Leveraging The Power Of Social Networking To Build Your Brand (Insights Gleaned From The Blog World & New Media Expo): Navigating The New Music Market **Special Edition**

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...At the same time the movie “The Social Network” was in theatre making even more money for the Facebook I was at the Blog World Expo & New Media Expo which was partially sponsored by Facebook among others. The Blog World Expo is the SXSW of the blog and social media networks. The masses of content providers and content creators of social media converged on the Mandalay Bay Conference Center for the Three day event in Las Vegas. During this time many topics where covered from what Label want from blogs and social media, to stay at home dads who blog, to people wanting to turn a hobby into a career. There were nine main session tracks which features the Social Media Business Summit, Building Community, New Media 201, Monetization, Blogging 2.0, Digital Broadcasting, Mobile, Community Tracks and Keynote Sessions. Depending on if you where following a specific track or picking each session on their usefulness to you, there were a diverse range of useful tracks. BWE 2010 sponsors included Youtube, Mashable, Paypal, Demand Media Studios, Plixi, Blogger, Tungle.me, CoTweet, Urthots, Shareasale, .tv, TwitterMoms, Ustream, PR Newswire, Media Pass, Blog2Print, Myzerr, Smart Brief on Social Media, IFroggy network, Blogadda.com, BlogWell, CloudContacts, 2010 Black Weblog Awards, Social Media Club, and A-List Blogger Club to name a few. Some of their corporate sponsors included the Ford, Kodak, Mandalay Bay, Soutwest, Pepsico, LG, Coors Light, Sony, the U.S. Army, Johnson & Johnson, Monster, Blackberry, Luxor, Lexmark, and Paypal. As you can see this is a large event with a broad spectrum of support.

The Blog World & New Media Expo is the first and only industry-wide Conference, Tradeshow and Media Event for all New Media. This is the main place to converge to discuss the emerging market and products in New Media. I went on assignment from Rapzilla to find out how we can learn about and leverage the power of blogs and social media to the benefit of the Christian market, artist and labels alike. I went to explore the ever growing uses and advances of social media, their uses and how we can effectively capitalize the use of these tools. Let’s take a look at the power of social networking, the pros and cons, and see what we can learn about it and how we can use it to our benefit. Most everyone knows of or uses the three giants of Social Media; Twitter, Facebook and Blogging.

Some Essential Keys To Understanding & Using Social Media

Some key things to understand about Social Media is that it is a key to building your fan base. To keep people engaged you must keep it pithy and interesting. Knowing how to properly use social networking can drastically change your group, band or websites presence and effectively increase your audience, sales, bookings and public persona. From my personal experience I have found that utilizing Twitter, Facebook Groups, LinkedIn, and WordPress I was able to go from a few hundred hits a month to getting a few thousand hits a month. I did all of this before going to the Blog World Expo. In the past I’ve done some experiments with social media even did some no-no’s like overloaded Twitter and Facebook with content. I’ve since sought to find a moderate middle ground where in which I’ve built a solid presence providing promotional mixtapes and interesting blogs that has engendered some solid followers and subscribers. So this Expo has been useful in helping hone what I’ve learned and give me some new tools. I would like to share with you what I have learned and how it can help us grow our markets reach, share and marketability.

Branding, Recognition, And Fan Connectivity

One of the main things that you should effectively learn to use social media for is Branding, Recognition and connecting with your fans. Lets look at the main ways people use social media right now and what they help us to accomplish.

Twitter is the short news cap what they call micro-blogging. Its blogging for those who don’t want to write an article or invest into writing and research in-depth materials. Really the founder of twitter took the status update from Facebook and Myspace and made it the main function so you can update in one place and now have it update all your social media sites through apps in each respective distributor of social media. People like information in small bits, most people don’t want the long drawn out information. So keep it short, be pithy, be professional, engage your fans, ask for feedback and most importantly don’t ignore comments or replies. Make every supporter count the more you put into them them more you get back.

Facebook has replaced forums in that you can set up groups, notes and have discussions but its personal not just an icon and a user name on a message board. Twitter and Facebook are the forum killers. Together they done damage to the “forum” community. Facebook is a good way to get more personal and engage fans in more in-depth. You can turn friends and family in to fans and supporters. You can connect with old friends and schoolmates and thus group you social network, growing you social network, grows your social net worth or value to respective fans or supporters. Facebook has a few services where you can feature music and videos that are good for artist.

Blogging is another vital way to connect with your fans, give updates, post vlogs, podcasts or write ups about the latest happenings. Picking the right blog is crucial to what you want to do with it. Blogger is old faithful, simple and easy. WordPress is my personal favorite, which has many useful plugins, widgets and apps to make your blog stand out. Tumblr is more social media and music friendly. It seems to be more similar to twitter and less like other blogs. Some successful Christian Rap Blogs have been Tweezyblog by KJ-52, Life Don’t Rhyme by manCHILD, Notes From The Sketchpad by Sketch The Journalist, Grow The Heck Up by Lavoisier The Rap Terrorist, Big Sto, para-DOX para-ABLEss, and Triple H Mixtapes, to name a few. Many artist have started doing blogs from Japhia Life, to Frontlynaz, to DJ Stibs, to across the pond Karl Nova (England’s native emcee), and there are host of others who have personal blogs to support their music, fans, family, movement and brand.

