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Today’s musicians, both mainstream and indie, are using social media to connect with fans, build anticipation, and generate revenue in new and unique ways. The products range from singles to mix tapes to digital six-packs, even oddly shaped USB sticks, vinyl, and the occasional traditional album. But how are these artists reaching their new fan bases online through social channels? Much like the business world, social media promotion for musicians is still a very new game, with no exact recipe for platinum success. There are however, some innovations being put forth, and a new connection is being formed between artists and fans — a connection that empowers both to give each other what they are looking for.

mixing board imageGreg Rollett runs a music marketing company from his laptop in Orlando, FL. He is an advocate of the New Music Economy and very hopeful that artists can still live the rock star lifestyle in the digital age. Connect with Greg on Twitter, @g_ro.

Today’s musicians, both mainstream and indie, are using social media to connect with fans, build anticipation, and generate revenue in new and unique ways. The products range from singles to mix tapes to digital six-packs, even oddly shaped USB sticks, vinyl, and the occasional traditional album.

But how are these artists reaching their new fan bases online through social channels? Much like the business world, social media promotion for musicians is still a very new game, with no exact recipe for platinum success.

There are however, some innovations being put forth, and a new connection is being formed between artists and fans — a connection that empowers both to give each other what they are looking for.


Fan-Funded Projects


Kickstarter Image

We have all heard about the success of micro lending organizations like Kiva, which use multiple small payments to contribute to a larger goal. The same process is being applied to creating an album or a music-based project.

One such project is the Washington D.C.-based indie hip-hop group Panacea. The producer/MC duo listed their project on Kickstater, a funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, explorers, and others.

The project was posted on the morning of February 26th. According to Jeremy Calvery, the group’s Director of Digital Media and Promotion, “We were at $1,000 before the end of the first day. We had to increase the number of $200 packages from three to five over the weekend because people were e-mailing and literally begging for the chance to ‘buy’ the whole back catalog. Less than five full days from the first e-mail to the list, we had reached the funding goal of $3,800, which was set to be just a bit more than what the minimum press of 250 vinyl copies was going to cost.”

Another hip-hop outfit, the Get Busy Committee, also launched a project on Kickstarter. In their drive to raise $3,218, they included one premium pledge level at $1,000 — an investment that netted the donor a song about him or herself to be included on the record, as well as a platinum plaque. They sold this spot within 24 hours.


Using Video to Create Buzz


Another approach musicians are taking is the use of web video series. Indie pop artist Mike Posner has been telling his story over the course of a video series titled “One Foot Out The Door.” Daniel Weisman, Mike’s manager, stated that he was attempting to create an income stream for Mike while he was finishing college and working on his debut album.

Daniel and his management company Elitaste were approached by the shoe company Puma about integrated artist campaigns. Puma ended up sponsoring Mike’s last semester in college, and provided a camera crew to follow him from classes, to the studio, to shows all over the country.

Daniel wanted to do something special for the Mashable (Mashable) readers when I reached out to him, so fresh off the upload, here is the premier of Episode #10 of “One Foot Out The Door.”

Live streaming has also been worthwhile for big announcements. Underground artists the Kottonmouth Kings turned to Ustream to tell their fans all about their new album and when they could expect it in local stores.

The video was watched live and formatted like a press conference, with fans getting the chance to ask questions and share their feedback. It was a smart way to bring their fans into the experience and give back to the community that has supported them for 10+ years.


Creativity From the Fans


Mulba 2.0 ImageRob And Kal are a pop/rock act from the UK who are taking fans inside their studio and the music creation process. They call it Mubla 2.0, which Rob defined as “our interactive recording project where we come up with song ideas and you help us develop them with your comments, suggestions and musicianship.”

So far they have five songs in progress with fans like Adam saying, “I just feel the intro has a little too much going on and 2.33 to 2.56 I almost want the piano to play and pull at the heart strings.” Another commenter named Russell gave tips like, “Think drums and a bit more of heavier guitar would go down nicely particularly near end.”

This concept empowers fans and gives them a product they feel responsible for and connected to. The project can only strengthen the bond between fans and artists, and result in an easier sale when the time comes to release an album.


Reaching Out to Non-Music Bloggers


Glasses Malone ImageGlasses Malone, a new artist signed with Cash Money Records, is turning to bloggers to get the word out about his new album “Beach Cruiser.” What makes his campaign unique is that unlike traditional artists who look to get their tracks on highly trafficked MP3 blogs and review sites, Glasses and his team are focused on adding value to bloggers whose primary focus is not on music.

A marketing rep for Glasses told me, “These bloggers are more open to running contests and integrated campaigns than traditional music bloggers because they are not accustomed to being pitched by a major label artist. We have found blogs that love unique and fresh content that will separate them from their peers and competition, and it is working out very well for us so far.”

Armed with a research team, they have been targeting biking blogs, college blogs, beach lifestyle sites and more, all with the hope of driving new traffic to Glasses’ site and generating some pre-album buzz.


Conclusion


No matter what the labels and corporations are doing, musicians are taking it upon themselves to use social channels to connect with fans, offer value, and create relationship. This has ultimately led to new business models and revenue streams from sponsorships, touring and live appearances, custom products, and social monetization through advertising.




