Arcade Fire: Social Media and a #1 Album

As Katy Perry, Drake, Eminem and Lady Gaga dominate the summer music charts, it was nice to see a change at the top spot. Congrats to Arcade Fire! But what really helped them get there? Good music, unique live performances, loyal fans or a focused social media marketing plan? How about all of the above? Earlier this month, the band even played a live show from New York’s Madison Square Garden, which was streamed in real-time on YouTube.

A look at Arcade Fire’s social media profiles reveals that they are effective because they are so well-maintained. It’s also refreshing to see a band expand beyond just using MySpace. All the profiles are linked to their main site, where fans can find tour information and buy the new album. Over 97,000 digital sales have also helped Arcade Fire secure the #1 spot.

The ease and shareability through social media has given Arcade Fire (and tons of other bands) an opportunity to reach new fans that they wouldn’t have otherwise. A new Arcade Fire fan reveals, “I just found out about this band today and I must say, I’m quite impressed. They are amazing.” Isn’t this glowing review an example of what any band or business would like to have said about them?

‘Modern Man’ is currently my favorite track off the album. Check it out!

Stop Being So Frantic About Social Media

Such a rare sight to see – a hummingbird that’s actually sitting still!

This just reminds me of people who are so frantic about getting started with social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Ning, Flickr, LinkedIn, Tumblr and more. Sure, you can throw out all these names but what’s the point of being on all these social media channels? If you just want to be on all these profiles for the sake of being there, it’s time to reevaluate your strategy. In this related article from Problogger, Darren Rowse notes that:

“I’m pretty sure that facebook is not a site that will work for every topic.”

Wanting Too Much
Businesses and individuals with successful social media pages can tell you how much time, research, and resources it takes to just maintain ONE profile. So, how can people expect to do this effectively and efficiently with numerous social media profiles? Simply put, most people just can’t. Clients often want too much out of social media because it’s “free”. If anyone starts suggesting that you can save time by copying and pasting things in place of real engagement… it’s time to step away. (Especially if it applies to starting a new social media profile and building a fan base.) Check out some other practices to avoid.

What is the Point?
Before you setup a social media account, it’s time to think about your goals. What do you want to achieve with this profile? Here are some things you want to consider:

  • Create a space where you can respond to customer feedback
  • Raise brand awareness for your local business
  • Offer specials and discounts for loyal customers
  • Provide helpful resources for customers who need help
  • Or just share information that you’re passionate about

A Moment for Clarity
Remember, it helps to stay still for once. Like the hummingbird, it gives you a chance to catch your breath and take a look at the big picture! You can still take notes but make sure to edit it down to reasonable actions. If your strategy doesn’t work, move on and look for another approach. Don’t let all these thoughts and ideas consume your efforts in boosting your online identity.

Step Up 3D’s Social Media Advertising

Did you catch Step Up 3D this weekend? This is the third film of the dance series in which Channing Tatum was the original lead. The film made a pretty good debut for it’s opening weekend, grossing over $15 million and securing the 3rd spot in the box office.

The film had a relatively small budget of $30 million but wasn’t afraid to hit hard when it came to social media advertising. Their Facebook Page has close to 1.5 million fans while their MySpace Page has over 2.5 million fans. Not too bad for a threequel!

Lessons learned from the film’s marketers – they effectively understood their audience demographics by:

  • Implementing interactive pages that engage fans with questions, music and videos. Some Facebook fans even claimed to have seen the movie 4-5 over the weekend!
  • Having an impressive soundtrack with popular artists like Flo Rida, Estelle, Jessie McCartney, T-Pain and Chromeo.
  • Take advantage of the 3D trend. Who said 3D is just for childrens movies? Let’s see how Piranha 3D does later this month..
  • Riding the popularity of dancing in pop culture. So You Think You Can Dance and America’s Best Dance Crew are just a few examples of what is “in” in entertainment nowadays.

Sure, this movie may not have the best storyline…  but sometimes, audiences just want to watch a fun movie. In that case, Step Up 3D really captured the sentiment and understood their audience. The real question is, who’s ready for Step Up 4D?

Piranha 3D

Are You Feeling the Pain of Social Media Promotion?

Nowadays, a blog here and there just isn’t enough to get your content out there. It can be hard to go that extra step but the effort is worth it. Promotion with social media doesn’t have to be a painful process for writers and bloggers. Many people see social media as a medium for personal relationships, so why can’t you apply that concept to engage your readers?

