On a personal level Social Media is about a lot of things. It’s about connecting with new friends and with old friends. It’s also about knowing what is happening in your community and about networking.  For some, even, it’s all about stalking – let’s be real. Since the conception of the social web, these and hundreds of other reasons have brought people to services like Facebook and Twitter. On a commercial level however social media is really just about two things: Creating and broadcasting that value.

Create

Having something to tell someone who cares is the most important piece of the pie. If you feel like you don’t have something interesting to say to your followers, then you should either find new followers or find something to say. Creating value can only happen through taking inventory of what you have that people like and creating something out of those ingredients. First, create value to broadcast. Then, broadcast.

Broadcast

Now this is the easy part. The way the web works – if you use it right and get lucky – it will spread your message for you. You both have to create the right message with value that’s worth spreading; as well as purchase the right ads that will exponentially deepen your reach into your target demographic.

Of course, there is a lot more to be said about Social Media on a commercial level, but I did say “skinny”! Thanks for stopping by!

What is the hardest task on the list of an entrepreneur? Putting it down, taking time to rest, and remembering what you are building this or that business for – to enjoy the other parts of life, like Vitamin D every once in a while. Am I right?

Lately I’ve been putting a little extra time into researching productivity techniques that will allow me more time with my friends and out in the sun, while not cutting into building what I’ve been slaving over for years now. I see it done and I know it’s just a few slight shifts that will allow for it.

Here’s what I’ve gathered so far.

Set Work Hours

I found this app for mac’s called Billings that I purchased for invoicing purposes. When I got to using it a bit more I found that you can create work slips, like time cards, that start and stop at your pre-set preference. I’ll start a 2 hour timed ticket and file it under a specific client, and it’ll let me know when the ticket is up and file it directly in an invoice for me. Pretty nice. Previously, I constantly found myself picking up a mountain worth of work at a time and picking away at fifteen things at a time until the wee hours of the night. No good.

Find Your Space

I always worked from home or from a coffee shop where I always met friends unexpectedly. One difficult but small tweak that will free up some frisbee time is finding somewhere you will not see anyone you know, bring nice headphones, and don’t come out of your cave until your timed slips and task list is finished. Then leave it there for tomorrow when you are done for the day. Believe me, I know it’s fun to put in a movie and work in sweats; but it will take three times as long to get half the amount of work done.

Integrated Task List

The most important thing is to stay organized. If you don’t have a system where you can quickly input a task and forget about it until it’s time to do it, you must get one. The most crippling feeling for an entrepreneur is feeling scattered and trying to take on your entire list of client’s to-do’s in one sitting. If you can’t fully focus on one project at a time, your system is flawed. You must have enough faith in your task management system to be able to put all your focus in one place for a set period of time.

Obviously, there are a million more tips for the wand’ring entrepreneur than I have listed here. These are just ones that I have found recently. Please, share what you find to be helpful.

Enjoy your weekends and your evenings again, they are the most important times of your life.


What’s the most fun part about marketing? GIVING STUFF AWAY!!! Creating a solid giveaway marketing campaign can be tough sometimes. There are plenty of elements and variants from situation to situation. Well, I have good news. There are a few elements that exist at the core of every good giveaway campaign — and they’re not tough to implement. Read on:

Measurability

(Lame joke alert) What is a giveaway campaign without measurability? A raffle. You must be able to track what your audience is saying to you through your campaign in order for it to be a successful marketing campaign. There are many ways to do this depending on how and what you are giving away. I’d say the easiest way is to use a unique URL shortener like Bit.ly or Ow.ly that links to a splash page or home page. You might say in the contest rules “your blog post and/or tweet must contain this link ____”. These links are trackable, so you can run a contest based on a random drawing, or on the most RTs, or whatever you want — get creative.