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Collaboration and crowdsourcing are the realities of today’s public Internet, and the trend is now gaining real traction in the workplace. Smart companies increasingly understand that their richest source of insight, ideas, data, and information is within their own employees. They are the ones whose talent, work, and daily interactions with the product make the business what it is.

I found this article on Mashable and found it extremely interesting. From personal experience we use social media to make better, more educated business decisions. Enjoy!

business network image

Collaboration and crowdsourcing are the realities of today’s public Internet, and the trend is now gaining real traction in the workplace.  Smart companies increasingly understand that their richest source of insight, ideas, data, and information is within their own employees. They are the ones whose talent, work, and daily interactions with the product make the business what it is.

Just as so many of us look to the Yelp community to figure out where to make our dinner reservations, companies are increasingly looking to the employee crowd for the knowledge and insight to make better business decisions.


Enterprise Social Networks


salesforce chatter image

“If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive.” – Lew Platt, Former CEO of HP

As the social enterprise builds momentum, the big question is: How will companies effectively tap the employee crowd to become more productive?

Enterprise social networks arm companies with social media functionality, allowing them to collaborate with their employees around up-to-the-minute information. Late last year, Salesforce stirred up some buzz around enterprise social networking with the announcement of its Chatter Collaboration Platform.  Currently in beta, Chatter aims to bring together elements of Facebook, Twitter and other real-time services. By integrating profiles, feeds and groups across its platform, Salesforce offers its end users the same functionality they already use to share ideas and information on public social networks.

While social networking functionality excels at connecting teams around projects, information, and qualitative data, it falls short in its ability to drive quantitative, actionable insights — the holy grail for project managers and enterprise forecasting groups.


Prediction Markets


Prediction markets are all about tapping the crowd to source hard, unbiased quantitative metrics about the future of projects and business initiatives.  A prediction market works like a stock market of sorts, allowing employees to anonymously place “bets” on key forecasts: When will the product really ship? How much will we sell in Q1? Will our competitor enter the market in 2010? And so forth.

Business leaders rely on metrics and data to inform decisions around new products and opportunities, but traditional forecasting methods suffer from bias and lack of first-hand information. That’s why business forecasting is an ideal target for the application of crowd wisdom.  While bets are made anonymously, some prediction market software applications have built-in reward systems for accurate forecasters. And the accuracy of prediction markets over traditional forecasting methods is proven again and again.


Crowdsourcing the Next Big Idea


My Starbucks Idea Image

There’s a good chance that a company’s next big idea could be hidden within the people who are most engaged with its product and brand. More companies are turning to the crowd for ideas on all aspects of their business by creating online public forums. In 2008, Starbucks launched a major initiative to enhance their services with a website called My Starbucks Idea that polls members on decisions that would most directly impact them.

This kind of innovation sourcing applies to the enterprise as well.  Companies like Brightidea and InnoCentive are helping their customers tap resources to inspire, gather, and manage ideas and innovation from within their employee ranks.


The Future


As collaborative technologies gain traction, the future of enterprise will include internal social networks, prediction markets, and idea management platforms.  In this vision, social networks will be the default location for a collaborative employee community. Think of it as a wide and deep pool of employee knowledge and ideas.

Prediction markets will then aggregate this knowledge to produce actionable, people-powered forecasts. The result is an ultra-rich information source that will lay the foundation for smarter, better-informed company decisions. We are already seeing the first movement towards this integrated vision with products like 12sprints from SAP.

The ability to manage and profit from employee knowledge through social networks, idea funnels, and prediction markets will be the defining competitive advantage for this decade.  Employees will have a voice and enterprises will truly leverage their most valuable assets.




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Fortune 500 companies got into the Twittering act in a big way last year, according to a study released by the Society for New Communications Research. Thirty-five percent of Fortune 500 corporations had an active Twitter account as of last year (i.e., one with a post within the past 30 days), according to the study.

Fortune 500 companies got into the Twittering act in a big way last year, according to a study released by the Society for New Communications Research.

Thirty-five percent of Fortune 500 corporations had an active Twitter account as of last year (i.e., one with a post within the past 30 days), according to the study.

Among the top 100 companies on the roster, 47 percent had a Twitter account. Twenty-two percent of all Fortune 500 companies had a “public-facing corporate blog,” and more than eight in 10 of those linked directly to a corporate Twitter account.

Four of the top five corporations — Walmart, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and General Electric — “consistently post on their Twitter accounts,” according to the study, titled “The Fortune 500 and Social Media: A Longitudinal Study of Blogging and Twitter Usage by America’s Largest Companies.” (ExxonMobil was the exception.)

In a breakdown by industry, 13 of the Fortune 500 insurance companies had an active Twitter account, making that sector the most likely to tweet. Eleven of the food-related companies used Twitter.

Elsewhere on the new-media front, the study found 19 percent of Fortune 500 corporations using podcasting and 31 percent using video blogging. The rise in podcasting from the previous year was fairly modest (up from 16 percent). But the rise in video blogging was steep (from 21 percent in 2008). The study did not include comparative data from 2008 for companies’ Twitter usage.

