Building an Entertainment Community – Find Your Fans First
My colleague Scott Brown wrote about how online audiences tend to go to the branded site of their favorite entertainment (whether sports, music, movie, etc) FIRST to check out the latest news and content. But not every TV show, film production, or musician has their own branded site up online yet. So many content producers still have yet to build their own site, and as Scott mentions – its an opportunity for Cisco Eos.I’m one of those content producers who wants their own web site. When I’m not concentrating on my work for Cisco, I record funk and jazz music with my band fONKSQUISh. I do have my music, and band related video and text content up online on too many social networks to mention right here – just a few – MySpace, Facebook, ReverbNation, Last.fm, Imeem. One of the reasons why artists like myself go to social networks like MySpace and Facebook is there are huge entertainment audiences there – over 130 million unique visitors per month according to Comscore. And that’s a great thing!!! Because you can leverage these audiences, and discover the most passionate fans to push to your own branded site when you are ready to launch one. You just need to know how to find these passionate fans who are distributed across different social networks. There are professional music marketers who work directly with artists and record labels to aggregate the fans. I will invite one to come do a guest post in the future, but in the meantime I hope to illustrate a few simple examples of ‘fan discovery’.Why do I want my own branded site ? There are many reasons – listing them would take up a whole another blog post. One primary reason is I want to create my own experience for fONKSQUISh – with a unique web design and layout. Cisco Eos will enable this kind of site creation. I could imagine making many different Eos sites for my various fONKSQUISh music projects in the future. Here’s one web site project I will start working on soon – a companion web site to go with a new collection of songs our band is working on. The music in the collection has participation from many great soul and jazz legends. I’m still going to call this collection of songs an album, even if it’s a digital album with extra content.The companion site to our album will be an open web experience that offers the following elements: songs, behind the scenes videos from recording sessions, advanced promotional videos, artwork, liner notes, credits, and biographies of the great musicians who participated in making the music. Using Cisco Eos, I will also enable the fONKSQUISh fans and those fans of the guest soul and jazz musicians to discuss the content and connect with each other to create new experiences.I’m already building this list of fans I found on other social networks. I will ask them to come create a community around this web site experience once it goes live. Here are a few quick examples of how I found the passionate fans on some of the social networks with large entertainment audiences. And how do I know they are passionate? First of all, I am searching for music fans with very specific interests. And now I do know they are passionate – after connecting with them we had direct discussions about the artists playing on the album and the music in general.1) Facebook SearchByard Lancaster is a featured saxophonist on our group’s album. So I went to Facebook and searched on ‘Byard Lancaster’. Here’s what I found:I found a Facebook group about Philadelphia jazz musicians and Byard Lancaster was listed there. This makes perfect sense – Byard is a Philly jazz legend. When I went directly to the group page I found its creator, William Welburn, who is a big fan of Byard Lancaster. William and I connected on Facebook and start talking about music. He added fONKSQUISh to the list of bands on the group page, and now he’s a fan and we are actively talking. Additionally, I found several other passionate fans through Facebook search, searching for fans of artists I consider related to fONKSQUISh.2) Twitter Search Prince Lasha is another saxophonist playing on this upcoming digital album release. This time I went to Twitter looking for potential fans. Twitter has it’s own search engine at http://search.twitter.comSo I searched Twitter to see if there were any Prince Lasha fans out there. I want to turn them on to this upcoming album.Unfortunately Prince Lasha just passed away and there was some discussion about that on Twitter. I found a Twitter user, EssentialsofJazz pointing to an online celebration of Prince Lasha’s life. I connected with EssentialsofJazz and now I have another engaged fan. She even picked up on the fact that our band is working with Byard Lancaster.3) Last.fm Listener Search Sure, music discovery services can help music lovers find new artists, but they can also help artists find their audiences as well. Music discovery services clearly report the listening habits of their users. So by searching for our band on Last.fm, I can find our worldwide audience. I just went to Last.fm and searched on our band name and then clicked on the tab labeled ‘Listeners’. It’s a long list, a surprise to me, so scroll down to for the conclusion of this lesson.Now it’s up to me to connect with these potential passionate fans – look they are already listening to fONKSQUISh. Even if songs from our band make up a tiny fraction of the users’ listening time – it is still pretty impressive they are actually listening!So that’s the bottom line – after I create my Cisco Eos powered site for our new digital album, or any new band site for that matter, I can find the fans out there on other social networks and bring them in to create community and engagement around the content. I remember making music in the 1990’s and blindly sending CD’s across the world to find anyone that would listen. That era is over and it is quite an amazing time for musicians. Let’s directly connect with our audiences.