Episode #075: How To Handle Yourself On Social Media


In the new era of the music industry, artists are taking control of their music careers through the power of the internet and social media, which means there’s more pressure on the artist to deal with their fans more personally. When you have to open yourself up to the world, how do you handle yourself and the interaction with your audience? How much of your personal life should you share? How accessible should you be? How do you deal with problematic fans? That’s why we’re covering in this episode of the Savvy Musician Show.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Creating perceived value
  • The importance of intangible qualities
  • How to use culture in your posting
  • Sharing your personal life 
  • The 3 P’s of what to share on social media
  • Having personal and business social media accounts
  • Why you shouldn’t use your personal profiles for business
  • Avoiding controversial topics on social media
  • When it makes to be political on your pages
  • Dealing with trolls
  • Toughening yourself up for social media


“You need to help your fans understand that, that you are a farmer’s market and you’re not Walmart.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:07:40]

“People pay for water, people pay for Starbucks coffee. They could easily make the coffee at home, but people are obviously paying these prices because of a perceived value.” — @metalmotivation [0:08:56]

“I’m going to pay a lawyer more than I pay my landscaper because they just solve different problems, so it’s all in terms of value.” — @metalmotivation [0:11:09]

“I’m one of those introverted extroverts where I want to be out there, I love people, but I also sometimes shy away from the spotlight and I don’t want to be in the spotlight all the time.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:14:50]

“You don’t want to be airing your dirty laundry online, that’s not attractive, nobody wants that and it’s not professional.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:15:32]

“There’s many reasons why you do not want to collect fans on a personal profile.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:19:46]

“You cannot advertise from a personal profile, so you shouldn’t be collecting fans there.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:19:58]

“You have a tremendous opportunity even as an artist to demonstrate leadership.” — @metalmotivation [0:24:32]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Nazneen Rahman (Student Spotlight) — https://www.facebook.com/NazneenRahmanMusic/

Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer — https://amzn.to/355u0AY

Episode #064: How To Get Rid Of A Poverty Mentality — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/64

Click For Full Transcript

00:19 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is C.J. Ortiz, I am the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Joined once again by her eminence, my favorite music marketer in the whole world, Leah McHenry. How are you, Leah?

00:36 Leah: Doing great, thanks. How are you?

00:39 CJ: I’m doing wonderful. Favorite music marketer in the whole world.

00:45 Leah: Thanks.

00:45 CJ: Out of all the music marketers that I know, you’re the one closest to me, so-

00:52 Leah: Yeah, but you only know like two.

00:58 CJ: Music marketing isn’t that wonderful subject we get to talk about because as people may have discovered in our more recent episodes, the music industry we know has changed, but also struggling because they don’t understand this new model that we are advocating. And new only in the sense that it’s a combination of something else.

It’s traditional type of direct marketing, et cetera, applied to the music industry and the music industry is having a hard time, Leah, getting its head wrapped around it. But that’s why we have this podcast and that’s why you are being so generous with your time in helping all of us to better understand this.

Before we get into what we’re going to talk about today, which is going to be a very, very interesting subject, I want to share a student spotlight. This is one of our elite students. Make sure I’m pronouncing the name right, [Nazneen Rahman 00:01:52] who writes, “Hashtag when I joined SFS elite two months before a release, so I’ve been trying to get as much done as practical. I’ve been posting to my Facebook page every day and set up my website, shop, some video view ads and an opt-in. Some things worked, some things did not.

Yesterday I linked my shop to Facebook, set up a pre-order for my new album, told my tiny email list, 250 and did a conversion ad to my Facebook page engagers, about 14,000 people. Amazingly, I’ve had 15 orders in 24 hours, 12 people, I don’t know and 25250 pounds in sales and my row as is 3.67.” So that’s the return per sale.

02:46 Leah: Return on ad spend. That is amazing. 3.67 is great.

02:50 CJ: “I’m so happy, I did not expect this. A key change for me has been believing my music can be of value to some people, can matter to people and those people are happy to pay for it. So I increased my prices by 20%, offered autographed versions, which people do want, charged for shipping and it seems to be fine. I’m sure it’s the same for every one of us. We just have to plug away finding our personal super fans who care about our music. I just wanted to send some good vibes and optimism because we all know it can be a slog at times.” That’s good.

03:27 Leah: Yeah, I love that. This is really good, and I love the price increase. It’s just like… I just think that musicians across the board are afraid of money. We’ve talked about money in past episodes, but a lot of them are afraid of money, they’re afraid to charge for what they’re worth. How do you put a price on your art? It’s difficult. It is difficult.