Creativity

I’m not going to tell you how to be creative — that’s up to you. But here is a question/hint: What is your competitive edge? How and where do you connect with your fans/consumers better than your competitors? Take that place or method and exploit it through a giveaway. You will be in front of the largest portion of your fans in this place, and you will get the most responses. In the end, you want to build a campaign that rewards the biggest fan for their efforts.

The Prize

This might be obvious, but the giveaway must be relevant to your business in some form or fashion. I can’t tell you how many giveaway marketing campaigns I’ve seen where the giveaway item is some random thingamajig that only confused fans, and brought in participants who didn’t care about the brand at all. Moreover, this is an opportunity to bring your core fans in closer, and move fringe fans to core fan status. Get something that they all want more than anything, and be the only place they can get it. You have something like that — what is it? If you are a pop-art poster company, do a giveaway that is not only exactly what your audience wants, make it an exclusive item that you can only get through the gatekeeper … you.

Tracking

Tracking is different from Measurability; you must be the measurer and analyze what you set in place to be measurable. Use tools like Hootsuite or Google Analytics to track where your hits are coming from, and when they are coming. Analyzing when they are coming will give you insight into when your fans are watching. You can even track geographically to see where the majority of the giveaway participants are in the world. All of this information is infinitely important to your current campaign, and even more so all future campaigns.

A Call To Action

Your bread and butter, the call to action is what will put new eyes and ears on your brand. Leveraging social and viral tools here will help you spread the word through your fans, which brings in new fans. Shoot for RTs or blog posts that cover your stuff if you can. Call on your fans to do the legwork in promoting you and give incentives of something they all want — then over-deliver.

The Icing

You are almost finished. You’ve run an efficient and effective marketing campaign that has pleased your fans and given you immeasurably important data (see what I did there?). What will set you apart from the others is the icing, the bow, the special sauce. David Bazan did a giveaway that a friend of mine won last year. She recieved a signed copy of his record on vinyl and a hand-written letter thanking her for being a faithful listener and participating. They won a life-time fan in that giveaway, not to mention all of the important data about what his fans want – if they did it right – in the process. Be sure you have some icing.

Do Giveaways

Giveaway marketing campaigns are important because they please your fans, they are fun, and the incentive value delivers information that is extremely valuable to your efforts from then on on out.

My Call To Action

Create a giveaway campaign. Go create an interesting giveaway campaign and email, comment, or tweet me the results! Tell me what went on and how it worked. Send me feedback on how these points helped (or hurt) if you want.

Thanks for reading, it’s always a pleasure to have you. Friend me on Twitter and Facebook; lets talk for fun, too. Don’t let me do all the talking. Have a wonderful day!

I know this is mostly a marketing/promotion/ideas focused blog, but sometimes you just gotta post something you found interesting – related or not. Yann Tiersen is the french minimalist composer who scored Amalie and A Very Long Engagement. Beautiful movies and beautiful scores. Here he is on the world famous video blog La Blogotheque. Enjoy…

Social media marketing is an ambiguous beast. Many think it’s the crux of your brands marketing efforts, and it can be. You are personally interacting as your brand directly with your fans/followers. What a great way to build trust and keep interest – especially when those fans are going to tell their friends. But how do you get to that point? How can we measure goals and progress in these personal interactions? What sites do we interact on? What do we post on those sites?

There are always going to be questions as the platforms and tools keep changing. Here is how I look at it…

Look at social marketing like driving a car on an endless road trip. It’s not a one time push, it’s not a do it when you feel like it thing, it’s something you continually driving all the time. But before you take off you’ve gotta build the system or machine, if you will, that will take you there. I’m talking about social media infrastructure.

Choose the best networks for your relationship with your fans, brand them and place the flow of information in the appropriate places for your sales funnel, and start driving. The concept is simple but the day-to-day is a commitment. It will be worth it if you do it correctly. I promise.

