I’m a content management expert, steeped in technology, and also a drummer in the band Mama’s Joy. In Los Angeles, this isn’t a rare combo.
For the past few years, my friend Howard and I have been running a site called Thomas Hampton Reviews. We had different reasons for creating the site. Howard was encouraged to create a platform to help the theater community while I wanted to explore some ideas about how social media could be maximized by end users. I wanted to go beyond creating better data for advertising.
We both believe that social media can provide an amazing platform for creative people like ourselves; performers, makers, and artists. We both also believe social media can connect people interested in funding their creative pursuits and attending their events.
Turning the crank
I still believe this is the case but Howard and I have reached an impasse of sorts. We know creatives and businesses can put these networks to work by taking advantage of the features and rules of each player like Facebook and Twitter to connect with as many people as possible. But the fact is, in order to do that you have use the network in a very particular way, likely a way particular to that network. Just as people take take advantage of Google’s search engine rules and engage in SEO (search engine optimization), there is a way to take advantage of the ‘Rules of Facebook’. I call it Direct Appeal Marketing.
The rules are as simple as shampoo:
- Comment and Like
- Share and post
Easy, right? Nothing new, right? The thing is it has to be a more than a bit calculated. Consider the challenge of using this model to promote a show running for 6 weeks. The cast and crew make up a network that numbers 30 people. Everyone has to comment and like to make sure this stays at the top of all of their friends’ feeds. Some have to share and someone has to create the original post that starts this process. It needs to be systematic.
Systematic things often need discipline. Discipline needs passionate resources on board with the common goal. Communicating the ‘why’ of doing this has proven to be a challenge. And it matters: the how and why of getting the word out in this calculated way is the difference between throwing info out into your circle randomly versus actually having it seen, read and understood. The commitment levels are completely different.
A creative drumbeat
Beyond discipline, this content requires creativity from our content creators. Being creative for six longs weeks isn’t easy. How do we keep our content creators excited creating interesting posts and making sure they remember the rules that get it seen by their network? Again, passion matters but maybe there’s something more: Incentives.
This is a problem that companies large and small are trying to solve. We’re sure the answer lies in incentives…somehow we have to inspire and incent the creators. We have to understand what motivates and put that to work. Is it gamification or cash payments? Getting through the impasse for us as well as for enterprises depends on figuring this out.