Interacting with fans is an important part of growing your reputation as an artist, and making sure you come off in a positive light during these interactions is essential to developing a positive reputation within a fan community. Here we look at six tips for ensuring your one on one encounters with fans don't go up in flames.
Whether in person or on social media, one on one social interactions can be one of the best ways to both bond with preexisting fans, and build connections with new or potential new fans. A positive interaction can also easily bump a casual fan up to a superfan, but just as easily a negative experience (or even a perceived negative experience) on the part of the fan can reduce you to garbage in their eyes, and the speed with which word spreads in fan communities can often amplify this damage. These six tips can help artists navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of interacting one on one with their admirers.
As true today as it ever was, no one particularly likes a poser. More than one artist has had their career ruined for conducting themselves in a way that was revealed to be artificial. This can be helped by playing to your natural strengths.
Play To Your Natural Strengths
It’s perfectly reasonable to “play up” personal qualities within yourself and still remain genuine. Even some character traits that might not seem beneficial can actually work to your advantage. For instance being shy, something which seems like a negative in terms of interacting with fans, can help you come across as “real” and accessible in a way that many find appealing, and will make said fans feel that much more special for having gained access to an otherwise reclusive artist.
Although the idea of consistency can easily be taken too far, many fans, including those already established, will attend your show with some measure of expectation, and offering an underwhelming or excessively unconventional performance can often leave fans feeling, at best, somewhat disappointed or, at worst (and however unfairly), betrayed. For up and coming artists consistency is key for establishing a brand, and for established artists, consistency is key to maintaining it. That said, it’s important to be consistent in a sustainable way. Sending every fan a verbose handwritten letter or inviting every concert attendee back to your hotel for drinks and a lengthy hang sesh can be a risky precedent to set, particular as you grow into a more successful artist.
While consistency is good, too much of it can make you come off as dull. Be wary of telling the same jokes too often, or not mixing up your banter and behavior. Unorthodox or out of the ordinary conduct can help you stand out in a memorable way, and help create a “talked about” moment for concert goers.
It may seem obvious, but life on the road can be trying for many musicians and, particularly if they’re not used to the physical and emotional strains associated with touring, tensions will often run high, and precocious fans can easily become the target of a musician's bad temper. It doesn’t take a genius to see why outbursts such as these can be crippling to an artist’s reputation. Stabbing someone in the eye with Sharpie at the merch table can only lead to bad press. Besides doubtless leaving the fan in question with a bitter taste in their mouth, anyone else bearing witness to such negative outbursts (and more than likely catching it on video) will have their perceptions tarnished as well. On the flip side, consistent kindness and personal attention to fans will get you everywhere.
Humbleness Is Next To Godliness
Confidence is one thing, but as an artist begins to gain success in the music industry, this confidence can easily begin to develop into pride. In addition to making the above “Be Nice” that much more unlikely, excessive pride, particularly when on display for the public eye, can be very off putting for fans or potential fans. If they paid to come out and see you perform, there’s a good chance they already think you’re pretty great and, genre depending, reminding them of the fact from stage will likely only serve to diminish their opinion.