Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ category

5 Things I Learned from “The Social Network”

October 4, 2010

Have you seen it yet? If not, you should definitely go check it out. Being a social network enthusiast, this movies wasn’t just entertainment for me. It was sort of like a lecture. I could probably write-off the ticket stub on my taxes. *chuckle* (that’s not a joke…but maybe it is)

1. There’s no point in creating something that already exists. The Social Network is the story of one (or two) very messy lawsuits. One person claimed he invented Facebook, three others claimed they had the idea first. Once Facebook was out in the public, the need for another Facebook-like network was obsolete. Completely unnecessary. You’ll hear/see/feel the anger in these guys over the anguish of losing control over their idea because someone else beat them to the punchline. If what you want to do already exists, be creative and do things differently. No one wants two of the same things if they can have two different things.

2. “It won’t be finished…the way fashion is never finished.”
I can’t remember whose line this was in the movie, but its pretty genius. Yea, in reality FB may die someday (just like Myspace has deteriorated). But the idea is to create something that is always evolving – not toward an end, but toward a new look. It’s actually the story of life. You set a goal. You reach the goal. Then you set a new goal. It’s never really finished. Make this your goal – to always be evolving, to always be growing, changing, innovating. Just like fashion.

3. “”A million dollars isnt cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars”
Dream Big. This movie is all about dreaming big, expanding, and doing things that have never been done. If you’ve got an idea, one-up yourself and think of the next bigger idea.

4. Choose your partners wisely.
This one’s for the bands out there. Yea…trying to make 4 people happy is hard, but if you’re not on the same page about the most practical things, you’ll fall apart. This is why the turnover rate for bands is so high. Read one of Grassrootsy’s older blogs: Starting a Band? Here Are a Few Things You Should Do

5. Be strategic
If you watch the movie, you’ll see that Facebook gets its start at Harvard and then slowly expands to the colleges in close proximity to Harvard. The reasoning behind this (according to the actor who plays Facebook’s founder) is that students visiting their friends at other schools would see them on FB and join, resulting in a major “buzz” effect in a concentrated area. Genius. A form of word-of-mouth by association. Make sure you have a game plan because it will help to guide your growth.

DID YOU SEE THE SOCIAL NETWORK?
If you saw the movie, comment below and let Grassrootsy readings know if you picked up on anything worth sharing.

Speaking of Social Networks, how about Tweeting this post…or even better…Facebooking it!

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Random Tips & Tricks #4

September 13, 2010

To read the first three blogs in this series visit:  Random Tips & Tricks #1, Random Tips & Tricks #2, and Random Tips & Tricks #3. Here are a few new tips…

Be as Uniform as Possible
Make sure your domain names match.  It’s really a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how often people overlook this little detail.  You want your fans to easily predict where to find you online. If your band name is Sparks of Fire, your domains should be as follow…

You and I both know bands who have incongruent  domain names.  Its annoying. But most importantly, it makes it harder for  group’s fans to carry over from one social network to the next.

Another tip, if http://www.myspace.com/sparksof fire is taken, go with http://www.myspace.com/sparksoffireband or http://www.myspace.com/sparksoffiremusic instead.

Name Your Events
Name your events. It’s not just a show, its an event…so treat it like so.  When you give something a name, you give it purpose. And a name…especially a catchy one…will stick in people’s minds.  Say you host a weekly music showcase on Saturday evenings. Call it “Saturday Night Sounds” (for lack of a better title).  People will remember that it’s specifically on Saturday, and they’ll also call it by its given name instead of giving it their own.

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An Interview with Amanda Duncan

July 14, 2010

Amanda Duncan

New Jersey artist, Amanda Duncan, is an artist who steals the show even before she gets on stage. She has a knack for grabbing the attention of music lovers because she really stands out!  She’s a a funny chick with a knack for transfering her comical personality into her online representation. Just like Allison Weiss, she’s got some wise words on social networking, online marketing, and image. Read and repeat.

