Independent Artists Need to Start Respecting Their Audiences

Posted: May 12, 2012 by Cendrine Marrouat in News
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Social Media Outposts

Social Media Outposts (Photo credit: the tartanpodcast)

Those who have followed my career know the paths I have taken. I started as a poet and then dabbed into spoken word and theatre. Afterwards, I became a digital journalist focusing on culture, independent art and social media. I am also an art reviewer, and social media blogger and teacher.

After more than seven years in the business — and seven books — I can safely say that I know the indie world quite well. I can also hold my own when it comes to branding, marketing and self-promotion.

I am acquainted with some of the best indie artists and bands in North America, including Natalie Brown, Tantra-zawadi, Wordsmith / Strada (who are represented by Jerry Doby, the owner of this blog), and WHY. I have interviewed them, reviewed their work, and have had the opportunity to observe them at length.

Why am I mentioning these people? Because they have paid their dues, worked hard and learnt to promote themselves without being pushy. They are also humble and have a deep respect for their audiences. Unfortunately, they only make up a minority of the indie community.

In the last two years, I have been approached by over 300 artists in need of promotion. I have also taken a look at the Twitter accounts of many indies who have never contacted me but have followed me.

Honestly, I need to get something off my chest. Independent artists have to learn social media manners.

I have stated it bluntly in quite a few articles on my blog, Creative Ramblings, but I will repeat it here: It is not because you have an ounce of talent that the world owes you anything. Approaching people randomly to sell them something before even connecting with them is just  as bad as what marketers do when they bother us at dinner time with their special offers over the phone.

To help you understand what I mean, here is something that happened to me a few weeks ago on Twitter.

spam tweet

spam tweet

spam tweet

spam tweet

The mistakes this indie made are quite obvious. I highlight them in my replies, so I won’t expound on them.

To be successful as an independent artist, you need to think and act like an entrepreneur — because you are one. This entails:

  • Educating yourself on branding and marketing
  • Finding the right audience for your creations
  • Gaining your audience’s trust by building genuine relationships
  • Observing how successful indies in your field leverage social media
  • Learning the importance of professionalism
  • Not undervaluing your worth

Also, please, kill the swagger and over-inflated words. No one cares if you are the greatest undiscovered artist of this generation, just because you say so. Stop talking. Let your audience speak for you, instead. Let it be the judge of your awesomeness.

People want to experience emotions through your music, books, paintings, sculptures, etc. They will not buy your products because you tell them to. They will buy them because they relate to your work and your story, and know you care about them. Audiences want to be entertained, not bothered.

Independent artists need to learn to respect their followers, instead of spending their time complaining about the lack of support they receive. They need to stop behaving like amateurs to avoid putting people off.

It is really not that hard. It is all about doing your due diligence and changing your attitude.

About the Author:

Cendrine Marrouat is a journalist, reviewer, blogger and author located in Canada. She is also the founder of Creative Ramblings, a social media blog focusing on entrepreneurs and small businesses, and teaches classes on social media 101. Her latest release, “The Little Big eBook on Blogging: 40 Traffic Generation Tips,” is a comprehensive resource that provides bloggers of all levels with essential information and precise guidance to attract quality traffic to their blogs.

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Comments
  1. Q says:

    Wow. This is good stuff. Developing an audience does take time and patience. Especially with everyone who considers themselves an artist competing with you. Sometimes I think that YouTube has made it too easy for people to call themselves “artists” just like Facebook has brought out tons of (bathroom mirror) models. I’m glad that you’re taking time to educate the masses.

    Like

    • Cendrine Marrouat says:

      Hello Q! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      You know, YouTube and Facebook are only man-made tools. They do not make us do anything. Ultimately, it is up to us to use our common sense. ;-)

      Education can only be useful if other people pay attention. So hopefully, I will get some indies’ attention. lol

      Like

  2. I’m humbled to be used as an example of how to do it right. Thank you! I did learn the hard way though, from doing it very wrong at first. Thankfully there are now people like you Cendrine who teach people the RIGHT way to network and promote using social media!

    Like

    • Cendrine Marrouat says:

      Learning the hard way is often the best way, Natalie. Because, in the end, it helps us take nothing for granted. ;-)

      Like

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  6. Well put. Independent artists [i.a.] need to take the time to educate themselves on social media etiquette because they are doing it on their own without major backing. As you put it, “they are their product.” In order to grow in the ways that they envision while in the studio, i.a.’s need to treat they’re music as a business. That includes the messages that they put out on social media channels. It comes down to “do you want to be taken seriously as an artist of not?”

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    • Cendrine Marrouat says:

      Hello Jarrod! Thank you for your comment!

      Yes, I think you summed it up really well: “Do you want to be taken seriously as an artists or not?” I think we need to talk more about this, to raise awareness of this issue that has been plaguing the indie industry for way too long!

      Like

      • Wow at the example you used Cendrine…I think it is rude for artists to prance around with that sense of entitlement. Anybody can post a link on Twitter…Social Networking as you stated is built on the premise of engagement.

        I preach the importance of engagement all the time…I have new followers that I need to research (reading the bio tells you a lot about someone haha).

        Great read Cendrine

        Like

      • Cendrine Marrouat says:

        Absolutely, Praverb! Engagement is such an important part of the success equation, it’s not even funny. With that said, a lot of indies still walk with a big sense of entitlement. I have to basically lecture them, which I hate. But I think it is needed.

        Like

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