The study was conducted by Nora Ganim Barnes, senior fellow and research chair of the Society for New Communications Research (as well as a marketing professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth), and Eric Mattson, CEO of Financial Insite, a Seattle-based research firm. —Mark Dolliver, Adweek




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I found this interesting article on mashable that I wanted to share with all of you. With a brother who has worked in the automotive industry almost his entire life and a family life built around the automotive industry and working either in it or with it, it was interesting to see a different perspective. I knew from offline conversations with friends and family that Toyota would come out of this better off for having handled the crisis correctly. It’s nice to see that conversations and opinions are shared.

I found this interesting article on mashable that I wanted to share with all of you. With a brother who has worked in the automotive industry almost his entire life and a family life built around the automotive industry and working either in it or with it, it was interesting to see a different perspective. I knew from offline conversations with friends and family that Toyota would come out of this better off for having handled the crisis correctly. It’s nice to see that conversations and opinions are shared. Enjoy!

Toyota Logo

There’s no question that Toyota is in deep trouble with its current recall crisis. But could these issues actually be helping its brand? Shockingly, an analysis of Toyota shows that its Social Influence Marketing (SIM) Score saw an uptick in January. Who’d have thought that a crisis of such significant magnitude could actually help a brand’s perception? This seems to be true, at least in the short term, even though sales may be dropping. Let me explain how.


A Look at the Numbers


There are a number of ways to track brand perception. During my time at Razorfish, I have helped develop the SIM Score, a basic equation for calculating how a brand is faring on the social web.

Inspired by the Net Promoter Score, the SIM Score measures a brand’s health on the social web and is determined by calculating the total market share of consumer conversations for the brand, adjusted for sentiment in relation to its competitors. The table below outlines the exact formula for calculating a brand’s score. The data can be sourced using any major conversation monitoring vendor that tracks mentions and sentiment for a brand and its key competitors.

simscore table image

This computation provides an indexed score — the degree to which consumers like or dislike the brand when they talk to each other about it on the social web. In a nutshell, it includes a measure of reach (volume) and of likability (sentiment), combining them to give the indexed score relative to a brand’s direct competitors.

Between the months of November, December and January, the Toyota SIM Score (calculated using data sourced from Radian6) moved from 19.8 down to 17.56 and then up in January 24.84. If you look at the graph below, Toyota’s SIM Score increased at the expense of Nissan and General Motors. Ford saw a very slight dip too.

toyota simscore chart


Why the Uptick?


How can the Toyota recall be helping the brand? There are two answers for this.

The first is that the increased number of conversations about Toyota are building greater awareness for the brand even though many of the mentions may be negative. While this may seem unusual, the fact that people are talking about the brand a lot more and sometimes in a neutral light (not just negatively) is increasing its exposure. More people are talking about Toyota than any other brand these days. And they’re talking about the recalls, but also the fixes being provided by the dealerships too. And some of the consumers are probably coming to the defense of the brand too. Maybe there is some truth to the adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity after all.

The second answer comes via Jeremy Anwyl, the CEO of Edmunds.com in an interview with CNN on February 5th. He explained that people have sensed an opportunity to pick up a bargain and are moving towards some of the Toyota models. Edmunds research showed that before the recall, 7.4% of the consumers in the market for compact cars were considering a Toyota Prius, and after the news broke, the number moved up to 8.7%. Edmunds’ research measures online purchase behavior against conversations on the social web.

What does this tell us? Firstly, that the SIM Score fluctuations and the related Edmunds user intent analysis have unearthed a counterintuitive trend with regard to Toyota; increased buyer interest even though there’s a lot of bad news about the brand. It also shows that there hasn’t been significant short-term damage to the Toyota brand on the social web, at least relative to its direct competitors. This of course is likely to change, as more news about Toyota’s troubles have broken since January, and more people are talking about it online today. I fully expect the Toyota SIM Score to start dropping again when the February numbers are computed. It is worth pointing out the SIM Score is a measure of a brand’s health on the social web and not always a leading indicator of sales, though it can be for certain product categories.


Toyota’s Next Step


Toyota Prius Image

What should Toyota be doing? First, it is obviously most important for them to solve the problems with their cars. That’s a no-brainer. But they also have to start talking to consumers more directly on the social web. So far, it seems that their responses have appeared a little slow and clumsy. Giving consumers information about the recall in more human, easily understandable and digestible pieces of content is key. They should explain exactly what they’re doing, why things will be different in the future, and how the engineering problems developed. And as soon as the clouds pass, Toyota should talk about the amazing deals that they have. It is obvious that consumers are interested in them.




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Because I get this question all of the time – I thought I’d post something I found online to help with how to create backgrounds for sites like youtube, myspace and twitter. Enjoy!

HOW TO: Create Custom Backgrounds for Twitter, YouTube, & MySpace

If you’re using your social media profiles to promote your personal brand or business, chances are that pre-made themes and watermarked templates just won’t cut it. You need a custom design to make your profile stand apart from the rest and convey important information about who you are.

Some of our favorite social networks afford us this customization, but there are a few tricks that may save you some time and frustration when creating a custom profile background. While none of these can replace the eye of a great graphic designer, they should help you get a sense of the layout you’re after.


