This is a fantastic introduction to best practices for online, direct-to-fan marketing, presented by Berkleemusic instructor Mike King at NARM 2011. A must-see for musicians and anyone working to engage fans or develop a social media strategy for their business.
Video link: NARM video recap Embedded video below:
The rise of the social web has caused profound shifts in the way we consume and share information. Media industries like publishing and music, have experienced devastating disruption. Even if your business has avoided this first shockwave, the relationship between you and your customers has changed forever. If you are not using social communication technologies to engage your customers today, don’t wait any longer. You can be sure your competition is way ahead of you.
For many, the idea of committing to a Social Media strategy and collaborating with customers is still uncomfortable, but the payoff can be enormous. Well designed Social Media campaigns create a direct channel to your fans; a powerful opportunity to understand their needs, establish trust, and personalize your offerings.
I’m still not convinced…
If you are new to Social Media and skeptical or confused, there are many good books for business people exploring the larger dynamics of this massive social shift. I can recommend a few:
The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
The Network Is Your Customer by David Rogers
How To Make Money With Social Media by Turner & Shah
Content Rules by Handley & Chapman
The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott
Groundswell by Li and Bernoff
But I’m already on Facebook…
I suggest developing a solid understanding of the principles and underlying forces in social campaigns before jumping into the tools in a big way. Having a million Twitter or Facebook followers doesn’t really mean much unless the relationships are genuine and your approach is aligned with your larger business strategy.
In Part Two of this series I will offer some tips for managing the “always-on” overload that can accompany Social Media.
If you are interested in more of researcher Nancy Baym’s findings on the relationship between artists and fans download this pdf presentation.
The companies that understand how to genuinely connect with their customers, online, and offline, are the ones that will emerge over the next twenty-four to thirty-six months, putting significant distance between themselves and their competition. – Gary Vaynerchuk, The Thank You Economy
Companies should also remember to focus on their passionate customers – both passionate fans and disappointed critics. These will be the customers who are most actively discussing your business, the ones who will share the most ideas, and influence others, and the ones whom you might easily convert from critics to lifelong supporters by giving them a little respect and attention. – David Rogers, The Network Is Your Customer
As you connect with your fans through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and online forums, keep in mind that the most passionate are the most active in the network and can easily become your advocates and emissaries if they are not already. Pay attention to them. Listen, and connect.
A customer or fan who is talking about you critically can become your greatest ally if you listen to them, understand their perspective, and respond with genuine caring. I’m not talking about trolls and sociopaths, but people that for one reason or another disagree with you or have had a bad experience. This is the best customer you could ever have. If you really take care of them, they can become a lifelong fan and evangelist for your company, your music, or your brand. Put your biggest supporters and your biggest critics at the top of the list and give them special attention.
What has your experience been connecting with your fans? How has listening to them and responding authentically changed your business? Share your stories!
Book Review: The Network is Your Customer – 5 Strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age by David L. Rogers (@David_Rogers )
When I first picked up this book by David Rogers, (a professor at Columbia Business School), I thought it was yet another introduction to social communication technologies for wary corporate managers. Boy, was I wrong!
- Rather than organizing the book around the use of specific social communication tools or an examination of the general theory of disruptive social technologies, Rogers builds his book around the behaviors and needs of customer networks. The title is quite apt.
- The writing is accessible and the book is very well organized and designed to be practical. The first two chapters explain the dynamics of customer networks and social communication technologies. Each of the 5 behaviors he identifies are examined in their own chapters and multiple strategies are presented. Next, Rogers dedicates a chapter to a specific planning and implementation process that will help businesses apply these ideas to their specific situations. He then asks the questions, “What will the organization of the future look like?”and “How do we create an organization that is not just customer-focused, but customer-network focused?” Finally, he systematically reviews each of the strategies in the book, by asking a series of questions in a ‘Self-Assessment Quiz’. Inquiry is a powerful technique for self-reflection, personalizing the ideas presented here.
- There are well over 100 case studies spread throughout the book. Companies are listed in an Appendix, sorted by industry. Each case study specifically illustrates the strategy Rogers is describing. This is an effective approach that makes it very easy to ‘try on’ techniques with your organization. As I was reading the book I found myself taking these case studies and translating them for my clients.
The Big Idea
Rogers suggests 5 Strategies that any business can use to create new value by harnessing the power of customer networks:
- ACCESS – be faster, easier, everywhere, and always on
- ENGAGE – become a trusted source of great content
- CUSTOMIZE – make everything you offer adaptable to your customer’s needs
- CONNECT – become part of your customer’s conversations
- COLLABORATE – involve your customers at every stage of your enterprise.
There is a lot here; much more than an explanation of disruptive technology. Rogers provides a road map, demonstrating techniques that will tap the power of customer networks, regardless of your industry or the size of your company. Recommended!