But one thing that I like to inform fans about, if you ever get a comment about this is you can explain to them, listen, there’s a difference between the farmer’s market and Walmart. There’s a difference in pricing there. What you’re going to pay for a jar of jam at a farmer’s market is going to be different than what you pay for a jar of jam at Walmart because one is made at a huge assembly line factory, the other one is handmade with love and it took that person hours and hours of their energy, their soul into that little jar of jam and it’s going to be priced differently for a very good reason.

You need to help your fans understand that, that you are a farmer’s market and you’re not Walmart, you’re an artisan maker, you’re an artisan artist and that you don’t get the same prices for t-shirts and albums that these big, huge record labels get. So no, you can’t charge $8 for a CD, you wouldn’t even break-even doing that.

And so this student is understanding that they have inherent value because it’s art and that they can charge for it and they can experiment. And guess what? Nothing’s permanent. You can put your prices a little higher and see if it sells, and if it doesn’t you can change it. And that’s a very valuable test. So I love hearing stories like this.

05:16 CJ: What’s interesting is we just posted on all of our social media channels a meme, one of our quotes from a previous episode, I believe it was from you, and it just simply said, “Perceived value is everything.” And that is such an important point because that’s what this student alluded to was he said, or she said, “A key change for me has been believing my music can be of value to some people, can matter to some people and that those people are happy to pay for it.”

People pay for water, people pay for Starbucks coffee. They could easily make the coffee at home, but people are obviously paying these prices because of a perceived value. And part of our responsibility as creators is to create that sense of value.

06:06 Leah: And like why is an autographed version of an album, why does it have more perceived value? There’s something personalized about… there’s something perceived about that. Someone’s signing their name on that, that’s different from the unsigned version. It’s just a perception. That’s all it is. The actual item itself is not more valuable other than the fact that there’s something limited about it.

If they understand things about limitation, supply and demand and that there’s an infinite amount of pie, there’s not a limited amount of pie, there’s an infinite amount of pie. There’s no limit to how much money can be made in this world. That’s a lie that some… I don’t know where we learn that, at school probably that there’s a finite amount of money in this world and only a few people have it. That’s a lie.

06:59 CJ: Yeah. In fact, we did a podcast episode not too long ago on this. We talked about a poverty mindset?

07:06 Leah: Yeah.

07:06 CJ: Is that what it was?

07:07 Leah: Yeah. What is a poverty mindset and how to overcome it.

07:09 CJ: Yeah. We’ll put some information to go to that episode in the show notes, but yeah, I think again, like the students said, “A key change for me was the issue of value.” And I think is such an important statement because they’re understanding that it did not come down to the piece of software, did not come down to the particular technique. It came down to the intangible things. Those are the things that really make the difference.

The social media software and all of the stuff that you do from a mechanical side, from a technological side is just there to facilitate a very human psychological process going on, and value is something that is perceived. I just had people come out to do some things in my yard, I’m going to pay a lawyer more than I pay my landscaper because they just solve different problems, so it’s all in terms of value.

That’s how we essentially operate. But that’s not the subject of this particular episode, but-

08:12 Leah: But it was an interesting one-

08:12 CJ: … just because-

08:13 Leah: … right?.

08:13 CJ: Yeah, it was an interesting one. Our rabbit trails are very interesting. Today we’re talking about actually a question or questions that we get a lot. I know, especially in the elite group because they’re more into the down and dirty of online marketing, and so they’re really building their fan bases and engaging with their fans. And so they’re opening themselves up to people that they don’t know.

And so that brings all these kind of challenges with people that they didn’t necessarily anticipate. And so we want to talk a little bit about handling yourself on social media. Now, Leah, I know that… Tell me about one of the things that struck you initially when you started, when you really started to grow. What was the thing that hit you with, oh my gosh, I’ve got all these people following me like crazy?

09:13 Leah: Is there a particular story you’re thinking?

09:15 CJ: No, no, no. I’m just thinking of just what struck you initially? Was it intimidating? Was it, oh my gosh, I’m opening myself up to all of these people, how much do I need to be showing them? How much do I want to let them into my life?

09:33 Leah: All of the above actually. It was exciting and intimidating all the same time, especially back when I was starting out six years ago when you would make a post on Facebook, actually a lot of people saw it, a huge percentage of people would see your post back then. So this was before Facebook ads were really a big thing. The algorithms were completely different.

So you would post something and people would see it regardless if it was engaging or not. There was always an element of there had to be a certain amount of engagement for it to be seen by more people, but it was more in our favors. Nowadays, they want us to pay for that engagement and pay for the reach. That’s the way it is. So-

10:12 CJ: Let me put it to you this way. If you had a dollar for every marriage proposal you received, how much money would you have?

10:22 Leah: I definitely have gotten marriage proposals, but they’re from Pakistan, so I didn’t take them too seriously. And for the most part actually I’ve had a very good experience with being online, the exposure that you voluntarily give. And I have really… I rarely ever get like negative comments. I’m very blessed that way.

