Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Rock Stars Social Media Strategy - Whiskey Optional

Hello all and welcome to a rock fueled insight into ways one can apply social media principles and strategies to music, brands, shops or anything your mind can conjure up. I believe it is now time for everyone from plumbers to pizza men and percussionists to postmen (well maybe not them) to join the social media revolution.

Why? Well, that is where the much talked about Gary Vaynerchuk "eyeballs" are. This blog post will talk about the basic things one should do to establish an online presence backed up with real life rocking facts from a sensational up and coming Irish band - Seven Days (who I highly recommend and check out the video at the end of this blog).

The Dynamic Duo
When you hear social media there are two landmark social media sites that instantly spring to mind - Facebook and Twitter, the dynamic duo of the social media world. The crux of their popularity and effectiveness lies in the explicitly viral nature of how people interact with each other on twitter or on fanpages. This very public interaction gives rise to a sort of mob rule (the good kind though)..When people see other people are interacting with you on these social media sites their curiosity peeks and they will be inclined to check it out. It is akin to passing by a packed restaurant, peering in the window and feeling a pang of hunger - you have seen the social proof of people and so want to check it out yourself. Seven Days have a presence on both of these sites and the interview with the band which follows will show how social media can be applicable to all types of efforts - and the whiskey is optional.

Roll Out the Blogs
Forget the red carpet, the glitz and glam and the rock star poses but in my humble opinion a blog (and hard work to maintain it) is a must have in this day and age. Everyone, from budding rock stars to rattlesnake experts should regularly catalog their recent events, successes and news in a blog. Why? - well, I'll bullet point it for you:
- Expands your web presence
- Builds trust between you and potential customers/groupies ;)
- Gives loyal fans and customers all the information about you they could possibly crave
- Can be an SEO goldmine
- Each new blog post is new content and something fresh to "talk" about
- Keeps search engines happy

And, on a personal note, it gives you a place to put your thoughts, an online diary if you will for how your business, brand or band progresses. I couldn't not blog about what I do at LadyUmbrella ladies t-shirts - it's part of the routine now.. Surely you would like to be able to look back in a year or 5 years and see how you have progressed and reminisce? Writing a blog is easy IF you are 100% passionate and committed to what you are doing and IF you are not 100% passionate and committed just stop, right now. Really...if you don't view what you are doing now as the foundation of your legacy (what you write will persist pretty much forever now..."Hi grand kids that I don't have yet") then maybe you should look for something that you want to become your legacy. Seven Days are making writing their future autobiography a lot easier as they're blogging it up - and it helps them!

Social Bookmarks
Digg? Reddit? Stumbleupon? - do these names ring any bells with you at all? They are all social bookmarking sites or content aggregators where millions of people consume content on a daily basis and "vote" for it so that the cream of the content rises to the top and ultimately hits the motherload for web traffic. People submit blog posts (oh, wait a minute, could you submit your own blog post to these sites?? - yes, start a blog now), entertaining videos and pictures and then the finger flexing frenzy continues as the votes pour in. The traffic from these sites can range from tsunami to gentle trickle but the flow of the traffic is determined by only 2 factors (again, in my humble opinion)
1. The quality of content you submit
2. The amount of effort you put into building up a network on any of these sites
and thats it..

With some thought and time it should be possible to create great content (wait until you hear the Seven Days single on our podcast) but if you are unable to do so Poppa Google and Uncle Youtube can help you out. Future blogs will explain in depth some ideas for social bookmarking sites but for now apply a little bit of Factor 1 + 2 from above and you'll be surprised at how quickly you'll learn and how much it'll benefit you.

And now, to back this strategy up with a real life rocking case study I would like to first thank Seven Days for taking the time to answer some of my questions. They hail from a town called Kildare in Ireland and are on the precipice of insanely big things. Despite their hectic gigging schedule when I contacted the band via facebook and twitter I instantly knew that they would do the interview. Why? Because they get "it"..they engage their online fans, work hard and are now reaping the rewards..Please, enjoy the following interview from Seven Days, an Irish band you'll hear a lot more about very soon...

------- Interview Starts -------
Rob - Please state your name, your bands name, your instrument and are you Internet savvy?
Seven Days - Nicky Brennan Guitar , Ricky Byrne Drums, Ian White Vox Keys Acoustic, Darren Sweeney Bass, Seven Days and were all Internet savvy

Rob - What social media sites are Seven Days on? Any one in particular that is your favourite?
Seven Days - MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and Bebo. Our favourite is probably facebook for the amount of interaction you have with people and fans, being able to send event invites and keep people updated on the band makes it a fantastic promotional tool.

Rob - Any gigs or opportunities arise as a result of using social media sites?
Seven Days Yes most definitely. we had a lot of people who contacted us through facebook and myspace to book the band for gigs. It provides such an easy access to us and has been a real vital part in our attempts to make the band bigger.

Rob - Any web awards are mentions on big websites that have helped you out? I found an article about you in galwaynews.ie about a sweet gig deal in The Dail Bar - any other gems like that?
Seven Days - We're delighted about the Dail bar and the gigs there have been fantastic. We got a
lot of gigs along the way that have led us on to bigger gigs in that area. The Edenderry Harbour festival has just put us onto our own headlining gigs there. The Meteor awards also proved to give us excellent exposure simply for all our attempts e-mailing and messaging through facebook and twitter. Our myspace hits sky rocketed from this event.

Rob - Get any groupies? Seriously like;)
Seven Days - Ha ha :) we've got some fans that have been absolutely amazing. Between coming to all of our gigs and leaving us comments it really keeps you motivated. Theres a girl in England who went around a shopping centre promoting us with her own made poster and drawing. That's really cool! as she has never seen us play live and only found us through myspace and twitter.

Rob - When a friend joins your fanpage that is cool but also kind of expected if they are a supportive friend but when a randomer joins it's a different kind of special. Do you give people incentives to join? or is all a very natural, rocking and organic growth?
Seven Days - Of course at our gigs we always plug the myspace and facebook pages and encourage people to join. Its great after a good weekend of gigging to sit down and reply to some nice comments you got from people who saw you. Wether it be a new fan or an existing one! so in that sense I would say the online growth is very organic. We are a band that gigs quite frantically (up to four gigs in a three day weekend) which is a regular occurance. This week actually comes to five to hopefully we can expect some more comments!

Rob - Any final thoughts on how you think social media can help you in the long run? You've heard of Justin Bieber on Twitter ye? - could you be the next trending topic?
Seven Days - In todays age social media for the likes of ourselves and other band etc is an absolute necessity. When someone hears of a new band the want to check out they instantly turn to their computer. In which your sites have to be in good shape and up to date. Otherwise that person isn't going to think a lot of you! In the long run once you maintain and built your sites you should have a very solid block of impression, perception and support. This makes for quite a stable foundation for an artist.

I don't know much at all about Justin Bieber. Mostly that he is a young artist brought to the front by his you tube videos and social networking. I may be wrong due to my lack of knowledge on him but I think we try to use social networking in a different way.To encourage people to come and see us and support us as opposed to putting your performances online and solely using that as your marketing. That was his focal point where as ours is to use online networking to encourage people to see our focal point (our live shows) As I said though I could be wrong! I don't think were trying to set a trend. Were just trying to make music we love to play and try our hardest to get you all to listen!

------- Interview Ends -------

And so, there you have it, an from a band who are putting social media to use to get themselves into the back of a tour bus for a global adventure. Check out the video they made as a digital thank you those who have helped them below! Whatever your goal or target is social media can help you get there quicker. You just have to plan a bit of a strategy and stick with it...and whiskey is optional!




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