Augmented Reality: What it Means for Marketing

I’ve really been digging the potential that Augmented Reality can offer to marketing, it really is only limited by the power of the imagination as to how, what and where it can be applied.

But lets start at the beginning. What is AR you say? Its digital content, interacting with the real world, viewed through a webcam or smartphone camera. I could jabber on for ages about what that means but it’s much easier to show you. I posted this clip before Christmas, it demonstrates AR when used to promote the film Avatar;
So what do you think? It’s pretty straight forward; you log onto a website, and display a ‘marker’ into a webcam to generate a 3D image. When you consider how ‘markers’ could easily be distributed with brands there’s plenty of scope to reward customers. Coke (here) and McDonalds (here) have used packaging to distribute markers also to promote the film Avatar. But why stop there? Anything that involves a tangible item could be a ‘marker’, that could be an album cover, a business card or even a T-Shirt. This type of AR rewards customers with material that amounts to the equivalent of DVD extras, exclusive content that accessible through AR. However, I think this type of AR carries little more than novelty value for the user and will be quickly brushed aside.

This next video is for GE in the US, which moves AR on somewhat, to introduce interactivity. Here the user can interact with the 3D image by blowing into their microphone to make the wind turbines spin.

 

If you liked that you can get the GE’s smart grid in your hands here. Interactivity is a critical issue in marketing, it has been shown to communicate messages that individuals would often ignore when the interactive elements are removed. This Transformers AR does away with the use of a ‘marker’ to trigger the flash image and instead uses face recognition software that transforms the user into Optimus Prime

 

Interactivity opens the door for gaming AR, and removes the novelty element to provide the viewer with something of a little more substance, which they are more likely to return to over and over. This next clip is for a Skittles branded zombie shoot ‘em up game. The user views the game in 3D through a phone and can move around the game environment as they wish.

 

Which brings me to the step in AR, the use of smart phones to access digital content. Suddenly we are out of home, free from the shackles of the desktop and using AR in an external environment. This next clip is great, the hijacking of billboards to display art, surely its only a matter of time before billboards are hijacked by other brands in guerrilla stunts?

 

Phones also have GPS capabilities so when that is thrown into the mix the possibilities to deliver useful, targeted content becomes a reality. This next clip demonstrates an I Phone app for Yelp in the USA. Once accessed it uses GPS to provide the viewer with directions to the closest bar or restaurant along with any online reviews available

 

Another clip I want to show is for Google Googles. It’s a visual search engine that recognises objects to bring you further information on that item. Although in its infancy, the Googles can recognise a book, a monument or even a business shop front.

 

Visual recognition is the key element here, if you look back at the start of this post ‘markers’ were used to trigger the AR. If Google Googles is thrown into the mix we are talking about object recognition that can pull information, video or audio into real world interactive environments. This makes the application of AR for marketing only limited through the limitations of your imagination.

With all of these different technologies converging, what is to stop the user entering an AR game based on their surroundings? Think of it as almost the reverse of the Skittles zombie game above. You are on the ground using your camera to view the game. Image recognition picks up on buildings in your immediate environment, roads, cars, the sky and the game is viewed through a smart phone so you see the zombies coming at you. GPS can track your current location and that of other players nearby. But why stop at games? Why not live a film? or stand with U2 on stage? You could live and breathe in an AR world.

For something that’s really mind bending check out this video from TED. The technology on show is similar to that in Minority Report, remember when Tom Cruise sorted info on a screen with his fingers? Well its just like that…only better. Tom could only sort the information on a screen, this handy little piece of kit was built using existing technology for $350. It has a camera that recognises objects and a mini projector that projects related information onto any surface. So imagine your in a bookstore you pick up a book, the camera recognises the cover, reviews are pulled off the web, the projector displays the reviews on the book cover or on any nearby surface, interaction with the projection (like in Minority report) can sort through the reviews, or access further related information such as authors other books, suggested reading and so on. The video gives some great demonstrations on how this can be applied to tickets, products, places and even people!

 

So there you have it a brief run through the world of Augmented Reality. AR offers brands and consumers a new form of communication. While some of it here has little more than novelty value, I think it’s really only the tip of the iceberg as to what we will see in the coming years. The ability to pull any information, in any location with this level of interactivity is truly amazing. It’s an emerging technology that has yet to really catch on here in Ireland. I can’t think of one brand that has used AR here. However it’s only a matter of time. What I think will happen is that the brands that will use it most successfully will recognise AR as an opportunity to not only do something new, but in order to give each AR application a lifespan, it will offer customers a heightened brand experience that compliments the product by offering something of worth, be it in information or entertainment.

8 Ways To Measure Your Facebook Page Perforamance

Ask a manager how they measure their company’s Facebook page performance and I bet you an awful lot of them will turn around and say by the amount of fans. Which is a shockingly awful statistic to measure because it’s very easy to game. Yep buy yourself some likes, give the fan numbers a bump and hey presto, the job is done. There won’t be any user interaction so the actual value of the page to the brand will be very poor. There are other ways to measure your pages performance, so lets take a look.

Social Bakers & Your Social Media Monitor
Social Bakers and Your Social Media Monitor both list brands in terms of popularity. The brand pages are listed out like league tables which can give competitive element to a pages performance. But since these focus on numbers that can be faked, they don’t really give any useful data. I mean what would be more valuable to a business? A vibrant online community of brand ambassadors, or a page with little to no activity? I didn’t say how many fans were involved on each but I’ve seen pages with under 1,000 fans that have a bustling community and pages with over 10K that could really learn a thing or two from the smaller page. However, if you are building a community of fans, these league tables do give a sense of satisfaction when you help the smaller brand to outperform the bigger one, knowing you have made it there by building a strong sense of community.

Good as a guide to see what competitors are doing

Not good as a real performance indicator

Wildfire Monitor
Much like the first two point, Wildfire Monitor works off the amount of fans pages have without delving any deeper to see what is really going on. Instead of a league table it will show the performance of up to three pages on a graph. You can sign up to get weekly alerts to monitor your competitors and identify any spikes in traffic they may receive.

community Health Score
Community Health Score, from Momentus Media, is a fairly straightforward measurement tool. Type in the name of your page and an algorithm will give you a ranking based on how engaged your audience are. The results look at how often admins post to a page, the likes and comments to admin posts per day, how often fans post to the wall and how often they respond. While this uses the fan metric as a number to judge interaction against, it can identify good performing pages based on likes and comments. It will rank pages with good levels of interaction higher than pages with;

Fake, or bought likes, because these likes are not people who will add to the conversation

Pages who strive for numbers regardless if the fans they are getting genuinely like their brand. Fans might have joined for a promotion, or because a friend asked them too, but then hide the pages updates from their newsfeed. These types of fans are nothing more than a fan number.

Another benefit with this tool is to measure a competitors performance.

A bad point for CHS was its failure to identify a new page and the rank it was given after its first very busy week alone. Perhaps waiting at least a month to measure a new page’s performance might return a more accurate score.

Facebook Grader
Much like Community Health Score, Facebook Grader works by entering in the Facebook URL of your page. This is from Hubspot who have a grader for just about everything including Twitter, websites, blogs and a lot more, so you would imagine they know what they are doing. However, unlike Community Health Score it doesn’t really give a breakdown of what the calculations are based on except – the number of fans you have, the power of this network of fans, the completeness of your page and ‘…a few others’. In a test of seven pages, six of them scored very different results to Community Health Score.

Good as a guide

Good to measure against competitors

It’s hard to know if this or CHS is more accurate, since they returned six very different results in my test of seven different pages.