Choose an Image Editor


To start, you’ll need an image editor. Photoshop is probably best suited for the task, but there are plenty of free alternatives on the web.

Gimp is a free, open source image editing and compositing tool that has many of the layering and filtering abilities of Photoshop.

gimp image

Aviary’s Phoenix is another great free tool that is entirely web based. You can edit and layer images in a Photoshop-like environment right in your web browser, then save the finished product to your desktop.

aviary image

Photoshop.com also offers a free, “lite,” web-based version of the popular editor.

photoshop image

Once you’ve chosen your tool, it’s time to get to work.


Twitter


A great Twitter background makes an impression on potential followers. It should communicate who you are and what people should expect from your tweets. Here are some examples of great Twitter backgrounds:

Dimensions: The column that contains your tweets and profile information will always take up about 760 pixels of screen real estate. What’s left for the background will be determined by the user’s monitor. Everyone viewing your profile will see it a little differently, depending on the resolution of their screen. A safe bet to ensure that your background will not be cut off or tiled at most resolutions is a 1680 x 1200 pixel image. The image resolution should be web standard 72 dpi.

Maximum File Size: 800 KB

Layout: Accounting for the 760 pixel center column, the space left over on either side will depend on the visitor’s resolution. The space at the top for the Twitter logo will remain constant at about 65 pixels, and a good rule of thumb is to leave about 200 pixels at the left for your design. This will accommodate most monitor resolutions.

Twitter aligns the background image to the top left, so it is important to focus your main content in that area as shown. The further to the left an element appears, the least likely it will be cut off on a low resolution monitor.

There are a few tools that may help you determine what your layout will look like at different resolutions. To quickly determine your own resolutions as a reference point, jump over to whatismyscreenresolution.com.

For FireFox users, the Web Developer add-on will resize your browser to fit common monitor resolutions so you can see what your layout might look like for other users.

Screen-resolution.com is also a handy tool for popping URLs into resolution-specific browers windows.

Design Tip: Don’t clutter your background with too much information. Because URLs are not clickable in a background, this space is better suited for logos, photos, or other clean graphic elements that express who you are. If you’re encouraging people to connect with you outside of Twitter, make sure the one URL in your profile links to your contact information.

Also, be sure to choose text and link colors that compliment your background.

How To Add It:


YouTube


A branded YouTube (YouTube) channel is a great way to identify yourself to viewers when they land on your video pages. Here are some examples of great YouTube channel designs:

Dimensions: YouTube channel backgrounds work similarly to Twitter backgrounds in that they must account for the fixed width of the channel content. The area that displays your videos and profile information is 960 pixels wide. Note that the top area that displays the YouTube logo and search is not taken into account with regard to your background. Your background image will begin below the white YouTube bar, so all content should be started near the top of your image.

Like Twitter, screen real estate depends on monitor resolution. A good image size to work with is 2000 x 2200 pixels total.

Maximum File Size: 256 KB

Layout: It is important to understand that YouTube will center your background image behind your channel content. This means that your important image content should appear just to the left and right of the 960 pixel center column. It also means that people with large or widescreen monitors will see much more of your image stretching out to the right and left of their screen. This is why it’s good to use a very wide image (2000 pixels, in this example).

Whereas your Twitter background should be focused as far to the left as possible, the content in your YouTube background should be as close to the central 960 pixel column as possible without going behind it. Again, test different resolutions with the tools above to see where viewers might be cropping your image and adjust accordingly to account for variation.

Design Tip: Because widescreen monitors may view much more of your image on the left and right, it may be useful to incorporate a fade to a solid color on each end. Then, make the page background that same color to avoid an unsightly “break” in the design.

Also, be sure to implement complimentary box and text colors.

How To Add It:


MySpace


Though MySpace has fallen out of vogue in recent years, it is still a viable platform for younger users and a destination for many bands and music sharers.

If you’re looking to make a statement with your MySpace page, a well-tailored background could do the trick.

Here are some impressive ones:

Dimensions: MySpace’s “Profile 2.0″ customization is actually very flexible and allows a few options. You can change your content size between 960 pixels, 750 pixels, or 100% (which wipes out the background entirely). Decide which layout you like best and build your background to match. The full size should account for large monitors, so something in the neighborhood of 2000 x 2200 pixels should work here as well.

Maximum File Size: Any, but best to keep it under 500K for quick load times.

File hosting: Unlike Twitter and YouTube, Myspace will not host your background file, but simply reference it from a URL. If you don’t own web space, there are plenty of places you can host an image for free, including PhotoBucket and ImageShack . Upload your image to one of these sites and paste the image URL into MySpace’s layout editor.

Layout: Again, MySpace is surprisingly flexible, and the advanced layout editor allows you to align your background against any quadrant of the screen, or center it. It’s up to you how you want to approach the layout. Simply account for your content column (750 or 960 pixels) and design around it. Then position your image accordingly. The best designs fit their graphic elements snugly against the content column so that they’ll be visible at any resolution.

How To Add It:


Others


The two other big dogs of social networking, Facebook and LinkedIn, don’t offer background customization options. While this may be a disappointment to some, many would argue that the clean, uniform look of these sites has contributed to their success.