Interesting, valuable, content is the heart of communication with fans and followers. Using social media effectively requires planning and commitment. Here are a few tips to get you going:
Develop an Integrated Strategy
Be realistic about the time you can commit to online communication. Find the right partners to help you. Develop your approach from the Big Ideas that make you unique; the ‘Why’ of you as an artist. Connect your online and offline strategies.
Understand the Tools
Each social media platform and channel (and there are many) has a unique flavor. Your blog is a personal command post, Twitter is a cocktail party, Facebook is like a neighborhood pub, and so forth. Determine where your fans hang out and develop a plan that uses between 2 and 10 different platforms. Don’t overwhelm yourself at first, but make sure you understand how each platform works; it’s strengths and weaknesses. Tools like HootSuite and TweetDeck allow you to manage several communication channels in one dashboard and send Tweets and status updates to multiple services with one click. You can also delay posting times so that you can ‘pre-publish’ outbound communications.
Share Your Passions
So how do you create all this content? Be real, have fun and share your passions. Get a little outrageous and controversial. Your music generates a slew of byproducts that can help you build a community of active fans. If you are a guitar player in search of the ultimate tone, talk about your rig. If you are a foodie that samples every regional cuisine when you’re on the road, share the love. Keep it interesting and surprising. Mix it up; short, long, funny, informational, photos, writing, podcasts, & video.
Listen to Your Audience
Make time every day to listen to your fans. Comment on other blogs. Ask followers what is important to them. Use Google Alerts and Twitter Search to keep track of what people are saying. Google Reader is my tool of choice for following multiple blogs. Most importantly make time every day to thank your fans personally; for a comment, a purchase, for following your blog, Twitter or Facebook feed. If you are a musician you are a fan too. Ask yourself, what would you like to hear from the artists you admire? Make a list and try those things out with your fans.
Create a Publishing Schedule
This seems like a lot of work, right? Well, it is but you can streamline your time management in a number of ways. Set up a regular publishing schedule. Break it down into daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly activities. Tweets and status updates every day; blog posts 3 to 7 times a week; email newsletters monthly, etc. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. You can take one central thing that defines who you are and extrapolate all sorts of shorter pieces of content. For example: the record you just recorded or a tour; you can talk about the songs, the players, the recording process, pictures, videos, and on and on. If you document everything you are doing with pictures, down and dirty videos and recordings you will find that have more content than you know what to do with. Content Rules by marketing gurus Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman is a great book filled with specific ideas and approaches. Music marketing veteran Michael Brandvold has written a great post on managing social media overload. Check it out and add your comments.
Set Goals, Measure & Tweak
Before you jump in, ask yourself why you are doing this and, specifically what do you hope to accomplish? Are you looking for more Facebook followers, email addresses, blog subscriptions, page views, download sales? It takes takes time to get a viral loop spinning. Review your stats and measurements at least once a month to see what’s working, and make adjustments.
And of course, the most important thing is to create extraordinary music.
I hope this helps to get you started developing social media content. Have fun! Please share your successes and tips here. What’s working for you?
The midemblog Livestream coverage of the Rethink Music conference in Boston this week is a good example of integrating curated Twitter feeds into a web page.
The panels are being streamed live side-by-side with curated, real-time, Twitter comments fed by @replies and hashtags (#rethinkmusic, #rethink, #berklee, #midem).
What do you think?
“Customers trust each other more than they trust brands.” – Jeremiah Owyang, Altimeter Group analyst –
In a survey of 140 global-national corporations the Altimeter Group found that the number one ‘go to market’ goal for 2011 is the effective integration of social media into corporate websites. In this webinar Owyang describes a hierarchy of Use Cases each with several real world examples.
No Integration – Your website is irrelevant. You are not connected to the trusted discussion happening in social networks. Your investments are not working together well.
Social Linking – This send users off of your site, and while it has made Facebook tons of money, it is not the best strategy for your brand. Owyang recommends skipping this step all together and moving directly to…
Social Aggregation – This comes in Basic, Curated, and Contextual varieties.
- The increasing use of social sign-ins
- Samsung’s integration of live social feeds into their event screens at the recent SXSW conference
- Huffington Post’s aggregation of realtime user comments into article pages
Social Publishing – Encouraging customers to share information, pushing it back out to the social web.
Social Context – The practice of continually updating customer personas based on connections and context. A good example is Amazon’s content recommendations driven by friends’ reviews and buying choices.
Seamless Integration – The future… URLs will go away and content will be assembled wherever you are.
Owyang points out the benefits and limitations to each one of these strategies. He summarizes with advise for Product Managers on the shift to socializing product pages and pointers on where to start this integration to maximize the creation of viral loops in which, “Your investments stay constant but your results go up exponentially.”
I highly recommend this webinar to Product Managers, Web Developers, and Community teams. You can watch the full presentation here.
How are you integrating social communications into your website? What works for your customers and your brand? Please share your experiences!