What IS a Connector?
Before I go any further, let me suggest that you read The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell; it is where all this “connector” talk is coming from as I am only going to scratch the surface.
However, I have experienced this with my own two eyes. Gladwell’s book only confirmed to me that the people I have sought out actually have an “official” definition.
You know that person that shows up to your shows with 10 people in tow?
That’s a connector.
Yea, it goes deeper than that. But I’m not Gladwell and if I try, I will probably butcher his explanation. Just know that connectors bring people together. For a number of different reasons – they are up on the latest trends, they are smart, they are outgoing, or they know a lot about a lot of different things.
They are very easy to spot, if you train your eye to do so. And yea, you guessed it. They are social butterflies, have a ton of friends, and are always surrounded by a group of people.
They do not blabber in your ear about how many people they can bring to the show. In fact, usually they under-estimate the number. BUT THEY ALWAYS DELIVER.
My wife is a connector. Anytime we would have ticketed shows – she would account for almost 80% of the ticket sales by herself. She was more of the “Salesman” type. Listed above in the image by Voxpopdesign.com.
My friend Ryan is a connector as well. I played a bi-monthly gig at a bar for almost three years straight and he single-handedly filled the bar with his friends. Once he moved – everyone slowly fell off until I was down to a core group of five or so people. He is a classic connector. Him and his wife Molly just like to bring people together. No Ryan & Molly = no group.
I have another friend J.T. that was a low profile connector. He would bring at least 1 or 2 NEW people to every show and made sure they left with a cd. J.T. was a type of “Maven” that brought people together by sharing new information and experiences. In this case, it was my music.
How do you spot them? Well, when I said it was “easy” what I meant was that you just get a gut feeling and you have to trust it. Sometimes you’ll be wrong – but eventually your gut will steer you in the right direction.
1. Scan the bar during my set for the people who seemed to be the center of a group. They’ll be the ones mostly directing conversation.
2. TALK TO FANS – I can’t say this enough. The more you get to know them…well, the more you’ll know about them.
3. Once identified, lean on them to help you promote – don’t worry, you aren’t “using them.” Connectors LOVE to do this stuff, because at their core, they like being the “insider.” And conversely, it’s mainly why people look to them for things in the first place.
This is so common sense, right? Then why do I see tons of bands still only using mass promotional tactics?
In my last post I referred to a big venue show I did with a couple other bands that drew 800 people. WE DID NOT HANG ONE POSTER OR SEND OUT ONE HANDBILL FOR THAT SHOW. We just focused on our connectors. Focused on rewarding them. My buddy Jared Mahone actually wrote a personal hand written letter to each person, thanking them for buying tickets from him.
Sure, hanging posters, dropping off handbills, social media interaction, and email blasts all have their place – but in all reality, these things really only account for about 20% of the crowd that will show up at the venue.
The other 80% come from the connectors. It’s called the 80/20 rule and it is a scientific fact. I’m not making it up.
It says that 20% of your following will account for 80% of your cd sales, merchandise sales, crowd brought to your show, etc.
So find these people. And be genuine with them. Call them to invite them to the show. Yes, CALL. That is a lost art unto itself. Do not use them only for show promotion. First, that is a shady d*ck move and secondly they’ll smell you from a mile away if you treat them that way.
At the core of what I’m saying is: Your friends are more important than your music. They not only account for people showing up to see you, but in most cases they are real inspiration for your songs.
Be good to them and they will be good to you.