Automation Is Key To Saving Time & Resources

Automate your updates instead of having to go to 50 places to post the same things. Services like Artistdata allow you to post to many places at once. I like the WordPress feature that posts to Twitter, Facebook and Yahoo directly every time you add a new post. It’s automated every time I have a new blog posted all my readers are notified. Like many, I don’t go on Myspace anymore however I set up Artistdata to post my Twitter updates there since I have some 13,000 followers. I also set up a RSS reader for my WordPress blog feed. Many social media sites and blogs have built in apps you can add to your site that will automatically pull your social media content into each of your social media sites.

Some Keys To Blogging & Social Media Success

Some things to consider once you start blogging. Start blogging about things you like and don’t like, do top 10 lists of things you watch, like, don’t like or whatever you can come up with. You can use forum spring to allow people to ask questions and get to know you. You can set up apps to Yahoo and Windows Live Space to automatically pull blog RSS and Twitter feeds to keep people in your network updated with the latest news from you. You can set up Facebook to pull your blogs post in as notes and publish them in your artist and group web pages. The more places that you are connected the more exposure your brand has. Don’t limit yourself to only the top three though starting with a solid professional Twitter, Facebook and Blog presence is good. In some cases your social media presence and activity can replace the need for a personal website though there are uses to having a central hub you can send people to connect to your latest content.

Something’s To Remember

Something’s you should make a note to not do is to not overload Twitter, in general don’t overload people with content. Make the content personal constant and relevant to them and what your doing. Also, the more you blog the more support you get. Don’t be afraid to talk about your beliefs or even talk about your causes or passions. Discuss movies you’ve seen and like or dislike. Talk about other artist like. Let people know your real and relatable not everyone will feel like you but the more you share the more interest you create many people like to see what going on in others lives it helps forget what happening in yours. Vlogs are good ways to update your fans on what’s going on with your music, your life, studio recording session and just plain promotion. Podcasting is another way to talk to your fans and leak singles or music you like to share your interests with your fan. The more that you share about yourself the more your supports feel connected to you and what your doing. Be careful to not share to much and keep something’s personal and private. I personally do not like hearing about your latest bathroom epiphany, as I’m sure others would agree.

Capitalizing On The Brand Of You

If you have a rap moniker and a CD, you have branded yourself. Your name says a lot about you want what you stand for. Don’t be afraid to capitalize on your brand or even accept that you have already branded yourself and created a brand. Learning how to brand yourself successfully and use the tools at your disposal for your benefit is essential. You may not feel like your a brand or that calling it branding somehow diminishes your calling. I can guarantee you this does not take away from your ministry. These are just wise business tools that can be used to build your ministry. Famous pastors and Christian book sellers do it all the time. Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove. Use the tools you have to communicate the message you love. If your message-brand is changing lives then use all the tools you can to perfect and expedite the message not hinder it in some for of vain false humility. Now what things like SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are, study them out and learn to use them to help you get Top Ranking so that you can reach a broader audience. Be a student of culture who uses tools to communicate the gospel message like a missionary. Plan your content, use common keywords, use SEO tools, schedule your posts and effectively promote your content. Don’t abuse tools like Facebook’s event invite to become “the boy who cried wolf” and then when you have a real event people are so used to tuning you out they miss it. Learn to socialize and be useful. Don’t just promote yourself all the time, get personal as well. People want to see the person you are not just the hustler at work. There is a time to grind, a time to be personal and time to shine. Get other blogs and artist to feature your blog content by being interesting and grabbing attention. Realize you are nothing without the fans you engender. For example Asher Roth and D.A. Wallach they have used free promotional albums and mixtapes along with social media to gather larger followings. They have tried to keep their fans engaged and connected. Recently Jin did a mixtape for the people by the people where artist submitted tracks on Youtube and people voted on what they liked and the top picks got a feature from Jin. There are many ways to build your brand and be creative. Explore all the options and engage your audience in a way that brings them back for more. One key to remember in monetizing is that people in social media shy away from monetizing, so if you want to monetize you need to provide ninety percent free and sell the premium ten percent to those who may be interested in more. Be wise in your use of the tools of social media presenting the message of your music and lifestyle to those you want to hear your message and support your ministry.

3 Responses so far.

  1. JustparaDOX says:

    You can find it in the wordpress theme section.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by RightJustRapSocialJF, bridget busutil. bridget busutil said: Leveraging The Power Of Social Networking To Build Your Brand …: Many social media sites and blogs have built … http://bit.ly/ciKIgr [...]

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