Getting Hyperconnected Audiences to Shows

Is your audience hyperconnected? Are you?

One of my lightbulb moments happened a few years ago when I was still booking gigs for bands. A club owner I had a great relationship with wanted to know more about one of my new clients. MySpace was just emerging, and hadn't really impressed a whole lot of talent buyers as a way to get audiences to venues. So he asked me, "they're not one of these MySpace bands, are they?"

I've related that story here on the blog and in plenty of seminars over the years. And, even though MySpace has clearly emerged as a force that's shaping popular culture, it's still not very good at actually getting fans out to clubs. And now I have even more insight as to why:

According to this study, 16% of us are "hyperconnected." We're online, all the time. We've got iPhones or 3G cell phones or laptops with us every waking moment. We're on Twitter, ranting and complaining, we're posting to our blogs and to our Facebook profiles. And we're texting like mad.

52% of us, on the other hand, are largely "passively connected." You can usually tell who they are because they're using the free accounts they get from their ISP instead of using Gmail, mac.com, or their own domains.

After working with bands for over a decade and a half, and being hyperconnected myself, here's what I see happening more and more:

Musicians tend to by hyperconnected, especially when they visit lots of music marketing blogs and music review sites. When you're hyperconnected, you tend to think that everyone else is as hyperconnected as you are. Therefore, when you blast event invites out to folks on your mailing list, you don't get quite the turnout that you expect.

In reality, the "passively connected" folks in your audience tend to be the ones more likely to go to your shows. Hyperconnected audience members have lots going on. In fact, they are more likely to entertain themselves online than to come out to a gig. Yet, the "passively connected" fans are harder to reach. They don't check e-mail as often, they're rarely on social networking sites, and they have no clue what Twitter is.

To get the best results for your next gig, blend strategies that reach both the hyperconnected and the passively connected audiences to get out to your show. You can brainstorm with your street team members to figure out what works for your audience. Just looking at some of the sample strategies I wrote about in Grow Your Band's Audience and More Gigs Now:

  • Asking fans to upload photos from your shows to a Flickr pool or to a .Mac Web Gallery appeals to hyperconnected audience members. It gives them a reason to stay connected through your gig, without offending you. ("Why are you twittering through the encore?" "It's a contest!")

  • Sending physical postcards offering drink specials or other in-person benefits appeals to passively connected audience members. (In the books, it's what I call "owning the fridge.")

If you're using just one style of communication with your audience, you're only shooting for a small segment of your potential fan base. However, if you understand how to get your music marketing machine firing on all cylinders, you can fill your gigs and get better payouts from talent buyers.