 

Check out this video. I know, it’s pretty often that someone changes the way the web works and how easy it is to share with your friends and colleagues, but I think this change is going to be interesting. I could say a whole bunch of stuff but, just watch the video…

“Social Media Guru” “Viral Marketing Master” “Grassroots Ninja” Don’t these make you tired? Linkedin is full of self proclaimed new marketing geniuses. Don’t get me wrong, there is a boatload of talented people out there and I’d say many of them have more experience and credibility than I do. As the professional world bursts with opportunity for these ninjas, there must be some distinction between what each of these types of marketing are. Let’s dissect.

Social Marketing – I like you, you like me

Webster defines the word Social as “Of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society.” Through digital channels like Facebook and Twitter and Linkedin we connect for the welfare of each other – most of the time. When you introduce marketing in this community it must be very personal and mutually beneficial. Simply put, your presence online should be equally or more valuable to your “friends” or “fans” as what you are trying to sell to them. There should be no sales pitches in social marketing.

You want people to like you and your brand. Social marketing takes advertising to a personal level where someone takes a deeper interest in what you have going on. If you do it right, you will make a lot of friends who will buy a lot of your stuff, and still be your friends.

Viral Marketing – Tell your friends!

One person tells three people who tell four people who tells five people and then you have double rainbow. Sorry for the bad example, that video is not marketing anything but it sure is funny. Viral Marketing is creating something worth spreading to give the masses “social cred” by telling their friends. Attach your brand somehow and you’ve got a successful viral marketing campaign. Viral marketing casts the nets out wider and brings in more friends and fans to be engaged in the social sphere.

Tweet For A Track is a wonderful viral marketing tool. Viral marketing is based on the sharing abilities of the web. It is becoming easier and easier to share links with friends and followers. It takes some creativity but if you can manage to share something that people have an incentive to share again with their friends with your brand attached, you are golden.

Grass Roots Marketing – work it, work it…

“Grass roots marketing in its simplest definition is to market your company, organization, products or services on a local and on a personal level.” -Ezine

Grass roots marketing can be online, but more often than not it entails PR stunts and creative local campaigns within your community. I read a story about a small business owner who’s building was unfortunately sandwiched in-between two similar companies in the same strip mall. The one on the left was having a huge sale to drive foot traffic and out-do the other two businesses. He hung a giant banner that almost covered his own front door that said “60% off, this weekend only!” So the one on the right had a bigger sale and hung a similar obstructive banner on his building, “75% off, this weekend only!”. A perfect example of creative grassroots marketing is what the middle, smaller business owner did next. He hung a smaller sign over his door that said “Main Entrance”.

Laying piles of fliers in coffee shops and college campuses, making cold calls, hanging posters in your community, or even getting a team of fans to spread your news by word of mouth are all solid methods of grass roots marketing.

What, When, and Where?

Clearly, there are appropriate places and times to use each of these three marketing methods. There are good times to use a combination of two or three of each as well. The best part of these marketing practices is that they are extremely cheap, or even free. You may even pull together a few loyal fans and get them to do the legwork for you. However, they will pack an exponentially larger punch if they act complimentary to traditional marketing efforts; the icing on the cake, if you will. You will probably be hard pressed to get any traction if you are only using these three methods. Spend your budget wisely on radio and TV ads, billboards, wherever it will be smart to place traditional marketing pieces. When your traditional marketing is in place, make a new marketing plan and become a guru or a ninja. Apparently it’s pretty easy these days.

I hope this sheds light and clarity on all of the jargon. If you have anything to add or question please feel free! Have a great day all, and thanks for reading.