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Another great article from my favourite Social Media blog – Mashable.

I have to say that I think it’s a negative change on Facebook’s part that you can no longer set privacy settings for lists of people. Your friends lists are now visible to all friends – so beware of “friends” who add you just to get to your friends list.

Why Facebook’s Privacy Changes are Detrimental to Users

facebook privacy imageThough Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says that public is the new “social norm,” many members who use the social network for professional and business reasons have lost the ability to conduct certain actions privately as a result of changes made to the settings.

And despite this being a reflection and a catalyst of our social activities becoming more public through the likes of Twitter and other sites, not having the option to control certain aspects in some ways is detrimental to the way we use the site and has the potential to deter users from using the site freely.


Public Activity, Pages, Friend Lists Without Control


Changes to Facebook’s privacy settings mean that you can no longer hide your name, profile picture, networks, friends list, current city, and perhaps more importantly, the Pages that you are a “fan” of from being broadcast on your wall. The changes also include your activity (liking or commenting, becoming friends, writing on a wall, etc.). In some ways this is great for Facebook and can be beneficial to users — for example, being able to see all the activity of those you’re connected to can potentially make it easier to find new friends.

However, there are many reasons why you might not want others to see your activity. One of the biggest reasons is that it could be taken out of context by friends, co-workers, or business partners. You might think twice about your engagement on other profiles knowing it will appear on your wall.


Broadcasting Without Context


The fact that this information is being displayed is not just a problem because it removes the ability to control the privacy of your engagement with users and Pages, but also because it is being broadcast without context. Someone that stumbles onto your wall only sees the record of the action without knowing the reasoning behind it.

For example, as a journalist that uses the network for reporting, I have joined Facebook Pages or groups to gain contacts for reporting. With the previous settings, I was able to hide my joining the group from being broadcast to my network. However, now it gets posted onto my wall automatically and could easily be taken out of context. If I join a political or advocacy group strictly because I am trying to find sources, it might appear to my friends and colleagues that I joined the group because I support the cause.

We simply might not want to broadcast these certain activities, in both our personal and professional lives. In some ways, we may now be discouraged to friend certain people because we don’t want our boss to think we’re crossing the line with a source, or your wife to think that you’re flirting with an old friend by commenting on her wall.


Conclusion


Facebook is pushing itself to become more public than ever, and that has a lot of potential upsides. However, they should continue to keep users in mind by giving them options to control the information being broadcast.

It’s hard to tell what impact this will have on users, but it has the potential to decrease activity rather than increase it. Sure, people aren’t forced to use the platform, but Facebook has become part of our everyday lives. Longtime users accustomed to previous privacy options are being alienated when those choices are taken away.




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Found another great article on Mashable that I thought I’d pass along. It’s common sense but I’ve found recently that just hosting contests and giving away free items isn’t really a great way to retain customers. It’s nice to know that thinking outside of the box and providing them with exclusives they can’t get anywhere else than by following us and participating with us on social media is a better way to go.

online shopping image


There are many times or reasons that a small business will receive an influx of new customers — such as around the holidays for retail stores, during a new product or service launch or after a local advertising campaign. While new customers are great, returning customers are even better. Social media offers a number of opportunities to turn your new and existing customers into repeat customers and fans.


Hook New Customers on Social Media


The first thing you should do is direct new customers to your social media accounts. A good way to do that is to incentivize that act of becoming your friend, fan, or follower. Offer those who have just made a purchase a discount on future business in the form of a coupon, but tie it to your social media presence. For example, retailers could let customers know at point of sale that if they become a fan of your business on Facebook, they’ll receive exclusive offers for discounts on future purchases. Or customers could be given instructions to tweet out a special hashtag with a message about your store after they follow your Twitter account, and once that’s done you could send them a direct message with a special offer.

This is not unlike the common practice of taking down e-mail or mailing addresses for mailing lists, but social media puts the user more in control since, when properly used, it is a two-way medium. That’s actually an advantage to small business owners because active, engaged customers will be more likely to give you their attention.


Concentrate on Building a Community


online community imageOnce you have users signed up to follow you on social media sites, the trick to retaining them as customers is to keep them wanting to come back. That means constantly engaging them with new content, exclusive offers and information they can’t get elsewhere. The best way to grow your community is to consistently offer them quality content. That means forgoing the sales pitch most of the time.

Customers join communities because of the quality of information and because they want to be privy to news about sales, coupons, deals, new products, or changes to your business (e.g., new hours, changed location or updated menu items). But that doesn’t mean they want to receive constant sales come-ons. Delivering quality, helpful tips and information to your customers will make them more likely to want to do business with you and help build your online community.

Restaurants could share recipes or tips for properly reheating leftovers, for example, while plumbers could offer instructions for simple home fixes. Retailers could offer honest reviews of new products, and doctors could offer alerts about the latest medical research or health care policy updates. Get creative — what sorts of information can you provide your customer community? This type of content will help to build your social media community and turn new buyers into return customers.


Play Favorites


Social media is a great place to promote your general sales and events, but you should also consider offering your social media fans exclusive deals that cannot be had elsewhere. Online-only offers will keep fans returning for more and it will help to build a community around your store, service or brand, which is what social media is all about.

