Monthly Archives: December 2010

Seven Tips for making it online (as an artist)

A few days ago, Chris Anokute was on Entertainment Tonight, where he talked about the importance of social media and the internet for artists looking to be discovered.

And I’ve recently been approached by a number of performing artists and musicians for advice on how to break into the industry.

Several years ago, I posted an article about tips on doing just that.

So I thought I’d resurrect that article, since it clearly still has application today – with a few tweaks of course.

Here are seven tips for making it as an artist online.

1. Utilize existing networks – YouTube has replaced MySpace as the source for finding new music. YouTube gives visitors an easy way to connect with and share your music without having to be your ‘friend’ which is a significant advantage over the former social networking giant.  Online stores such as iTunes and Snocap give you the ability to include your product in their online sales infratstructure, and services such as Paypal allow you to conduct direct-to-consumer sales. Your use of/and affiliation with these brands, give consumers the confidence that the product they are purchasing is quality because it is associated with recognized quality brands.

2. Give it away for free – Sounds ridiculous right? But its totally true that if you give something away, it usually induces a desire to purchase. Victoria Secrets mails out cards to recipients who are given a free pair of panties! When you walk into the store to collect your free pair of underwear, they politely ask if you want to purchase a bra to accompany them. Of course, presented with such an offer, who could refuse? This strategy is the exact same philosophy, offer them a wallpaper if they buy a ringtone, a free month’s subscription when you sign up for two months. Its a ‘freemium.’ Look it up.

3. Cultivate an extensive e-mail Twitter database – you are constantly in contact with people in your daily comings-and-goings. The next innovator, billionaire, neurosurgeon, politician could be right next to you. On an online environment, these potential links exist, and its nothing but an e-mail Tweet away. By creating an extensive e-mail Twitter following, you are creating a means of turning as many people as you know, into a possible source of future sales.

4. Offer your songs for sale – a branded website is great for building awareness about your projects and one should offer your products for sale simultaneously with any promotional effort you undertake. The beauty of the internet (and mobile) is the instant gratification component and instant decision making based on the desire for instant gratification. Failing to immediately offer your product for sale online is a flawed and costly omission.

5. Price your product competitively – do not try to ‘reinvent the wheel. put rims on it.’ Do not assign a value to whatever your are selling, without regard to the market set price, standard practice, law or industry operation, that would make your product either too expensive or under priced. Pricing your product at a price point lower than the competition (at least as an introductory offer, if not sustained as part of a sustained campaign), will generate an initial reaction. If you consistently offer a compelling product and a fair price, your audience will remain loyal and become repeat purchasers.

6. Offer packages – it is hard to resist a bargain. When you bundle products on the internet, the natural reaction of practically all consumers is to evaluate the relative cost for the product. If we perceive that we are saving money, even if we have to spend more than we were originally prepared to spend (when we responded to the introductory offer -OR IF WE HAVE TO SEARCH MORE), then we usually select the option which gives us that savings. But more importantly, you have put more units into the stream of commerce, which is ultimately your objective.

7. Promote your product heavily – online promotions, Tweets, Facebook status updates, Ning, e-mail blasts, banners, hyperlinks, e-flyers, contests, are all techniques to proliferate over the internet. Link your web page to as many different online properties as possible. Make sure that you utilize search engines, meta-tags, heavy descriptions and compelling graphics in everything you doto to inject life and activity around your website. This online activity should be done in conjunction with a word-of-mouth campaign, flyers, posters, etc. The purpose of promotion is to PROMOTE, utilize tactics to make you and your product memorable. Utilizing YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr, to add graphic visual components can go a long way to creating a memorable impression.

At the end of the day, the internet is a vast resource that can help (the right artist or project) go viral in an instant.

If you’re not using these tools to your advantage, I’d suggest you start.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under branding

Do you Hootsuite?

Since I’m on this extended social media rant, its only proper that I go in a little deeper and talk about the tricks of the trade that I use to get my social media on.

My introduction to social media started about five years ago, participating in online forums and beta testing groups for different applications.

Back in the day (five years ago was so last year) forums were the original online social networks.

Today, there are countless social media networks of varying popularity, size and utility.

As more and more brands start realizing the value of social networks to their overall brand presence, managing these various networks is a growing issue.

I belong to a Social Media Marketing group on Linkedin, which discusses social media issues regularly.