1. What’s your story? How did you get into performing and touring? Are you doing this full time? Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be in the spotlight. I’ve always wanted to be an entertainer…I just didn’t know what form of entertainment. I kind of got into this whole singer/songwriter-ness by accident. For some reason when I was 17, I thought I was going to get a guitar from my aunt and uncle, but I was given a baseball signed by Wade Boggs. Haha! I was so excited to play guitar that I had to start learning so I borrowed a one and practiced every day so I could play and sing at the same time. Some horrible songs followed. Haha! But some years later I really started to hone my craft of songwriting. I’ve always felt comfortable in front of crowds. So, the performance aspect of my career has come naturally.

In all honesty, I haven’t been on too many tours. I’ve had a few stints here and there, but nothing to shake a stick at. That is all about to change with my upcoming college tour this fall. Once that happens I will be a full time musician. For years now, I have been juggling a web design business and my music career…and I’m sooooo excited that in a few months my job will solely be music!!!


2. You’ve do have quite a calendar with alot of college shows. Are you part of NACA? If so, what are you thoughts on becoming a member and going to regional showcases.  For those who aren’t part of NACA, what do you suggest is the best method for college booking & touring.
NACA (National Association of Campus Activities)! Yes, I am a part of it. Let me explain it to those who don’t know what it is. NACA is an organization that holds regional conferences for college student activity boards across the country. The conferences consist of showcases, exhibit halls and educational sessions. The showcases can be anything from singer/songwriters to magicians, bands, jugglers, comedians, etc. The exhibit hall (which is called the Market Place) is where everyone has booths and the students can walk around and get info from the various entertainers.  More on NACA.

The NACA world can be fickle. One can get easily discouraged by the push and shove of it all. It’s hard to get selected to showcase because there are hundreds of applicants. And it’s hard to get booked if you don’t showcase. Attending regional conferences without showcasing might score you a few gigs, but not enough for a full calendar year. You also have to have music that actually appeals to college students…that is probably the most important thing! Haha!

Booking your own college shows is definitely an option. You have to be super organized, motivated and have college fans. If you have college fans you are one step closer to the student activities board. I did this for a while with some success.

3. Your self promotion is spot-on! Do you have someone handling your marketing? Your songs are bitter-sweet, sentimental, yet playful all at the same time. And your marketing seems to reflects that. What are your thoughts on consistency and uniformity as an artists? I actually do all my marketing. I do my own graphic work and I come up with the ideas for my photo shoots. I have a real vision of how I want to come across to people. I want people to see me as a fun approachable artist. I think that comes through. I feel like we are all swimming in a sea full of musicians and I need to stick out at face value. People may chuckle when they see my photos and think I’m some sort of comedian/weirdo, but once they take a listen to my music they tend to get it. The marketing really comes together at my live shows when they get to see me play and listen to my ridiculous banter.

As far as consistency and uniformity goes, that is a great question. I think being consistently YOU as an artist is important, but I think being an ORIGINAL artist is what will put you above the rest. You can write songs that run the gamete as long as it’s “your sound”. Basically you have to see yourself as a brand. If I say “Pepsi” or “McDonalds” you picture their logo instantly. Obviously, those companies have spent billions of dollars on advertising…but you can do the same thing for yourself as an artist. I have a logo. It’s a lawn chair. And in the beginning, people were asking “Why the chair?” And my response would be “When people listen to my music I want them to think of summer time. And to me summer time reminds me of backyard barbeques with lawn chairs.” Now people just accept it and say “I love the chair!”

4. I see that you really make use of social networking and social networking widgets. Which network(s) do you think you’ve benefited from the most? I think it’s a combination of everything. At first I used MySpace (now apparently only dinosaurs use it). And that got me by for a long time. I use facebook to stay in touch with people and let people know what I’m up to. I am not gonna lie…I obsess over Twitter. Although, that seems to be dying out as well. As an artist, you have to keep up with the moving trends of social networking. If there is a new networking site that comes out…sign up for it right away so you can claim your artist name before anyone else of the same name gets it. If you use the account, cool…if you don’t…don’t worry about it. I keep a spreadsheet of all my accounts/usernames/passwords. There is so much to keep track of these days, but it’s all important!


