Generally, when people think of “social media,” they envision the platform side of things, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Path, Foursquare, Tumblr, etc. Well, when working on the “Born This Way” release, we were responsible for having a much broader view of things, at least, those of us ‘riding the bench’ at social media and digital strategy agency.
While most of the larger “all hands” meetings were dedicated to reviewing the major touchpoints of the album, which I’ve outlined in previous posts, and which have been discussed in the Mashable article, amongst other features, I think that some additionally interesting work was being done in the break out sessions that my team was responsible for. I thought that this information might be particularly helpful for you and your own pursuits in social media marketing and branding.
If you had the chance to read “Life as a ‘Bench Player’ on Lady Gaga’s Team – ‘Born This Way’ Launch Edition,” you would see the word “touchpoints” listed very frequently, as I personally felt like that was a key element to the campaign. The objective was to create as many touchpoints as possible, or places and ways in which fans and potential customers could interact with the album on their turf and (mostly) on their terms. We wanted to bring the album to them.
Well, another element that fits into the concept of touchpoints, which is very, very important, is blogs (awkward construction, but yes grammatically correct “is blogs” – go figure). A large part of a digital/social media marketing agency’s job is to have their finger on the pulse of the universe of blogs in existence, classified across all of the various possibilities of lifestyle verticals. We had and actively developed and maintained robust lists or indexes of blogs for unimaginable segments, from as broad as fashion and pop music, to fantasy book readers (because we had some early information that a unicorn would in some way be involved in the album and its graphical elements).
The idea was to find as many different lifestyle intersections as possible with the album and essentially create windows into the project from that lifestyle perspective. The unicorn example is a great one – ok, so there will be unicorns? Who would be interested in that? Fantasy book readers? Ok, let’s find out where they live online. Now, who else? With that information, we were then armed to super-serve those people, where they reside, with content relevant to them, but that also tied into the larger project. In this way, you give the audience an authentic and personalized entry point, but still maintain the integrity of the project. Think of an octopus with specially-themed tentacles.
This can work for you as well. The beauty of social media is not only just the ability to get your message out there, but it is also to be able to better understand (first) and then specifically target (second) potential customers (or employers, fans, listeners, viewers, etc.) by bringing relevant tentacles of your project directly to them, where they normally reside online.
If you want to learn more about this “tentacle” approach in the aspect of social media marketing and brand development concerning blogs, my book “Piece of the Fame” contains a great interview with Paul Brunson (star of OWN Network’s new show Lovetown) as he discusses building his brand in 18 months nearly exclusively via the Internet.
I’m still catching up with all of the outpouring of positive comments, new connections and contacts from Friday’s feature on Mashable syndicated from Business News Daily. I know that people must be curious to know what it was like to work on Lady Gaga’s team, and I have to say that it was a far cry from what it would appear based on a certain comment made.
First, there was really no “I” in team. We all worked tirelessly to make this a successful project. From my team that worked for me at Atom Digital, to the team at the label, the management team, to everyone from the receptionist, to the woman at the top – we all pushed on overdrive for this record. We wanted to break records and were constantly trying to figure out how to leverage everything possible to make that happen. It was an effort to create as many touchpoints as possible. Remember that term, touchpoints, it will become important later.
Second, there was a lot of hard work. From everyone, especially Gaga. I remember being at the Oakland, California show, which was on the same night as the Google visit (what an incredible day, I got to meet Larry Page and Marissa Mayer, who are my kind of tech rockstars) for Google goes Gaga.
http://twitpic.com/4c9kwk – Just left Google, what a genius team. Tweeting video interview soon with details about album+Judas!
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) March 22, 2011
Not only did she do the fabulous interview (accessible here), but she also sat through a pretty extensive meeting that I can’t tell you about because I had to sign an NDA.
Let’s just say that of the 15+ people in the room, I was one and Gaga was another, Larry Page was another…amazing. But even geek-ish excitement is not what I remember most about that day. It was Gaga’s work ethic. She performed a 2-hour concert and then after backstage, had almost 100 people to individually meet, greet, take pictures with and play samples for of her (then) new album. And she treated the last person just as graciously (if not more) as she did the first. We didn’t wrap up until after 3:30 am. She was ready to head out to a club to party with the boys and meanwhile, I was exhausted by the day’s events, in the tour production office dazed waiting for a ride to my hotel to try to be ready for Twitter and Zynga the next day. She definitely outworked me, by far…this too is something to take note of if you’re looking for your own success.
Third, more ideas were generated than actual things we were able to fully accomplish. There were meetings upon meetings starting early into the process with the one question of “how can we make this even bigger?” When you have that one question driving the conversation, and if asked repeatedly, you get some pretty great responses. There was an idea for a “takeover” of various locations in New York (including Central Park), my personal favorite was “Born This Way” pop-up shops (party storefronts), and then there was the idea of getting a record…and a “healthy sandwich” at the same time (would have made for a massive “retail” footprint). BTW (by the way, not “born this way”), did you know that the largest retail music distributor in Indonesia is Kentucky Fried Chicken? But, anyway, I digress.
