By James Pew

This post is the first place we send new Studio 2.0 clients and new Euphonic Community interns to learn about the social web. We always share what we discover about the new music business, the social web, and all things related to direct-to-fan, the long tail and 1,000 true fans with our Studio Manifesto readers as well, so please recommend to us any sources on these topics that you may have found helpful, or any techniques you may be using to forward your musical brand on the social web.

The Social Media Connect portion of our Studio 2.0 service is designed to help artists find the right balance of social networks for their brand, as well as set them up with a socially dynamic home base website.

A big part of Social Media Connect is showing artists how to interact in the social web and aggregate those interactions (content) back to their website. The next developmental stage is building community around the brand (the music), through engaging and participating in social networks, identifying interest and communicating relevant information to “targeted” individuals.

I use the term “targeted” loosely because engagement and participation on the social web, even if you are after potential fans or customers, is not at all like aiming a gun at a target and shooting. This is the strategy that most indie bands take – blasting out thousands of banner ads or show invites, continually annoying random people that they don’t know.

The age of the social web is much more about knowing, interacting, and empowering people, and less about “targeting” people.

1. Social Media for Audience Development & Community Building

This is the first post by @Documentally recommended to Studio 2.0 artists, Interns, friends, readers, and fellow producers and musicians.

I haven’t seen a more comprehensive analysis of the components, strategy and mindset needed for effective use of the social web then this great post by @Documentally

Please read Social Media for Audience Development & Community Building – then come back and we will go through some key things to take away from @Documetally’s summary of social media for community and audience building.

In explaining social media @Documentally says,

If you’re using social media properly your audience is your community, social media is about communication, and community building.

And points out that,

This is Not a New Way of Communicating…This is just communication, through a different medium. It’s just talking. As you’d talk, laugh, and converse in real life, you do so online. Don’t try and view it as a different language, engage with it using your own. Be yourself.

So how do we communicate on the social web? Through the exchange of content (everything from emails and tweets to blogs, youtube videos, shared photos, streaming or down loadable audio, etc.)

@Documentally breaks content into three categories:

1. Front facing: Your website/blog
2. Realtime: status updates view twitter, facebook/myspace, friend feed, 12 seconds etc
3. Audio/video/images

@Documentally walks us through each of the above categories of content. There is much actionable advice here that should not go ignored. Notice an important trend or as @Documentally puts it – how the three areas of content “cross pollinate” – forming an integrated machine with a clear message and objective.

An interesting case study showing social web communication in action is included. The case study, designed for a small business works very well for a band – who should definitely be thinking about how to synchronize their communications like an effective small business would. Also very useful that @Documentally includes the social media actions taken when promoting an event.

This is a case study for a small company, with actions for an Artistic Director, and a General Manager/Administrator. The more people who are feeding content into your streams the better (though if more than 2 people tweet from an account, consider personal ones that are re-tweeted by a main one, or signing tweets with your initials)

Don’t worry if any of the terms so far referred to don’t mean anything to you – consult the glossary of social media terms at the end of the post. There is also a brilliant social media glossary of terms on Radical Trust

Social Media for Audience Development & Community Building has become the starting point for Studio 2.0 artists in 2010. This post breaks down the essentials and gives you actionable things to do to get you moving in the development of your presence on the social web.

The moment you have a community, you have participants, not observers. People. Not Bums on Seats.

Also check out this great guide @Documentally links to written by @hannahnicklin called Twitter for Arts Organisations

2. Web Strategist Jeremiah Owyang analyzes and explains the five eras of the The Social Web.

The Five Eras of the Social Web:

1) Era of Social Relationships: People connect to others and share

Currently we are at a mature stage in this era. If you are on facebook, Myspace, and/or Twitter, or other social platform – and have made “friends” and shared content, than you have already entered this era. Congrats!

2) Era of Social Functionality: Social networks become like operating system

We entered this era in approx. 2008. This is where social networks, as Jeremiah Owyang puts it, become like operating systems, in that third party developers can design applications to function with these social platforms. When this era reaches a more mature stage it will be easy and ubiquitous for bands to have custom built applications for facebook/Myspace or where ever or whatever platform happens to be popular. We are already seeing this with Apple’s app store and a myriad of indie bands offer custom apps for the iphone. Mobile Roadie can make your band a low cost iphone app.

3) Era of Social Colonization: Every experience can now be social

When every single website on the web becomes social (weather wanted or not). Platforms like Open ID and Facebook Connect already make this a reality. We are just beginning to move in the direction of this era – it won’t be long before you will be able to find out what your friends (and the rest of the world) think about virtually any product or service at the touch of a button.

4) Era of Social Context: Personalized and accurate content

Digital ID’s (that people always have with them) become more common in this era. The ID information is shared with whomever a person chooses, in exchange for a more personal experience. This puts relevant information about social web activity, tastes, purchasing habits, etc. into the hands of the makers of products and services. Meaning communications (advertising) becomes more relevant – less random and interruption based.

There is already a ton of information on the people you connect with on the social web. From facebook profiles to personal blogs people offer many details about themselves. If someone is constantly sharing punk music on then that is a good indicator that they are a punk fan – who may just become a fan of your punk band too.

When a band sends a random show invite or free download to an unknown person there is no context. How does the band know the people being sent the message are even fans of music at all? Its important to recognize the relevancy of your message to the people you contact and connect with, otherwise you are playing the lottery. Keep your eyes open for platforms and applications that help you connect with like-minded people and gain access to relevant information about them. Without the info you won’t have context.

5) Era of Social Commerce: Communities define future products and services

“When communities start to look an act like companies and brands on their own.”

Imagine a band’s fan community playing a role in planning the tour, selecting art work for album covers and merchandise, sometimes creating the artwork, deciding where to get merchandise manufactured (based on what they are willing to pay for the end product) – or even tweaking the final mixes of the new single or correcting the lighting on the new fan produced video.

The era of social commerce sees a blurring of the lines between producers and consumers. Everyone becomes both.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Print This Post Print This Post