For independent artists, YouTube can be one of the most powerful platforms available for promotion and exposure. Of course, it is also one of the most difficult platforms to garner any significant growth and attention.
This challenge was no different for 23 year old hip-hip artist, and Brooklyn native Rob Scott.
As his manager, it was my job to figure out how to bring his dream to fruition. Without any assistance from record labels, we began to effectively use YouTube as a platform to get Rob Scott noticed.
Within the first couple of months, it was painful to notice that his long nights in the studio would only result in his songs receiving 11 views. To make matters worst, the 11 views I am speaking about came from the friends and family that was in the studio with him.
Initially, we would post his YouTube link all over people’s Facebook pages until we realized that spamming individuals was probably not the best way to gain true fans. We then decided that garnering views organically is the best possible solution. Today, he has accumulated over 235,000 channel views and has acquired more than 1, 400 YouTube subscribers.
Some may wonder how so?
Below are 6 strategies that we used to organically build Rob Scott’s Youtube channel from desolate to highly-trafficked:
At one point, Scott would upload a video at least once a week. During one week we would upload a song with a cover art and a couple weeks later we would upload a music video for that same song.
It is important to break down your material to get the most out of it. What I mean by that is, if you have a music video that you are planning to release, put out behind the scenes footage for that video, put out the song before you put out the video, or put out a snippet before you even release the song.
Now you have three pieces of content all based around that one record.
The more things you have to release, the easier it is to follow the rule of frequency. Evidently, it is almost impossible to acquire a great amount of views if you post a video once a year.
There have been several rare cases such as the Harlem Shake video going viral without the use of “frequency”, but I would not recommend depending on pure luck.
With Rob Scott, we created a schedule and began creating on a regular basis.
Another step that Rob Scott implemented to reach his amount of views was re-doing songs that were already popular.
Trey Songs released a song entitled “Can’t Be Friends” three years ago that gained a lot of commercial attention. While the song was still at its peak, Scott decided to re-do the song over with his own words and then shoot a music video for it.
Because viewers would search for the original Trey Songs version and see Scott’s rendition, it gave him a better chance of being viewed by some of the fans of that particular record. To date, Rob Scott’s rendition has over 90,000 views on YouTube and is still growing daily.
ThingLink, the most popular interactive image platform for publishers, brands, agencies and consumers, today added interactive image sharing to Facebook Timeline. Now when publishers share ThingLink interactive images to Facebook, viewers can ‘touch” them to experience the content inside the image — without leaving Facebook.
ThingLink’s proprietary, patent-pending web-based solution allows publishers to create, tag and share any image, in any environment, quickly and easily. ThingLink allows content producers to better understand how their images are being used by consumers on the different social media platforms, both in terms of interactions with the image as well as a wide range of social behaviors.
Publishers and individuals can now use ThingLink to transform static images on Facebook Timeline into a discovery experience — with music and video players, social links and brand content that appear inside an image when it is “touched.” Rich media tags from services like Youtube, Vimeo, Instagram, Imgur, Flickr, and Twitter are supported from the beginning, and support for custom third-party tags will be added in the coming weeks.
“Images are becoming forums for conversation and discovery that include sharing, touching, commenting, and remixing rich media content created by others”, said CEO Ulla Engeström. “ThingLink is now enabling a new kind of discovery experience on Facebook Timeline that evokes emotion and brings moments to life in ways that drive higher engagement.”
Example: Mèdecins Sans Frontiérs on Facebook Timeline via ThingLink: https://www.facebook.com/msf.english/posts/10151343426237385
Founded in 2010, ThingLink is the leading interactive image platform with over 130,000 publishers. ThingLink’s enterprise level account for publishers, agencies and brands offers such key features as group account management and the ability to create and launch custom image apps and icons that enhance engagement. ThingLink also offers advanced metrics for measuring image performance across social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, enabling valuable, new insights into consumer engagement.
At launch tomorrow, we are supporting YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Imgur, Flickr, Twitter, iTunes, and all Open Graph tags inside images. We will add support for more tags (including custom 3rd party tags) in the coming weeks.
How does it work: Touch the FB sharing icon on any ThingLink image or drop a ThingLink image url to FB Timeline directly.