I know not everybody is, especially… I think certain platforms are more… like YouTube. YouTube is like troll land. That’s where all the trolls hang out, and I think that people are a lot… totally ruthless on YouTube. And maybe there are other platforms, but my main focus starting out was on Facebook. And this was before really Instagram was really a big thing like it is now. So Facebook was my primary platform for me and it was just cool.

I was just amazed that anybody would even listen to my music, nevermind engage with me or share my stuff, or that people would just come and like my page and interact with me. So very early on I did start understanding the concept of culture, and so I had a lot to post about besides myself, which helped because I’m one of those introverted extroverts where I want to be out there, I love people, but I also sometimes shy away from the spotlight and I don’t want to be in the spotlight all the time.

And so being able to post about other things besides me is always a bit of a reprieve, and so that helped. And nowadays I find myself thinking, I could be a lot more open and transparent than I even am and I’m pretty open and transparent. And there is a fine line I think in how far you go with that. Like we’ve said on a previous podcast, you don’t want to be airing your dirty laundry online, that’s not attractive, nobody wants that and it’s not professional.

So for me, I’m thinking about a few things. I’m thinking about how can my fans feel like they really, really know me without telling them details about my life they don’t need to know about or that are private and while still maintaining some area of being professional, but authentic and transparent? Those are like five things I just said.

It’s not an easy thing, but again, I run my life very much off of intuition and so I’m intuitive how I do this. There’s no formula or science about it. I’m doing what’s comfortable, but I’m always thinking how can I make them feel like they really know me? So when it comes to what I’m posting on social media, especially like Instagram stories, I want it to be a blend of personal stuff.

Personal meaning here’s my cat, here are my kids. I don’t post about my kids every day, but they are in my life and I know it’s a fascinating part of my life because people, it’s not every day they see someone with five kids, they want to know how I do it, blah, blah, blah. So that’s just part of my life, and so I do share a little bit of that.

Personal as in, oh, I like this glass of wine, I really like this, oh, I’m on a hike today. Just sharing a bit of my personal life with them, oh, here’s this instrument. And then I would say the professional side would be working on a song today, studio stuff, behind the scenes with band members goofing off because it’s more about the music side of things and it’s about the professional side.

So those are two examples of sides of yourself you can show. And oh, the third P is actually promotional, so personal, professional, promotional. Those are the three categories like when I write emails, they usually fall into one of three categories. And the same thing with my post. So in between like in any given day, if you go to my Instagram account, leahthemusic, and you watch my Instagram stories, it’ll be like, here’s a photo of my cat, here’s my kid. We had a funeral for a lizard the other day. It was very sad. And then final sale on right now, swipe up for 20% off.

Okay. So personal, professional, which I didn’t put in those posts, but professional would be working on a new song today and then vinyl sale. Three categories and those are the same types of emails I write. So for me, I feel like in combination with those three Ps, they’re really going to get an amazing sense of me, who is Leah? What is her music about? What is the culture like? And do I feel like I know her? Do I like her? Do I trust her? Those three elements really tie it all in together.

15:28 CJ: Again, you’re determining that, those are decisions you’re making, but obviously then you’ve got, again, this interaction with large groups of people. You don’t know them, they’re just following your page and they have access to you. There’s a tremendous sense of accessibility-

15:47 Leah: Yes.

15:47 CJ: … here. What sort of things have you done just to keep, let’s just say, a professional distance from people?

15:58 Leah: Okay. First of all, I have a private Instagram account that’s only for friends and family, people I know in real life and I post about my kids all day long and whatever, just stuff that’s private that I… So I separate accounts. leahthemusic is, yes, I’m showing personal part of my life, but only to a certain extent.

The same thing with Facebook. I do not have all my fans on my personal profile and I think I say somewhere like on my…. if you go to view my Facebook profile, the personal one, it says something like, “Friends and family only.” or something like that. “Please visit this page to interact with me. I’m very active over there.” So there’s many reasons why you do not want to collect fans on a personal profile besides the privacy thing and really drawing the line there.

You cannot advertise from a personal profile, so you shouldn’t be collecting fans there. You can’t re-target people who’ve been there like… You can’t do all the marketing things, the important things you need to do on a personal profile. You need to be sending people to a professional page. It’s actually against Facebook’s terms of service to be running business type stuff on a personal profile, so you shouldn’t be doing that too to begin with.

Also, you don’t want people, your friends on your personal friends list, they have access to message you 24/7. They can call you, they can video message you. You don’t want that, you do not want that. So while we want to be authentic and real and let them get to know us, there does need to be… You need to draw a line in the sand. So do not accept friend requests from fans. That would be my first rule. Create separate profiles, have an Instagram for just family and friends and then have your public music profile.

