Recording Artist Advocate: Let's take a picture...

We were in Nashville many years ago when a door was accidentally left open allowing a group of fans into what was supposed to be an intimate meet-and-greet with a top level artist. It started out as a great event with a lot of one-on-one time and turned into a giant wave of fans. To his credit, the artist realized it was going to run past lunchtime and had an assistant order a bunch of pizzas. So it cost him 5 or 6 hundred dollars, those people will be his fans and tell that story from now on.

When you make it big will you respond with the same skill or will you throw a fit that things aren't happening the way they were planned. I promise that if you treat people like they don't matter, they will make it their mission to tell everyone they can. You may even have videos floating around of your tantrum.

On the other hand, if you do handle these situations well, you've got an army of fans spreading the word about how great you are. Research shows that people don't believe hype or advertising any more, but they eat up testimonials.

Real matters more than ever. Go straight from the stage to the merch table. Sell and sign everything you can. Let people take pictures with you and get those e-mail addresses. Follow up and offer special stuff they can't get anywhere else. Smart bands have private videos only available to people who gave an e-mail address. Those "insiders" influence others and can put you over the top. 

If you are superficial, the fans are all the same. But if you really pay attention and engage with them, you will see a great group of unique people who in turn see something special in you.  What more could you want?