Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category
A few weeks ago I attended an inspiring CD release party for the Aury Moore Band‘s new CD, Here I Am. The AMB is a female-fronted indie Seattle rock band whose latest CD was produced by Stevie (full disclosure). I’ve been fortunate to be a part of Aury’s inner circle, and even to feed her a few music marketing tips. She’s an experienced and accomplished musician and marketer herself, and I wanted to share the story of this 12-song CD.
This article is the first of a two-part series. In the first post, I describe how Aury used Kickstarter to successfully raise over $20,000 to record, promote and pre-sell her CD. In Part II, I outline how Aury followed up with a highly successful CD release party and what might lie in store as she continutes the process of marketing her newest release.
The promotion of this CD began even before it was produced. A well-executed CD release, launch and promotion process is ideally 12-14 months, and a crowd funding campaign with Kickstarter (or via another crowd funding platofrm such as PledgeMusic, IndieGoGo or RocketHub) is an important and powerful marketing and pre-sales technique.
- Spring 2012: Aury and her band came to Stevie, wanting to record a new CD. Aury had recorded in the past, and had actually begun the process with another producer, but he was tragically killed. She didn’t have funds to continue making the CD at the time, and was talking to a few individual fans about the possiblity of them funding it. Aury and I talked about the idea of doing a Kickstarter campaign to raise money instead of relying on one or two individuals. I invited Seattle singer-songwriter Jean Mann over to my house to participate in a group discussion on music marketing for several of Stevie’s clients. Jean graciously detailed to the group how she had used Kickstarter to raise money for her CD. It was something Aury and her band had never done before, but Aury recognized the potential right away and started planning.
- Summer 2012: Aury researched Kickstarter, and then began work on the video and premiums for her campaign.
- August – October 2012: The AMB Kickstarter campaign ran for 60 days, ultimately raising $2000 above the original goal.
- October 2012 – May 2013: Stevie, Aury and the band recorded and mixed the CD.
- June 2013: Aury Moore Band CD release party happens with over 400 people attending.
- July 2013: As of this writing, the new CD is available on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, etc. and they have sold about 600 physical CDs.
Professional social media marketers know that Twitter is a great way to reach out to fans and influencers, to interact and build a network of professional acquaintances, to gain exposure and, ultimately, to help sell products to a customer or fan base. The logic is, of course, that the more followers you have on Twitter, the larger your marketing reach. There is a lot of debate about whether it’s better to have more followers (“quantity”), or a small group of egaged followers (“quality”). This depends to some extent on one’s business goals, but as one blogging social media expert points out:
As much as you’d like to say that quantity doesn’t matter, well it does. – Jeff Bullas
Follow Others To Increase Your Twitter Following
If you have a Twitter account, you may already know that the best way to grow your followers is to actively follow others, and some percentage will follow you back. The more things you have in common with a user, the more likely they are to follow you back, so it’s a good idea to follow others based on a keyword to search of their profiles or tweets. The problem is that this is a time-consuming process when done manually – one can spend hours a day doing it.
Twitter used to have a feature called automated following, but they recently disabled it. They have done this largely because of the proliferation of fake Twitter accounts which have been used by unscrupulous marketers to inflate Twitter accounts. Along with this change by Twitter, automated Twitter follow tool TweetAdder has settled their lawsuit with Twitter and changed their product, requiring all users to upgrade. Because of the changes Twitter has made to try and address its fake follower problems, TweetAdder and other tools based on Twitter’s automated follow feature are no longer as effective as they used to be.
The truth is that building a large Twitter following has never been “organic.” As far as I can tell from the last 18 months of research and observation, unless you become a YouTube sensation overnight, growing a significant Twitter following quickly requires one of the following four practices:
Vlogging is an increasingly popular communication medium, and I think it’s a largely underutilized way for indie musicians to communicate with fans, perform live, do interviews, build their YouTube subscribers, and share information about themselves and their lives. Musicians might even find it an unexpected source of additional income.
What is vlogging, you may ask? Vlogging is a contraction of the phrase “video blogging.” Vlogging is what happens when you publish regular, serialized video episodes on YouTube and people “tune in,” or subscribe, to your YouTube channel to watch. Vloggers, some of them quite young, but many of every age, are making a living doing this. If they offer interesting content, and can build a good subscriber base, it can be a very good living for some of the superstars of vlogging. Vloggers provide the content, people subscribe to watch it, and advertisers sell ads on their YouTube channels through the partner program.
Chris Pirillo’s VloggerFair 2013 In Seattle
I just attended VloggerFair here in sunny Seattle. VloggerFair is a combination trade show and giant fan club convention conceived and organized by the fast-talking and very creative Chris Pirillo. Chris is the star of the YouTube channel LockerGnome, a “Geek Lifestyle” channel with 288,000 subscribers. In addition to his fast-paced LockerGnome tech gadget reviews, Chris and his wife, Diana, also vlog about their day to day lives in what amounts, more or less, to a reality TV show on YouTube.
“We know that there’s no economical value in non-scarce things. Then how do musicians expect to make money out of digital music, especially now that’s it’s becoming more and more commodified and easy to have access to? Something abundant eventually becomes free at some point…You create market value by selling scarce things. Get it right asap.” – Tommy Darker
“[Big Tech] have to keep commodifying things to keep the share price up, but in doing so they have made all content, including music and newspapers, worthless, in order to make their billions.” – Thom Yorke [Radiohead] as quoted by Music Tech Policy
- Ubiquity drives the commoditization of music and other intellectual property, lowering value and decreasing discovery
- Giving credit, or attribution, counteracts this effect and creates value
I read two posts this week which got me thinking about how these two ideas related in the worlds of both social media and independent music. One post was from Tommy Darker on Music Think Tank called ”Premiumization 101 For Musicians” (from whence came the quote above) and the other was by Bob Dunn, my favorite WordPress guru, called “Make Sure Your Shared Tweets Display Your Twitter Handle“. These seem like disparate posts, but bear with me for a minute or two.