17:50 CJ: I think that’s a really good point. Just again from the practical aspects of the business, like Leah said, you’re can’t do any real advertising or get any data from your personal page as well, so it does you absolutely no good business-wise. I think people are tempted obviously because they get more engagement seemingly on their personal page and so they’re so reluctant to go back to the maybe the business page that they’ve had for a couple of years now that they didn’t really do much with.

There’s 200 followers and nobody ever… So they’re reluctant to even start that whole process and they just keep driving things to their personal page. But then once you do start taking your music business seriously, that changes everything. So now not only do you need to be running everything through there, but now again, you have this accessibility. So I think that’s a great way for you to protect your privacy.

Let’s talk about some other stuff, Leah, that people tend to do because here we are in the United States, the election cycle, we know how politically divisive everybody is. We know you never bring up politics and religion at a dinner party, right? Well, we bring it up on Facebook all the time, and so you do have musicians who do happen to be very passionate maybe about a particular belief or political viewpoint or what have you and they’re letting that stuff spill over, or maybe even their own personal frustrations and things. Should they even be doing that?

19:21 Leah: My view is that there are certain topics that are incredibly polarizing and there are plenty of other people who are doing that just fine. I don’t think that it does us any favors to polarize our fans and alienate fans based on our personal beliefs or political preferences. I’m not saying don’t have them, I’m not saying you can’t… They’re going to be present probably in your music, it’s somewhere at some point.

I’m not saying don’t tell people about it, but I think that it doesn’t serve you in this capacity, and there are plenty of other people doing this already. So my view is be the best artists that you can be, not politician if that’s not what you’re doing. So be a musician, and I’ve made posts every once in a while, like in every blue moon where it danced in that direction. And you have to know that if you do that, you will turn people off, you will lose fans and you need to understand that and be okay with it if that’s what you’re looking to do.

If that’s not what you’re looking to do, it’s probably best to stay away from some of those polarizing topics. Don’t start a thread about vaccinations, please. Maybe not unless you have a song about it in that case.

20:40 CJ: All right. Unless that’s a part of your mission, then you want to stay away from these sorts of things. It really does apply for anything that is more reactionary, which you want to do… You want your social media to be action, you don’t want it to be reaction. And what people tend to do is when they get all upset, they want to go online and they want to vent that somehow they’re fulfilling something or finding some sort of cathartic release if they can just vent.

Well, no, you don’t want to do that, especially when you’ve got fans that are following you because obviously the world is unstable, so people are looking for stable people. And so you have a tremendous opportunity even as an artist to demonstrate leadership, to demonstrate what it’s like to be an example to others about how to be objective, how to be diplomatic, how to be focused on what your mission is.

One of the interesting things as of late here, there was a big brouhaha made over the fact that the comedian and talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres was caught… caught, if you will, just footage of her at a football game where she was up in the booth and sitting next to her was former president George Bush Jr. So they were laughing and getting along, and so, of course, people of another political persuasion were making such a big deal out of it.

22:10 Leah: Yep.

22:10 CJ: And so she had produced this little video that was just talking about getting along kind of thing. So everybody was sharing it like this was some miracle message. And so a friend of mine had shared it and I just wrote, I just said, “I find it astonishing that in the year 2019, living in the greatest country,” in my opinion, “that’s existed in the history of mankind is astonished over a lesson that you would normally get in kindergarten or from your mom at home about getting along with-“

22:44 Leah: Be nice to people.

22:45 CJ: Be nice to people. They don’t necessarily have to think how you think. And so I’ve got plenty of people of different, radically different political persuasion. There’s people in our groups that are of radically different [crosstalk 00:22:56] and they’re very, very vocal about it.

22:58 Leah: Sure.

22:59 CJ: But I just want to love on them. If my kid and your five-year-old brother or sister spills their juice on their shirt, you don’t smack the crap out of them. Right? They’re five years old, man. You wipe it up, wipe their chin and send them back out to play. You’re the big brother, you’re the big sister in all of this, and so you want to handle your social media that way so that you again become an example just in a general sense for what humanity should be, but even more so because that will again, further endear your fans to you.

23:36 Leah: Let me just give one exception to this rule, and it’s not a rule to… a general guideline. The exception to the rule would be if you absolutely… If you have really carved out your artist identity and your culture and you understand that your fan avatar is a specific person with a specific political belief, that could work in your favor.

24:00 CJ: Oh, sure.

24:00 Leah: I’ve seen this done… Actually, I just was recently at a show and I saw All That Remains and a few other people. If you go to his Instagram, what’s his Instagram?

24:12 CJ: philthatremains.

