10 Twitter Tips For Traditional Media

It seems like Twitter is finally starting to penetrate the mainstream media. CBC recently invited some experts in social media in to share their ideas about how a traditional media company might use tools like Flickr, YouTube, Facebook… and Twitter. While I wasn’t there, it sounds like it was a big success and got people excited to dig in and use these new tools as part of their show programming.

Twitter even seems to be replacing blogs as the ‘cool’ go-to news source for ‘what’s happening on the web’. However, many mainstream media companies are still clearly struggling with what Twitter is and how to best use it.  So I’ve put together my personal…

10 Twitter Tips For Traditional Media (try and say THAT 10 times quickly…)

1. Twitter is NOT an RSS feed.

I know that the New York Times, The Globe and Mail, CBC, and others are using Twitter as a news feed, but I don’t personally subscribe to any of them. I can get that EXACT same information from an RSS feed (which I do…) and I don’t personally like my Twitter feed clogged up with every news item under the sun.

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You Don’t Control Your Brand. The Audience Does.

Traditional branding is dead. The days of ‘choosing’ your brand and pushing your choice out to passive consumers are gone.  Today, you have to earn your brand.

Thanks to social networking and Web 2.0 tools, you simply can’t ‘control’ a brand by saturating a market with endlessly repeating messages and advertisements.  It’s too easy for your audience to call your bluff, share their views with an enormous number of people, and create the exact opposite impression you were intending.

So how does today’s branding work?  You actually have to provide value for your audience or your customers.  If you give them a stellar experience, they will tell others.  If you give them a bad experience, they will also tell others.   The word of mouth about your content or product IS your brand.

Let’s say you upload 100 music videos and 5 comedy videos to YouTube.  In traditional media thinking, that means that you’re mostly a music service.  However, if only 10 people watch your music videos, but 3 of your comedy videos go viral, to the audience, you’re a comedy company.

The point is, you don’t get to choose. The audience creates your brand with every click of a mouse, every content rating tool they use, every comment they make about your content, and every link they send to their friends.

So forget trying to ‘sell’ people with endless hype.  Focus your energy on building a relationship with them by giving them a terrific experience first.   The days of ‘promising’ a brand are over.  The days of having to deliver on the brand promise are here.

13 YouTube Success Tips For Musicians

You’re a music artist.

Not enough people are hearing your music.

You’ve got your tunes up on MySpace and New Music Canada.

You’ve got your music video (if you’ve got one) up on YouTube, MySpace and New Music Canada.

What else should you be doing?

In the YouTube universe, the answer is LOTS. The goal is get people exposed to who you are and the music you create.  And the music video is far from your only tool.  Here are 13 OTHER ways to use YouTube to get new people to get to know you and your tunes…

  1. Tour diary. If you’re an artist that tours, give updates from the road.  All you need is a webcam , a laptop, and an internet connection.   Tell us about last night’s gig.  Tell us where you’re going next.  Talk about your favourite moments of being on the road.  Show us the dump of hotel you’re staying in (or the van you’re sleeping in).  Interview people who are at the show. Shoot something live during your show and tell the audience to check it out on your website tomorrow morning. EVERYONE secretly wants to go on tour and live ‘on the road.’  Show ’em how great it is… or dispel the myth.
  2. Making Your Record. Take your fans into the recording studio (or your basement).  Show them process.  Show them how you write, how you rehearse, how you record.  Show yourself making mistakes.  Show yourself figuring out the way you make your music great.  Give them a window in your creative process.
  3. Day Job. Show your fans what you REALLY do when you’re not making music.  Do you work at the GAP?  Do you sell insurance?  Do you live in your parents’ basement?  Be honest, be bold, and pull back the curtain.  Show your fans what your life is REALLY like when you’re not on stage.  You’ll be shocked at how much they might care and love you for it.
  4. Ask for help. Jammed with lyrics?  Want to know which version of a chorus works better or worse?  Curious whether a solo sounds better on a guitar or a keyboard?  Pose your dilemma to your audience.  Open up, put it out there – you might be totally shocked at the great suggestions you get from your audience.
  5. Create a video diary / blog. What do you care about besides music?  Politics?  Sports?  Filmmaking?  Throw it out there.  Be passionate.  Be emotional.  Be confident.  Say what you believe and ask for feedback, opposing opinions, and further thoughts.  Let people get to know the REAL you, not just the musician.
  6. Bring the Funny. If you’ve got a knack for humour, by God, use it.  Show people your lighter side.  Shoot a skit, pull a prank on your bandmates, do your best impression.  Making people laugh could be the best thing you ever did for your music career.
  7. Reply to other YouTube videos. Give your opinions on other artists videos by commenting.  Comment on videos about subjects other than music that you care about.  If you’re brave enough, create some video replies to other people’s content.
  8. Take Advantage Of What’s Already Popular. Pick a viral video, popular web meme, or web video celebrity.  Talk about why you love it/him/her.  Talk about why it/him/her is horrible, shameful or stupid.  Do a parody of it/him/her.  Tag your video with keywords that will turn up for people searching for the original.
  9. Make a video with another musician or band. Make a video together.  Have fun.  Do something that will stand out.  And post it to both of your sites, both of your YouTube, MySpace, New Music Canada accounts.  Email the fans from BOTH your bands and let them know what you’ve done. That way, you can introduce your fans to their music and personalities and vice versa.
  10. Subscribe to the videos of bands that are similar to yours. Subscribe to videos created by fans of bands that are similar to yours.  You might get good ideas from them.  They might check you out.  They might like what they find on your channel.  They might tell others.  That would be good.
  11. No matter what you put up on YouTube, tag it properly. Put in your name.  Put in your band’s name.  Put in your genre of music.  Pick the words for which you want to turn up as the top search result and put ’em in the tags of your videos.
  12. Whenever you put up a video on YouTube, put it everywhere else you can think of, too. Facebook, MySpace, Vimeo, Viddler, Blip.tv, you name it. YouTube is the 800 pound gorilla, but there are lots of other great niches where you can find audiences, too.
  13. Once the video is up live, tell EVERYONE you know about it. Put it on your website or blog.  Tweet about it on Twitter.  Put it on your Facebook and MySpace status.   Send it your newsletter or email subscribers.  And DEFINITELY ask your audience to pass it along to their friends, too.  If you can get others to pass it along to their networks, you’re off to the races…

What have I missed?  Any other ideas?  Let ‘er fly in the comments…