As the executive vice president, in charge of the digital marketing and strategy agency, we were responsible for being there, at every meeting, ready with ideas and solutions to help make this project successful. Not for the benefit of taking credit, but for the possibility of contributing to something groundbreaking and incredible.
Other than for the benefit of this post, I really hate the idea that was introduced of the concept of a “bench player.” From my role as the head of the digital strategy agency, to the project managers and account coordinators that worked for me, absolutely no one fit that description, nor should they feel that they did. As the leader of any organization, I would never use such a term. It just doesn’t exist in the context of a successful team. Oh well, it’s out there, so I might as well own it. Shout out to all the other “bench players” with Championship rings! (If you know of any specific names of these players, please let me know – maybe I should do a tribute video).
As far as the “Championship,” it was the result of many practice and strategy sessions, strategic planning and insights, ideas, dreams, actions and much effort.
If you’re reading this and dreaming of your own success, my key takeaway for you would be the following, find the touchpoints, whether they be blogs that your audience reads, places where they might go for coffee, other thought leaders in your space, YouTube videos, Google AdWords, magazines, newspapers, whatever you can identify, and maximize the number of them that you incorporate into your campaign.
In a later post, I’ll also speak about the importance of email and the role of the most important touchpoint of all, connecting to a customer at the retail point of sale, particularly online. I don’t know how many were aware, but in my opinion, one of the strongest pushes came from online retailer iTunes, who emailed every one of their customers who had ever bought a Lady Gaga track. First time in iTunes history that happened. I could only find Perez Hilton’s coverage of it, but see here.
And finally, work ethic is the most important. Be willing to work harder than everyone else, including all of the “bench players” comprising your team.
My best, Jaunique
And by the way, if you’re interested in reading more about my thoughts on successful social media strategy, I encourage you to check out my book, “Piece of the Fame” available on Amazon and the iBookstore
Wow, Mashable. As a dedicated reader of Mashable, BusinessNewsDaily, NME, TechCrunch, PandoDaily and the numerous other media platforms that describe aspects of my industry, or at least a large portion of it (amen to my Google RSS Reader), I was humbled and excited to see the recent article discussing some of my previous work with Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” album during the time that I was running the Atom Digital agency. Even more awe-some (yes, I do mean it that way, awe-some) was the literal outpouring of kind words, outreach, contacts and connections with some pretty amazing people. So again, wow, Mashable! And double WOW BusinessNewsDaily, where the original article was published.
And if we’re just “meeting” because of Mashable, or Fox News, or even word of mouth, I’d like to welcome you and let you know that I plan to stay interesting enough to hopefully keep you coming back. I have a lot to share.
My blog has been a little silent lately because in addition to speaking/consulting and the associated travel, I’m hard at work on a Webisode series (found an amazing editor who matches my sense of humor) and I thought that might be more engaging than just words on a page. Time crunch aside, what I did want to take the opportunity to do, here, was to add more context and color to the strategy work that I did with Lady Gaga and hopefully give people (or you, who’s reading) more info that they can use.
First, the “Born This Way” album was a major, major release. It had so many touchpoints that were worked on by so many people, it almost could be the subject of its own book (or its own Mashable post that you can access here). The directive for the team (including the management team, my team which was the Atom Digital digital/social media marketing and strategy agency, the label, and the PR team) was to bring the album to as many people as possible. But, that’s the directive for most albums. Where this strategy differed, was to bring the album to people, where they were. So, you like to hang out in coffee shops? Great, we’re going to bring you the album in the coffee shop and give you the opportunity to hear it there. You like to play Farmville? Great, we’re going to place the album in the middle of your game play in a compelling and interesting way, authentic to Gaga’s brand. You like to shop? Great, come see what’s on Gilt and by the way, check out the album. The same philosophy went for the iTunes countdown, the Google Chrome commercial, the HBO Concert and everything else. In fact, if we had managed to pull off everything we planned, you would have truly had your socks and shoes knocked off. But this was all in the effort to make it easy for you the customer, and you the potential customer, fan, friend, follower and listener, to have access to a product that everyone felt we could stand behind, because of the quality and the devotion in putting it together.
And, I guess the results speak for themselves. And like I said in the Mashable article, I would never take the credit for the success of something that large. I did my best and played my role, as did everyone else, with tireless effort. Props to the team, and most of all props go to Gaga for her vision + passion and work ethic that I had the privilege of observing on numerous occasions.
