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Archive for 'Blog'

Feb 06

Like the rest of America, last night I too was watching the Super Bowl.  And probably like many more people than would publicly admit, I was really watching for the Half-Time Show and the commercials.  One that I found particularly interesting and cute, I’ve posted below: it gave me the opportunity to make a quick comparison to something that I made note of in my book, Piece of the Fame.  In a section entitled “Operate from a Platform,” I give the example of Coca-Cola’s recent Holiday campaign with the white cans and social media tie-in to saving the polar bear habitat.  It wasn’t a successful campaign, and my opinion on it was that it simply lacked a connection to something that we care about in our day to day lives.  Yes, they’re big, furry and conceptually friendly, but we don’t have the same attachment to polar bears as we do to people…or beer-fetching dogs.

Yes, the Coca-Cola website crashed yesterday because of traffic I’m assuming that was bolstered by the clever cartoons featuring the polar bear family.  But what I’m much more interested in is Bud Light’s social media numbers based on their masterful incorporation of Facebook into their “Rescue Dog” commercial.  If you didn’t see it, check it out – and then watch for the social media push at the end.  That’s a cause I can get behind.

If you haven’t had a chance, get your hands on a copy of my book Piece of the Fame: Rockstar Social Media Marketing for Everyone to Ignite Your Busines, Career and Personal Brand and join the conversation!

Feb 03

I read an article coming from Ad Age that confirmed the need for Piece of the Fame.  Even among large-footprint researchers, leading minds in the business of digital media and advertising don’t have all of their facts straight, and this article proved to be a prime example.  Half of it is correct and consistent with the metrics that I’ve seen across a number of Facebook Pages with which I’ve been involved, huge and not-so-huge: the truth is that if you include the initial “Like” only 1.5% of the Fans of a Page actually interact with that Page.  If you take the initial “Like” action out of the equation, that number drops precipitously to 0.45%.

And then the other half of the article was not correct and was inconsistent with the nature of Facebook.  A quote from the researcher that was included in this article, speaking on the engagement numbers:

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” said Karen Nelson-Field, senior research associate for Ehrenberg-Bass Institute who describes herself as a “Facebook advocate.” “People need to understand what it can do for a brand and what it can’t do. Facebook doesn’t really differ from mass media. It’s great to get decent reach, but to change the way people interact with a brand overnight is just unrealistic.”

I’m not going to make a comment on their data collection methods or the fact that they didn’t measure inbound traffic from links that may have been posted (they only used the “People Talking About This” feature to measure engagement), but what I will say is the conclusion above does not take into account Facebook’s use of EdgeRank, which is their algorithm that decides out of all the content posted on Facebook that your connected to, what you actually see in your Feed.  So, that means for a brand operating a Page on Facebook, essentially, if people don’t engage with your content on Facebook, they will never see your content.  It’s a bit of a vicious cycle. If you’re putting a ton of time and resources (in other words, $$$) into your Facebook marketing efforts, and you’re seeing results of under 0.5% engagement, that means that for all those Likes that you purchased at about $1.00 each on average, you’re getting essentially no return on your investment.  So, contrary to the above statement, a lack of engagement on Facebook is actually very bad because Facebook does differ from mass media, significantly.  An analogy would be, let’s say you watch CNN and every time a car commercial came on, you changed the channel.  Well, if CNN operated like Facebook, they would modify the commercials that you saw so that you specifically never saw another car commercial again, or any other commercial that made you change the channel.  Mass media is a one-size-fits-all model where all content, whether it be advertising or premium creative, is weighted equally and seen by the entire audience.  Facebook doesn’t do that.

I think that brands still have a long way to go in understanding what their efforts on Facebook mean in terms of real results.  Somebody paid that researcher above a lot of money for the conclusion that she reached…

To learn more about EdgeRank and what it means for brands on Facebook, pick up a copy of my book, Piece of the Fame: Rockstar Social Media Marketing Strategy for Everyone to Ignite Your Business, Career and Personal Brand on Amazon.  I tried to clear up a lot of this misunderstanding about what is actually going on with Facebook Likes, because it seems as if even the major research shops are still somewhat in the dark.  If you already have the book, discussion starts on Page 154.

Feb 02

Google+ LogoIn all honesty, I had a bit of  struggle deciding whether or not to include Google+ in Piece of the Fame.  The reality is that despite the blockbuster numbers recently quoted by Larry Page, of 90 Million registered accounts (just shy of Twitter’s numbers), my sense is that this platform is a far ways off from becoming a social media staple for a critical mass of people.  I consider myself in a social circle of early adopters of technology, and I have yet to feel any kind of pressure to move to Google+ for fear of “missing something” that has been posted or published.  Everything that I need to know or share is found within the realms of either Twitter or Facebook.  So, for all of Google’s scale, which I’m sure bolsters those Google+ numbers, the reality is that this is still a new social network that is struggling with the discovery of its identity and role.  It’s premature for brands to divert valuable time and resources to trying to figure out their place, as the personal users haven’t really shown up yet.  That said, I’ve been keeping my eye on this developing platform, a very very close and active eye on it.  I want it to do well.  As far as social networks go, I’m at a point where I want a new option and alternative that makes sense.

Further to this idea, I saw an interesting article on TechCrunch by Bindu Reddy that provides some insightful possible solutions to Google+’s adoption problem.  If you’re going to check it out, the best part is the comments section:  gives a great overview of how the industry is really responding to Google’s new social product.

