8 Steps to Social Networking / Web 2.0 Mastery
by Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR
STEP ONE: Start At Home base (Your Homepage)
Start with your branding – create a homepage using that consistent look & feel
Think the look & feel through – who are you trying to reach?
What are your colors, your logo, and your overall vibe – This should be consistent and will carry over to all your portals!
Your username should be the same across the Internet for consistency
Also add links to all of the places you can be found online (MySpace, Twitter, Facebook etc.)
Q: Should your own website be your home base?
A: YES! And, it should ALWAYS have an exclusive bribe to get people to go there AND give you their email addresses
TIP: Resist the temptation of FLASH on your homepage – it may look good but it is a terrible user experience and Google cannot index Flash pages (in other words you won’t be findable on Google)
Google’s research says that people leave if the load time takes more than 3 seconds people move onto the next site so get rid of your flash intro --- it’s very 1997!
TIP: When moving around the Social Networks use a consistent handle on all of these sites so you are easily recognizable all over the place - Choose a username and stick with it at every site!
STEP TWO: Let It Go
You have to understand a fundamental thing about Web 2.0 (the interactive web): You are putting info out there for other people and fans to use – this is how social networks work. So, it will go out of your control! The good news is, once you put your art onto a social network it becomes your fans… and THEY then spread the word virally!
TIP: Don’t be risk averse, if you are Social Networking is not for you!
You cannot control what “they” say – that’s the whole point of Web 2.0!
This is hard for artists .So, take a deep breath and let it go!
Corey: Snakes on a Plane did not happen b/c of message control – it went out into the ether and everyone contributed what they wanted and it grew enormously
Q: So – Should you be everywhere online?
Your fans live and breathe you and they also have other things in common
So you should have a home base for your power fans (your website) and then be everywhere – in as many possible places as you can be all over the net.
STEP THREE: Use Widgets
Widgets are brilliant because all you have to do is enter your dates at one place (Reverb Nation is a great place to start) and it syndicates over the net – to your MySpace, Facebok etc.
The cool thing about Reverb Nation’s widgets are they collect the stats & info of everyone clicking on your widgets and you can log in and see statistics in real time. This is amazing info to have and you can use it to your advantage when you go on tour, or do online promotions, publicity or marketing.
STEP FOUR: Chunk It Down, Don’t Try To Do It All In One Day!
It’s very easy to lose focus when you are trying to be everywhere online.
Make a list of what steps you are going to take to avoid going down the rabbit hole.
Q: How important is it to show more of yourself than just your music and what you are up to as an artist?
A: VERY - It is important to be multi-dimensional around the net – don’t only focus on the music and you as a band – remember you are also a human with other interests. The art of mastering Social Networking is learning how to use these tools and they each have a learning curve so start with ONE and after you get the hang of it move to the next and do the one that appeal to you first.
Q: Is Facebook replacing MySpace? I read that somewhere...
A: Rachel: No, Facebook is not replacing MySpace – its not replacing anything – it is gaining a LOT of popularity and it will soon be indexed in Google searches so USE Facebook (it also has a LOT of great widgets). A massive Facebook bonus is - he has a way of searching by neighborhood, which is amazing information to have when you are looking to target specific areas and tour.
Q: Are some sites better than others and how do I know which ones to use?
A: Corey: Just use them all – the WORST thing that will ever happen is you will be more Googleable! This is the objective in your Internet marketing – to be FOUND.
Q: What about privacy issues with being in all those places?
A: Lou: Each site has a user agreement and you should read each one and understand what you are agreeing to.
TIP: I think Twitter is the easiest one to get a handle on and it is simple to master so start there.
STEP FIVE: Make Yourself Stand Out!
Rachel: Create a great experience for your fans. Create unique videos as additional content – people LOVE videos.
Corey: Constantly put out new things and ideas, have a 360 view
TIP: Make a YouTube channel to house all of the videos
Use Splashcast to widgetize your videos
Web 2.0 is a really cool way around Google – when you use social networking tools you make yourself more findable on Google and then you don’t have to invest in Google Ad words or SEO – it works organically!
STEP SIX: GET HELP – Delegate The Outreach To Others!
Q: What do you do when you have a rabid / psycho fan who drives you nuts?
A: Corey: put them to work make the head of your online street team and delegate.
Q: How does promoting specific events tie into this social networking stuff?
A: There are some great tools that can help you get your show info out onto the net
TIP: Brian Dear The EVENTFUL.com founder talked about how his “request an event” works – at this moment 600,000 people are requesting event s from their favorite artists – it creates a demand -then you can go and book yourself based on what people want and where! You can also use their performer dashboard to manage your events, see cities around the world where fans are clustering and then you can target each city and email the people that wanted the events directly.
Use this info to discuss with promoters – hey look I have 500 people that want me to go on tour & get your fans to book shows for you
STEP SEVEN: Get On The Court: Play Ball With Bloggers & Podcasters
Read blogs everyday – get a feel for the bloggers you like and post comments on their blogs!
TIP: For Controlling information: Use RSS Readers - RSS feeds are critical in this discussion and you should first start by creating an RSS reader they are free and easy to set up. My favorite is Google Reader but Yahoo has one as well.
With an RSS reader your followers don’t have to subscribe to your email list they can choose what content that they have sent to them
STEP EIGHT: Use Tags Consistently
Always tag your handle (mine is CyberPR) then you mark it with other tags music NYC and always tag WHAT YOU SOUND LIKE (Genres and other names of more famous artists)
Brian: Tags help provide taxonomy and some organization to the huge amount of information out there
There you have it - It’s a whirlwind! I hope you find this information helpful and please report back to me about how your own Social Networking endeavors are going, as I love to tell stories from the frontlines.