Edgerank Checker
Edgerank is how Facebook grades your page’s posts. The higher the grade, the higher your posts will rank in the Top News section of your fans newsfeed. Since Top News is set to the default view of Facebook, the higher up you get the more chance of your update being seen by fans, which could lead to more interaction and more fans. The algorithm to identify EdgeRank scores is explained like this;

That’s explained a little better by Mari Smith;

Affinity = the relationship between you and each individual fan. That is, how often a fan views and interacts with your Facebook page and individual posts. Plus, how much you engage with your fans: Facebook rewards you for building relationships!
Weight = typically, photos receive the highest weight, followed by videos, links, status updates and apps. Manual posts receive more weight than posts by apps.
Time = the more recent your post, the higher your EdgeRank score. A popular piece of content will stay for a longer period of time in the News Feed of your fans
It would seem that Facebook rewards you for building relationships, which is what it’s about, and means purchasing fake likes and fans could actually go against your marketing efforts because your EdgeRank scores could be lower. Which will result in your updates receiving less prominence.

So now you know the importance of EdgeRank, how can you check your pages score? EdgeRank Checker is an online tool that allows you to check it. You need access to your pages Insights to export data in a .csv file and upload it to EdgeRank Checker to estimate your score.

Its the only measurement so far based on your actual pages Inisghts

It will certainly be more accurate than the league table style measures, and you would hope it to be more reliable than Community Health Score or Facebook Grader

You can export data for any month from Facebook Insights and therefore check how your score has developed over time

You cannot check competitors websites

You have to export data to a third party website, which may be a nono for some

Facebook Data and Insights
Good old fashioned facts, these numbers cannot lie. However the trick is to identify what figures are most important to your pages overall goals. Maybe you sell via your Facbook page, or you can capture data at the point of purchase which identifies what informed the purchasers decision, maybe you have a Facebook only promo, or downloadable coupons that can be tracked, some of these metrics may be very specific to your business. However, I would use these in conjunction with your Facebook page data and Insights. Such as the following figures;

Number of fans

Monthly active fans

Number of comments made by the page

Comments and likes on those comments

Unprompted fan comments, plus their likes and subsequent comments

Amount of negative comments and their likes

Amount of page views

Amount of tab views

Unsubscribers from the page

People who have hidden your pages stories from their newsfeed

Note & explain any peaks and troughs in numbers where possible (eg. sever weather, time of the year etc)

Not all of these might be relevant, and maybe you know of ones that are more relevant (if so please add them below), but this is just a start. On the same date every month sit down and make a note of all these figures to compare over 3, 6 and 12 month cycles. These figures won’t lie, and they can’t be gamed. They might work well also by using CHS, Facebook Grader and Edgerank to give a wider view of your page. You want all rankings to be heading upwards, so perhaps they may work better as part of a team of metrics, rather than standalone numbers.

UPDATE: It might also be worth casting your eyes over this post, which suggests taking certain insights data and displaying them as percentages, so over time you can see in what direction your Facebook page activity is heading. Another suggestion is to do this on a weekly basis as opposed to monthly so faster action can be taken. Really good idea especially for the bigger pages with lots of activity.

7. Virtue Social Page Evaluator
This Facebook page evaluator by Virtue offers a unique take on the measurement process by putting a dollar value on your page. Which, IMO, is pretty worthless. When you can get the evaluator to work, perhaps I was using it on a day there was some bugs in the system. It’s clunky to use and as I type it’s not giving any data on pages it was showing two minutes ago. From what I remember it identifies if you are posting too frequently or infrequently to your page, and the type of content you are posting. This isn’t really anything useful because how often a brand should post, should be worked out by the page admin, as it will differ from one business to the other.

8. Paid For Services
There’s a number of paid for services out there that claim to measure how well your page is performing. One of these is Webtrends. However I have never used any of these paid services so I can’t really give you any more information except to rehash their press releases. And whats the point in that?

7 Social Media Trends For 2013

Just before Chrtistmas I was asked to write a piece for the company newsletter so I dug out my crystal ball and, instead of putting everthing on black like last time, dished out the big 7 social media trends for 2013. Also known as ‘the most social media trends I could think of before the deadline’.

As a very lazy way of bumping up my own blog content here, I’m going to replicate the piece word for word below. If you want to receive the best monthly newsletter ever… to originate from the Mews in 64 Leeson Street, you can for FREE (!!!), just sign up here.

Having looked at the many developments in social media through 2012, what does the New Year have in store? Here are seven things you should be thinking about now.

Everything is Digital

In 2012 Nestle released chocolate bars that were GPS enabled, the CW network in the USA had a live Twitter feed in a magazine, coat hangers displayed Facebook likes, we added an Augmented Reality layer to pint bottles of Bulmers and there was even NFC enabled socks! Why are non-digital products becoming ‘connected’? Because they can deliver better experiences for the consumer and expect to see more of it in 2013.

Digital is Social
Everything digital will be integrated with social media in one form or another. From being able to log in with social media profiles to personalised recommendations on Amazon.com to sharing from Spotify or even jumping from space! Brands can make the user experience more streamlined, personalised and engaging. If you’re doing anything digital, it has to have social at its heart.

Social is Mobile

With half of all users accessing their Facebook profiles via a mobile can you afford to ignore this audience? Check out Google Analytics to see what percentage of your web traffic is coming from mobile or a tablet. If they cannot get the information they want when they want it they can easily go to a mobile optimised competitor.

Not Just Facebook

Facebook dominates social media but 2013 will see the savvy brands, who haven’t already done so, move onto other networks and beef up their presence there. Facebook is becoming very cluttered and brands now have to invest in paid for media to reach their fanbase through Promoted Posts or Sponsored Stories. This last year has seen steady growth in the numbers using Google +, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, while Twitter has almost doubled its users to 22% of the Irish population. It still lags behind Facebooks 53%, but it’s growing at a much faster rate.
Second Screening

Have you ever sent a status update or tweet about a TV show while watching it? Then you know what second screening is – the use of two screens at once. In 2013 more brands will offer opportunities for viewers to connect with what’s happening on their TV set. This could be a Shazam enabled television ad, or something more in-depth such as the game we developed for Bank of Ireland. The game allows you to play as the sixth Dragon and earned us the Eircom Spider Grand Prix award last month. Expect to see a lot more of this in the coming year.

Content

Content marketing became a buzz term in 2012, and expect to see it a lot more in 2013. Content comes in many forms from Facebook updates to blog articles, photos, website copy and video clips. You may be familiar with the more high profile examples such as Red Bull reaching for the stars, Volvo’s breathtaking Ballerina Stunt or Bodyform’s witty retort. Content marketing is about telling a story your target audience will get value from. Next year more budget will move from traditional above the line advertising into creating the kind of content your customers will share with their friends.

Data Insights

Did you see what Brad Pitt did for his team in Moneyball? He took a bunch of players written off by other teams and turned them into a near championship winning side. Yes data might be unsexy, but it provides your business with insights that can help you deploy resources more efficiently and develop a competitive advantage. Obama made digital a key cornerstone of his 2008 campaign, in 2012 it was big data and in 2013 more business will be doing this. We’ve developed our own technology in this field called Ripple to build a 360 degree view of the customer across all digital properties.

23 Best Absolut Ad’s

Following on from my recent blog post on the history of Abolsut, I thought I would follow up with some of the best ad’s from Absolut. Originally i started with the aim of picking my ten favourite, however it quickly dawned on me that it was going to be an impossible task to narrow all of them down to just ten. So here’s 23.

The first Absolut advert appeared in 1980 giving birth to an award winning campaign centred upon the distinctive shape of the Absolut bottle, which appears in some form or another. Over 1,500 different adverts have appeared in one of the longest uninterrupted advertising campaigns in the world. The ads have been around for so long and there are so many that one would be forgiven for missing or even forgetting some of them. Thankfully theres an online fan site called AbsolutAd.com that collects all the adverts, and believe me, I’m sure I have left out loads of excellent Absolut ads:

Absolut Camouflage

Absolut Bangkok (1999)

Absolut Adventure

Absolut Mexico

Absolut Ecstasy of St. Theresa

Absolut Etiquette

Absolut Amsterdam Luggage

Absolut Iceland

Absolut Betty

These glasses belong to the lead character of a famous Latin American soap who’s name, when translated is ‘I am Betty, the Ugly’, later remade for North American television as Ugly Betty.

