One question I‘ve been asked by musicians since I released my “Asking Fans To Buy” piece a few months back is “but Clara, how can I ask them to buy my [awesome purchasable thing here] without seeming annoying or spammy, especially online?” I want to expand on that, focusing on twitter as the platform.
Introducing my latest analogy: twitter is a dating site, musicians are those desperate guys.
Even if you’ve never been on eHarmony before, you know the type of character I’m talking about: the cartoonish meathead whose pick-up techniques go from lame and clichéd to downright creepy. No, not every male 20-something who scrolls through profiles is like this, so put your keyboard-warrior-prince fingers down. I wanted to use this stereotype for comedy and illustration.
So, let’s say that you are a kind, decently attractive individual with many talents, who is seeking to build a long term relationship (friendship or otherwise) from meeting someone. After all, it’s a lot less effort to keep a happy relationship (once again, friendship or otherwise) strong, than going to online every single day for a no-commitment hookup, and then having to repeat the process, and it’s probably a lot more fun and satisfying that way.
Let’s say that you are a kind, decently talented band or artist with purchasable items, who is seeking out new fans (and super fans) to purchase them, using twitter as a way to meet new people. After all, it’s a lot less effort to keep an existing fan happy and continuing to talk about you and purchase your albums over the years, than copying and pasting links to everyone you just followed, and it’s probably a lot more fun and satisfying that way.
These are the top ten ways to NOT make sales via twitter (or end up with a long lasting relationship from a dating site)
Pick-up Technique: Hitting on every girl as soon as you see her photo.
Twitter Equivalent: Using robotic, pre-programmed DM (or worse, tweets) full of links to all new followers, and anyone else around you.
Hi there, how are you? It’s not like I care. Here’s a link to my fire mixtape. Be sure to tell me what you think (like I care), after you’ve liked and followed all my social media accounts. Does this sound familiar? The amount of artists who do this, music business companies too, is astounding. It doesn’t make you look classy, and certainly is not the tipping point to which a brand-new follower (as these messages usually are sent 0.001 seconds after they hit that button) will decide to pull out their credit card.
Pick-up Technique: Stalking a profile, and then messaging all her (hot) friends too, even though they aren’t on the dating site.
Twitter Equivalent: Tweeting famous people, or accounts clearly not all about music.
There are classier ways to insert your way into a conversation. Be relevant, friendly, interesting and most important, focus on them. Trust me, they’ll click on your name to find out more about you on their own, you don’t need to shove your sales pitch into a reply to that 16 year old’s selfie, a news story on a natural disaster, or to @taylorswift13. While on this topic, don’t make serious hashtags about you. I can’t believe I’ve actually seen musicians (and small businesses) self promote on hashtags about deaths of actors, major world events, or social issues that aren’t relevant to their art/product.
Pick-up Technique: Using the same, generic, not-personal cliché every time.
Twitter Equivalent: Copy and pasting links, hellos, and “please follow me tweets”.
I’ve called users out for this publicly before. Don’t tag me in your sales pitch, especially if you’re tagging multiple people at once or copy and pasting the same, not-tailored to me message .
Pick-up Technique: Continuing to chase a girl who is very clearly not interested.
Twitter Equivalent: Continuing to direct message or tweet directly to a user who already said they weren’t interested, or purposefully ignored your 140 character sales pitch.
Does this one really need to be explained? There are plenty of fish in the sea, swim on.
Pick-up Technique: Only talking about yourself the whole time.
Twitter Equivalent: Not following the 80/20 ratio, and every message you put out is a link to your new, exciting thing.
Most twitter users who follow accounts are there to have a good time. May it be for their sense of humour, beautiful photos, or curation of excellent taste, very few non-super-fans follow a corporation’s official twitter without receiving anything from it (a coupon, job opportunity announcements, etc.). Why then, would they choose to follow someone whose every message to the world is an ad? Same goes for conversations with real friends. Follow the well known 80/20 (20% max of your content should be all about you) rule on twitter, and pepper people’s feeds with a reason to love and follow you.
Pick-up Technique: Already assuming a complete stranger will not only like you, but meet up with you before you even speak – and telling them that in your hello.
Twitter Equivalent: Already assuming a complete stranger will not only like you, but spend their hard-earned money on you before you even speak – and telling them that in your hello.
Points for confidence, however… No one likes people assuming out loud. Especially if they didn’t approach you with the loud and clear intention to buy by the end of the day. Even the masters of sales (think, car dealers), who use the technique to relax their body language will never let the potential customer in on their plan.
Pick-up Technique: Calling her the wrong name (or only “hottie,” “babe,” or other equivalents).
Twitter Equivalent: Not knowing their “non handle” first name (if they choose to give it out).
Or worse, using the wrong pronoun. It’s been scientifically proven that people love hearing the sound of their own name, it’s a technique often used by pros to grab attention during long phone conversations. I’m assuming the study was referring to one’s name being used in a positive light. Try typing it out to say something nice about them.
Pick-up Technique: Pretending to be someone you’re not.
Twitter Equivalent: Hyping yourself to an extreme point that you can’t back up.
I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger, but she ain’t stupid. Honey, don’t tell anyone and everyone you are the next generation Bob Dylan / Mariah Carey / Tupac. It’s just like thinking that telling her you handle transactions for a multi-billion dollar corporation (“would you like fries with that?”) will be the sure thing to make her swoon. Even if a well-known music journalist said that about you, telling her that upon first meeting makes you sound conceited, no matter the quotation marks.
Pick-up Technique: Threatening for blackmailing her for not being interested.
Twitter Equivalent: [Same thing as above]
Don’t be creepy. Learn to take “not interested at all, leave me alone” for an answer.
Pick-up Technique: Not confirming a plan with her.
Twitter Equivalent: Thinking the sale will close on its own.
“Shall I meet you at that coffeeshop you mentioned, Tuesday at 7pm?” If you two have been talking all night, it’s easy to mention what you want, without it sounding like a pitch. Make them like your personality and how great you are to them first, and the sales will follow.
At the end of the battery: Social media users are people too. By building a positive relationship with them first, you don’t need to push as hard as you think you do. If you clicked on this article, and read it all the way to the end, you are very likely to already have people skills, and have probably wondered the same question many creators of products have wondered. Best of luck to you, and tweet me at @claracharron 🙂