Build a Fan Base without Collecting Stalkers!

Many people jump into the world of music head first with the best intentions, and a passion to express themselves to a wide audience. To expand that audience, a band needs to build a solid base of dedicated fans that will be at each show. The trick then is to stay connected with these fans to keep them informed of what the band is up to but in a way that does not open you up to let them into your personal life. These days stalkers are a reality and with the advent of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Share My Guitar, fans have a deeper level of access to the artists they love so getting info about gigs is a snap. Unfortunately getting info about you and your personal business is just as easy. So here are a few solid, “Do’s and Dont’s” when it comes to building a fan base and keeping the weirdos at bay!

Do

Start a mailing list of email addresses and build a database (or excel worksheet). Email the contacts about every 2 weeks to a month in order to keep your band name crossing their eyes. Also offer those people first dibs at joining your street team or fan club and sweeten the deal by offering a special shirt, an unreleased song, or something of the like to get them excited to go to work for you!

Don’t

Whatever you do, don’t give out your personal email address, Facebook account or phone number to a fan no matter how cool they are. People will quickly latch on and not let go and that’s when things get strange. Create a separate email for band only stuff and keep the replies and responses to a minimum when people write to it.

Do

Talk to people at your shows and engage in short appreciative conversations about your performance. Taking a second to hear a fan tell you how he saw you at another gig or how she has had your CD in her car for over a year really makes their day so take the time to listen and be thankful.

Don’t

If people ask personal things just politely decline to share the info or give a very vague answer. People will pry into your life if given the chance, so to avoid any future fan drama, it’s best to keep things to a minimum and let them know as little about you off stage as possible. It’s easy to answer a question like “where are you from” too openly and next thing you know, you have a crazy fan hanging out at your neighborhood Starbucks waiting to run into you.

Do

Respect the fact that your fans want to feel a connection to the band the way they feel connected to your music, so find ways to connect with your fans that keeps the focus on that musical connectivity. Let them know you appreciate the support and that you know you wouldn’t be where you are without them.

Don’t

No matter how nice or friendly you are, don’t become everyone’s new best friend. Once you treat them as your pal, they will start to demand your friendship and things can get ugly real quick.

The bottom line is, we all need others to enjoy our music, frequent our gigs, buy our CD’s and sport the t-shirt around town and you can do all that and have your fans really look up to you without having your life invaded. In my own experience, being Mr. Nice Guy to everyone, I’ve learned quickly that you can’t be too sure of anyone’s motives when they approach you so be careful what you put out there because it will most likely come back to STALK you!

Scott “SVH” Von Heldt is a staff writer for SMG. Scott is currently the lead guitarist for Brian “Head” Welch (ex-Korn) and has worked with members of White Zombie, Cirque Du Soliel and many others. In late 2008 he released the first book of his Mystic Art of Self-Discovery series entitled Mind Over Metal: The Musician’s Guide to Mental Mastery.

Email: SVH@sharemyguitar.com

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  • Sam

    What? This article is just ridiculous. It sounds like a) elevating the band above the people and b) treating “fans” like they’re just there to make you money and are assets.

  • Hi Sam, I disagree completely. The writer points out how by practicing a few simple tactics, you can avoid serious problems like being stalked or worse. If you subject yourself to a public forum, 99% of the people are great but their is the possibility of 1% not being friendly or sane. Anyone who is going out their on tour should be aware of a few basic methods to protect yourself and at the same time show respect to their fans. That’s what I took away from this post.

  • SVH

    I in no way intended for anyone to think this promotes using your fans for financial gain. This was based on a real situation that I experienced and I am just sharing tips from that experience. I appreciate your honest remarks and hope you are not offended by my article.

    Blessings,
    SVH

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