Absolut Jukkasjarvi

Absolut Minnesota

Absolut 19th

Just how good is this ad? Can you spot the Absolut bottle in the advert?

Absolut Recycled

Absolut Arkhangelsk

Absolut Summer

Absolut San Diego

Absolut Budapest

Absolut Apple

Absolut Aspen

Absolut Dublin (1999)

Notice all books are about Dublin or written by Irish authors

Absolut Sydney (1999)

Absolut Citron (2000)

Absolut Polynesia

Absolut Underground (2001)

Absolut reinterpreted a series of famous album covers to include a subtle brand character, here, from the Velvet Underground’s cover, it’s the top of the banana resembling the top of the Absolut bottle.

2010: The Year Video Marketing Kicked it up a Notch

In the last month I posted some of the best examples of Youtube Marketing all of which displayed new ideas behind using the video channel for marketing. I’m now going to share three more examples that are really making 2010 the year that using video in marketing really came into its own. By that I mean video is becoming more creative in its application to marketing communications. Its being interactive pulling in information from our online environments, be they from Google Streetview or our Facebook profiles to make them more personalised.

They are two key traits – interactivity and personalisation. Now not all of the examples in this or the Youtube marketing post, have both in equal measure, but it these that lift the best examples above the rest. Interactivity is a critical element for communication to rise above the noise. If a person is interacting with a communication it means they have acknowledged that message above other competing messages, by personalising the communication it keeps the message in the mind of the consumer for a longer time frame and they might be more likely to share that by electronic or old fashioned word of mouth. Personalisation of the communication resonates deeper because it includes something that you know or are familiar with in the experience.

So here’s three fairly recent examples that have both of these traits in different measures. Each example takes video marketing and puts a neat spin on it – something we’re going to be seeing more and more of no doubt.
Lost in Val Sinestra
This is the viral I couldn’t think of the full name for last Friday on Dublin City FM. You can access it here. Its a reasonably well shot trailer for a fake film, and is actually to promote a TV offering from Swiss Telecom. It’s a personalised video, nothing new there, they have been featured several times on this blog before for the likes of Dexter and Breaking Bad. Whats so nice about this is that it pulls in names and faces of your friends from Facebook who become characters in the plot.
NSFW Hunter Shoots Bear
When I first saw this the ‘NSFW’ had me thinking this was going to be be full of gore. Then when I saw the uploader name ‘tippexperience’ I was full sure this had something to do with the Tipp V Kilkenny match from last Sunday, and shouldn’t it be called NSFW Hunter Shoots Cat? It was none of the above so imagine my surprise when I realised what it was actually for. Pretty cool idea that makes full use of the brand and Youtubes ever expanding capabilities to promote what isn’t the most glamorous of products. To measure the viral’s reach Fred over at Channelship monitored the brand in social media, you can read his blog post here. And, yes I did type in ‘sex’ and erm, in a childish way thats even funny.

The Wilderness (Arcade Fire)
This makes use of Chromes HTML 5 capabilities to incorporate Google Streetview into the video. Not just any Streetview location, but your gaff! If you live somewhere that has been streetviewed of course! You can take full advantage of it here. But taking your home and including it in a music video is a really great concept and demonstrates a new way of incorporating Streetview. I blogged over on the Neworld Blog about different examples of using Streetview in marketing, but this takes it to a whole new level. Here’s someone elses Wilderness experience

20 Interactive Billboards

Billboards sometimes blend into their surroundings. I bet you can probably pinpoint exactly where all the billboards are on your way to work, but I bet you would find it hard to name what brands are on these billboards. And these are images and ads that you could see up to 10 times a week or even more! So how to overcome this general disinterest? try making them interactive. Here’s a few examples.

Thorntons Chocolate
An edible chocolate billboard? I’d pretty much eat anything made of chocolate.

From late last year. This was on Wexford Street in the capital.

Nike Treadmill

This treadmill was set up in Mexico, those passing by were encouraged to stop and run on it with Nike donating money for every mile run.

The Economist
An old one, but a good one

Chevy Aveo

This billboard was made up entirely of 20,000 penny coins that passers by could take

Mcdonalds
McDonalds have pushed the boat out in terms of doing something different with their marketing in the past. This is a really good idea from McDonalds. Not only do people interact with the billboard, but a picture is taken and shared with all their mates on Facebook or Google Buzz or Twitter or… you get the idea. I like the steam one the best and this has made me hungry

Crème Egg
From last year’s Creme Egg campaign

Carnival
These guys run cruise ships in the US. The virtual aquarium gets passer’s by to interact via a mobile phone. You ring a number and make a sound to create your fish, then control the fish by pressing numbers.

Mini
In the US of A Mini sent out key fob’s to select mini owners, and everytime they passed a Mini billboard it would flash personalised messages. Surely theres an app somewhere for that?

Ecko Graffiti
From 2007, this interactive billboard allowed users to transform their mobile into a can of spray paint (using blutooth) that would allow them to ‘vandalise’ this digital display

 

Nivea
Those air bubbles we all like to pop. How about a Clearasil version?
It Happens When Nobody is Watching
A camera embedded into this poster display can pick up when the person is looking away, and the image changes

BBC America
From New York this billboard allowed people to vote on the involvement of American forces in Iraq.

Nike iD

Dial a number on the billboard for Nike in Times Square, up pops a customisable a show from their iD range that is completly customisable in real time using the phone’s keypad.

 

This and more Nike marketing
Adobe Cs3
To promote their CS3 product Adobe launched this interactive billboard that translated the movements of people passing by into an animated mural.

Adelaide FC
Not strictly what I had in mind when I looked for interactive billboards. This is from Australia and features a player interacting with the moon

 

United Nations Voice
A series of these appeared in Australia and passers by were encouraged to take a snap of the persons mouth and send it as a picture text to a number. A few minutes later the phone would ring with the person telling their own story.

Hand From Above
Hand From Above encourages us to question our normal routine when we often find ourselves rushing from one destination to another. This is from Liverpool and is a joint commission between FACT and the BBC.

 

Hand from Above from Chris O’Shea on Vimeo.
Toshiba Billboard Game
Again using mobile devices to control on screen characters this was to promote Toshibas new laptops. The game involved up to six players against each other in a 90 second race and it played out on a giant billboard. Also players at home could take part by logging onto a special Youtube Toshiba channel. Pretty cool idea allowing multiple people to interact and those not nearby, who’s to stop someone from hundreds of miles away from logging on?

Interactive Billboard Fail
Nothing is perfect and plenty of brands have gotten their hands burned while trying something new. Here, due to unfortunate circumstances the interactive nature of this billboard has unfortunate double meaning. This is for a US news organisation and links to a twitter feed that is updated live.

15 More Facebook For Business Tips

Just like every hit Hollywood flick there’s always the inevitable sequel. Considering the original 15 Facebook for Business Tips managed to get me a new job, on the radio and remains one of the most popular posts on this blog. It was inevitable that I would post something similar. So here it is 15 More Facebook For Business Tips. But is it a Godfather Part 2 or a Matrix Reloaded? It’s quiet long so maybe it’s more of a Lord of The Rings The Two Towers. Anyways, I’ll leave that for you to decide.

A Personal Profile for a Brand
I am so against this, but if you have set one up and you have reached the 5,000 friends limit, or are about to, you may be happy to know that while you cannot confirm people over that limit they will still receive your updates, and if you set your page to public they can read your page and access its content. They just won’t be able to interact with the page. So its still not ideal.

Email Every Fan
This option used to be tucked away for admins, but since the redesign of the admin area on each page its been brought into the open more. Go into edit page – marketing – send an update. These updates will be emailed to fans of your page. Or you can narrow the target audience to a specific group of fans. Click on target this update and then segment the audience by location, gender and age. As a word of caution don’t over use this. Like any form of communication it can be deemed as spam. I used to like several pages until they went into over drive on the updates.

