By Andrew Goodrich
My proposition to you is to spend less time worrying about the number of friends or followers you have on social networks. Instead, focus on fewer but more valuable people.
Online social networking tools can be powerful, but numbers are just numbers and don’t necessarily represent your real “reach.” Does having 500 friends on Facebook mean that 500 people are paying attention to what I do and value what I say? Maybe. Maybe not.
At worst, putting your faith in the stats can mislead you into taking steps you (and your bandmates) might not yet be ready for (e.g. We have 5,000 MySpace friends in Chicago, so we should divert our tour there!). Do those numbers really represent the group of people that will actually show up to a show when you make it into town? Or if you are leveraging your friend stats to try to get a label deal, do those numbers actually represent how many people will fork over the money to buy your album when it finally gets released? If not, do you know about how many will?
You know what I’m getting at. Even though it’s extremely tempting to use your friend statistics to measure success and reach, in reality I think those numbers are typically misrepresentative because the systems are so highly diluted.
Consider another scenario: I could fill my Rolodex with thousands of music industry contacts that I’ve managed to scour from websites, e-mails, chance meetings, etc. These people represent the movers in the industry, but unless I have developed relationships with those people on some kind of meaningful level, their information represents absolutely no value to me whatsoever.
So instead of trying to befriend the masses, just befriend the individuals you can build genuine relationships with.
Pay attention to these people first and foremost, because they are the people that will go out and spread the word about what you do – especially if you have convinced them that you are a real, authentic, and valuable person. They are the ones that will actually show up to your shows and purchase your albums.
Plus, if you spend your time developing good relationships with smaller numbers of people, you’ve effectively reached thousands. Each one of those unique people that you now have a personal rapport with has the ability to reach and influence possibly hundreds of others. If you give them the tools to do so, they probably will. Now that you’ve developed a really core group of committed people around what you do, you can rely on them to represent you to more people than you could have ever reached by mass marketing in the beginning.
Don’t waste your time trying to reach the masses – that’s what your friends are for!
Andrew Goodrich is a recent graduate of Loyola University New Orleans. He’s an aspiring music business entrepreneur, casual musician and photographer, and an avid supporter of artists.
He has interned at Alan Ett Creative Group and 20th Century Fox’s Newman Scoring Stage and Post Production Department. In the future, he hopes to find himself where film and music meet.
Andrew is a regular contributor to the Artists House Music blog. Artists House Music is a free educational resource for musicians and music entrepreneurs.