The direct message is a miraculous and powerful tool. It’s also a tool that you can dramatically misuse perhaps more than any other. There are quite a few intricacies to understanding what makes for a good direct message. The thing is – if you can master the DM you will end up being able to grow your network quickly and dramatically. However, if you fuck it up people will think you are an idiot. So I wanted to take some time about how to generate responses, build relationships, prevent yourself from looking like an idiot, and thus leveraging it for all sorts of long term opportunities. This is something I use every single day to grow my network and connections. I hope that it rubs off on some of you guys too.
4. How To Reach Out Via DM
This is important. When reaching out via DM I find it is usually best to send a sincere, specific and powerful thank you. What this means is you send them a message talking about a precise thing that they have done and how it directly impacted you. If you can acknowledge how much hard work they must have put into it that helps too. This is what psychiatrist Dr. Mark Goulston calls a ‘Power Thank You’ – use this to launch conversations in conjunction with a question. After all – people love to talk about themselves. One such message to a musician would be something like: “Hey man, I really love your song ‘From Here On Out’ it really helped me through a hard time after a break-up – it must have been a deeply emotional experience for you to write it. I just wanted to say how grateful I was that you wrote it. May I ask – what was the intent behind that song?” Remember – the keys here are sincerity, specificity and giving them an option to talk about themselves if they so desire.
3. How to Build Those Relationships
So, of course, it’s a lot more than just asking one question and leaving it at that. Just continue to build on your first message IF you get a reply. If your initial message does NOT get a reply don’t hassle people. Maybe send a second message but ever spam. That’s just one way to make people feel like you’re a stalker. If you do get a reply though just continue to ask specific questions and show your interest. It’s really that simple. Let the other person talk about themselves and see, after a while, if they’d be interested in collaborating with you if that was even your goal in the first place. Sometimes it’s nice just to connect with people for the sake of connecting with them.
2. How Not To Fuck It Up
And of course, a lot of people fuck these last two steps up. The two ways people mess DM’s up is by being creepy or by being punishers. There’s a ton of ways to be creepy from inappropriate comments on someone’s appearance to sending straight up videos. So many people with apparently normal feeds have sent me anime porn. I’m really not sure why. Yet this is a thing. I can only imagine it’s much worse for women. Being a punisher is a much trickier thing to navigate. Obviously you want to connect with people but you don’t want to aggravate them. Basically – it’s the same as if you’re trying to flirt online. If the other person is giving you one-word responses just to be polite and taking a while to reply – maybe lay off. Don’t send too many DM’s in a row, don’t ask a million personal questions and you should be roughly ok. Imagine if you met this person in real life and treat it like that.
1. How To Leverage And Grow
So let’s say you’ve built the relationship to the point where the other person sees that you are real and cool and want to bring meaningful value. Well then – you’ve got a serious opportunity in front of you. If you had an idea to collaborate, potentially propose that to this person. The other thing, and perhaps the better movie is seeing how you could help the other person. One way I built up credibility early on, for instance, was helping friends bands with merch, just because I was there and needed something to do. Figure out ways you can help. Offer to write a review of their band. Help out by connecting them to a promoter that might help. If you show you are a useful person with a positive attitude then why wouldn’t they want to work with you? It’s all an existential nightmare – so you might as well embrace it.
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Matt Bacon is a consultant, A&R man, and journalist specializing in the world of heavy metal. Having worked with everyone from Glam Rock icon Phil Collen of Def Leppard, to post Black Metal titans Alcest, by way of legendary thrashers Exhorder as well as labels including Prophecy Productions and Ripple Music, he has dedicated his life to helping young bands develop. Having started his own blog at the age of 14 he views his career in artist development as ‘a hobby that got out of hand’. In 2015 he formed Dropout Media in order to better support the artists he loves. We sit here now, years later with countless tours booked, records released and deals signed, and loving every minute of it.
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