Segment updates by location and language
So you have a promotion happening in a specific city or country which isn’t relevant to every fan. But how can you tell one set of fans without annoying others? It’s very straightforward. Facebook allows you to segment who sees your updates by location (city and country) and by language. Click on the lock icon beside the share button and you can do this. Remember if your message is for a specific segment of your fans you should try to only target them. Otherwise its could be deemed irrelevant, only annoy and eventually might get the page unliked.

Get notifications when someone posts to your page
This post is pretty useful for this . There’s a few options listed. You could like every post that goes on the wall, that way when anyone comments on it you will be notified. However, the ‘like’ will be from your personal profile. And what if it’s a complaint the person has made? You will hardly ‘like’ that. But you also need notifications when someone posts a comment to photos, videos or even older posts on the page. For this I suggest Page Notifier . It’s a Facebook application that will scan your page for free once a day or on a sliding scale up to every 15 minutes, at $14.95. The first day you get the 15 minute scan for free. I’ve used this for a month and it’s pretty good truth be told. Page Notifier picked up on discussion board and photo comments that would have been cumbersome to find otherwise. I also saw this post from Amanda Webb who suggests it as a way of catching spam too. The new Facebook Spam filter doesn’t catch everything.

Respond to posts
A person walks up to you and asks a question regarding your brand. Without saying anything you turn around and walk away. Isn’t that just rude? So is ignoring posts and comments on your brands Facebook page. I don’t understand why brands still do that, especially in relation to queries. Why have a Facebook page in the first place?

Target ads to fans of (competitors) pages?
I noticed this a few months back, you can target ads at people with specific likes. This includes fans of specific pages, my question is, does this include fans of competitors pages? I honestly don’t know, but the option is there. Go to this link, create your advert and its section 2 you are looking for. Scroll down to Likes and Interests, there type in the page name you wish to promote your advertisement to. It allows me to enter in names of business pages, so in theory this should also allow me to advertise to fans of a competitors page. (Anybody care to confirm?) It’s a bit sneaky and I did read somewhere ages back Facebook wouldn’t allow such tactics, but Google do it all the time.

UPDATE NOV 7th: According to a reader you cannot target pages of competitors, see comments below.

Allow friends to be tagged in page photos
A really good post from Amanda Webb at Spiderworking.com on this. Allowing friends to be tagged in photo’s means greater exposure for that photo and it gives fans a new way of interacting with content on your page. All pluses, but Facebook automatically sets this to off. How to get around it: edit page – in your browser’s URL, note the number that comes AFTER ‘edit/?id=’ – That number is your Page ID. The go to this URL and change REPLACEME to your Page ID:

 

Click the setting for “Allow All Fans to Tag Photos” and now fans can tag photos.

Tag people or pages in your updates.
Did you ever notice when some people post an update a friends name is also tagged in it. By tagged I mean its highlighted and links to the friends page. This is done simply by adding the @ symbol and typing out the persons name. A drop down should auto suggest it. This can also be done for brand pages too. However for this to work the personal profile belonging to the admin of the page, must like the page or be friends with the person they wish to tag ie. The admin must have a connection from their personal profile to the one they want to tag. When you tag a person or page on Facebook the update also appears on their wall as well as you rown. Handy way of getting a message out there, but don’t overuse it.

Guidelines
By guidelines I mean guidelines for the page. Few pages engage in this, but it sets expectations for the audience and defines what functions the page will perform. Is it for customer service? No, then where can people contact customer service? Here’s a pretty decent checklist of points for your guidelines. It’s straight forward enough and can help take the pressure out of a stressful moment on a page

Contingency Plan
A fan has had an awful experience and in a no holes barred post to your page, lets rip on your organisation. There is no language, and the complaint seems genuine enough. What do you do? Have you thought that far? Well this is where you can dictate the rules to a certain extent. Remember I mentioned guidelines well if Facebook isn’t the customer service channel then you can move the conversation off Facebook. I’m lucky not to have moderated over many complaints in my time. But in my experience most people will either not take the complaint further once they know you have acknowledged it (I have seen people edit/delete their comments once they realise th ebrand is watching!), have a genuine complaint and seek resolution (which is only fair), or be unreasonable. On Facebook its hard to be anonymous, but you can easily take complaints made on Facebook and try to resolve them via email. That way it doesn’t play out in front of all the pages fans. But you must also be attentive and proactive enough to demonstrate good customer care. In my worst experience dealing with a complaint, was on a message board in about 2005 and one individual was being completely unreasonable. I was a little dumbfounded by their comments. So I traced his IP address and it went back to competitors office. I shared this information on the thread and the individual never responded. Some people are worried that getting involved in social media will lead to a deluge of complaints. It often leads to a deluge of comments from happy contented customers, but there will be complaints. However, think about it – they don’t want to dip into social because they are worried about a negative backlash, why would you be worried about a backlash? Do you have reason to? If you do then that backlash is probably happening (or will happen) somewhere online and your brands non-response will lead to a vacuum of information and general speculation from people. Or you could deal with it head on and try change opinions and attitudes? No? Oh yes, head in sand is the easier option.

How to get your updates higher ranking in ‘Top News’
I posted about this over on the Neworld Associates blog earlier in the week. You might wish to read the full article here. Essentially to give your updates the potential to rank high in the fans Top News (the other listing is Most Recent), you need to be getting clicks on your page, updates with links rank higher than just text, photo and video updates will rank higher again, while comments and text also help too. Facebook is about engagement and so posts that are media rich tend to get favoured more. I also make some speculative comments on the role of Facebook insights and since Facebook also have access to this information do they rank pages with higher engagement levels better than those with lower engagement levels. They do this to personal profiles, so why not pages?

How to rank better in Facebook search
Another post from the Neworld Associates Blog (read it here). How exactly does Facebook rank its search listings? I suggest reading the full article as it’s complex enough. Facebook is essentially a place for people then users with the keyword you are searching for will appear first, then it’s a mix of historical activity on pages with the keyword, the users likes, their friends likes, events with the keyword and eventually the amount of fans your page has. Although the post outlines the criteria for the auto search box at the top of each page, the all results page and also the ‘pages’ filer on all results. Ultimatly its good to know this information but it can’t be gamed. You need to pick a good URL, link build so when potential fans visit your other social media channels they see the link and also to help build ranking in Google, and don’t forget Bing either. But point 11 and 12 also point to a race for likes in Facebook which may not be good for brands in the long run.

How Accurate are the Demographics in Facebook Create Ad’s?
I’ve always wondered this. How accurate is it, I mean according to this there’s 1.75 million people in Ireland on Facebook. But how accurate can we take that to be, or even the demographic breakdown. Well I decided to compare some pages I moderate using point 5. That is to target an advert to a page I admin to compare what the Facebook Ad demographics are to what the page insights are, I could also get this breakdown by country. I wanted to check for discrepancies because if both ad demographics estimated reach and page insights have the same figures what stops me from checking the demographics of competitors pages?

I looked at three pages with varying amounts of fans, two had mainly International fans and one hand a mainly Irish audience. I tested the top 3 countries on each page and left the age filter at ’any’. The estimated reach was always lower than the page insights from between 5% up to 50%. So what does this mean? Well Facebook won’t give you access to the demographic breakdown of competitors pages, because if the insights and estimated reach were accurate then you could get a fairly good picture of how a competitor is faring. Also I have a feeling that the estimated reach is a figure that lags behind the actual reach. I read during the weak that the total number of people on Facebook in Ireland is 1.83 million, the current figure available in the create ad section of Facebook quotes 1.75 million. This would indicate that estimated reach figures are somewhat older, while page insights are right up to date.

When should I post
A post I made recently, based on an exercise carried out at Measure It a monthly social media get together held in Dublin, that’s really well worth attending. There’s usually two industry case studies followed by group exercises. You can find the original post here. Essentially its about defining what the objective of the content is, knowing what the routine of your audience is, what time zone they are in, what kind of content it is, testing the content (although for Facebook media rich posts perform better), the timeliness of it (is it seasonal content), look for opportunities to tie in with current events, do you post during peak or off peak times (both have advantages and disadvantages), and how does you audience access the internet.