When ThingLink interactive images are shared into Twitter, brands have commonly seen 5-30x improvements in engagement. Wherever ThingLink images are used on Web pages, the discoverability of content inside images makes those pages”stickier”, with increases in time spent on page.
Source: ThingLink press release
If you are anything like the majority of people, artists, authors, entrepreneurs and beyond who have built a Facebook fan page, then I’m sure you’ve noticed something…
Facebook makes it ALMOST impossible to make any sort of real growth happen.
A recent study reported by Mashable (from Napkin Labs), showed that on average only 6% of fans engage with a brand’s Facebook page:
On average, just 6% of fans engage with a brand’s Facebook Page via likes, comments, polls and other means, according to a study from Napkin Labs, a Facebook app developer that works with brands and agencies. Of those fans that did, the average engagement was the equivalent of less than one like over the course of the eight weeks the study was conducted.
There are several reasons for this. Most of these, truthfully, are human error which we will discuss below. But there is no doubt that Facebook is taking strides to make it more difficult for you to achieve growth & impressions on their platform.
The problem at hand is akin to a common proverb:
Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime…
Except in Facebook’s case, it’s more like, once you teach the man to fish, you then put a thick layer of ice over the water, making it FAR more difficult.
So let’s dive into the issues at hand below:
DEBATE: Is the Indie Music Machine Slowing Down?
This past decade has been great for nerds. Everywhere you look, pop culture memes praise the rise of geeks and dorks alike in every phase of entertainment, and the same goes for music. The explosion of “indie music” blew up with the appraised definition of music nerd/hipster, so much that you couldn’t separate bands like Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective from guys in chucks, plaid shirts and bed hair. Now, as Hipster Runoff points out, academia that used to power indie music is starting to get swallowed up by the saturation and mass commercialism of indie music. Thanks to corporations looking to tap into youth markets and MTV-like brands struggling to remain relevant, indie music was adopted from the underground circles, and is now being liquifided into mere marketing placenta.
It was only a matter of time when die-hard mp3 bloggers were beaten out by the SEO-demons of the web, and cutting edge indie music would be over-circulated because bloggers in the end want to overshare music that people already know about and bring traffic. You see this already happening with Buzzmedia purchasing all of the longer-lasting blogs like Stereogum, and now even SPIN. You can’t blame traffic-focused bloggers to be obsessed with SEO-tactics, but it kills the academic foundation indie music was built on. And when you kill the academia, then the smaller musicians lose and so do the music fans.
Does this spell the end of indie music? Hell no. You can’t turn off the desire to seek out new music and not stay on top of the of the scenes. It doesn’t work that way; it’s a nature, not a movement. However, it means there’s going to be a new wave of academics rise from below to beat out the bloggers that drank the SEO kool-aid and save the intellectual sect of music. It’s going to require the effort on behalf of new writers and new readers to read the new writers. If we all give into the bought-out blogs, then it’s going to be a long recovery.
We don’t believe music can ever be intimidated and coerced. New music will continue to re-shape and grow in it’s own way, but it’s going to take the music fans and new curators to help give the discussion new validity and meaning. One day, the nerds will go back to the bottom of the social food chain, but the music nerds will still be consuming music the same way.
Marketing Tip: Remixes + Collaborations
Just like everyone else vying for attention on the web, musicians struggle to control the conversation for long after their big release or tour. It’s especially tough when a band just released a single and will be too busy working in the studio and your hands are tied. One great way to keep that single alive and well is blasting it out to a network of DJs to remix it. Remixing a single can extend the lifespan of your single and it’s a great marketing tool to keep the song in the minds of current and new fans. Granted, there needs to be due diligence in picking the right DJs who will treat your song with the respect it deserves.
Another caveat on remixes: one remix can launch a viral effect into a dozen more. DJs not only like to sample popular music, they watch what other DJs do to their samples and want to repeat and compete. This only helps the song and pushes your band’s brand. The best part is you don’t have to do anything and the band looks with it because you’re open to creative collaboration.
On top of remixes, bands should be open to donating time to work with big name acts that go against the grain to present yourself to a different fan base.