24:15 Leah: Yeah, that’s it. And you take a look… he’s very out there about the fact that… he’s like, “I sing, lift, shoot, and meme. I do not eat Uni, like communism, or behave properly. Liberty.” That was… He is really out there with who he is, what his beliefs are. He doesn’t like communism, he shoots guns, he lifts weights. He’s really out there with who he is and now he’s attracting people like that.

And similarly, I recently came across a… Have you heard of a coffee company called Black Rifle Coffee?

24:55 CJ: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep.

24:55 Leah: So when I look it up, if I Google it, what’s interesting is the Google ad is the first listing in the search results, it actually says, “Black Rifle Coffee Company Veteran Owned & Operated.” Already there’s an avatar there, there’s an ideal customer like who is this? There’s so much culture embedded in that one phrase. And then it says in the subtext of this search result, “The taste of freedom is here. Try the greatest coffee on the planet today. Order online. BRCC is veteran owned and operated, founded by former special forces veterans.”

And I happened to hear about this company and their main avatar is gun-owning men who like coffee. There’s a million other coffees out there, but they’ve picked one avatar. So this is where I would say the exception to the rule is if you know beyond the shadow of a doubt exactly what your culture is all about and who you want to attract.

In that case, there seems to be ways that people have made that work for them and capitalized on it. But my kind of music does not lend itself to that, for example, so you’ve got to know what your music is all about. It makes sense for maybe All That Remains to do that because it’s this aggressive kind of music and I don’t know… It makes sense, it fits the culture of the music.

My stuff is I’m taking you to fairyland, right? We’re going to Lala land, it wouldn’t make sense for me to come out and start talking about politics and the democratic debates and… It may make no sense for me to do that. I’m taking people… The idea of my music is to help people escape and relax and go into chill mode, not get all riled up about politics, so it would not align with my brand to do that if that makes sense.

26:48 CJ: No, yeah. Obviously a very small world here because the reason why I know Phil Labonte from All That Remains, we have a lot of mutual friends, but he’s good friends with the cohost of my University of Badassery Podcast, Pat McNamara. So I know the community very well because that’s the target community for that particular podcast and we’re sponsored by Black Rifle’s competitor, Invader Coffee Veteran Owned.

27:13 Leah: Oh, there you go.

27:15 CJ: So very, very small world here, but no, I think that came up first. And here’s how deep the rabbit hole goals, because everyone else is that way we are on the University of Badassery intentionally not that way. So we never advocate a particular… we don’t go after left-wing or anything. And so that’s even in… so that makes us then stand out in that particular community because it’s almost more, not neutral per se, but our premise is just, well, ultimately we’re talking about self-government.

You want to talk about true Liberty, it’s not going to be found by a political movement or left or right, it’s going to be found by you taking care of your own stuff, so we want to talk about that in particular. But in that sense, emphasizing self-government, we actually become very political, so maybe with your particular, whatever your niches or whatever area you have, maybe there’s a way for you to communicate certain ideas without being so predictably reactionary or left or right.

For example, Leah communicate a lot of deep spiritual ideas through your music, but that doesn’t mean you’re on there pounding about spiritual issues necessarily, but a lot of those things are communicated through the music itself.

28:33 Leah: It’s very funny because, yeah, this is no secret, I have a Christian background, but it’s funny, I attract so many other people from different walks of life and beliefs. I have self-proclaimed pagans, and witches, and all kinds of people who like my music and they play my stuff on their playlists and their radio stations and I really appreciate it. Even though I have that background, I don’t consider myself a Christian artist in terms of the genre. To me that’s just a marketing ploy, it’s just part of the market and I don’t really want to be in that market.

That’s a different market, that’s not my market. That’s not where I’m called to be. So my thing is I just want to make great music, whatever comes out, comes out and I’m okay with whatever comes out. So I appreciate that others can listen to my stuff and I don’t hide who I am, but they can appreciate it for what it is. And I also appreciate my listeners and that they come from walks of life, and they are willing to listen to me, and have me in their ears, and that they buy my stuff and I just appreciate them for who they are too.

29:54 CJ: There’s, again, you have to look at your own personal situation, I think a lot of what you’re doing is reactionary, I think that’s a good indication that it’s not intentional in the way it should be, so I would be careful about it only in that regard just because you don’t want to alienate unnecessarily fans who would otherwise enjoy your music.

For example, Leah could get on her page and start Bible-thumping, let’s just say, well, then those relationships that you would have would be driven away. I remember there’s… anybody’s that’s ever seen, one of the greatest movies of all time, The Godfather. He gets an offer from this other gangster who wants to do drugs, wants to run drugs. And so he needs the politicians and the police that the godfather has, he needs to borrow from some of that capital that the godfather has.