It’s certainly true that you should treat all of your customers well, but it doesn’t mean you should treat them all the same. Those customers that have taken the time to sign up as your fan, friend or follower have shown a heightened interest in your brand that should be recognized. By plying your social media followers with occasional exclusive deals or discounts, you can help turn customers into fans that will evangelize your business to others. That way, you can turn new customers into return customers, who in turn attract more new customers for you. That’s the type of cycle that social media, when put to work properly, can help you create.




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Found this great article on Mashable and thought I’d pass it along. It’s an interesting read – particularly for anyone pitching to the media.

strategy

It’s clear that the public relations landscape is changing. No longer does emailing a journalist a press release always result in coverage on major news channels (there are exceptions, naturally, but the average business doesn’t get on Oprah). These days, journalists (and yes, bloggers too) are inundated with press releases. It’s easy to hit delete and move on.

How do you get your pitch heard above the din? Conversation. Engagement. Interaction.


Social Media is Key in Your Pitch


Why? Because that’s where your media contacts are hanging out these days, and that’s where they look for story ideas. But be forewarned: there is a lot of bad social media pitching going on already.

Pamela Johnston of PJ Inc. Public Relations says she avoids doing certain things on Twitter that are looked upon negatively, like:

• pimping client news

• straight out traditional pitching

• sending random things to people/journalists she doesn’t know

I like that she doesn’t use traditional methods of pitching on social media. You can’t apply the same methods you used 10 years ago to Twitter. It’s impossible. Instead, you must find new ways to reach media contacts.

The world is small these days. Social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Kirtsy, Digg, blogs, video and web sites are quickly becoming integrated. It’s fairly easy to connect with someone and keep up with what they’re doing. Journalists and bloggers are no different.


Social Media as a Learning Tool


I always like to learn about the journalist I’m targeting before I contact them. I start on the media website and read her bio. I then search for her on Google. 8 times out of 10 I find her Twitter profile, Facebook profile and maybe even a personal blog. I study all these sources and connect where I can. Sometimes I find that this isn’t really the right journalist to be pitching.

I make notes in my contact database with links to all her sources. I then make a plan to interact with the journalist in her own space. I comment on posts I like. I retweet her content on Twitter. I send a brief note on Facebook (not pitching a story, but sharing one of her posts I liked and asking to connect). This way, by the time I’m ready to pitch her, I’m already on her radar.

Pitching a media contact is a process. It’s not something that will happen overnight. Plan ahead and work for several weeks to get to know a journalist or blogger for best results.


Be A Resource


According to Nick Lawhead of Desautel Hege Communications, he connects with media types on Twitter when they’re looking for topics where he can provide experts:

It is quite common for reporters, news producers and anchors to post something along the lines of “looking for interesting stories about ______ to discuss today.” Being part of an agency, it is critical for me to capitalize on those opportunities for my clients. Often times, this doesn’t require a “pitch” as much as connecting a reporter with a resource (hopefully my client).

This goes back to monitoring social media. Your best successes might not come from a pitch at all, but rather the reward of being a good listener and paying attention to the journalists you can help. Journalists like being helped better than they like being pitched.


How to Pitch Properly


If you haven’t found that opportunity to help a reporter out, move on to pitching. Keep in mind, if you’re using Twitter to pitch, you have 140 characters to get it right. Assuming you’ve been following a journalist or blogger and know that your pitch is right up their alley, start by sending a tweet (not a DM) saying something like:

pitch-tweet

Lori MacGregor, who works with the natural skin care line, LATHER, tries the soft pitch approach. She uses social media as a way to keep up with beauty editors she knows, as well as to get to know the ever-increasing number of beauty bloggers out there.

Twitter has let me learn who the key players are, keep up with their content, and reach out to them in a way that makes sense. Because LATHER is a small company, many of them have never heard of us, so we’ve gotten coverage from outlets we never would have before. I think it also helps that I don’t look at every pitch as an immediate placement opportunity; rather, I view it as an opportunity to build a relationship with these writers who I might otherwise not have a chance to meet.


Forming Your Overall Strategy


The key to using social media in your pitch plan is to not make it your entire plan. Use different tools, like press releases, article marketing sites, blogs and social networking sites to create a well-rounded strategy.

Chris Martin, of Chris Martin Public Relations, uses a multifaceted approach to help his clients get exposure. He developed a Facebook Page to launch a survey about texting in the dental chair. From this, he got his client, Chicago Dental Society, featured on several local news and radio stations.

He’s also successfully pitched a blogger and landed a radio interview for the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association and he has developed new relationships using #journchat, an ongoing conversation among journalists, bloggers and PR professionals via Twitter.

If you’re not currently using social media in your pitch plan, make some changes. You’ll soon appreciate the interaction you get with social media versus the black hole where you once sent a press release. And don’t be afraid to try new things! Every day, PR professionals are finding better ways to get heard.




Blog,Internet

From Mashable: We talk a lot about how big brands are embracing social media as a mechanism to connect directly with customers. Still, it’s much easier to talk about integrating social media into your brand than it is to actually do it.