Anyway, I’m breaking my own rule of brevity, but I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t take the time to acknowledge that I might have a few new readers and friends these days. Stay tuned, I’ll make sure to keep it coming. My best, Jaunique
“You must bring some element of your soul to what you say, what you post and what you do. Your soul is some aspect of the human experience: your fears, your failures, your joys, your humor, or your triumphs.” – Quote from “Piece of the Fame” p. 43
The book “Piece of the Fame: Rockstar Social Media Marketing Strategy For Everyone to Ignite Your Business, Career and Personal Brand” is available now on Amazon and the iBookstore.
As you can imagine, as the author of “Piece of the Fame: Rockstar Social Media Marketing Strategy for Everyone to Ignite Your Business, Career and Personal Brand,” I’m often asked questions about specific issues relating to music campaigns. Some of the best and/or broadest reaching questions, I’ve decided to answer here periodically, for the benefit of everyone.
I was asked recently, “how can independent artists best make use of music streaming services?” which I thought was a great question, and probably one that would apply to a number of my readers. So, here goes:
As an independent artist, I would imagine that you’d be looking for three possible outcomes from a music streaming service:
1. Access to your music (reasonable)
2. Discovery of your music (somewhat reasonable)
3. Source of revenue (not so much)
Let’s just look at each of these options in a nutshell:
1. Access to your music
At this point, I would say the “big three” of easy-to-upload-to music streaming services, in order of ease are: Soundcloud, YouTube and Spotify. Yes, there are others (MOG, Pandora, Last.fm, Rdio, etc.). Of the three I originally mentioned, only YouTube provides seamless integration if you’re posting your music across the largest social media platforms (e.g., Twitter and Facebook). But, Soundcloud integrates pretty seamlessly with Facebook. As we know, Spotify is sort-of seamless, in a world where everyone has a Spotify account. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world…yet.
One thing that I will say about using YouTube as a streaming music solution is that #1, if you’re wildly successful, it can get you paid (see this Pamplemoose interview that I Tweeted) and #2, it doubles as still the best music discovery engine (and is the second largest search engine), and #3 if you’re smart about how you leverage the visuals that you couple with the audio, you might actually make a name for yourself – the suggestion for this is to create something visually interesting that could stand on its own – I personally love what Goyte does with his vids, but that’s neither here, nor there.
2. Discovery of your music.
So, generally, there’s little to no in-house editorial curation (no reviews, artists to watch, etc. – and algorithms don’t count) on any of the largest music streaming platforms (which I think is a pity), so you’d have to turn to outside parties to find a way into a discovery pipeline. Good thing is, since your music is accessible, if someone “discovers” you and wants to spread the word to their friends, there’s no problem getting to a sample of your sound. Still, there are a few ways to tip discovery features in your favor using each of the music streaming platforms that I listed above. I’ll give a few suggestions below:
A. Get all of your friends and fans to start including your songs in their playlists.
B. Make your own playlists of popular music that would fit in-genre with yours and include your music in those playlists (your playlist might come up for someone searching for popular music).
C. Get a buzz going on some other platform and hope that the third-party developers on Spotify pick you up on their radar (e.g., We Are Hunted, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone Recommends).
A. Send your track to people via their SoundCloud inbox (a la the old days with MySpace) and cross your fingers that they check it.
B. Post your cover songs material and remixes and hope that people stumble across it while searching for the original material.
C. Create playlists and mixes that include your tracks.
A. Make the most of the YouTube search engine function and post cover songs (I talk about this at length in “Piece of the Fame“).
B. Create playlists that include your tracks.
What I haven’t covered are services like Pandora, and even MOG, Rdio and Last.fm, that each in their own way use some kind of radio function and are tipped in favor of serendipity, or discovery. There’s not much that you can do in that situation to control how you get discovered, but you can make sure that if people to happen to come across your music and want to know or hear more, that you’re easy to find, especially with a simple Google search (i.e., make sure that you have posted your song + some kind of video on YouTube with correct labeling). So, make sure that from time to time you clear your browser cookies and check your band’s name and track titles to ensure that your web properties are coming up correctly.
3. And finally…Source of Revenue
I don’t know how to make the sad drumroll sound for you through print, but the reality is that as an independent artist, unless you become a viral phenomenon, you’re not likely to generate any appreciable income from music streaming services on a large platform basis (although, see the Pamplemoose interview). We’re just not there yet in terms of saturation of this type of distribution for music. To point you to a couple of articles that provide a breakdown of the economics, I’d send you here:
All told, at this phase of the evolution of music streaming services, you should be most focused on how you can leverage them for access and discovery, especially YouTube, which is still the second largest search engine in the world (behind Google) and still the largest “unofficial” streaming music service. There are detailed tips and explanations on how to best make this platform work for you in our own social media marketing campaign in my book, “Piece of the Fame,” available now on Amazon.com (in paperback and Kindle versions) and the iBookstore.
You never know what you’ll find there, so make sure to connect!
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!
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.
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.
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.