How much time should you allocate to Facebook?
From this months Measure It, in the exercise we had to estimate how much time should you allocate to Facebook. The answer is important as it will help estimate the cost of running a Facebook page. It will mostly involve time, but there may be other costs such as research, content creation, monitoring online activity and building awareness around the Facebook page. There were varying estimations as would be expected with different size organisations. For example a restaurant page was estimated at an hour per day in the initial three months, while an organisation the size of Eircom might need to allocate 15 days per month. A huge difference. Ultimately the time invested has to be evaluated against the cost of the individual who does it and the revenue generated from such actions. My group worked on the restaurant example and estimated one hour per day by

– Building awareness for the page, piggybacking on other community pages such as tourism or cultural pages

– Offline promotion such as including the Facebook logo or icon on the menu or discreetly within the restaurant

– Monitoring the web for mentions using free tools such as Google Alerts

– Creating content such as posting daily specials, offers and promotions

– Moderating the page

– Then to evaluate how much business Facebook is actually driving to the business, run Facebook only offers that require coupon downloads from the Facebook page, or require Facebook to be mentioned when booking to receive 10% off.

15 IKEA Marketing Examples

The world of furniture marketing is a pretty conservative. Ad’s will usually appear in print or on TV where the furniture can be shown, usually with price and more than likely people enjoying said furniture in immaculately decorated surroundings. Now don’t get me wrong Ikea produce their own catalogue which fulfils all these furniture marketing stereotypes, but they do like to mix things up with guerrilla and ambient techniques and late last year saw a very clever yet simple social media promotion. Even when Ikea do TV ad’s they still like to throw in a twist that gets people talking about the brand. All of their more edgy marketing has one thing in common, it’s aimed at bringing their brochure to life.

Ikea Facebook
First, I’ll get the most obvious one out of the way. This was one of my Top 9 of ’09  due to its simplicity. A showroom picture uploaded to their Facebook profile, first people to tag an item win that item. Simple idea that gets customers interacting with a type of online brochure. Brilliant!

Ikea Guerrilla New York
These pictures are from New York in 2006, where Ikea set up 650 ‘everyday fabulous’ experiences for New Yorkers over five days to promote Design Week. These are simple ideas that took the urban edge off bus shelters and parking meters, allowing people experience the catalogue in surprising circumstances.

 

As an aside to this, and to refer back to my 3 Step Formula for marketing ideas, This general concept was re-engineered recently in Ireland, and used in a much poorer context for Vodafone. The advert takes the surprise and fun out of the concept.

Ikea Monorail

In 2008 Ikea re-engineered their New York ideas for Kobe Portliner Monorail.

Ikea Brooklyn

In 2008 Ikea promoted the launch of its new store in Brooklyn with mini pop up appartments decked out with all Ikea gear.

Ikea meets Abolsut

Abolsut Vodka, a bread featured many times in the past here, merged their brand with Ikea for this clever New York ad.

Ikea 40th

For their 40th birthday the Ikea store in Stockholm was decorated like
a massive birthday cake

Ikea TV Commercials

Ikea was also the first company to feature Gay and Transgender individuals in their TV advertising. When they do TV ad’s, they do them differently. These ones below feature all the elements expected in the genre. Furniture? Check. Happy looking people enjoying furniture? Check. Immaculately decorated surroundings? Check. But there’s a twist

This following commercial was made in Germany and poked fun at Ikea’s Swedish heritage. It was subsequently banned by the firms head office

Ikea ?Not For Sale’

The company did run into trouble in 2007 for a campaign that included the placing of estate agent style ?for sale’ signs in London with the phrase ?Not For Sale’. This was part of a campaign called ?Home is the Most Important Place in the World’. The signs were deemed to be too similar to a campaign by a UK home refurbishment company who also used ?Not For Sale’ signs in 2006. Ikea agreed to promote Onis Living for 1 year on its campaign site. You can view the Ikea version here and Onis version here. Ikea ?Sims 2: Home Stuff Pack’

In 2008 the company became the second (after H&M) to release a �?stuff pack’ for The Sims that featured all furniture and decoration from Ikea.

Ikea Southampton

In 2009 to promote the opening of Ikea Southhampton the company painted the MV Red Osprey Ferry in the distinctive colours and logo of the firm. The ferry remained that colour for 12 months to also promote the Isle Of Wight delivery service.

Ikea Tampa

To promote their store in Tampa, Ikea produced this impressive take on a message in a bottle.

 Ikea Malaysia

To promote the idea that organisation can save space, Ikea came up with this idea to turn the stairs in its main store into a chest of drawers.

Win a �?Date With Ikea’

Last years Pavement album Brighten The Corners featured a track called �?Date With Ikea’. To promote the album the record label Matador ran a competition where fans could win a $500 Ikea voucher and a date with a band member in an Ikea store.

Ikea Bondai Beach

Ikea set up 30 of its �?Billy’ bookshelves on Bondi beach to celebrate the products 30th birthday. An excellent eye catching idea for the company

Ikea Movie Marketing

In Austria last year Ikea announced the launch of their new catalogue by advertising it in Cinemas. Sounds very ordinary until you see how it was executed – using mainstream Hollywood films that happened to feature Ikea furniture. Once the items appeared onscreen it triggered a projection of the products name and price onto the screen. This immediately draws the viewers attention to item, not to mention the added bonus of having Hollywood superstars such as Will Smith and George Cloony using the products as well. This is a very clever technique that once again demonstrates how the brand takes the elements of a brochure and communicates them in fun and interesting ways. It’s a more direct form of product placement and I have to wonder did the movies producers received any form of financial compensation as per normal product placements. However, while this is a nice quirky once off I’m this would quickly get very irritating.

When approaching a marketing campaign I like to look at what resources are attached to the brand (or product, or service) and how can they can infuse the marketing in new and interesting ways. Looking at Ikea the most obvious resources are the items they sell, their global presence, brand name and reputation. The latter two are self perpetuating. Your marketing establishes your brand and its reputation (or vica versa if there’s a very strong brand image already). This in turn requires your marketing to fulfil certain requirements to live up to the brand and reputation. One pushes the other to evolve, which forces the other to develop even further.

If that doesn’t happen your brand and marketing stagnate and, like in the wild, your competitors will catch you up and devour you. Ikea constantly push their marketing in new and exciting ways that always manage to live up to the brand image, yet remain ahead of their competing pack. For such a large organisation they are incredibly flexible and open to trying new marketing techniques and strategies. This has obviously paid off for the company.  The vast array of ideas in this post here have helped the firm generate massive revenues (€22 Billion in 2009) and maintained its position in the global marketplace after almost 60 years of changing fads and trends in the world of design.

Digital Music Event Marketing (2)

This is the second post on Digital Music Marketing Ideas. These stemmed from a project with Betapond here in Waterford. All the ideas came from two four hour sessions at the end of December and I thought some of them were worth sharing. The brief was to come up with a bunch of marketing ideas for a music event that all featured an online element.

