Rule No. 1: Invite me to everything.
I love your band -- I bought your cassette, even though I don't have a Walkman, and I bought your shirt, even though I'm getting to that age where band shirts fit me a bit like a corset, and I like your Facebook page.
What's missing? My iPhone isn't telling me that I have a Meeting With 70 Others At 7 PM Titled "HaRd RoCk RoDeO With KSLT FM 107.1 The SlutBuster @ The Drunkhaus" every night. Invite me to everything. Out-of-town shows, house shows, shows your friends are playing at, shows you know I am attending, shows that physicists posit must exist to account for the mass that appears to be missing from the universe.
Give them weird names, too. If I know who's playing and where without opening Facebook and scrolling down, you've already not-lost me.
Rule No. 2: Use #hashtags.
I can't emphasize this enough. Any #social #media #expert will tell you that the number-one thing real people do with their Twitter account is click on words like #Music and #Metal and pore over what a random sample of the entire world is saying about those things.
If my grandma can read your tweets without saying "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, fibber, is this in English?" or "and then there's a pound sign, and NewMusicFriday, only there aren't any spaces in it, for some reason," you've already not-lost her. And she loves your work. #GrandmaMusic
It's HERE! My brand-new music video is now on vevo. Check it out: http://t.co/1k3XlxqiXz
— apl.de.ap (@apldeap) November 1, 2013
Rule No. 3: Only talk about your music.
Look, I've memorized all your lyrics and forgone sleep just to see you play five songs in a sweaty, cramped, bar I hate before some touring band I don't care about shows up. You've forged a weirdly intimate connection between your most alive moments, when you're writing and playing, and my own, when I'm screaming along to your songs in my car after the Worst Day Ever at work. So what in the hell makes you think we'd have anything else at all in common?
I don't want to hear about the books you're reading, or all those other hobbies that are informing your work -- which I love, remember -- and I definitely don't want to hear about your goddamned tour, and how it's making you feel, and what it's like to be four real human beings in a van I can pick out in the parking lot. What I want is a straightforward feed hyping that one show you're playing in May four times a day, and explaining where I can buy your new album.Rule No. 4: Don't think about the bands you've unfollowed, and why you unfollowed them.
Man, you like the guys in that other band, and you're into their music, but you couldn't stand being friends with them on Facebook, right?
Don't think about it too hard. It probably had nothing to do with the way they were approaching social media, or all those ragecomics they posted about Bitches Who Don't Put Out and had the words "Baquack Oboingo" in them. You probably didn't get tired of seeing their flier more often than you saw pictures of your little niece, or all those Will Ferrell parody accounts they retweeted. It was probably just a coincidence.
Rule No. 5: Act like you hate social media.
Here's the most important thing to do if you want to make sure nobody reads your Facebook or Twitter account: Make it clear that it's work. Follow-back everybody who follows you because you heard that was a good way to increase engagement, and then get frustrated with Twitter and stop reading your overflowing timeline.
Do not give your most devoted fans a look at the inner workings of your band or your mind. Do not think of it as another creative outlet or a chance to ask questions about your process. Do not make it clear that you respect or even like the people you've connected with, and do not enjoy any of it.
Read blog posts and books with titles like "First You Won't Believe How Upworthy Headlines Increased This Band's #Branding #Engagement -- Then You'll Weep," or "Five rules to make sure nobody reads your band's Twitter or Facebook," and try to manipulate people you've already won over into buying your stuff.
Oh, and don't spell-check. Don't even look at the screen while you're typing. Thanks.
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