First let me say that I am NOT an expert on this, but I can tell you what I have seen and learned in my time in the MMA industry. We have all seen them. Hell, you may even BE one of them. Promoters that work hard at growing their business, using social media as their platform to reach the masses in an attempt to gather a much broader fan base with the hopes of actually putting on an event where they are in the black when its all said and done. We’ve also seen the Spammers, those who, while they may have the same intentions, take it a bit too far. I would say this, if you are connected to the MMA world through Facebook, then you have witnessed it: scrolling down your news feed when suddenly, notification after notification begins to pop up on the bottom left side of your screen, as the “um-teen” groups you belong to has someone posting their ad, their event, the latest thing they’ve done to contribute and show that they are a viable part within the landscape. Maybe there were pictures that you have been tagged in and you have absolutely no idea who is tagging you in these pictures or why. So when does promoting cross the line into spamming? Great question….and I will be the first to tell you, in my plight to show my relevance in this industry, I have been guilty of doing both.
Some time ago, I was at a UFC event in Fairfax, VA. I met up with Carlo Prater, who was fighting on the prelim card that night against Marcus Levesseur. I made his walkout music for him for that particular fight and because the event was so close to my home (about an hour and some change) he left me a ticket at the hotel. As I hung out in the lobby, waiting to meet up with Damon Martin from MMA Weekly (now with Bleacher Report) to have lunch, I slowly started to see all of the fighters filter in from their rooms to wait for the shuttle bus to haul them to the arena. Being a fan first, I was really wanting to bum rush all of them and ask for pictures etc, but I tried to play it cool, then I met GSP, and threw all that out the window, (lol we’ll save that story for another time). Anyway, I saw some of the fight managers who I had exchanged text messages and emails with in the past so I wanted to introduce myself, show them that I was a real individual not just some punk looking to earn a quick buck on a fighter’s dime. Some were very cordial, while others blew me off completely, which is absolutely fine with me, no tears shed there when people are douchebags for no reason. But my next encounter would give me a bit of a lesson that I didn’t expect.
I strolled outside to see one of the UFC’s analysts kind of taking a few minutes just chilling out before he needed to get ready. He will remain nameless, but he knows who he is, and I’m sure you all do as well. I went up, introduced myself to him, and talked to him about making music for his show. He was very calm, very well spoken and kind….and then he hit me with some harsh criticism. He says to me “I gotta be honest, dude you spam my wall, CONSTANTLY. I was interested in what you do at first, but it’s just gotten to be way too much.” I was stunned, because up until that point, I thought I wasn’t hurting anyone.
The position that I am in within MMA is an odd one. The actual work that I do is settled in the background when it is in full execution. But it is part of the entertainment, so I am forced to promote myself as an entertainer. I try to show those that may have heard of me before that yes, I’m still around and yes, I’m not going anywhere. Tagging people I had met along the way was sort of like an “FYI” for me, but I found out it’s not that way for everyone.
He said to me ” I don’t know, maybe I’m way off base here, but it’s just kind of a turn off. I mean, has anyone said this to you before?”
Of course, the fan, the dreamer, the grinder, the promoter in me was punched in the stomach, and I did NOT see it coming. However, the student in me had to understand that class was in session, and I was getting schooled, in the most unlikely place, by the last person I thought would. My response was, “Actually you are the first person who’s ever said that to me.” Actually, he wasn’t, he was just the first person to actually say it to me in that way, and I heard him loud and clear.
His final response to me was “Listen, I know why you do it. I know you want to be relevant, and I know you work hard. But if I want to see your work, I will seek it out and find it. I know you’re not going anywhere, and maybe one day down the line when the opportunity presents itself we can work together.”
With that we shook hands and parted ways, with my ego chin checked and put back in its place. I emailed him a bit later and apologized for creating any trouble for him, and told him that it was not my intent, to which he responded that all was good and that he respected my hustle, and said we would catch up again soon…..I haven’t spoken to him since. But I can tell you the amount of respect that I have for that young man telling me like it is, and helping me in that way, is immeasurable.
So are you a Spammer or a Promoter? I guess that all lies in the eyes of the recipient of the content you put out there. What I have learned is that, while it may be ok to post in Facebook groups, over and over what you are doing in hopes that just a few more people would see it, tagging people in posts, or posting on their wall, is a completely different ballgame, and is a case by case basis. Some people are OK with it, some have agreements set in place to do it, others do not want their wall or news feed clogged up with numerous things about your work. So for me personally, I have scaled back from tagging and posting as well, only tagging people directly related to the subject/content, and only posting in groups where I normally contribute regularly in conversation with others. It doesn’t always have to do with “how many places” as opposed to “how many actually care”. Trying to force someone to give a crap about your work only makes things worse. In the retail industry we used to have a rule of thumb, “For every good experience, a person will tell three people. For every bad experience, they tell ten”.
What side of the line do you fall on?
Next week I will switch gears from MMA Business Etiquette and I will break down how fighters having their very own Theme Song is a vital part of their brand, and when used CORRECTLY, CAN and WILL open a whole new world of opportunities, fans, and additional revenue streams that may not have been accesible to them by just stepping in the cage.
*Mikey Rukus creates Custom Theme Music and Walkout Music for MMA Companies and Fighters Worldwide- to view his body of work please visit www.soundclick.com/mikeyrukus
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