�?Hello Glastonbury’
Say this fictional event is large in scale, perhaps a summer festival that features many large screens. Why not encourage viewers to upload footage of them impersonating their favourite acts (who are playing at the event) to Youtube? The best ones get shown at the event on the big screens between acts. The ones selected for screening are based on views and the amount comments, which encourages the uploaders to promote the video. To be eligible to enter each clip must begin with �?Hello (insert name of the event)’, – I just used Glastonbury in the title. While sometimes I loathe these user generated contests, I know a lot of people would probably jump at the chance to dress up and take part. Who knows something genuinely good might come of it, after all the best ones will not be the most accurate impersonation but the most entertaining. This could also be extended into a band competition with the winning act getting a slot.
Guerrilla Augmented Reality App
This mobile phone app uses pre existing advertising billboards as markers to trigger AR content. What am I talking about? Watch this,

However instead of art, what is revealed is branded event related content, such as pictures, artwork, video or maybe even a game – but whatever it is its all related back to the event. The billboards that trigger it need not necessarily be related to the event, but could be a selected advertisement currently on display nationwide – hence the guerrilla aspect, you’re actually using someone else’s advertising space to promote your event. Would this annoy other brands & marketers who’s work your using? Who knows? Does anyone actually really look at billboards anymore? Think of the location of a billboard you pass everyday, closest to work or home and try recall whats on it right now. At least this would get people actively searching for billboards to reveal content and if spinned the right way should get plenty of online and offline buzz. Using billboards gives the app a sense of scale and also the same billboards will be available across the country so if you’re in Dublin or Dingle you can still get access to this content. Also as advertising cycles change and new ad’s go up on the billboards the app can be updated to reveal more content. Similarly this could also be used post-event to reveal exclusive content from the event itself.

Rock Band Manager Facebook Game

Yep I couldn’t come up with a better name, but for those of you old enough to remember Rock Star Ate my Hamster on the Amiga or Commadore 64. In the game you managed a band to the top of the charts earning money , kudos and fans along the way. How about updating that for Facebook, throw in some real world elements and give it a Fantasy Football style feel.

A brief explanation of the game the aim is to manage an act to become so big they headline the music event these ideas are aimed at marketing. Real world elements can be brought in by including actual Irish venues where the fictional bands can tour, sponsorship opportunities for brands to be featured in game – eg �?Hotpress’ be the in game music bible, a variety of different real world sponsors could also offer these fictional bands in-game sponsorship, record deals etc. Run the game for 10 – 12 weeks in the months leading up to the actual event that way people won’t get bored, playing it becomes an event in itself and it can always be updated for the following year. There’s a lot more to this idea, there’s endless opportunities, but you get the idea so far.

Eco-Friendly
Many large events encourage their patrons to be more eco friendly. What festival campsite doesn’t end up covered with a mountain of rubbish come the harsh bright lights of Monday morning. How about educating the audience in advance about the importance of being environmentally friendly with their trash? How can this be done? Using a Facebook application and an incentive provided by a sponsor thats how. The app encourages users to sign up and spreads viral-like through their profile news feed. Everyone that signs up will earn a chosen environmentally friendly project or non-profit a defined amount of money (eg 20cents or 50 cents etc). So there’s a benefit to people signing up. Also the app uses �?intention to behave’ theory to get a better commitment to act at the festival. For example users access the app they don’t just sign up to be more environmentally friendly, but sign up to �?use green bins for all my recyclables at (insert name of event)’ or �?will refuse to throw litter on the ground at (event)’. Studies have shown that getting people to define what and how they intend to carry out an act leads to greater percentage of people actually carrying out that act. Of course this could be communicated in any number of other ways, but this is its most basic. For the cynical marketers don’t forget that having something viral related to an event spread across Facebook will also do no harm to the profile of that event. I hate to be cynical but sometimes with �?green marketing’, especially when it involves big brands, it’s hard to be anything but cynical. However the element of education and revenue generation for a non profit in a related field is positive.

Music

Here’s a project I’ve been working on the side for over a year for a band called King Kong Company. On February 4th last they played their first gig in front of an audience of 600 people, using only Facebook and Youtube to build their fanbase and, indirectly, sell all those tickets!

How did they do it?

They had a Plan.

They wanted to play a gig, not just a gig but a great gig. The band originally played together in the late 1990′s and didn’t simply want to re-hash old tracks or play a load of new tracks to an audience who didn’t know them. This is where Facebook and Youtube stepped in – music could be released online and distributed easily. So, in February 2011 they set about releasing one music video per month for a year.

The Budget was €0.00

It’s a big undertaking to produce 12 music videos – thats roughly 60 minutes of good quality content. They needed stories, actors, locations, crew, choreographer, director and someone to do the marketing. They begged and borrowed the lot. The biggest investment was peoples time, but lucky they’re a nice bunch so could call in a lot of favours.

A Lot of Hard Work

By releasing one track per month, instead of spending an intense amount of time producing and releasing an album, they spread the workload out over a year. That sounds easy doesn’t it, but between producing the tracks and producing the videos there wasn’t much room for error. Once one video was complete producing the next track was already under way. Besides myself they had a Choreographer and Director who worked on all the videos, such was our commitment the band considered us three as members too.

Perhaps the biggest asset going for the band was they made music people were interested in, the videos were always engaging and sometimes just plain weird. Oherwise this project would’ve gone nowhere.

This is Damn You Dorothy, one of the most loved tracks.

Identify All Opportunities

This sounds a bit vague but you have to be looking for as many opportunities as possible to promote the content.

Each new track was seen as an ‘event’ by fans who were actively encouraged to share it on Facebook – this helped build fans and get views. I found Facebook video was only ok, but Youtube was better. Just try Google search a Facebook video for one. Another thing going in Youtube’s favour was the cumulative view count – it’s not all about popularity but there’s something reassuring to new viewers if they’re watching something that is popular. After testing one video launch with Facebook video, I opted to keep all the videos on Youtube only.

Remember to put a URL – such as your website or Facebook Page into the first 2 lines of the Youtube description. When it’s embedded in Facebook the URL shows as a live link. Better still get people to share direct from your page as it the wall post will also feature ‘via KingKong Company’ which is another live link.

We also got several admins of pages with tens of thousands of music fans, based in the south-east to post the videos. We didn’t overdo it, but the month we announced the live gig we did it via Youtube annotations on the latest video and had that video posted to pages with a total of 75,000 fans in our target audience.

The band scooped the Irish Music TV Viewers Choice Award back in November. This was a public vote with the band up against Ham Sandwich, Villagers, Lisa Hannigan and 40+ other Irish bands. The award was won by the band with the most active fans – which was a huge surprise for us. The award did very little to get any kind of press coverage outside of the South-East again, but got the band plenty of airplay on Beat 102-103, the station with the biggest 18 – 35 year old audience in the region and several of the DJ’s got behind the bands music. For that the effort was worth it – and a few more bloggers became aware of the band.

One of the more ‘normal’ videos for Uncle Trouble – it’s Waterford, but for anyone who knows the city, it doesn’t look like it.

A bit of Luck

Admittedly there was some luck involved, but most of it came from everyone making such a huge effort in the first place. For example the IMTV award came at the perfect time, just as the gig was announced, this was quickly followed by a new track too. All of which managed to keep people talking about the band.

Waterford has suffered badly in the recession and this is evident in its nightlife. Go back five years and Waterford rivalled Cork in terms of club nights, gigs and events. Today all its clubs are mainstream, you won’t pay more than €5 to get in and drinks are as cheap as €2.50 – on a Saturday night. Our tickets were €10 and the venue couldn’t compete on those cheap drinks prices. This put us at a disadvantage in one sense where people were unlikely to stumble in off the street for the gig, but in another it meant the crowd were going to be all fans.

Also going for us was the amount of people travelling. We had people from Cork, Tipperary and big bunch from Dublin – which shouldn’t be a surprise since over 60% of our Facebook fans are based there. They travelled because the gig was billed as the one and only gig the band would do. The ‘plan’ was to do one great gig, but considering the success and feedback from it the band will play again.

The Result

Just over a year since the first video made its debut, they now have 13 very well received videos (inlucing the latest one below), an award, a very active Facebook community begging for another gig, and not to mention 600 people out there who walked away from the gig telling people how good it was.

King Kong Company on: Youtube, Facebook, Soundcloud

Check out the atmosphere in this clip from the show, because when you break it down, this was just a local band playing a local gig.

This week Myspace released an app that enables a band to sync their Myspace profile on a Facebook tab. The tab will look almost identical to their Myspace presence, and it’ll give Facebook fans access to everything – music, videos, photos, blogs and events. A neat trick with the app is the music player being a pop out so the listener can navigate away from the page and keep listening to the music.

