Before you start,have you read our intro to Creating an Experience for Fans? Find it here.
Once artists understand the vitality of creating an incredible experience for their fans, they can start applying it to every aspect of their careers in order to maximize and develop a longer lasting relationship with their fans. So let’s start with the experience that can be created on social media.
Social media is an amazing opportunity to create meaningful relationships with people because it requires little effort, but can still be extremely meaningful to someone getting noticed by their favourite artist. Simple interactions such as liking posts, having conversations with people, and replying to posts are easy ways to show recognition for the support that people are showing. Social media also offers a unique opportunity; it allows for artists to strategically vary the range of their interactions depending on a fans’ level of dedication. For example, an artist could (and should) show recognition to posts in which they are mentioned with small gestures such as liking peoples’ posts, and replying to several of them, and then make more efforts and do bigger gestures for more proven fans. This can be done by retweeting them/ sharing their posts, replying to them more often/ commenting on their posts/ pictures. With the endless possibilities of social media, that artist is even able to take their interactions a step further (which should always be done for fans) by surprising them with exclusive opportunities, posting pictures with them, giving free giveaways, etc. If an artist takes the time to determine or have the ability to recognize a fan’s level of dedication and they interact with fans accordingly, it can really serve to their advantage. Consistently offering unique opportunities to dedicated fans gives newer ones a glimpse of the same potential relationship that they could have with the same artist, encouraging them to go to more extremes for them, generating word of mouth promotion and attention to that artist and their music. It also shows more dedicated fans that their efforts are being recognized by doing more for them and by having a more intimate relationship with them. If an artist dedicates the time to keeping track of fans whom have proven to be extremely dedicated and that artist makes the effort to show their appreciation and recognition, trust me, those fans will never leave that artists’ side. As a fan myself, I know how disappointing it can be to invest hours into an artist, only to constantly receive nothing in return, while people acknowledging the same artist for the first time receive attention, even if only coincidentally. This sounds petty, but trust me, the disappointment of constantly failing to be noticed by an artist is enough to discourage even your biggest fans, which is something that many artists may not even realize or understand. You need to remember that all a fan wants is to feel appreciated and noticed, and even the smallest gestures towards them will give confirmation that all of their time and efforts towards an artist are not wasted.
Aside from interacting with fans directly on social media sites, there are many opportunities to create incredible experiences for fans online. I talked about the potential of creating an experience on artist websites in my article How to Create a Better Website, which you should definitely check out if you haven’t yet. Another way thing that some artists have recently been doing is getting to know the demographics of their fans, and using that information to organize incredible experiences for them offline. A good example of this is what Taylor Swift did for her fans a year ago. Before her album “1989” was released, Swift took the time to find her biggest fans on social media, whom she rewarded by inviting them to a secret event which they knew nothing about. Once arrived at the secret location, they were surprised by Swift herself and an exclusive listen of her new album before it was released, these events became known as the “1989 Secret Sessions“. Another good example of how Swift utilized social media to get to know her fans was an event that became known as “Swiftmas”. Not only did she dedicate time to finding her biggest fans online through sites such as Tumblr, she also spent time getting to know them, their interests and hobbies. With this information, Swift sent selected fans boxes filled with hand picked and chosen specifically presents for Christmas. So if you think that keeping up with a few fans by tweeting them or liking their posts seems a like too much work, think again.
Although it is important for artists to consistently show their appreciation and recognition towards fans and supporters, it’s also important to be aware of the fact that the more people that an artist interacts with or does extreme gestures for, the less meaningful their interactions actually become. As I’ve said before, nothing in the music industry is the “right” or “wrong” way of doing something, because everything is completely dependent on the circumstances of the artist, their image, and their fans. I still do strongly believe that artists should do a lot of interacting with their fans because that’s one of the most important things in my opinion, however, there does need to be a balance in order to maximize the word of mouth and excitement generated from the event. I usually say that things like this are dependent on the image that an artist is trying to create for themselves, however, when it comes to developing an experience for fans, I think that an artists’ image should affect how the experience is created, instead how often it is created. I strongly believe that all artists should always make the effort to show their appreciation for their fans as often as possible, whether you’re an acoustic guitar player singing love songs or a member of a speed metal band, if you can’t appreciate or deal with fans, you’re in the wrong industry.