Add a Personal Touch
It’s easier than it seems but fans will appreciate it when you add a personal touch to your social media efforts. Instead of just linking a news story or site, give them a good reason to read and click. People aren’t just interested if you’re throwing a URL out at them. Give your opinion or a different spin on the subject. Here are some examples:

  • Have a sense of humor. Being genuine and funny is one of the best ways to get a response or RT on Twitter. Also, don’t be afraid to ask!
  • Give people shout outs. On Twitter and Facebook, you can use the @ tag to show your fans and followers appreciation.
  • Retweet others and comment. The best way to engage is to start with outreaching others. Remember, it’s not all about pushing your URL.

Simple is Always Best
It helps to stay simple and you can start with your content. Unless you’re focusing on a niche topic or doing some technical writing, more people will be able to connect with a simple subject. Reading other blogs and articles can help give you ideas and also improve your writing. These are simple steps you can take for inspiration and learning more about your area of expertise. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy and it takes practice. Just think about it, what’s more difficult: writing a concise one sentence summary or writing a summary paragraph?

Bloggers often focus on consistently coming up with new ideas and writing the content. After the writing process, it can be tedious to promote your work on different social media channels. Try to force yourself to do so by following a few of these tips. Remember that in the end, you get what you put in but you can always work to change the outcome. No pain = no gain!

Does Social Media Help or Harm Your Blogging Efforts?

Everybody uses social media advertising to promote their blog nowadays. Besides, what good is so good about blog without the sharing aspect? But, does social media actually help or harm your writing efforts? Either way, it’s important to look at both sides of things before you implement a social media plan for your content.

How It’s Helpful
The best thing about social media is that it gives you the power to share your content beyond just your blog domain. Through your RSS feed, Twitter retweets, Facebook ‘Likes’, diggs and more, these tools give you the opportunity to give your writing exposure. When paired with your online network or blogging community, social media broadens the audience that has access to your posts. How awesome is that?
Social media is also a great way to get ideas for new topics to write about. Let’s face it, writing is fun but not when you run out of things to write about. Searching my favorite blog communities is the best cure for my writer’s block. Even if you’re just feeling lazy, you can expand on a comment you’ve been meaning to make or react to a current news story.
Sharing through social media also provides an open way for you to strengthen your online brand while demonstrating your knowledge.

How It’s Harmful
Now, on to how social media can be harmful to your blog. Two words: damage control. If you’re a big brand, you really have to watch what you say. Is it wrong to say that readers are waiting for you to make a wrong movie? Just take a look at Consumerist who reveals the mistakes and slip ups of big companies. They also take consumer tips!
It’s easy to give into information overload on social media networks. Some bloggers argue that social media can also be a sheer waste of time. While you start using social media as a way to find ideas, it could lead to clicking irrelevant sites that just pointless to your blogging goals!

How about you? In my experience, social media has been an extremely helpful part of the blogging experience. I started my first foray into guest blogging and it’s going better than I initially expected! Again, it’s the social aspect that made this all possible.

What Social Media Challenges Do You Face?

Feeling Lost
Many companies who take the big dive into social media can be left feeling a little lost. This is understandable as it can be confusing to organize what to do and who to listen to. If you’re feeling confused, it’s time to do something about it! Many companies and social media resources offer free webinars or white papers for educational use. For example, SEOmoz has resources ranked by difficulty so you don’t have to feel overwhelmed if you’re a beginner. Once you have a better understanding of what you want to accomplish, you can begin looking into social media tactics that can help you pursue this plan. Remember, social media is just another channel where you can extend your reach in the areas of marketing, customer service, partnerships, leads and even hiring.

Spending Too Much/Little Time?

Do you feel like social media helps your brand or hinders it? It depends on how you look at it of course. If you don’t have a plan, things can get messy and you can find yourself spending way too much time on Twitter. Depending on your schedule, you may want to assign yourself a couple minutes (I like 5-10 minute bursts) of time to check your social media profiles. If it gets too overwhelming, ask for help. A big mistake you can make is trying to manage everything on your own, especially if you don’t have the time or understanding. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a Twitter whiz or Facebook specialist.If you don’t know where to look, an internet marketing firm is a great place to start.

Problems with Consistency
Many companies need help and motivation in keeping consistent with participation on social media sites. Think of this task like a project for a client or a personal goal. You need to establish time lines and can start realistically. It might be a long shot to aim to write 10 blogs a week, so why not start with every third day? You can always build yourself up without any pressure. Just like all the good things in life, social media success doesn’t come without hard work and dedication. The misconception is that people get frustrated with their progress because the services are “free”. But remember, you get out what you put in, so plan accordingly. Set aside some time to set targets for your blog, tweets, Facebook Page updates and you’ll be glad you did!