All in all its a pretty decent package.

Myspace App: Good For Bands & Myspace

This might seem strange Myspace becoming just an app on it’s former rival’s social network. But it’s actually a really good idea for Myspace and for bands. Myspace have long been out of the mass social network market, actually Myspace was never there in theory. Myspace was always about music, whereas Facebook was always the mass market version appealing to everyone – even those who hated music. But this app allows Myspace to leverage the 14 million bands it has on its network, to tap into the massive 600+ million Facebook userbase, and possibly become more relevant than it’s ever been to bands and music fans. After all Myspace incorporated Facebook log in some time ago, new Myspace users don’t have to go to the hassle of setting up a profile.Myspace Music App

This might seem like a step down for Myspace, it’s not really, nor is it a step up. Perhaps best described as a step sideways and it might help solidify their positioning as the social network for bands. Who knows, play their cards right, and with a bit of work Myspace may tempt people back onto the network in the search for great music. Because Facebook isn’t that space.

I started this series of posts because I was helping out some friends promote their band. I never once considered Myspace as a viable option for them because no-one uses it. But now there’s a reason to use it, your Myspace profile can also be on your Facebook profile. Ultimatly thats what services (and the competitors to the Myspace app) such as iLike and Bandpage do, they replicate what Myspace did and put it onto a Facebook tab.

Own the Music on Facebook Space?

Another reason why this is good for Myspace is because no-one owns the music on Facebook space – yet. At the time of writing BandPage have 23.5 million users, having added over 1 million users this week alone! There’s plenty more similar app’s out there so it’s a growing marketplace with a lot of room for expansion. As a stand alone social network Myspace’s days are numbered. It’s future lies in being a niche destination.

In Myspace’s favour are it’s brand, the app is free (other options are freemium) and if you have a Myspace Page and a Facebook Page this app will update both almost at once.

Going against it tho is a lack of analytics, to give bands an idea of who is listening to their music. Since I wrote the piece on BandPage a few months ago they have released new features such as ‘fan-gating’ (ie. you can only listen to a track if you like the page), which the Myspace App doesn’t have.

Then there’s the elephant in the room – the For Sale sign hanging outside Myspace Towers. In response to this, on Mashable, Wick replied “Our main focus right now is innovation.”
Facebook Music Marketing 4: Rootmusic’s BandPage
The fourth in a series looking at useful app’s for bands and artists to make their Facebook page more attractive to fans. So far I’ve looked at iLike, Freeload and Headliner.FM. This post looks at Band Page by Rootmusic.

Rootmusic’s Bandpage

Out of the app’s I’ve looked at so far this is similar to iLike. It builds a tab within your Facebook page to showcase everything about your band. From music to videos, bio’s, photo’s, contact details and gig info – it really does provide an all in one solution. There’s some really nice touches to band page too. The user interface is sleek and attractive. If you move from audio to playing video the audio track will be muted automatically, when you finish watching the video, the audio track picks up where it left off. The tab also features a Facebook wall where fan’s can leave comments and, a Twitter feed. Bandpage also takes advantage of the viral elements of Facebook to help promote the tracks you have through wall posts and sharing with friends.

Thats the free version. For $1.99 a month a version that offers more features to customise your tab is available. This is freemium, but how more reasonable can you get than $1.99 a month? This clip shows just how much more of a visual bang you get for two bucks.

 

Once you set BandPage as the default landing tab it becomes a powerful marketing tool to persuade new fans to like your page and, keeping it updated, gives existing fans ongoing content to keep them interested. The BandPage editor is very straight forward meaning you don’t need any technical know-how to produce something great looking, especially in the paid version which is very reasonably priced.

The main difference between BandPage and iLike is the latter caters for a wider number of social networks all from within the one dashboard. So you don’t need to log into Facebook and Twitter and Myspace to update all three. BandPage doesn’t offer that function, but is that a really a deal breaker?

Facebook Music Marketing 3: Headliner.FM
This is the third part in a series of posts looking at how to market music on Facebook. Part 1, looking at some basics and the iLike service, is here and Part 2, looking at Freeload App, is here.

Headliner.FM

While the last two posts have looked at ways bands can try gain more fans by working on their own, Headliner.FM allows bands to work together to boost their fanbase, revolving around the exchange of ‘Band Bucks’ an in-service currency used to trade promotional messages with other bands fans amongst the 27,000 strong pool or artists using the service.

When you join Headliner you are awarded Band Bucks based on the number of fans you have (this service also connects to Twitter and Myspace accounts). Your bucks will grow in tandem with your fanbase, or if other acts join the service because you have referred them. It’s amongst the 27k userbase where the Band Bucks come in use. Essentially this is a promotion service where you send out messages to the fans of other bands, called ‘shout outs’. These other bands aren’t selected at random, but chosen based on genre of music or location. The other band can then decide whether or not to post that message out to their fans, who in turn can choose to like the message or not. If the other band do post the message they get paid from your stash of Band Bucks, and of course if you do a shout out you get paid in Band Bucks.
Quick Pro’s & Con’s

The pro’s to this are the unique way you can contact bands that might have fans who could potentially also be into your music. The ‘shout outs’ can be promotional in nature, pushing deals, competitions, free downloads, ticket discounts, merchandise whatever you think might be of interest. There’s a limit of three requests per day for these shout outs, and with Band Bucks there’s at least some control over this preventing the service from being over-run with spam. Also since the service integrates with Twitter the promo messages can only be 120 chartacters in length plus a shortened URL. So they’re short but sweet. And for bands with no idea of self control 120 chars is plenty.

I’m not sure if this sits in with the pro’s or con’s. It’s promoted as a free service, while it’s actually a freemium service (free with paid for aspects). Don’t get me wrong developers do have to make money and it’s an interesting enough product that can at least be road tested first. The three tier service offers a basic package with analytics for free. At $30 a month the Pro package offers better analytics, the ability to reach more fans, schedule messages to post later, and geo targeting meaning you can reach local fans (the free version only offers genre targeting). At $50 a month the upper tier offers better analytics, ability to reach even more fans and the running to be in a featured artist. By far the $30 pack seems the best deal, but it really depends on what you get out of it.

What could be useful with a service like this is to target the fans of towns your band is visiting, or using your tracks and videos as free downloads for fans of other bands to try out. Even trying to be more creative with the messages might get you in front of more eyeballs. 120 characters might not seem like much but if you find the right hook, ensure your Facebook presence looks professional and has plenty of content to show how good your band are, then getting potential new fans will certainly be a lot easier. You’re not going to conquer the world with this service, but it might get a few more likes.Freeload

Freeload is a new Facebook Application that launched in December. To add it to your Facebook page will cost you five cents under $100 to purchase, but there’s a couple of features that might make that initial outlay well worth it.

Firstly the purpose of the app is to distribute a piece of content – audio, video, artwork or even a software download. Whenever a user downloads the content their email address is collected and added to an exportable CSV file. In other words you get a point of contact for someone who downloaded your content, very useful for follow up marketing, especially if this person is a fan of your music

The app will also push notifications to a users wall when a fan downloads the content. This might grab the interest of some of their friends to also download the track. Such a feature can help the download go viral, it won’t make it go viral, but it has enough features that might encourage click throughs and some extra downloads from friends of fans. See the ‘download now’ link on the notification below, it could be fairly persuasive don’t you think?Download Delivery

However, one of the best features for the app is the download delivery. You can make the download available right away, set a future date to make it available, or only make it available after a certain amount of fans have clicked the unlock feature. So you could decide to release artwork after 50 fans have ‘unlocked’ it, a single after 200, a video after another 200 and so on. When fans click the ‘unlock’ feature a message is posted to their wall. Again this might get a few more downloads. With this feature I think it’s all about finding the right balance between the value of the free content to the band and the value of the incentive for the fans. With the right balance, where there’s a perceived value to the content, and the fans recognise the number of unlocks as being achievable, then they may just help promote your page in order to reach the required fan numbers and their hands on the free content. In other words if they want the music, and there is a realistic target of fans needed to unlock the content they may promote your download for you.