Jan 28

I saw an interesting article the other day on TheVerge.com and at first, I was wondering, what is “The Verge” and why is it in my RSS reader?  Then I remembered that it was a start up media platform focused on tech that I read about late last year and decided to start following.  Turns out, that was a good idea.  They discussed the “Homecoming Queen” of today’s music industry, subscription music streaming services, with an investigation of whether or not there’s actually real money there for artists and labels.  I’ve worked on a few subscription music streaming deals in my day, and my opinion is that there could be money for the industry in this space, but not just for subscription streaming alone.  I’m not a fan of the access model.  Plain access is not a money-maker.  Why?  Because YouTube already does it for free, and better than every audio-only subscription service available.  They don’t want to say that, but it’s true.

What do I think that customers will pay for?  Expertly-curated passive listening.  I’m not just talking radio, because radio already does radio, for free.  What people are looking for is the right mix of discovery and familiar, plus no-work-required hours of seamless passive musical enjoyment.  For this reason, of the options, Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, etc., I’ve always been the biggest fan of MOG – just waiting for them to get their user interface right.  One thing they have done better than others is worked out their programming, their lean-back listening experience algorithm.

The train has already left the station on access, so what’s next?  Spotify is working on their radio experience, but shouldn’t that be a core product?  I mean, who really wants access to all the world’s music without knowing what to do with it?  I can’t even get my gym playlist right for a 45 minute session on the treadmill.  There are a lot of out-of-work radio programmers and music magazine editors.  If I was in charge of Spotify, or Mog, or Pandora, I’d be snatching them up like hotcakes to work with my programmers in perfecting my passive listening experience and site editorial.

Funny enough, when I was in Paris last summer, I met with the lovely folks at Deezer, Alex Dauchez and team.  Despite their licensing troubles, they have something very interesting.  At the time of our conversation, more people were using their platform in France than were using iTunes.  That’s major.   What was the difference with this music subscription service?  EDITORIAL!  Deezer has the music catalog, but has put major money and focus behind their editorial, making the site feel more like a music discovery community and resource than anything else.  A tastemaker, rather than just a pool of audio files.  And their consumers love it.  Their model of optimizing for mobile handsets, working with the smaller markets and playing the market aggregation game works.  They’re not in the US yet, but other players should be taking notes.  This is how you do subscription.

And so this brings me back to the original question.  Can labels and artists really make money with music subscription services?  Nope.  Not unless there’s some kind of push to your content.  So you win if you have a big catalog or name recognition.  But if you’re a baby artist, or a label with a small catalog of only minimally popular songs, you’re kinda toast.  Unless, there was some kind of spectacular programming and editorial that ensured that good, unknown music gets played.  So, consumers decide to pay, and baby artists get enough plays that they actually see a fraction of the royalty pool.  That’s the win in my book.

Jan 28
Stack of "Piece of the Fame" books

Hot off the presses, my first four copies of "Piece of the Fame"

This is only fitting to be my first blog post at my brand spanking new website.  I am overjoyed to announce that my very first book (or my second, or my third, depending how you know me) is live and available on Amazon.com.  Maybe it’s a major endeavor to write and publish a book, but if you knew the story of how I got here, you’d really understand the sense of accomplishment I feel, having done what I set out to do against the most immeasurable of obstacles.  To make things fair to those reading, many of whom are meeting me for the first time, and likely even more who know me already and are giving me the courtesy of their time in reading my thoughts, I figured I’d give you the story of how I came to write this book.

First, I left my position at Atom Digital at the end of November, 2011.  I knew that the only thing that made sense for me at this point was to hang my consulting shingle at the top of 2012, but that just didn’t seem like enough.  See, for the preceding 4 years at UMG working in digital strategy, and the past year working with Lady Gaga, Greyson Chance, Mindless Behavior, Mary J Blige for a bit, Willow Smith for a second, launching the digital “Gaga’s Workshop” campaign for Barneys New York, spending days and days meeting with startup CEO’s, VC’s, and tech gurus, I had just collected way too much knowledge to file it away, only to be brought out for special occasions.  People need what I know, all people and not just musicians.  I realized that, and as such, I decided that I would spend December writing a book.  My objective was to neatly organize all that I knew, discovered, practiced and learned about social media marketing and brand development into a nice paperback…in less than 60 days.  That’s right, I made the decision on Sunday, December 3rd, 2011 to write the book, sitting in the middle of church.  My intended publication date was February 1, 2012.

"Piece of the Fame" Manuscripts

My partial stack of "Piece of the Fame" manuscripts and interview transcripts

You have no idea the journey that I went on in that period.  I have stacks of manuscripts (because I’m neurotic about losing my data), printed out marking the day by day progress of what I was writing.  I have recordings of interviews that my friends graciously agreed to schedule at the last minute (shout out to Paul Brunson, Necole Bitchie, April Carter Grant, Ryan Babenzien, Kelli Johnson, and Jeremy Caverly, you ROCK!!) that I literally had to transcribe word by word.  I have a fried laptop hard drive (because wine spilled all over my keyboard just as I was finishing) whose data I’ll never be able to recover, amen to jump drives and data backup.  And I have many, many nights of missed sleep.  But at the end of the day, I also have one, 262 page masterpiece that I get to call my own:  Piece of the Fame: Rockstar Social Media Marketing Strategy for Everyone to Ignite Your Business, Career and Personal Brand.

It’s a great book, if I may say so myself, and I’ll be talking much more about it here, and on the Piece of the Fame Website (PieceOfTheFame.com).  It explains social media from my perspective, from the degree of insight and visibility that I have had not just into the technology and social media platforms, but also the best practices from those who have leveraged it most fully.

Check out my book, buy a copy (or a few copies) and come back often.  We’ve got a lot to talk about.