A while ago we published an introduction to parasocial relationships for artists, managers, and music marketers, which began a complex and fascinating discussion that we’re going to continue in today’s blog entry – if you haven’t read it yet, make sure to go back to the previous part to understand the meaning behind parasocial relationships and to see how they can influence your music career.
Previously, we hinted that the most valuable tool for building and nurturing parasocial relationships is your social media activity, and it’s what we’re going to focus on today.
But before we go into details, let’s face it: what we see and share online can negatively affect some people and even cause them anxiety or depression, studies show. However, it can also make people feel appreciated and valued, and most importantly, it can make them want to be engaged. In the early 2000s, the biggest factor in determining any artist’s (whether musical or not) parasocial success was a growing number of… fanfiction stories that their fans were creating about them. Remember those? The truth is, no matter how crazy or insane the stories were, the people behind them were not only creative but could also demonstrate a level of attachment that’s very hard to spot these days when not done properly and without much care. Hopefully, every musician and singer out there reading this knows by now that building such relationships with your fans should be a solid part of your marketing and release strategy. And if things go as planned, those engaged in your artistic activities will become your True Fans, helping you generate income as well as streams/downloads/views.
Usually, those people would be the first ones to comment on your updates, share them, and buy your products to create buzz around your upcoming album or single. Let them know that your success depends on them, that they’re an important part of the process. In return, they will give you something we all thrive for in this social media game these days: their full, undivided attention.
The question is: how?
Use different platforms. Share something on your Facebook page to then add a funny backstage pic on your Instagram. Spice things up by creating great Instagram stories, maybe even upload some IGTV videos (which is the latest feature introduced by Instagram last month).
But… Choose your favourites. Don’t stress yourself over too many accounts and posts even when switching between accounts and pages. The truth is, some platforms can be updated only once in a while, whereas other should see something new from you even a couple of times per day (yup!). Choose which ones you want to stick with on a regular basis and make a lifetime project out of it, other platforms can be updated occasionally as an addition to that.
Surprise your followers. Stay ahead of your competition by not letting your fans and listeners get bored with what you share online. Even if live streaming isn’t your favourite activity, try it out during a short Instagram stream. Or maybe work on a daily vlog once in a while and show your fans how your upcoming album is being put together. Try to always have something prepared for when the people least expect it.
And remember: content, content, content. Even if the majority of your marketing budget is going towards paid social media promotion these days, it will get you nowhere without the right pictures and posts. You DO want to get to know your followers by sharing insightful information on your creative process and how you’ve changed as an artists and as a person – in the end, it’s You that they will eventually be interested in terms of parasocial relationships, and your music is just the best transmitter for that. And what kind of message you’ll decide to give them, it should always be 100% up to you.