You could ask them to promote your page directly by tagging your page in a status update. I’d choose this well ahead of ‘suggest to friends’ as thats a fairly useless feature IMO. But don’t turn the status update into some promotion or contest, that’s forbidden under Facebook guidelines and could get your page shut down.

This screenshot shows you how it looks and the features included on the tab itself.
Off The Shelf V Bespoke App’s

Overall it seems like a decent enough application. For those without any HTML/FBML knowledge this is a cost efficient way of distributing content. When forking out for these kind of Facebook services – off the shelf applications such as this are a fraction of the cost it would take to have a developer build a bespoke application. While Freeloader may not do everything you want, or look exactly how you want it, $100 is small change when compared with $3K or more you might have to pay for a developer to build it how you want it. Unless of course you have 3K to spare, why would you spend it on a Freeload imitation?

It has some nice marketing features that could help push the fan growth of a page. Giving away random free stuff can work for and against a page. If a biscuit manufacturer gives away free samples people will ‘like’ the page for the free samples, some may stay fans, some may leave. But for bands this is slightly different. You may not like the taste of the biscuits and leave, but with music no two tracks are ever going to be the same so you might hang around for more free music – unless you totally detest the songs. Which, lets face it no matter what kind of band you are, or how good you are, not everybody will like your music.I’m going to do a series of posts on ways bands and artists can easily market themselves on Facebook. This first post covers some basics and also the incredibly useful iLike app

Facebook For Music

Myspace might be better known as the place for bands, but with a worldwide audience of 600million and still rapidly growing, it’s impossible to ignore Facebook as a marketing tool. Especially when you consider what can be achieved on Facebook with little to no investment. All it takes is a bit of time, no technical know how (although the basics of HTML would go a long way) and the ability to identify how best to leverage your band activities onto the social network. In other words you and your band spend a lot of time rehearsing, gigging, practising so how can this already invested time be used to generate social media content to share with fans? By making sure as much of it as possible is captured. More on that later.

The Basics

I’ve covered plenty of tips for businesses using Facebook for marketing, and they might be a good place to start. The tips, 30 in total, are relevant to any organisation, company or band looking to use Facebook productively.iLike (Music)

This is one of the older Facebook applications having been launched in 2007. Since 2009 the app has been known simply as ‘music’ by its 40 million + users on Facebook. The app requires bands and artists to sign up on ilike.com and to create their own ilike page there.

iLike artist sign up.

The iLike website acts as a dashboard for distributing content to multiple social networks in one click. In other words by updating your iLike page you can also automatically update the Music tab on your Facebook page, Myspace, Twitter, Youtube and even on your website. That can be a big time saver instead of having to manually log into and update each network.

The Music tab for artists (personal profiles can have the tab too, it will display tracks the user likes), as it is displayed on Facebook, carry’s nice large banner across the top, audio tracks, music videos, fan comments, blog posts and gig listings. It can also be set as the ‘landing tab’ for new fans when they first visit the page. On the one hand this will give fans a huge amount of band related information when they first hit your band page, which may encourage them to stick around and get to know your band better. On the other hand, I think setting the ‘Music’ tab as the landing tab may give too much information to the user in the beginning, which may prove off putting. I’d be more inclined to use a landing tab that is less cluttered, something which promotes the band with one simple call to action. Better yet use the reveal setting (look it up on FBML) to offer an exclusive track that will be revealed only to fans of the page. That offers a clear incentive for fans to ‘like’ the page, while they can still peruse further band information on the ‘Music’ tab.

As mentioned Facebook users can also add the Music app to their personal profile, where it will feature a playlist of songs they like from the iLike catalogue of artists. These artists range from major labels to unsigned acts so music fans have an incentive to use the app even if they don’t make music. For your band, encouraging fans to add your music to their playlists would do no harm in spreading the word, and may win you a new fan or two.iLike Dashboard

The iLike dashboard has a few other handy features including stats that show new fan growth and how many people have added your music to their profile. One thing I did notice in the FAQ iLike promotes the spamming of Facebook users using the message function (check here). This allows users to message people they are not friends with. It’s a tad spammy and if someone you didnt know sent you a private message would you even open the message never mind listen to the track? With different scams hitting Facebook of late, spamming strangers would probably be a waste of time and will only annoy people.

The iLike Music app is very useful for bands. Facebook was launched to cater for everybody, whereas Myspace was launched to cater for bands and music. Therefore Myspace trumps Facebook in terms of features for acts, however this one app brings a lot of those features into one handy tab that will supply fans with all they need to know about an artist, while also providing a dashboard for the artist to update multiple networks in one go.

More app’s, tools and advice on how to ensure your band is making the most of its Facebook presence is on the way.I’ve been a fan of UK synth band Hurts since I first heard a remix of their track Wonderful Life on last years NME Radar mix. Its a total 1980′s fest, and even their videos have something Pet Shop Boys about them. For a band that have very little material they have picked up an amazing amount of publicity in recent months and a few things about their online marketing caught my eye. Their marketing approach is a slight bit different with a heavy emphasis on integrating video and social networks to their marketing ahead of their website to build awareness and drive up fans.

Social Networks & Website

With any media savvy band (or brand) it’s important to integrate your online presence into as many relevant channels as possible. While a website is a key element to building an online presence, there are plenty more options out there to augment this presence, something Hurts do with Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and Youtube. They manage to leverage each of these social networks to build awareness of their music and to get new fans. All of which is critical for a new band with a debut album due in August. A quick look at their Myspace brings you to a well laid out page that features a video for the latest single in the header, along with links to their website, Youtube, shop, newsletter sign up, itunes and link to buy a signed CD just under it. This is the first example of how video plays such an important part in their marketing.

Google Search & Youtube
The band have bought up keywords such as Hurts, Hurts Band and Better Than Love on Google search. The sponsored link doesn’t bring you to their website but to their Youtube Channel, and a selection of official videos, interviews and making of videos. This is a great idea because it brings potential new fans to a decent selection of music videos (more than whats on their website), and what better way of turning potential fans into actual fans than this? From this entry point people can explore the band further with clear and identifiable links to other networks. Also just to note the first organic link on Google is their Myspace page, the 2nd is for another band called Hurt, and the 3rd is a link for a free Download page on the official Hurts website.

Facebook & Better Than Love
Its not unusual for a band to give away a song for free in return for signing up for a mailing list. But Hurts go about it in a different way. First the free song is actually their current single, as its available to purchase at the same time the free song is actually free. It has a financial value on it and is not a song that was never going to see the light of day. Even with this tactic the single managed to scrap into the UK Top 50 and the UK Dance Top 10. Second, the band are using Facebook Ad’s to promote the free single on the social network. Once clicking on the ad it brings you to their external website, although it uses the Facebook ‘favicon’ (the URL icon), so you would be forgiven for thinking you were still within Facebook. One last thing regarding their Facebook presence (view it here) , it’s frequently updated (maybe too often) and oddly enough when compared with their Youtube and Myspace presence it has no branding of any kind and just looks like a run of the mill Facebook page. A bit more branding and personalisation of Facebook would go a long way, especially since Hurts have more fans on Facebook than any other channel combined.

To End:

The band have taken a slightly different approach to their online marketing, leveraging social networks for their viral spread, and Google search to drive new fans to Youtube. Although falling down slightly on their Facebook page, this could easily be improved with a branded default landing page featuring an embedded video of Better Than Love. While I didnt cover Twitter (their profile) in the main body of the article, a quick look at it identifies Kylie Minouge as a fan who has retweeted them to her 190,000 fans. Thats sure to bring a sudden bump in traffic to their Youtube channel who may then venture further into the world of Hurts. Overall their online marketing strategy is pretty good and in all the marketing clutter out there it still managed to catch my attention. Looking forward to the debut album in August.

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