One of the longest running discussions is about which social media management tool group members use.

The responses run the gamut, as do the rationales justifying the use of this tool over that.

Many of the responses talk about Radian 6, and recently Sendible has crept into these discussions as well.

In fact, there is an abundance of social media management and monitoring tools to chose from (of varying degrees of utility, quality and price), but one has stolen my heart.

Its Hootsuite.

Do you Hootsuite?

For those of you in the know, Hootsuite was one of the earliest free (well used-to-be-free, but I’ll get to that later) social media management platforms available.

That’s how they got me – first in the space AND free.

Hootsuite promised me the world: unlimited social media profiles, analytics, simple and easy to use interface, desktop dashboard.

And I used it all.

I used to boast  (to anyone who would listen) that I managed 20 social media profiles effortlessly – and it was all because of Hootsuite.

For those of you who are asking, “WTF is Hootstuite?” shame on you.

But if you, like me, are in the know, you know WTF Hootsuite is: only the best-es social media management/monitoring tool in the free world (although, as I said earlier, it’s no longer free).

With Hootsuite, you can manage multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook profiles, Facebook pages, Linkedin, Ping.fm, WordPress, MySpace and Foursquare accounts.

Social networks? Hootsuite does that!

From the Hootsuite dashboard, you can simultaneously manage and monitor multiple streams.

You can manage and monitor multiple streams from the Hootsuite dash.

In addition to managing and monitoring multiple streams and profiles, you also have the capacity to generate comprehensive statistics using Google Analytics, Twitter and Facebook Insights.

Hootsuite does statistics too!

Mind you, I’ve only really been freaking Hootsuite in the past few weeks because they’re about to start charging me, and I need to know that I’m going to get the right bang for my buck.

They’ve got a free 30 day trial, to take it for a test drive and see if its really the tool for you.

So if you’re interested in using a fairly inexpensive social media management and monitoring tool that won’t break the bank (it’s only $5/month for unlimited profiles and $15 for additional team members), then Hootsuite may just be the right tool for you.

I Hootsuite.

Do you?

Note: Hootsuite does not pay me to endorse their product (although I wish they would!)

2 Comments

Filed under opinion, rant, social media

Social media is a fad. Really?

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a marketing professional tell me that social media is nothing more than a passing fancy, I’d have my coveted iPad by now.

It boggles my mind that anyone in their right mind can form their lips to say social media is a ‘fad’ when Facebook has over 500 million people using it, and is the largest social media network in the world.

When you add the over 75 million Twitter users, 50 million YouTube users, 40 million Flickr users, and countless tens of million users of the various and sundry other social media platforms out there, calling social media a ‘fad’ is just plain ridiculous.

You can imagine my shock to hear someone from Ogilvy say that they’ve never used Twitter.

I nearly smacked them!

How the f*ck are you getting paid all that dough..or rather, how are you getting your clients to pay all that dough, and you’ve never used Twitter?

How can you advise someone on the merits or pitfalls of using a particular social media platform, when you’re totally unfamiliar with that platform?

Of course, I’m being naive, and most likely an agency like Ogilvy has a cadre of Twitter-o-philes locked away in a basement, fed Twinkies and weed to Tweet like micro-blogging fiends.

So individual ignorance of social media aside, they’ve got their bases covered.

But that’s not the issue.

Any agency that’s so on the cutting egde or any marketing professional worth their spit, should be conversant in (or at least knowledgeable of) the social media tools that their clients can add to their marketing mix.

It’s not like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube just showed up on the scene.

Most of the major players have been around for at least five years.

So if a fad is fleeting, and without permanence, shouldn’t social media really be considered a trend, having withstood the test of time?

And if it’s a trend, shouldn’t it be something they stay up on?

Next thing you know, they’ll be advising their clients to use Fourspring (a current fad among teens) for a LBS-based promotion instead of Foursquare!

I’m just saying.

Nobody is paying me big bucks for my opinion.

And perhaps my panties are in a bunch because I’ve got more social media moxie than many of these so-called marketers I’ve been running into recently.

But I can’t help but be a little flummoxed by the ramifications of it all.

Translation: One of the large advertising agencies should hire me immediately for my brilliance or risk fanning the flames of my simmering ire.

7 Comments

Filed under opinion, rant, Smack talking