Tip #1: Share the Process

One of the best ways to use social media is to include your community in the process of your organization.  Let’s say, for example, you have a local bakery and you just started to sell cupcake versions of your popular carrot cake.  A traditional approach would be to show a picture and say “Now get your favorite carrot cake in cup cake size.  $2.25 each – only $1.50 if you say ‘Tweetcake’.  There’s nothing there to differ it from  regular website or email marketing.  With music and video, we’d call it a TV or radio spot.  But if you want to make it social, start early by sharing the process.  Post a picture of the batter being stirred followed by the muffins coming out of the oven with a cute message “Mmmm….piping hot muffins…don’t eat them yet – they still need frosting.”  A few posts like that and you’ll have people’s mouths watering. You will have pre-sold the muffins because people will have been thinking about them all day, not just at the end.  This is true for almost any product that is made.  The longer the process, the more opportunities you will have to connect with your customers.

Don’t Lose the “Social” in Social Marketing

With the rapid rise of corporate marketing on Facebook and Twitter, I am seeing an increase in traditional marketing.  I’m referring to posts about free giveaways, discount codes, press annoucements, etc.  Using these techniques are certainly valid, but they aren’t taking full advantage of new social aspects of the platform.  Marketers are often approaching these interactive mediums with the same broadcast mentality.  “I have  X number of followers/fans that received this message.”  Now one advantage with the Internet is you can track your clicks, etc. so you can measure your ROI more closely, unlike radio or tv.  But what makes social media different isn’t the click tracking or the network effects of re-tweeting – it’s the whole “social” mind set.

What people love about Facebook is that they can share their lives with friends – photos, status updates, etc.  Twitter started out the same way, with posts like “I just got out of bed…where’s the coffee?”  You can understand with posts like that, how the average busy adult might dismiss Twitter.  Who has time to keep track of their fifty closest friends caffeine intake?  And yet at the same time, what people love about social media is exactly that – the little trivialities of daily life that keep you connected to friends and family.  And it’s this same love that also has people already decrying the loss of authenticity and the rise of corporatism in social media.

If you are a marketer, you need to avoid alienating your audience when you enter the social media space.  You need to conceive of your marketing strategy with a social mindset.  Your plans needs to make a unique social connection with your audience that also leverages the power of social media for your business.  Don’t just broadcast announcements and deals with the hope that people will read them.  At the same time, be wary of trying to hard to be authentic.  People can easily detect phony attempts at seeming real.  If you were the CEO of Chevron or Shell and you posted, “Bought a solar powered calculator, made me feel good to conserve” I think people would see right through the PR department’s closely managed plan.

So, from an organizational stand point, this brings up a lot of questions.  How do you leverage the social qualities of your organization to create a unique interactive message?  How do you develop an authentic voice for the organization that socializes with your audience?  How do you allocate resources on social interaction that provide a real impact on your business?

That’s what I will be addressing next week.  Each day next week, I will post a different tactic about how you can develop a social mindset for your organization as your develop your social marketing strategy.

Can you measure the longtail of arts engagement?

I’ve spent a lot of time as a product manager analyzing user data – return visits, length of stay, pages view, actions performed, etc.  And over time, you can track the long tail of engagement – how deeply the average user is engaged with your service – and then make usability improvements, ad new features, create marketing incentives, etc. to increase that engagement.

As social media gets more integrated into art marketing and sales software, we are starting to have better ways to track our marketing’s effect to the bottom line.  Did the twitter promotions or you tube promo video drive the user to the box office?  This is good thing.  It’s about the business side and you want cut and dry numbers.

But what about audience engagement?  Yes, you can track how many people tweet about your show as the exit the theatre.  That’s the short tail – the immediate engagement we have from any experience that is interesting.  I could blog about a dinner as much as I could an art show.  But what about the long tail of engagement – the impact that the art or show had 3 months or 3 years later.

There are theatre shows, performances, music and art that has made a lasting impact on me.  The best ones are often difficult to digest and only after a long engagement with it, have they managed to change the way I think and view the world.  The way they engage me is deeply embedded in my psyche.  It’s untrackable admist those mysterious waters.

So as we continue to track all of our interactions with the audience to increase our ROI, I hope we don’t forget that the engagement that the arts originally intended was for the soul.

Liberating My Thoughts

I never made a New Year’s resolution, so I had an Independence day liberation instead – I am freeing my thoughts. My mind has been spinning around in circles with different ideas, dream, intuitions and thoughts that I want/need to express as well as dialogue with others about.

So what is this blog about?  Well, it’s not a personal diary about organizing my closet or naval gazing into my psyche.  It’s about the intersection of arts, social media and marketing.  I will be positing about new forms of art and theatre that are being created by social media (including my own ideas) as well how social media marketing is engaging audiences.

That’s it for today.  The gate of liberation has been swung open.  I look forward to dialoguing with you. . .  is anyone out there yet?