[An interview with Kevin McCarthy, CEO of the Seattle-based Facebook analytics company, Likester]
S: Kevin, thanks for talking with me today. In addition to the fact that you’re my stepson (full disclosure), you’re a succesful serial entrepreneur. You’ve started a new company called Likester (definitely not to be confused with Friendster). You and I were talking about Likester, and I had a few questions about how it might be useful for musicians or labels. I understand a little about Likester – it’s basically a giant database of Facebook “Like” data and some software that helps you visualize correlations between Facebook brand “Likes”, is that correct? And the idea is that this information can be used by marketers, presumably to better target their Facebook advertising to those Facebook users who are more likely to “Like”, and thus buy, their products? Tell me more about Likester – what is the basic idea behind the tool?
K: That is correct. Likester has tracked and organized over a billion Facebook “Likes” from millions of people. The basic idea behind Likester Pro is that you can learn a lot about your customers, the customers of your competition, or the fans of any Facebook Page out there.
Agile Marketing is a term that takes its inspiration from Agile Development, a methodology ”defined” in 2001 by a group of programmers in order to apply a set of alternative (and hopefully more productive) values to traditional software development. Many software development projects large and small had, by this time, become unwieldy and nightmarish processes (see the concept of Edward Yourdon’s ”Death March” software project management) when Agile Development became the new trend, and eventually, the new norm in software development.
Of course, it didn’t take long before product managers and other marketing types realized that the same concepts which were helping their brethren across the cubicle pods over in developer-land could also be applied to the world of marketing. As a former software marketer, the idea of Agile Marketing fascinates me, as does the idea of applying it to the world of indie music marketing. This article outlines how Agile Marketing values can be used by indie musicians to guide and prioritize their online and social media marketing activities.
For many indie musicians, business people and marketers, the idea of the Death March resonates today. We struggle with finding time for both artistic creativity and promotion, we sift through unending and various advice on how to promote our music best on our websites and via social media, and we suffer insomnia as we attempt to master our social media content creation process – should we blog? YouTube? Vine? Pay for ads on Facebook or promoted posts?
Seeing that many musicians and music marketing industry people use Twitter to discuss and promote music, I thought it might be useful to provide an overview of one of the most commonly used tools for managing social media accounts with an eye to what features musicians might find most useful.
Hootsuite is one of several free social media dashboard applications, like Buffer or Tweetdeck, that can help you manage Twitter and other social media channels, all in one place. Hootsuite interfaces with most social media platforms, like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram and many more - although not Pinterest, as of this writing.
Note: For more information on Buffer, see this blog post by my friend Chris “Seth” Jackson, at HowToRunABand, Twitter for Musicians, Day 13: Extreme Power Tools to Become a Twitter Ninja. For a Hootsuite vs. Tweetdeck throwdown, see this article by Make It In Music, Top Twitter Tips For Musicians.
I find Hootsuite to be most helpful for me in managing Twitter, and less so for managing my Facebook or LinkedIn posts. For those bands with a public Facebook fan page to track and analyze, it would probably be much more useful. I also haven’t hooked my Instagram or website Google Analytics up to Hootsuite yet, but I’m planning to. It’ll be nice to see them all in one place.
When I began to tweet ten months ago for my social media class, I didn’t have a clue how much I would learn, both technically and socially, from the experience. This is not a post about the best time to tweet, how to use Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your tweets, or how to geo-target your Twitter keyword searches. It is a post about some of the more subjective things I have observed about myself and other people on Twitter:
- Social media is very much like group therapy. It’s free, it normalizes the human experience, and it is a great mirror for your own behavior. Chances are, the things that irritate you most about someone else on Twitter are the things you could probably stand to work on yourself.
- Do your personal work, because who you are shows up in how you interact (sooner or later). After I have interacted with someone for a while on Twitter, reading their posts and seeing which of my posts they favorite and RT, I get a real sense of their values, their goals, and how they treat people. My goal is to work with people who share my values, so I try to remember that other people are also seeing who I am with every tweet I write.
- There is no such thing as anonymity. As with email, don’t say anything on Twitter or any other social media site that you wouldn’t want read out loud in a courtroom. Even when you think no one is reading your tweets, someone probably is.
- Karma: what goes around comes around. Do nice things, and eventually people notice. The same applies for tweeting mean or negative things.
- Learn the rules, but then be yourself. Learn the basic etiquette, but don’t obsess about the details or adopt someone else’s style because you admire them. Pave your own way, let your own social media style emerge. || Read more
(Originally published in March 2012 on my old website, which was hosted on the musician-focused website-building platform, Bandzoogle).
I’ve been struggling with the question of what kind of website to use to represent myself – you know, the one that you get to when you search on my name, Solveig Whittle (this one). I am currently using the service Bandzoogle, but in the past six months I have begun to really delve into the world of social media and music marketing. Along with that exercise, Stevie and I have been creating some music with primarily just the two of us, so I’m thinking it’s time to revamp my website(s) before I really launch into promoting the new music. After all, it should probably have a different brand and a different look, and this is my opportunity to “do it right” from the start.
|| Read more