5. This is a question Grassrootsy asks each of its Interviewees
: What do you think is the single most important thing an artist should do to promote themselves better? I know that there are a lot of artists who don’t want to spend time on the internet/computer. To me, this is a huge mistake. If you want to sustain a long career in music you need to spend at least 1 hour a day making sure you are keeping up with your social networking. My general rule is to respond as much as possible to the people who post stuff on my facebook wall or twitter. I think we all know what it’s like to respond to a tweet of someone we really look up to and yet they never respond to ours. I never want people to feel that way with me. And when you have interactions online make sure they are positive. No one wants to see cryptic emo messages from a musician they idolize. Post funny things, things about your music, things that will provoke people to comment.

“You have to remember music is a business! You can be a genius and write the world’s best songs, but if you make bad business decisions those songs won’t see the light of day.”

6. Any additional advice, lessons learned, or thoughts on independent musicatry (fake word), that you can pass on to readers? My biggest pet peeve is when a really talented artist doesn’t have their ducks in a row. I think the reason I’ve come as far as I have is because I am very business oriented when it comes to my career. I’m organized, not to mention I have a lot of techie skills to help me promote my music. As a musician, you need to know your strengths and your weaknesses. I’m not saying to have a complex about it. Haha! For instance…I am pretty confident in my songwriting skills, but I know I couldn’t produce my songs to their fullest potential. That is when I bring in a professional. I went through that whole phase of wanting to do EVERYTHING myself. It’s great to have that kind of motivation, but it can lead to some really bad career moves if you keep convincing yourself you are good at something you truly are not. If you aren’t organized…get management or someone to help you organize yourself. You have to remember music is a business! You can be a genius and write the world’s best songs, but if you make bad business decisions those songs won’t see the light of day. I have a whole binder separated by tabs (yes, I’m that dorky) to keep me organized. I won’t get into those crazy details, but if you want to know how I have it split up, feel free to email me.

Amanda Duncan Online:
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/amandaduncan
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amanda-Duncan/8542291310
Twitter: http://twitter.com/amandaduncan
YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/amandaduncan
Blog: http://amandaduncan.wordpress.com
iLike: http://www.ilike.com/artist/Amanda+Duncan
Reverb Nation: http://www.reverbnation.com/amandaduncan

The Process of Publicity

July 12, 2010

Given last week’s post on booking, publicity, and being managed, I thought I’d put down some additional thoughts on publicity…since i think it happens to be the biggest piece of the puzzle.  Like I’ve always said, you can be the best musician in the world, but if nobody knows, it won’t do you any good.

Local Publicity
Need a place to start? This is a good place. You can’t climb a mountain overnight. Many times newbie artist try to score huge opportunities (i.e. major record deals, large-scale interviews, and opening opportunities for big-name artists).  No shame in that; but remember, it really helps to build your resume. So go local. Play out as much as you can in local venues and coffee shops. Pitch yourself for write-ups in local papers whenever you have something notable on the horizon (i.e. CD Release or major event). Your local press will appreciate the fact that you’re not spamming them about “nothing”.  See How to Score Reviews of Your CD for tips on how to pitch yourself to media.

Online Presence
This is the most important part of your publicity!  Take care of it and do it well. Post videos, tweet, update your status, update your website, communicate with your “followers” and “fans”, be timely, don’t spam, don’t underestimate the power of suggestion. At the very least, 25% of the blogs on this site focus on social networking and online presence. I highly recommend reading “An Interview with Allison Weiss” for her  solid advice on shameless self-promotion via social media. It’s good readin’.

Tackling the Big Dogs
We’re not all Justin Bieber. Realistically, very few people will post a song on YouTube and get discovered, so this step will come much later in the process. Years later, actually.  Once you’ve built up a resume, been around the block a few times, gotten some substantial reviews, and traveled a bit, you might want to start reaching out to bigger networks, stations, and publications for coverage. At this point in the game, it might be worth investing in someone (a publicist) who already has established relationships with these folks. More on hiring help:
Who Do You Need the Most: Publicist, Booking Agent, Manager?