So the godfather actually turns him down and he said, “I’ll give you my reasons.” And he says, “Yes, it’s true. I do have a lot of police, and judges, and politicians in my back pocket, but if they knew I was dealing drugs, they wouldn’t be so friendly to me anymore.” And so you have to always keep in mind that when you’re posting online because again, what most people do, it’s reactionary.

You see it all the time, they’re always on there saying how much they don’t care, which means they care because they’re posting about how much they don’t care, or they’re going after somebody, or they’re doing something to imply someone else, they’re not using a name or what have you. Everybody does that sort of thing.

We have road rage, we have digital rage. It’s the same psychological dynamic where people who otherwise act pretty copacetic and cool change when they get online. As an artist trying to build a following, you just want to be cognizant of that. Let’s turn this around, Leah, and flip it the other way. Let’s talk about the trolls, the haters, the critics. Like you said, on your own music page, you don’t get a whole lot of that because you have a lot of endearment.

Switch over to something like Savvy Musician Academy, then you’ve opened yourself up to a whole nother thing, right?

32:06 Leah: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. And like I’ve said previously, I’ve been called every name under the sun, a snake oil salesman, scam artist, you name it, all kinds of colorful things, straight out insults, just so much skepticism from every single angle. “Why do you charge for this?” I’m like, “You’re an artist charging for music, why are you charging for that? You want people to buy your music and yet you don’t want to learn how to sell your music? This makes no sense.”

But I have three words for you. If you come across people who are insulting you or trolling, three words, block and delete. Especially on your ads or anything like that. Customer service thing is a little bit different, but I have some wisdom there. If there’s anything customer service related, someone’s upset or, “I didn’t get my order.” Sometimes people can be very vocal when they didn’t get something.

There’s an amazing book that I will recommend if you have the time to address this, if this is… You’re starting to really sell your music and you’re worried about people trolling on your comments if something went wrong. There’s a book called Hug Your Haters, and it’s all about customer service and how the customer experience and how you treat them when they’re upset is the new marketing. It’s one amazing channel of marketing.

So one thing I would suggest is if you do get some customer service related, a person who’s upset on a comment somewhere, take it off the thread, and it needs to go personal, it needs to go direct message, go to email. What you don’t want to do is have a thread going on publicly if at all possible where, “Oh, let me look into your order and blah, blah, blah.” You don’t want that going on and on and on publicly.

If you can take it somewhere else private, that’s where it needs to go, that’s where that conversation needs to live. And just, we can say, you do want to publicly say to them, “Hey, oh, I’m so sorry to hear that this has happened to you. We will fix it. I’m going to DM you and we will solve this problem.” That’s all that needs to be said publicly. The rest is taken offline.

Now, if you have a straight-up hater or a troll who’s just being negative or whatever, this is poison to your or your profile, or your page, or your ad, whatever it is. This is poison and you need to take the poison out. You just block and delete. No questions asked. Period enough subject. Don’t think twice about it.

34:39 CJ: Because the temptation is to defend yourself and try to get back at them and whatever. Trolls are trolls, haters are haters. That’s what they do. It’s like when you tease somebody when you’re kids, the more the other sibling reacts to the teasing, then the more they’re going to be teased because that’s the whole point of teasing is to get a reaction. Trolling is the adult quote, unquote version of teasing, so the more you react, the more they respond.

I’ve done my Metal Motivation page for 10 years, and that’s exactly the way I do it, Leah, is block and delete.

35:20 Leah: Nobody got time to waste on stuff like that, on trolls. You have more important things to do. It’s up to you where you want to draw the line like what’s considered maybe a snarky comment versus trolling. That’s not for me to decide, it’s up to you, your comfort level, but if it’s causing a negative feeling in you, a negative reaction in others, what I’ve seen, especially on the SMA side is that negativity begets negativity.

And you let one person roll with a negative remark and it will breed more negativity and more people will join in on the negativity bandwagon. That’s why you must stop in its tracks, delete and ban them. Get rid of it. It’s poison. So be merciless on that.

36:09 CJ: Show no mercy. No, that’s good. That’s good counsel, that’s good counsel. So what about, Leah, we really see this a lot with our lovely women artists, female artists in the elite group who are following all the rules, and building up their page, and increasing their followers, et cetera. And suddenly now they’ve gotten all this-

36:33 Leah: Unwanted attention?

36:34 CJ: … inappropriate male attention and I know you’ve had to deal with that in spades, so what counsel do you offer for them?

36:42 Leah: Some of this stuff is just like if I’m getting a marriage proposal and all these spammy type messages from someone in Bangladesh, I also will block and delete them because I don’t need that on my page. Most of the time people are pretty respectful because of the type of music that I make and the culture I have created, so it’s not a very big issue, but it trickles in. And like the marriage proposal and all that, I just say delete the comments that make you uncomfortable.