That’s why IKEA’s recent Facebook campaign is so awesome. The Swedish furniture company opened a new store in Malmo, Sweden and rather than spread the word the old-fashioned way, they decided to go directly to the people using Facebook.

This video describes the campaign in detail:

An account was created for the store manager at the Malmo store. Over a two-week period, showroom images were uploaded to his Facebook photo album. Using the all-popular “tagging” feature, customers were able to locate items in the pictures and put their name on it. The first person to tag an object got to take it home.

The word spread through Facebook and users started embedding links and images in their own profiles and across news feeds. In turn, thousands and thousands of users willingly promoted IKEA and its new store to others, creating a big win for IKEA.

[via CNET]




Advertising,Blog,Internet

Being the online marketing guru and social media enthusiast that I am, I’m really looking forward to Monday and Tuesday because it is the nextMEDIA conference in Toronto! I’m looking over the schedule and making my picks of what to attend and there are so many interesting things!

Some highlights for me are:

Making Whuffie

Speaker
Tom Jenkins, Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer – Open Text

Online communities are changing culture, business and the environment of Web 2.0. Join Tara Hunt, a true pioneer in online marketing, blogger at horsepigcow.com and the renowned author of The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business, a breakthrough book on community marketing. More recently, Fast Company magazine named Tara Hunt one of 2009’s Most Influential Women in Technology. Find out how to master community marketing, avoid alienating newly emerging sensibilities and succeed in the participatory web economy.

Tara Hunt
Hunt

Speaker
Tara Hunt, Author – The Whuffie Factor

Casale Media Workshop
The Transition from Content Producer to Breadwinner – Using Advertising to Monetize Your Content Online

Casale Media In Partnership with:
Casale Media

You had an idea. You turned that idea into content. You put that content up on a website. Now what? How will you translate your up front production efforts into a sustainable business model? How will you finance the everyday operations involved in managing and building on your content base? With advertising, of course! In this workshop, Casale Media’s Alex Gardner will provide you with an introduction to the most widely adopted methods of ad-based online content monetization (including a checklist for assessing your site’s advertiser appeal) and arm you with practical strategies for selecting an ad network best suited to your needs.

    • What are my options for building an advertising-based monetization strategy?
    • How do I assess the advertising revenue potential of my website?
    • What is an ad network and how do I differentiate between the options?
    • How do ad networks work with content producers?
    • What are the benefits and challenges of working with an ad network?

Book this session.

Alex Gardner
Gardner

Speaker
Alex Gardner, Director of Publisher Relations – Casale Media

Keynote
Stop Advertising and Start Socializing

First Maximilian Associates In Partnership with:
First Maximilian Associates

A consumer demanding more for less, buying value and values, and leveraging their social network to make decisions, a retail infrastructure consolidating its power base, looking to their own labels for differentiation, and in turn setting an ever increasing access tax for National Brands, and a media landscape that is cluttered, fragmented and lacking scale presents the perfect storm for organizations. To survive organizations will need to adapt their marketing process, and how they are structured to deploy it. They will move from spending to investing marketing dollars and will need a model that is actionable, measurable and accountable. Marketing budgets will no longer be capped but instead be deployed continuously until they stop generating a return on investment. Our guest speaker, Tony Chapman will delve into such question as:

    • Will Canadian marketing offices survive in this flight to efficiency and global consolidation?
    • Is social media the flavor of the month, or will it become the definitive channel for communication?
    • How will organizations and their agencies have to reorganize to adapt to a faster, better and more efficient model?
    • What role will mobility play in how consumer’s perceptions are shaped, and behavior is motivated?
    • Do you think mass media can survive? If so which ones?
Tony Chapman
Chapman

Speaker
Tony Chapman, Founder and CEO – Capital C

Trendsetting: Digital Youth Uncut

It’s no secret that today’s youth presents a significant opportunity to savvy content producers who understand the lay of this new land. Young people’s use of digital media, from their appetite for free online content to the popularity of videogames, continues to redefine what it means to ‘watch television.’ This presentation will examine the core digital life and media trends in this demographic including an in-depth look at the Millennials, their growing appetite for mobile programming, online video, bite size programming and what this means for content producers. Consider such questions as:

    • Who are the Millenials?
    • What are their content expectations?
    • How do they use different platforms to create their custom content menus?
Kaan Yigit
Yigit

Speaker
Kaan Yigit, Founder and President – Solutions Research Group

TV Reframed
Who Said TV is Anti-Social?

Banff World Television Festival In Partnership with:
Banff World Television Festival

The shared TV experience is returning, in a new form. The typical family room is being replaced by online virtual communities accessed through personal devices. These communities continue to amass millions of more members each week, and as the Internet finally comes to our living rooms with a new generation of devices like Boxee, it’s only a matter of time before television becomes social and social. This workshop will assess the partnership of social media and TV: will social media interactivity bring unique value to TV users?

    • How can you connect TV channels and shows with Facebook, Twitter and Google to engage today’s masses?
    • Will social media interactivity bring unique value for TV users?
    • What does the social media sector offer the TV industry?
    • What social TV apps are available for Integration?
    • Are social networks the new entrant to the video market? Will social networks be a platform for future TV content delivery?
    • What opportunity does this present for targeted advertising and bespoke TV programming?
    • Who will benefit from the parasitical relationship of social media and TV?

