Social Media is the New Fan Mail
Remember, back in the day, when you would actually send hand-written notes to your favorite artists, in the hopes that they would send back a signed picture? Or signing up a new artist’s fan club to get exclusive fan-mail from them every month? (Hello fellow JTT fans… who didn’t love that!).
While the music industry has changed, “Fan Mail” hasn’t. It has just changed form. Over the years, it has morphed from handwritten notes to sending posters, to having an AOL chat room and so on . . . These days, even if you haven’t realized it yet, your social media accounts are now the ‘new’ fan mail. Knowing this, how have you been using it to your advantage?
Fan mail is simply how you make your fans feel included in what you are creating. Whether that is sending a note back to them, engaging with them in the comments or responding to their DM’s. All of these are super important and should shift your perspective on how powerful these platforms can truly be.
Back story, social media was created as a means to be SOCIAL online, so if you are only having a one-way conversation, (i.e. you are only posting content and hoping that people follow you back) you are probably not seeing the engagement you want.
Your social media platforms need to be a two-way conversation between you and your fans, regardless of how you have used them before. While it may seem overwhelming, especially as your following numbers grow, below are a few examples of how to start “responding” to your new “fan mail”:
Engage in Comments: This one is normally what starts the “two-way” conversation mentioned above and is the easiest! Anytime anyone comments on your social media posts, make sure you respond. Obviously a simple emoticon can be overlooked as there is nothing there to respond to, but if someone truly comments, make sure to comment back with something just for them. You never know what a comment to a fan can do to make their day!
Respond to DM’s (especially from fans who keep popping up): It can feel like a lot to think that you have to respond to every DM that comes into your inbox and ignoring them all together seems like the only solution. However, it couldn’t be farther from the truth! Your DM’s are where your fans will really appreciate a simple message back (also DM’s can contain overlooked opportunities from other companies!). Again, as your socials grow it will get harder to keep up and this is where hiring someone to help (when & if it makes sense) can come into play. But stay away from automation as much as you can, as it can look fake!
Lastly, don’t respond to bots, hate messages, or messages that seem like spam. And please feel free to block the haters, as they do not serve the fans that you have worked so hard to gain!
Ask Questions: This is a GREAT way to get fan engagement without taking up too much time (except for the time you want to take to scroll the answers). This can be asking them about things that they want to see from you, merch ideas, covers for your next live stream … anything to engage them and give you ideas on how best to show up for them! The questions box in Instagram stories is a great tool for this! This helps you also see which fans are consistently showing up and seeing how you can engage with them more, whether in a quick DM or commenting on one of their social posts to thank them for their support!
Do a Poll (or two): Polls are an awesome way, just like questions, to engage your fanbase, get their opinions and see their answers. The difference between polls and questions is that in a poll you are the one directing the conversations and asking them for an opinion instead of an answer! Yes/No polls are always great, along with giving them options to choose to see which they pick! Again, these should be focused around your career and what you need help with!
While all of these can be time-consuming, pick just one to start with and add on when you get into a good routine. It is all about being consistent, showing up and putting your fans first! It can take up time, but at the end of the day these efforts will not only create raving fans that convert into paying customer when you drop new music or merch, but it gives you great insight into how engaged your fans really are and what you may need to do differently to grow a fanbase that keeps being engaged!
These simple steps to start engaging with your social media fan base (a/k/a your new “fan mail”) can also show you if you are ready for a crowdfunding campaign or project! Have questions about this, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org as she is always happy to answer your questions around this subject!
by Nicole Hoglund