I think the worst for me is Facebook Messenger. For some reason, even though I have certain countries blocked from my page, just nothing against the country, there’s some wonderful people there, but on Facebook, there tends to be spammy-type profiles. So you can take measures on your page for example where you go into the settings and you can block certain countries. So just think about where are some of the… on Facebook only, and again, this is not a judgment against cultures or anything, this is just who is on Facebook at the moment.

What are some of the countries that might be spamming and just block them from your page so that they can’t find you and just send you random messages because some of them are just random. So that can help, and then I would just delete those messages. I don’t think twice about them, it’s really a blip on my radar, I just move on. Right.

38:08 CJ: I think they get a little tired of… I think they get so much sometimes that they wonder is this is what I’m going to be doing from here on out is just deleting messages and all of that. No, I think over time you’ll learn to cultivate your audience and weed out the things that are bad and whatnot. Much like yourself, and this is even on YouTube, I’ve remained pretty much troll-free for the past 10 years. And I think so much of it has to do with the presentation itself and the way you operate.

38:45 Leah: What are you attracting?

38:47 CJ: Yeah, exactly. And for anybody who would try it, it would just sound so stupid for them to do it. There’s some people that their personality is such that they… their flank is left open to be attacked by somebody. And so I think, for example, me as Metal Motivator, if I was on there putting on a personality and sounding like a wrestler or something like that and some kind of contrived persona, then yeah, you’re leaving yourself open for people to say, “Who is this idiot?” Whatever.

But if you’re doing something where it’s an intelligent conversation, and you handle yourself well, and you communicate well, somebody comes in and tries to troll you, always you’re going to hear is crickets because nobody’s going to join in in the fray. They’re going to say, “Dude, you sound like an idiot trying to do that.”

39:35 Leah: And I will say, and as a woman, I believe men have 100% responsibility for what they do, what they think and everything. I’m totally for that, but it’s not like I’m out there flaunting my body. I’m not doing things that would provoke certain kinds of reactions that would be expected. I’m not dressing in a certain way that would, I guess, attract like super sexual type of attention because, you know what I mean?

If I were then maybe I would expect those kind of messages coming in. And I’m not suggesting our students are doing that by the way. This is part of the conversation, but even still, I think people are responsible for what they say and do, and I think they’re responsible for their reactions. At the same time, if I don’t want that kind of attention, I’m just careful about it. I’m just careful what I’m put out there.

40:25 CJ: If you have confidence to deal with people, then by all means deal with it.

40:28 Leah: Yeah.

40:28 CJ: Sometimes you don’t know. Sometimes a snarky comment is coming from somebody who’s just having a bad day, so like Leah said, you’ve got to feel that out and as you get more proficient at this… For me, if I’m really just in a mood or whatever, I’ll go troll fishing, so I’m ready for somebody to do something because I used to do debating and stuff in forums and for theology and philosophy and stuff for years before social media ever came around.

So for me, operating intellectually and engaging with people was something we did for academic sport. So the likelihood that a troll is going to come in there and win the battle with is highly unlikely. It like a cat playing with injured mouse. You know what I mean? Not going to kill it just yet, I’m just going to throw it around the room for a while.

Sometimes when my old self is a little bit more dominant that day I will take it out on a troll and they’re not… for the most part, most people are not very sophisticated. They’re not. But I don’t advocate that, but I do think if you do have some confidence, you can be diplomatic because sometimes that’s also seen by people, so everybody else will see the way you handle somebody.

Like I’ll have that happen if somebody says something that tends to be snarky or whatever, and then I answer them appropriately. Then you’ll see that person had no like, and then your response had like 25 likes, which means 20, probably more than that people saw your interaction even though it’s buried in a thread. They saw your interaction with that person.

And so long as you’re not emotionally frail, and that’s the key here. You may be new to this whole social media marketing thing and so you’re just emotionally fragile and you’re not very strong. Well, you’re going to have to get past that quickly. You’re going to have to… There’s no getting around them… You can tell you techniques about privacy and all this sort of stuff, but nothing is better for you than being just a stronger person in general.

You’re too sensitive, you’re too fragile, and we got to toughen you up. You can be tough. Don’t keep telling yourself, “Well, my mom was this way, my dad was just this.” Whatever excuses, it’s because I’m Irish, it’s because I’m this, it’s because I’m that, because I’m a woman. No, none of that stuff matters. You can be stronger.

In fact, I remember when I went to art school years and years and years ago, my first day of design class, graphic design class, they had us go through the phone book and find a company that needed a new logo. And so that was our class assignment. A teacher told us, “Go home and create 50 thumbnail versions of this logo.”