Successful Social Media Advertising Provides Value

Most people can agree that the most effective social media advertising campaigns are the ones that provide real value. With this in mind, more companies are creating resources that solely exist to provide customers with information and help solve their problems. I came across this link on Twitter and thought that the Visual Economics site is a great example.

You’ve probably seen these infographics passed around on social media sites but did you know that it’s owned by Credit Loan?

From using ice cream to explain certificate of deposits to visual maps such as this, Visual Economics is an informative site whose sole purpose is to inform. It’s not until I went to check out their Twitter and Facebook Page that I noticed the affiliation. This is a great example of shareable content but it obviously takes a lot of time and effort to compile a whole different site for consumers.

What are some other sites that you’ve found helpful and who are they affiliated with?

New Viral Marketing Campaigns Spread Excitement

I always like to hear about the latest viral marketing campaigns and see how big brands are trying to outdo each other.

Papa John’s Pizza Mania

First off, p-i-z-z-a! Papa John’s unveiled an online contest this week asking fans to share their special recipe. The contest, dubbed “Papa’s Specialty Pizza Challenges”, encourages pizza aficionados to submit their special recipe along with a short blurb about why their pizza is so special. Ten semi-finalists will get a chance to have their recipe tested at Papa John’s HQ. From there, three finalists will have their recipe featured on the Papa John’s menu in August. But the excitement doesn’t stop there! Of the final three, Papa John’s will hand out a $1000 budget for marketing.
The recipe with the most sales will get a permanent spot on the menu! The grand prize also includes free pizza for life and an appearance in a Papa John’s TV ad. Go to Papa John’s Facebook and take a look for yourself. I never thought that people could be so excited about pizza but as fan Diane writes on the Page’s Wall, “I don’t care for American Idol. But, a pizza right now sure sounds good.”

Honeymooning with Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn also launched a campaign this week targeting newlyweds who are looking for a good deal for their honeymoon. Appealing to members of their rewards program on Twitter, Holiday Inn’s month long “Honeymoon on Us” contest will give out free prizes. With wedding season around the corner, this is the right time for the InterContinental Hotels Group to focus their efforts on vacationing couples. The grand prize is pretty great too – a complete wedding registry!

Papa John’s and Holiday Inn are just two examples of how big brands are using social media to the fullest extent. Nike also just set a record with their new viral ad. Do you have any other examples you’d like to share? It doesn’t have to be a promotion that’s currently running.

Reviewing 3 Twitter Tools

Twitter Analyzer

If you like seeing stats displayed by fancy 3D doughnut graphs, this is the tool for you.
It’s useful if you like to see how many of your followers are retweeting your Tweets. You can also enter the Twitter handle of a friend or competitor and see how their stats compare to yours. Things I learned: 78% of our followers are male and 23% of our followers are entrepreneurs.
No need to sign up, so why not try it out?

Tweet Stats

Sweet. More graphs! But Tweet Stats also shows a tag cloud of your  most frequently used phrases. It also gives you a density analysis that gives you a look at the times you Tweet most frequently. It’s easy to use but I definitely think it’s more informative than useful.

Twitter Counter

First, you need to allow this tool access to your Twitter account. Like Compete, you can compare your profiles with 2 other users of your choice. The graph displays are easy to read and you can even sign up to a weekly update of your progress. You can even go back as far as 3 months and see your stats from there. I think Tweet Stats is my favorite out of the three tools.

Do you have any other handy Twitter analysis sites you like to use?

3 Social Media Problems

Social media marketing isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. I’ve recently ran into a couple problems and it’s taken me awhile to

1) Problem: You want to clean up your Twitter account but are stuck with too many inactive, irrelevant followers. Maybe, you’re following too many people who aren’t reciprocating.
Resource: With ManageTwitter, you can quickly go through your followers and weed out the inactive ones. It’s a handy tool and sure beats doing it manually.

2) Problem: Your business isn’t showing up right in Google’s Local Business Center.
Resource: Check out the Google forums and you’ll see how many other business owners are in the same boat. We haven’t figured out a better/fast solution so if you have any insight, please let us know!

3) Problem: You don’t know where to start with link building
Resources: Look no further than Lee Odden’s open letter to spammers and 101 ways to build link popularity