Social Media Pyramid for Musicians
Does this say more than: Twitter is gaining on Facebook? It also looks like both will stop growing after this year. This says more about Twitter than about Facebook given the population differences.
Music tech companies react to Timeline and how they’ll deal without default pages.
Genuine optimism or false hope?
Facebook got here first, of course, and Google+ joined in more recently. So if you’re a marketer, you’ve got to be asking, what’s the best platform for you to focus on?
Let’s find the winning services in the important areas.
Facebook wins this one, hands down. With a reported user base of over 800 million, if you want to put your brand on the platform where users are—and where they’re talking to each other—Facebook is the place.
Twitter is likely in second place, probably with about 10 to 12% of Facebook’s user base (depending on which sources you believe) but its social reflection model (retweeting) makes it more powerful than the raw numbers would indicate.
Google+, no matter what the numbers say, is new, is seen as the social network for geeks, and doesn’t have the breakout appeal of the other networks. You can’t say, “Find us on Google+” in an advertisement and expect people to know what you’re talking about.
Facebook, again, wins on this front. A brand manager can make a Facebook page that does almost as much as a regular Web page, and with the added bonus of having a “Like” button in a standard position to encourage social sharing.
Facebook also lets managers create nice lists of related Facebook pages in the left-hand navigation.
Neither Twitter nor Google allow you to dump huge blocks of HTML into brand pages. Google+ does, however, have more post types than Twitter. A string of photos or embedded videos can make a Google+ brand page look like a photo album.
Twitter brand pages are, not surprisingly, lists of tweets. Brand managers can pin a single tweet (with an image) to the top of the stream, but the rest is just text and links.
While Facebook offers the most flexibility of design, giving managers access to the whole middle of the page (see Best Buy), Twitter allows its brand users to do a far better job of reinforcing their company’s aesthetic.
Twitter gives managers the capability to change the color scheme of the entire brand page, as well as put in their own header art and background image. Check out these early examples of Twitter brand pages: Heineken, Dell, and Pepsi. They all share the same locked-down template, but reflect their corporate designs effectively.
Google+ allows designers to change company logo and header art, actually five little squares of header, but nothing else. The limitation can be used to good effect (Angry Birds) or mitigated through a mostly-white design (Hugo Boss).
Interaction: Facebook/Twitter tie
Facebook is all about the Like. Some brands have millions (Best Buy has 5.5 million). These Likes are valuable, as each represents social network reflection out to, potentially, millions more people.
Facebook also makes it easy for brands to bribe users, by restricting content or features to users who have Liked their pages.
Twitter’s interaction is about two things: The Follow and the @ Reply. While the Follow is the Twitter equivalent of the Like, a personal endorsement of a sort, Twitter’s large and plain inclusion of the reply box on its brand pages encourages users to send public messages to and about brands. The reply box is somewhat misleading, though: It says, “Tweet to…” instead of “Tweet about…” But it looks like an effective way to get users to reinforce brands by posting items with their Twitter handles in them.
Google+ interaction design is a bit of a mess, in comparison. The main interaction points are the +1 and “Share this page” buttons, but I wager that most users don’t know the difference, and they’re right next to each other. Users can also comment on individual items on a Google+ page, but these will not have the same social spread as the stronger overall brand mentions that Facebook and Twitter have engineered into their designs.
Mobile: None of the above
Each of the three services presents a constrained view when called up on a smartphone. Designs are removed, and any HTML elements are stripped out and and replaced with lists of posts. The services look much the same, in fact, on claustrophobic mobile devices. They all become just lists of updates, with easy access to their platforms’ primary social activities: Likes and comments on Facebook, Retweets on Twitter, and Comments on Google+. None of the services offer brands a good, customizable mobile experience.
Facebook is where the power is, but Twitter’s clean design and interaction model makes it an attractive and necessary secondary platform for marketers to work on.
Google+ doesn’t have the features, reach, or clarity to compete with these two power players yet.
However, the clear and best course of action for a marketer or brand manager is to establish a presence on each platform. They can even reinforce each other to good effect.
Pepsi, for example, lists its Facebook page as the go-to link in its Twitter profile.
Article originally appeared on Cnet (http://www.cnet.com) and was written by Rafe Needleman.
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