It seems all the stories these days are about how musicians, and their labels, are struggling with ways to tap into the changing digital and social media landscape. So it’s interesting to see n example of one musician who is trying something new, and appears to be getting it right.
Kid Rock is making his entire upcoming album available as per-song streams exclusively for his fans on Facebook. When you hit his page, you get directed to his default non-fan landing tab where he (or presumably his agency) employs a tried and true fan acquisition tool: Tease with exclusive offers or content, in this case a list of his songs with little “locked” icons next to them and a clear call-to-action (above), available only for those who click the page’s Like button.
From there the tab reloads and the songs become playable. The only surprising thing is the relatively low play count given Kid Rock has over 900,000 fans, though as I believe this is a new promotion I assume the play count numbers will jump up over time.
Simple concept, something I’m shocked every musician isn’t doing in some form or another. (h/t @annmarietaps for finding this one)
Last night I had the pleasure of being a guest on TheBeanCast marketing/advertising podcast, with host Bob Knorpp (@TheBeanCast), Valeria Maltoni (@conversationage), Stuart Foster (@stuartfoster), and Michelle Tripp (@michelletripp). You can get the show notes, MP3, and iTunes subscription info here.
It was my first time on the show, and ended up with some great conversation that’s still got me thinking – so expect a post or two this week as I expand a bit on what we discussed.
In the meantime, I definitely recommend subscribing to the show on an ongoing basis. Bob manages to pull together some amazing groups of marketing, PR, and ad professionals to talk about the hot topics of the week. It’s the perfect commute podcast, and well worth the download.
Has social media become so mainstream as a marketing/PR tool that it has lost the excitement of being shiny and new? Are the early adopters really starting to move on to newer and “shinier” things?
Perhaps – but I happen to think that now is the time when social media marketing will truly thrive and the really interesting stuff is just starting to appear.
So what do I mean by “shiny and new?”
There’s an interesting trend you’ll find in some slices of the marketing profession: Shiny New Thing Syndrome. It’s not something I’m going to bag on, because it can be fantastic, rewarding, even necessary. For all the many marketers and PR professionals that seem to be lagging adopters of new tools and concepts like social media, there’s a far more visible group that is laser-focused on being out in front, spotting the new trends, and leading change.
When that new stuff goes mainstream, their attention shifts to whatever’s next on the horizon while the rest of the industry settles down to developing best practices, refining tactics, and so on. In short, they are focused on whatever is shiny and new, and when the shine wears off, so does their interest.
I was inspired to write about this as Tac Anderson makes this point in a post discussing what happens “When Social Media Stops Being Shiny“:
Social media has made the big time. We’ve crossed the chasm, we’re mainstream, people are finally taking us seriously. We were right and they were wrong…
Every trend, even really big ones like social media, hit point where in order to be sustained the early adopters have to step out of the way and let people who don’t get easily distracted manage processes and create best practices. Things early adopters aren’t typically that good at.
I agree that for the most part, social media has crossed the chasm. It’s almost impossible to find a marketing, ad, or PR campaign that *doesn’t* include a social media element to it. User submitted content contests, “like” buttons, Facebook tab promos, etc are basically everywhere – many well planned and executed, many not.
From the early adopter standpoint, the point isn’t in if the medium has been perfected (far from it), but that it has simply gone mainstream. They are off to the next shiny, which in all likelihood sits somewhere between your smartphone and a cloud. It reminds me when blogging suddenly became passe, and Twitter all the rage.
Given all that, back to my opening point…
Personally, while I *love* the shiny and new, I also think that some of the most exciting stuff is yet to come in social media marketing.
Because there’s still a ton of experimentation happening that is well beyond the refinement of yesterday’s ideas. The discipline itself is professionalizing, and lots of incredibly smart people from diverse backgrounds are flooding into it. Big brands, having started to buy into social media as a viable marketing channel, are increasingly willing to bet bigger dollars on it. The tools and networks we use are continuing to grow and evolve at ever faster rates.
Also, the concept of social media marketing is itself extending outwards to embrace the shiny and new, as we can see with campaigns built around Foursquare, SCVNGR, and (soon) Facebook Places and those mixing mobile ads with social calls-to-action.
Throw it all together in one big, creative pot and all signs point to some pretty amazing things on the horizon for social media marketing. I love reading the thoughts of those who dive headlong into the shiny and new – as I myself do fairly constantly – but I’m also looking forward to seeing how social media marketing is going to mature now that some serious talent and resources are being focused on it. Good times ahead.
Photo by marfis75 on Flickr via CC License
This video is a few months old, and the general argument one often made by both Spike Jones (@spikejones) and his former agency Brains on Fire, but I just came across it and it’s well worth the watch:
One of the best points made is this one (paraphrasing): A campaign is not a movement. A campaign has a start date and an end date – a movement never ends. However, I’d add one corollary: many campaigns these days seek to develop elements of a movement, by building or engaging with communities – and just like movements, communities don’t just end either. That’s a really critical point for marketers in all disciplines to grasp, as it carries profound implications for anyone involved in word of mouth, social media, or community marketing.
Most marketing campaigns these days – while unfortunately in no way planned out to spark “movements” – do include some kind of community-building efforts. These can be as shallow as attracting fans to a Facebook page or Twitter account, or as deep as actively engaging that passions of established and vocal groups, clubs, forums, and so on. If your campaign actually manages to resonate with people, communities of all size and stripes could start to form around it or the products, services, or brand it’s promoting.
These communities of fans, followers, advocates, and evangelists are paying attention and engaging with your efforts, responding to your prompts, sharing with their friends, and even co-opting the campaigns lingo, creative, and so on. The marketer’s dream situation, right?
Not if you then pull the rug out from under them three months later. As Spike notes, a marketing campaign has a defined lifespan – it launches, cycles through various stages, and then shuts down while the marketing team rolls onto the next big thing. But those communities that may have formed around your product or campaign live on, and if you simply walk away to go focus on the next big thing, you risk anger, disaffection, or outright backlash by the very people who just last week you counted as your most passionate fans.
Even if you’re not wholly adopting Spike’s message and investing the time and energy it takes to try and build a movement around your brand, every marketer needs to be aware that the social and community elements of their brand and campaigns will in many cases outlive the quarterly media spend. If your fans and advocates invest the time and emotion into what you put out there, simply shutting down and moving onto the next campaign could carry some seriously negative effects.
In short: If you’re marketing effort involves trying to reach out to or cultivate communities of fans, advocates (or even skeptics) – which it should in almost every case – you need to be prepared to do it well beyond the life of the campaign of the moment. Like it or not, you’re in it for the long haul.