I am not (entirely) ashamed to admit that, as a 14 year-old girl whose walls were covered in posters of New Kids on the Block, I sent my share of fan mail. I wrote some sappy teenage crap, dotted my i’s with hearts, and mailed the BabySoft-scented letters thinking that Joey McIntyre would actually read it. I listened their first several albums until the cassette tapes would no longer play. But – I never heard back from Joey. Gradually, my admiration for the New Kids on the Block became closeted (my friends moved on), and then completely forgotten.
Social media has changed the way we follow musicians. With Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, ReverbNation, and others, we are able to listen to and follow the careers of our favorite stars. In some cases, we can communicate with the musicians themselves on social media; but at the very least, we are able to tap into a community of like-minded music lovers. Rather than a perfumed letter, I can like, comment, and direct message on a musician’s Facebook page; I can retweet or tweet at the band’s Twitter handle; I can listen and promote the music I love all over the Internet. In many ways, musicians have paved the way for social media marketers, showing us how to widen our reach and increase engagement by rewarding fans for their dedication.
As I’ve aged, my musical tastes have changed dramatically. My level of commitment as a fan, however, has not. Enroute to Buffalo, N.Y., I checked my Facebook feed to find that one of my favorite bands, The Indigo Girls, was playing with the Buffalo Philharmonic that very night! Though I had no idea we’d cross paths like this in Buffalo, I was able to buy tickets instantly from my smartphone and caught a fabulous concert *almost* by chance. Similarly, the Indigo Girls pre-released tickets to Facebook fans for a recent Ohio concert. This means that our seats were closer than we’ve ever been – fourth row!
What does this have to do with social media marketing? It’s about offering your followers incentives to stay engaged, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. If people have already chosen to follow you, they’ve opted in! Remind them that you’re around with original content (and it shouldn’t always be promotional). Have some fun! Doctors can Tweet tips about drinking in moderation over the holidays and offer lower calorie cocktail (and mocktail) recipes on Facebook. Retail stores can use Twitter to offer coupons. Restaurants can offer a dinner special to anyone that can prove (with their smartphone Facebook app) that they “like” the establishment. Musicians can pre-release tickets, post backstage pictures, or Tweet from the road. While I’d have happily accepted an autographed picture from Joey McIntyre, today’s fans expect more from – and do more for – their favorite musicians. When it comes to word-of-mouth marketing, don’t forget to feed the mouths that speak for you!