Today’s #RockstarChat will have its first co-host, Billboard’s own Katie Morse! I interviewed Katie for Think Like a Rock Star, and in today’s chat she will talk to us about how rock stars are using social media and other marketing channels to connect with their fans. Then we’ll talk about what brands can learn from rock stars in connecting with their own fans.
To prep for today’s chat, I wanted to share an interview I did with Katie several months ago while I was still writing Think Like a Rock Star:
Mack: For Rockstars, it just seems so natural for most of them to have a very close connection with their fans. Yet for most brands, the exact opposite is true. Why do you think Rockstars go out of their way to embrace their fans, when most brands keep their’s at arm’s length?
Katie: I think this dichotomy exists for 2 reasons.
1 – Brands never HAD to “embrace their fans” before social media. Many brands spent millions doing the opposite, in fact – turning their customers into anonymous data points and trying to make the most amount of money possible based off of statistical models and predictions.
2 – Rock stars have a necessary connection with their fans based off their model of monetization… in these days (and even previously) you had to tour to make money. Now that’s apparent more than ever, and who goes to a show? PEOPLE! Musician’s couldn’t ignore their fans the way brands could before.
I also think that brands, for a long time, were afraid of “being human”. You see this pop up in all sorts of areas… scripted customer service calls, for an example. Somewhere along the line from the mom and pop shops of the 1800-1900’s to the monolithic corporations of today brands lost that “human touch” which musicians could never afford to lose.
Mack: Throughout your professional career, and especially now handling Social Media Marketing for Billboard, you’ve been exposed to how Rockstars connect with their fans. What do you think is the most important lesson or two that brands can learn from the relationship Rockstars have with their fans?
Katie: 1 – Go off-script. I Tweeted the other day(Edit by Mack, this interview was done last Aug for the book ;)) that Josh Groban’s Twitter account is consistently one of my favorites to follow. Why? Because he’s not a marketing machine. He’s a real person with a personality. He even has some pretty good jokes! Brands don’t need to learn to “be human” but they DO need to learn how to better communicate with real people online. That requires adopting a more conversational and human tone and not being afraid to be honest, or deal with the unexpected.
2 – Less Wizard of Oz, more Dorothy. People want to see what’s behind the curtain more than ever these days. Musicians have taken to Instagram en masse, just as an example, and many share photos of life on tour or even daily live (Rihanna, Drake, etc). This content is GOLD in fans eyes… who doesn’t want to see what Drake’s hotel room in Cannes really looks like, or what Rihanna really gets up to on a “night out with the girls”? The same thing should apply to your brand. No, not everyone cares to see photos of worker bees in cubicles, but we DO want to take a peek into how your bottled beverage is really put together, or what the raw incredients for my favorite meal at a restaurant really look like. GE does a wonderful job of this with their Instagram account, by the way.
Mack: How can a brand measure the bottom-line impact of connecting with their biggest fans? I think most brands accept that fans probably spend more than the average customer and speak more positively about the brand, but if a CMO wanted to convince her boss to launch a formal program to connect with its brand advocates, how would she sell the boss on spending the money to do so?
Katie: It has to tie back to revenue, so start there. First – start with proving that your biggest fans DO spend more, do your research! From there, I’d suggest asking for a small budget to launch a pilot program to connect with and reward brand advocates. They may love your company, but everyone loves getting a little something in return, too. Perhaps a small meetup (drinks on your company!) might be a good place to start. You can invite the CMO, structure it like an informal focus group and get opinions from your biggest fans. From there, show them that you used their feedback in some way! Measure the amount that they spent before and after, and also measure the buzz they helped to create for your company online over time. Those are the results the CMO wants to see and those results also give you a great parameter in asking for budget. On the up side, if your initial foray ends up creating more referrals/sales/revenue than you projected, you can ask for a bigger budget! Increased online buzz is great, but ultimately if that leads to sales, page views, or whatever your revenue driver is it’s a win. If not… try again.
And Katie will be joining us today at 1pm Central at #RockstarChat on Twitter to share more smartitude like this. Hope you can join us!