And so we went home and did it. We thought we’re just going to be turning it in to the teacher. No, he took them and he hung them out all around the classroom. Everybody’s logos were now on full display. He went through one by one and just reamed us, just raked us all over the coals. Just insulting the logos and just saying, “What the heck is this? What is this supposed to mean? This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.”

There was students crying in the class and we’re like, “What did we sign up for?” And he said, “This is a lesson because what you’re learning is commercial art, which means somebody is going to be paying you for this and they’re not going to care about your feelings. They’re not going to care when they come and they look at the stuff that you… you’re going to have to get tough skin.”

So that’s what we’re here to teach you is get that tough skin, so ultimately when it comes to trolls and haters and all that sort of thing is you can’t be phased. They only have… Their words have only as much authority as you grant them. Right? So somebody can say… If somebody that you know says very harsh things about you, somebody close to you, well that’s going to hurt you. Then I can come up as a complete stranger and say the exact same thing to you.

Would it hurt you as much? No. Why? Because you don’t know me and you know that I don’t know you, but it’s the same words. So why does the person you know words have more power over you than the person you don’t know? Because you grant more authority to the person who knows you. So that’s why. It’s not because it’s from whom it’s coming from, it’s because you allow more that into you because you know them, so you grant them authority.

But if you can grant authority to someone’s words, then you can certainly revoke it. So I think what we do is when we read these things from people, even though we instinctively know they’re not true, we give them power over us, so-

45:03 Leah: That’s a really good point.

45:05 CJ: … you got… just be liberated from that, but ultimately, a strong version of you, creative version of you, you can end up having fun with all of these crazy people.

45:14 Leah: Oh yeah. Yeah. I’m really not too phased by it. I’m not flattered by it. To me, if you’re getting marriage proposals and creepy type people, I’m personally grossed out by it, and well, and I will say there’s another level of things too before I… I think Instagram made some changes where now they’re like blur photos if someone you don’t know sends them to you.

45:41 CJ: Okay.

45:42 Leah: But if I made the mistake of opening the photo, and then you can’t unsee the things you see and it was horrifying.

45:52 CJ: Oh my God.

45:52 Leah: I even had to warn my customer service person. Hey, you might get the odd inappropriate photos being sent and I’ve had them and it’s just like, wow, just you sent that to the wrong person because you are being blocked so fast. Anyway.

46:08 CJ: No, I actually had that happen to me once and the photo was not blurred, and was a woman from Australia. I wrote back and I said, “You sent this to the wrong person.” I said, “I don’t want to insult you, I appreciate the gesture, but um too much information.” And I said, “And I’m going to pretend that you didn’t do that.”

46:37 Leah: Wow.

46:37 CJ: She answered, I forget what she answered back, but obviously, after that brash, then –

46:45 Leah: You’re probably not going to insult them-

46:47 CJ: No.

46:47 Leah: … at this point.

46:49 CJ: No. No. But that’s the crazy world we live in now, and so what we just wanted to talk about today was just some basics about handling yourself on social media. Because again, we see this a lot with our elite students who are working so hard to build their followings and they don’t anticipate necessarily the kind of things that they’re going to have to deal with, especially at that level and in that quantity.

It’s one thing if it’s here and there, it’s another thing when you’re running like ads and so people are commenting on your pictures, and or what have you, or criticizing you, or whatever. So try not to be moved by it, and that’s again, we can’t… We don’t have principles for everybody’s situation, but the one principle we can say is your best defence is a stronger you, so let’s just make you as strong as we possibly can, which is why at SMA we have a personal development component to what we do and we coach you on that as well. So under the shout out to the Savvy Musician Academy.

Leah, do you have anything else you want to add?

47:59 Leah: No. I think that covers it. You can always let us know in the comments or in our Facebook groups if you have any follow-up questions, we always take your suggestion seriously. So thanks for listening today.

48:09 CJ: Yeah, you guys again, leave us a review on the podcast. We love to hear from you. We read every single review we get. Leave stars as many as you can if that’s the kind of player that you’re listening to. Again, these things mean a great deal to us, it helps other people to discover this awesome podcast.

And if you’re not a part of any of the Facebook groups, we do have a free mastermind group. We encourage you to join that and start to get in our little circle of influence. We’d love to have you and to see what you’re up to musically. Leah, thank you once again for sharing your heart and mind. We appreciate it.

48:45 Leah: It was great being here today. I hope that some of these tips were helpful and useful to you. If they were, I would really love it if you left us a review. It also helps other people discover this podcast who really, really need it. So thank you for that.

48:58 CJ: All right guys, we will see you next time. Take care.

Leah McHenry

It's become my absolute obsession to find out what will make musicians successful today. In the face of many obstacles, and in the vast sea of the internet, we have an opportunity that has NEVER been available to us in the history of the music business.