Would You Sell Your Soul For A Million Twitter Followers?

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Recently, Rocks Off was rolling the List o'Craig like we do when an all caps entry screamed at us that for only $50 they would gain us thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook friends. $50? That's less than a the price of a good Lego set! However, is it a good deal?

Rocks Off firmly believes that social networking is the key to an independent artist's ability to remain independent. With enough followers actively sharing your work, it spreads far and wide at little or no cost. Look at our own Mary Sarah and Payton Rae. Granted, both of them did a lot more than just Tweet and update their status, but together they command an online audience larger than the population of Dallas.

Granted, having that many people following you doesn't mean they are necessarily going to buy CDs and T-shirts.

The posting led us to an errant thought. Suppose we were the devil, and we had an infinite number of imps spamming for bands in order to get followers. You don't have to trade your soul in, chances are if you're taking that route you already have. Would it be worth it? Apparently Houston bands don't think so.

Dremaceo Giles, Lotus Effect:

You're going to spam enough people to get me a million followers on Twitter? At first it does sound intriguing but in the end I'll have to pass, because a million followers on Twitter means nothing if they aren't personally invested in your music.

I think young bands have a tendency to think that bigger numbers mean people will take them more seriously no matter how they get them, and it might help you book a gig from a promoter's stand point, but 10,000 MySpace friends and only 10 people show up to your shows, it'll all even itself out pretty quickly.

I'd much rather [have] ten Twitter followers who found out about us naturally, dig what we do and tell their friends about us than 1,000 friends that will send our newsletter to their spam folder. So no thanks, Satan. Now if you want talk about getting me some extra girth, that's an entirely different conversation.

Lewis D'Aubin, Consortium of Genius:

Hmmm. I guess purely from a mathematical standpoint, if your music's any good, there's a probability that some of those people are going to like what you're doing. On the other hand, you don't generally see bands paying for sales circulars in the Sunday newspaper, do you?

Speaking personally, if somebody spammed me about their music, I'd be just as likely to take it as an affront and form a possibly unfair opinion of them without even hearing a note...

Christian Arnheiter, The Hates

Maybe it's because I am a little old fashioned, but I still like face to face promotion better than blind spamming. I used to send out to an email list, then I would send notifications on MySpace to everyone who friended me, and when I first started on Facebook I sent event notifications on top of the announcements I would make on my page. Most of the responses I would get were apologies as to why people could not come.

It's nice that they want to explain why they have to go declaw their cats or fix their washing machines that night instead of coming to see us play, but really it is not necessary. Besides, I really do not like it when the only direct communication that I get from someone is "Hey! Come see my ____! It's really cool and you will be cool too if you show up!" Surely if I feel that way, there are others who feel the same.

And let's be honest. The Hates have been around a while, and if my luck holds out we will be around for a while longer. If my old-school flyers around town and my postings on FB, the calendars on MySpace and ReverbNation, and the Shows page on the website aren't enough to get the word out, then we'll have a small crowd.

But two people or 200, we are going to play our best. And when those people who were there talk about our show to their friends - who knows? Then we might have a few more people try to find out about our next gig.

Alyssa Rubich

Wow, I'm so glad you asked. This is something I've wrestled with for a while, because honestly, I hate the idea of spamming. To just barrage people with invites and updates is so rude. But at the same time, I believe on some level it works. Cast out a million nets, I'm bound to get some fish.

Here's how I see it, though: if I put out good, quality music, the fans who appreciate that music will be good, quality fans. If I put out some poppy drivel that's overproduced and uninspired, I'll get uninspiring and flaky fans. So why wouldn't the same principle hold to how I promote myself?

Spamming may be a shortcut to recognition, but if I spend time on my relationship with my fans and create a truly unique bond, I believe in the long run it will surely pay off.

Kris Krunk:

This sounds like some spam I use to get emailed about getting me a million followers for the low price of $100.

I think spam has passed its peak. When MySpace was alive and kicking, it was a great tool to use www.addnewfriends.com that could get you up to 400 friends from all around the world a day, granted only about 40 of those people would actually listen and become a friend, but it was still better than nothing, and pretty easy to do. Now, I think people are very annoyed by it from people misusing it for so long. No one likes a message that is in ALL CAPS, and you can tell it's a programmed message that tries to be personal.

It still has its uses, if used correctly. I am guilty of going through friends lists on Facebook and Twitter and adding people I don't know, but think they might like what I am doing. From events to fan pages, spamming is the poor man's alternate to paying for advertising. I also think that nowadays, it isn't very effective.

You can have 200 people say they are "Attending" your show, but you'd be surprised to get 30 people to show. And vice versa, there may be 20 people out of 2,000 that say "Attending' but the place sells out. Same with someone who has 4,000 likes on their fan page, but is struggling to sell an album.

I think the best way to get a following, is to have a solid street team and a planned approach to marketing. If you have an album coming out that is a hip-hop album, let's say, best bet is to promote it with flyers at every show you go to, buy out a few days of advertising on a popular blog like Datpiff.com or Vibe.com, yes it's expensive, but you will get almost a million valuable hits off of it in 2 days if they are running the Web site with all your info on it.

Now if it's a free album, just go spam because you aren't going to make your money back. One tip I will give, Facebook Ads are cheap and work great! You can get up to 90,000 impressions for around $30.

That is a great deal and has worked amazingly with my own work in Real Studio Magic. In about two months I have reached customers in 13 countries and 86 cities from using Facebook Ads, it's great and my customers are quality customers not just some jacks.

Do I think it's wrong? Naw, just don't be annoying about it. Don't spam your family and personal friends everyday because they know what you are doing. Be smart about it.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

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