First of all, a big shout out to Brent Baxter for a killer post last week! Thanks Brent (I totally needed that! Let’s do it again)
The last blog that I wrote 20 Biggest Music Marketing Mistakes I touched on the concept of implied power.
I want to dissect this concept a bit more to demonstrate how important the delivery of your message is regardless of value of the content.
I keep seeing artists and artist promo teams at all professional levels make the same mistakes with regards to communication errors and developing relationships online.
Too many people think if the message (music) is good and the message (music) is true, everyone will accept it.
This is false.
You have to understand your position in the exchange first.
Then you formulate the language to service the dynamic of the specific exchange for message to be effective.
Even within your music life right now, the message and the way you serve it up definitely has to change depending on the situation if you want it to be received.
To truly receive information, people need to be in an emotionally open space where they feel either curious, safe, subordinate, or intrigued. It’s your job as the communicator to understand this dynamic and frame the appropriate stage for your message to actually be heard.
Communication is not the intent of your message but what is actually being received.
If they aren’t getting the message, it’s the communicator’s fault.
Until you internalize this FACT you will continue to view social media as a frustrating, foreign mystery and you won’t sell anything.
Then the artist voice of doubt enters your head. Ewwwwww.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone I see massive social media companies working with multi-platinum artists making these same mistakes. They make them honestly because they are used to effectively communicating to masses or a crowd with implied power.
When they apply sales language reliant on implied power to a private exchange such as the 1 on 1 interactions on social media or email, it has the exact opposite effect.
One of P.T. Barnum’s famous quotes is “Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd” (at least I think it was Barnum). It’s absolutely TRUE.
Whether you wade in the shallow end or swim in the deep end of the gene pool, you are a human being and therefore wired up to respond with some level of curiosity.
Maybe you walk over to the crowd with a totally open sense of wonder and complete gullibility.
Perhaps you are not gullible and walk over to the crowd with supreme skepticism, but you walk over; that’s the point.
Now, if the message drawing the crowd is consonant to any interests you may hold, you stay. If it isn’t, you leave.
But you walk over.
In the 1800’s that crowd might have assembled around a stump where a man was selling snake oil, tickets to the circus, or politicking. When you walk up on a person who is on a stump with 30 people around him, this person has implied power.
After all, why are these 30 people gathered around him?
What is he saying or selling that is keeping their interest?
The fact that people are there creates a subconscious referral of sorts because you see these people with your own eyes. There is also more of them and only one of him.
Many years later we amplified that implied power with mass broadcast technology like terrestrial radio and television. In these communication scenarios, the implied power is magnificently influential in swaying consumer buying decisions.
Therefore, hype works. Over the top energy is not only effective but expected.
After all, the communicator must be someone really important because they were on the radio or on the TV, right?
Here’s a real example of having a great product, message, truth, etc., but COMPLETELY different results selling it based on a strategy change in communication techniques and language.
When I was in the mortgage industry, the market was real hot; everybody was in the mortgage industry. There were these trigger leads that generated whenever a consumer would have their credit pulled by a lending institution. The 3 credit bureau companies would sell this information for about $1 or $2 per lead. Agents would have no relationship with these consumers but they did know for a fact that these people were thinking about getting a mortgage.
They were cold calls, to people we knew were in the market, man.One day I reached this guy around 6PM or so after work and I gave him real good phone.
I heard this honest “sigh” on the other end.
I immediately asked if he had a bad day.
He responded, so sincerely, by telling me he had an answering machine and the digital display told him I was the 70th unsolicited cold-call that day trying to sell him a mortgage.
I thought there must be better way to communicate, this is ridiculous.
I had a recording studio
I recorded a radio show and bought some time on a radio station.
Now they were calling me.
I had implied power.
I was able to be more of my boisterous self on the radio which (most) people love.
Consumers were willing to accept my whole personality because of the way they were exposed to it.
In the midst of a market being overwhelmed by salesmen clamoring to gain consumer trust, I rose above din and offered up educational programming to people with an 800 number to contact me and it worked.
I was able to create relationships by giving them valuable information.
They responded by giving me an opportunity earn their business.
I didn’t make a cold call after that ever again.
Here’s the key, once I got them in the room the tone and message had to change because I was no longer on the stump so-to-speak; we were in a 1 on 1, private meeting.
Now I had to completely change my approach due the vastly different arena because hype or big, boisterous tones weren’t going to work in a private setting. In fact, hype and big boisterous tones would have the opposite effect and turn the consumers off immediately.
Let’s apply this example to your music and how to serve up your message with educated anticipation as to the way the information will be consumed.
When you are opening for an artist with huge draw or maybe you’re an artist with a huge draw you are in front of a crowd. You can be more boisterous, you can hype because you have implied power.
You’re the center of attention.
After all, you must be somebody important to be on that stage right?
Incidentally, the term huge draw is relative. What’s important is the feel of the crowd; the energy. If you can draw 100-200 people make sure you’re playing a place with a capacity of 100-200 people so the joint is packed.
The more packed it is, the more power you have. Get it?
Here’s the biggest mistake everyone continues to make. The language, hype, and energy that will work and effectively communicate a message on stage will NOT work on social media or email exchanges; because they are private conversations, they are consumed 1 on 1.
Your implied power is gone
Now it’s about THEM
Exclamation points are a NO-NO on social media and email interactions. They’re a turn off. They say SALESMAN.
Do you want to be perceived as a used car salesman?
Everybody wants to buy but nobody wants to be sold.
If you recall my story about the mortgage radio show, I said the radio show gave me an opportunity toearn their business. It very rarely gave me their business.
All too often I see artists create a relationship on social media and immediately ask for the sale.
This is too soon to close the deal.
You have to deepen the relationship first.
If your product is good, and your message is appropriate, and the message is served up in a manner suitable to the exchange, the power will come.
Just give it time and attention.
Most social media and email exchanges in the music industry remind me of a scene from Monte Python’s “The Meaning of Life”
“What’s wrong with a kiss, boy?” “There’s no need to go STAMPEDING towards the…”
Watch the video up to 2:45. It’s hysterical.
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