It wasn’t long ago that PR and marketing were two distinctly different practices. The PR department sought media outlets to get press releases and features published about their clients, and the marketing department would create and distribute promotional materials, ads, and buy ad space. These days marketing is proving more beneficial when directed straight towards the consumer than anything else. But that is what I am here to question: what works best, personal touch or commercial appeal?
Brothers and Sisters
To me it seems Marketing and PR have been cousins until recently. Now they seem to be siblings – don’t ask me to dive any further into that metaphor. The only big difference now is marketing strives to grow the direct to fan relationship and PR strives to grow media contacts and publicity. Clearly, both are vital for growth. However in todays changing economic landscape how do you think people are buying? From reading ads and interviews or from feeling personally connected with an artist or business through social media and email lists?
The Big Question
Where do you as an artist or business put your money to connect with people so they will buy your stuff? You can hire a publicist to get you in the media and in front of lots of people or you can hire an independent marketer to grow your digital footprint and email list. I want to hear what you think. Let’s talk. If you have any input on this idea submit a comment, or shoot me an email (jakedangerlarson@gmail.com).
Now, I think everybody will land on different answers and there is no wrong one. Depending on what you are selling or promoting there are very different reasons to use each method of connecting with people. How do you find your own balance between PR and direct to fan marketing?
A Prediction
I predict we will start seeing many more independent PR firms implementing social media and direct to fan relations. I also predict we will start seeing independent marketing firms implementing media pitches and interviews. Finally, I predict that we will see an interesting shift in competition between the two practices. One last question: do you agree? and, what do you think that will do to your industry?
Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day

Have you ever asked for a second opinion, on anything? How about a thousandth opinion? The idea of Crowd sourcing is relatively new, but it is changing everything. Especially in creative business (ie. the music industry, design, writing, etc.). The way the economy is, it makes more sense to put 100 people in competition for your attention and money using the internet than only a couple using a label. Thom Yorke predicted the fall of the music industry being in the next few months rather than years recently. I believe him, things are changing. We now live in an industry where it’s easier to have your fans design your album cover, or your website, or even do legwork on your local tour marketing, than have a record label fill those roles. People still ask what the next model for the music industry is – Crowd sourcing will be an vital piece of it.

Everything is changing.

Radiohead is an obvious example of a band who “jumped ship” because it was sinking, if you will, then went on to great success. There is also Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, and many others going it alone these days. What is the most efficient way to fulfill the duties of an entire record label on your own? Get help from the mass of salivating freak fans who happen to be really talented. Get a hold of them online and offer them some incentive if they can pull off a job for you. Knowing your fans and what they are about as an independent artists will save your career and shoot you into the next lifecycle of the music business. When you start setting projects out there for your fans, you will see and be in contact with the biggest ones, keeping them lifetime repeat customers.

It’s easy to make a viral marketing campaign and get it spread through a big group of people. But it’s easier to get someone else to start one for you, because they feel like they are part of something. Because you personally asked them to do you a solid and design their tour poster, or write the web copy for your website. THAT is how you lead a tribe where you want them.

All about the fan.

Your fan is your biggest asset. That has not exactly been the case until recently. No matter who you are, a label would be able to crank out whatever they wanted, keeping the artist at arms length from their fans and keeping the label the artists greatest asset. Not anymore. Now, you enable them to be a part of the growing organism of your creativity. Let people sink as deep into it as they want. If they are willing to pay you for a custom song that is written directly for them, you should be able to give it to them. Do you know the names and email addresses of your 10 biggest fans? How about your 10 biggest fans in each of your 10 biggest markets? Don’t you think those relationships are worth knowing and cultivating? It’s not as hard as you might think. Just give your fan an opportunity to shine and you will see which ones try the hardest.

The big question.

The big question among those not in denial right now is “what is the next business model for the music industry? Record sales are not making anybody any  money anymore, it’s tough to even break even on touring, it’s barely a self-sustaining industry at all anymore. So what’s next?”

I don’t have all of the answers, but I do know that the fan is king/queen, the artists relationship matters to them more than the quality of their music (but not much more, you’ve gotta be good…) and the way’s the artist engages their fans is key.

Two shameless plugs:

#1) I have some time to do some of this freelance marketing work for artists who are done with the big label dream and want to go it alone. Feel free to contact me with any questions or a quote. Now that that’s out of the way…

#2) Here is a legitimate company who is really doing this thing. Progressively operating in the new music industry. Independent music business people, independent artists, you’d do well to look into Creative Allies. This is the real deal.

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