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Mailing Lists & Social Networking

June 28, 2010

Think of Your Mailing List as a Gateway Drug. If you’ve read Grassrootsy for any amount of time, you know we stress the importance of having a mailing list at your shows. Well, given the rise of Facebook and Twitter among musicians, your mailing might not be the most important way to communicate with your fans anymore (I can’t believe i just said that)!   However a newsletter IS still the best way of opening the door to more direct communication with your fans. Here’s what you do:

  1. Pass your newsletter around the room at your show
  2. Within a day or two, email everyone who subscribed, welcoming them to the list
  3. In your “Welcome” newsletter, make sure you include prominent links to your Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and any other social network
  4. Emphasize the fact that fans can best stay in touch with you and your schedule when they follow you on FB or twitter

I’ve personally noticed that while the number of people reading my newsletters has statistically gone down, I’m communicating with fans more often and more directly via Facebook and twitter.

 

To see some past thoughts on the mailing list, see:

 

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Spreading the Word Through Facebook & Twitter

May 6, 2010

Tonight I learned a little trick that will hopefully help you increase traffic to your website and/or help your fans pass on your name to their friends and network.

I’d always wondered how to get people to forward a message through their twitter and facebook account. The code is actually quite simple. If you’ve got a useful information and you want people to spread it through their social networkin accounts, here’s how.

  • DISCLAIMER: So there seems to be an issue when you copy/paste the below codes in your html editor. It doesn’t seem to work. I’m really not sure why. Rest-assured that this is the code. It works on myspace and probably a few other sites. But it might be best to type it out instead of copy/pasting when in your website’s html editor.

Twitter
Message for fans: “Band XYZ has a a show on Friday at Iota! Hope you can make it!  Contact us for details or isit http://www.XYZ.com!

code: <a href= “http://twitter.com/home?status= Band XYZ has a a show on Friday at Iota! Hope you can make it!  Contact us for details or visit http://www.XYZ.com” target= “_blank”>Tweet This</a>

result: Tweet This (click and see what happens)

That’s your code. Embed it on your site and only change the text in blue after “href” and before “target”, and you’ve made it easy for your fans to help you spread the word.  It will look like this.

p.s. don’t forget to:

  1. including  your twitter account
  2. include a link to a place where peope can find more information on your post
  3. make sure the post is within 140 characters.

____________________________________________________________

Facebook
Facebook allows you to post links for forwarding, but not text.
So instead of posting the above message about band XYZ’s show, you can only post http://www.xyz.com

code: <a href= “http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=http://www.XYZ.com” target= “_blank”>Share this on Facebook</a>

result: Share this on Facebook (click and see what happen)

That’s your code. Embed this on your site and only change the text in blue after that funky looking facebook link and “=” sign, and you’ve made it easy for your fans to help you spread the word.  It will look like this. Click and see what happens:

If you want, you can use icons instead of the words “tweet this” or “share this on facebook”, check out this page to see how that looks.
Pretty cool stuff.

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So Why is Everyone so Crazy About Twitter?

April 14, 2010

If you’re an artist who is still reluctant to join Twitter, this post is for you.

So why is everyone so crazy about 140 characters?  I mean, you can use as many words as you want on facebook. Why sign up for a twitter account? Here’s why…

1. Twitter accurately reflects an impatient culture. If you’re like most people, you have a low attention span and split you attention across several forms of media at any given time on any given day. Twitter is fast. It shares a snippet of information with people who probably wouldn’t read the full longer version. And if they do want the longer version, you can just include a link.

3. Less is More. In addition, because your information is concise, your audience is more likely to take in and remember what youv’e said.

2. Twitter is the home of “word of mouth”. I said this in Monday’s post. Twitter has gained a reputation for being an easy platform for people to share their interests. Simple actions like re-tweeting (i.e. reposting your original tweet to their friends)  give fans the opportunity to spread your information to a completely new network for people.  It’s genius, really.

3. Less is More. Because your information is concise, your audience is more likely to take in and remember what youv’e said.

4. ROI: Return on Interest. You put little effort in, you get a huge return- engaged readers, retweets, traffic to your website…etc.

5. Be Active Even When Your Not. Lets say you don’t really have any new information for your website(s).  Tweeting daily reminds your fans that you still exist even though you stagnant website might indicate otherwise.

Hey, don’t forget to follow Grassrootsy on Twitter!

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