (Yep that was me! and the artist I did that for probably still remembers it) They might be prepared to pay for fuel, drive you, pay bar tabs and purchase coffees before anyone else is investing in your music.
They will stick by you. It's a unique support that cannot be replicated once you’ve made it big.
Fans will typically start as complete strangers. They will start by liking your music, and may eventually want to find out more about you as a person.
There are all kinds of ways that a new fan finds you. Hopefully it is from your social media doing its job, or by word of mouth from other fans who promote your music. A fan is very unlikely to start by having any personal interest in you or what you stand for. They either like your music or not.
Over time this may change, and they might be interested in your story, but mostly how it relates to your music. They don’t care about your childhood or where you went on holiday as a kid.
I would strongly recommend you don’t share personal information with your fans. Always portray your personality through your Artist persona and your music.
Let them engage entirely with your Artist personality, but keep very separate your actual self (even if that is basically the same). Your fans do not know you like your friends do, and you should not encourage any blurring of lines from fans.
Your fans will invest in your career via your music and merch. Again they are not investing in your personal life. They will want to help you do things which mean more music for them to consume.
Fans Vs Friends
Your fans are potentially not loyal either. Any bad publicity can put a fan off for life. A bad gig might cause a fan never to come back. A friend supports you through good and bad. If a better version of your act comes along, then you could easily see your fans transfer their loyalty pretty quickly.
Fans cannot be part of your team. You can involve them in campaigns, seek their opinions, ask for their fan videos, but at the end of the day you decide what happens in your music career. Of course that might be to serve your fans more, but ultimately that is decided by you and the advice of your music management team or close friends who have your back.
You don’t phone a fan with your personal problems or your concerns. You wouldn’t invite them to your private BBQ. You maintain a distance, engaging with fans in appropriate forums such as a gig, meet and greets, or via social media. If you start to treat your fans like your friends, you run the risk of pushing away your true friends.
Your fans came to you because of your music, so you do need to understand that if you don’t provide regular new music or if you drastically change your style, then they may jump ship.
You should be friendly with your fans, but that does not make them your friends.
With Instagram and Twitter its so much easier to directly interact with your fans. But again remember this is an interaction with your Artist persona. Be very clear online how you act on your Artist accounts versus your personal accounts.
Engaging with fans, allows you to understand what they like about your music, and therefore what they might like about future music. Are you making music for yourself or your fans?
Follow your fans, and they will follow you and your music. What I mean is stay engaged, respond to your fans questions and interactions.
Understanding your stats and where the people physically are that like your music; that could be very useful when you are planning a tour. Go to where your fans already are.
Because of this social media interaction, your fans can now tell you directly if they like your music, you don’t need an A&R guy any more.
Right now there are no live events in the UK, so this is a good time to be engaging with your fans via your social media. It's the only interaction you have where you can gauge their response. Facebook Live and YouTube Live offer no real time reaction to how your music is being received, other than comments.
Today I help singers and songwriters explore their own potential. I encourage them to see new ways to view their creative chaos, working alongside to structure them into fully finished songs they are proud of.
Contact me and let’s begin that journey together…