Book this session.

Maggie Fox
Fox
Michael Scissons
Scissons
Elmer Sotto
Sotto
Amber MacArthur
MacArthur

Moderator
Amber MacArthur, New Media Journalist – Webnation for DiscoveryChannel.ca and CP24

Speaker
Maggie Fox, Founder and CEO – Social Media Group
Michael Scissons, President & Chief Executive Officer – Syncapse
Elmer Sotto, Head of Growth – Facebook Canada

PWC Workshop
$ Who’s Spending, Who Isn’t – The Next 5 Years in Entertainment and Media

PricewaterhouseCoopers In Partnership with:
PricewaterhouseCoopers

The nextMEDIA master class series includes interactive discussion and hands-on tutorials, uncovering key skills needed by 21st century digital executives. In collaboration with PWC, Michael Paterson will discuss the 2009- 2013 Global Entertainment and Media Outlook, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ independent forecast of spending for the next five years in 12 entertainment and media industry segments. In this data rich presentation you’ll understand how unprecedented economic conditions and technological change will significantly impact prospects in the near term for media companies and may expose long term weaknesses in some traditional media sectors. Book this session.

Michael Paterson
Paterson

Speaker
Michael Paterson, Partner, Canadian Entertainment & Media Practice – PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

NEW! On Radar…..Companies & Change Agents

Ontario College of Art & Design In Partnership with:
Ontario College of Art & Design

Partner Introduction: Sara Diamond, President

Welcome to nextMEDIA’s On Radar sessions, featuring the companies, gizmos and gadgets that need to be on your radar.

Avner Ronen, CEO & Co-Founder, Boxee
Named one of Rolling Stone’s “Agents of Change” for 2009, Ronen’s Boxee is software that is revolutionizing the way we entertain ourselves online.
Brian Nilles, CEO, Darwin Dimensions
Evolver.com has enabled the world’s population to become Visual Effects Artists and create stunningly beautiful 3D Avatars for use in high growth markets including Social Media, Virtual Worlds, Online Games, others.
Ori Inbar, Co-Founder, Ogmento
Prepare to have your reality reinvented! Ogmento is the driving force behind ground-breaking Augmented Reality (AR) and is already bringing revenue. Learn what AR is and how it’s done.
Chul Lee, Chief Technology Officer, Thoora
Thoora helps people discover the news attracting the most attention within social and traditional media by exploring the entire blogosphere, Twitter and thousands of traditional media sources.
Peter Sweeney, Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Primal Fusion Inc.
Primal Fusion is in the business of blowing minds! Just what is Thought Networking and how is it changing the face of social media?

Brian Nilles
Nilles
Jason Roks
Roks
Ori Inbar
Inbar
Avner Ronen
Ronen
Peter Sweeney
Sweeney

Moderator
Jason Roks, Founder – Zero In Inc.

Participants
Ori Inbar, Co-Founder & CEO – Ogmento
Brian Nilles, CEO – Darwin Dimensions Inc.
Avner Ronen, CEO and Co-Founder – Boxee
Peter Sweeney, Founder & Chief Technology Officer – Primal Fusion Inc.

Keynote
Creating Conversations

Kijiji Canada In Partnership with:
Kijiji Canada

Partner Introduction: Eric Pierni, Head of Advertising

Companies still struggle to understand online marketing as a new generation of digital opportunities unfolds. Consumers have never been so powerful, nor have they ever been so connected. Mitch Joel unravels the fascinating world of New Media. Learn how these marketing touch points are creating conversations in which the results are staggering and loyalty is off the charts. Words like Social Media and Web 2.0 control every boardroom discussion in relation to growing market shares and new marketing opportunities. Learn how to take part in these communities and conversations.

Mitch Joel
Joel

Speaker
Mitch Joel, President – Twist Image

Keynote
Digital Media and the Next Generation Social Web

Canadian Innovation Exchange In Partnership with:
Canadian Innovation Exchange

Partner Introduction: Robert Montgomery, CEO – Achilles Media Ltd. and First Maximilian Associates Inc.

As the Internet evolves, changing consumer behavior is having a direct impact on the types of systems and processes that media and marketing organizations must put in place to successfully reach target audiences. Tape-based workflows are being superseded by file-based workflows. Creative artifacts once deemed extraneous and left unmanaged are becoming critical intellectual property assets. Social networks and modern engagement styles are setting the bar higher for more compelling, immersive user experiences. Non-linear, digital distribution will ultimately characterize the manner in which a majority of media content is disseminated. A population with increasingly-sophisticated mobile devices will connect to a range of media-centric Cloud services, challenging and eventually leading to the obsolescence of many traditional services. Join us as we explore these trends, their implications for media and marketing organizations in the future, and the implied opportunity for digital media.

Tom Jenkins
Jenkins

I’m also looking forward to meeting all of the other people who work in the industry and are working in similar positions to me.




AUTHOR

  • profileLisa Bassett is a Digital Marketing and Social Media professional from Toronto, Canada.