David Greenberg shares monthly tips from his experience as Director of Marketing for Ted Kurland Associates, a boutique booking and management agency where Berklee interns gain insight into a successful career in music and business.
Last week we dissected the wrong way to get anyone to be interested about you and your stuff on social networks. Like those cheap commercials on Late Night TeeVee with the announcer yelling at you…wait, there’s more.
Let’s drop on over to the message boards of LinkedIn. This could be a great place for real professionals to discuss real life situations amongst themselves or rearrange the brain cells of the newbies so they get the complex issues. Instead, there’s the bands with the demos who want to be signed. There’s the wedding videographers who want to do music videos. Which is too bad, this kind of hanky panky, just demeans the site, and the members, and drops it, and them, down a notch from being Professional.
And, just to help me illustrate this point, LinkedIn just this minute sent me an email update to the Music and Entertainment Professional Group. There are 61 new discussions and 98 new comments. Let’s see what deep thoughts my fellow professionals are thinking during their busy lives to help me find my way through the professional maze that is the music business. The first few discussions still open are chugging along; “Introduce Yourself Here,” “Post Your Facebook Page Here,” and one deepening thoughts on the Recording Business Today. Good stuff, really.
But the new discussions? Well, there’s the announcement that after seven years, some unknown band is back with a name that sounds like they’ve spent those seven years in airport lounges across the nation. If you want to hear their music, click here.. why would I? And, then, I stopped at the new discussion hawking “Baby Safety Products.”
If you do go on the message boards, or anywhere on these sites, and you want to connect, think like you are writing this to your friend–even Facebook calls it a friend list to remind you in case you forgot–and deal with everyone like they were your real life friends. You would want a prospective employer to pick you out of the crowd, but not by waving a sign sharpied with huge letters stating; “Pick Me! PICK ME!”
If I were you, I would show them you were a thoughtful and understanding professional. Ask real questions in the boards, or of your LinkedIn network. When on Facebook, cool your jets and get information out, not fling around the hard sell and see what sticks where. While it may fly, it is still, well, you know.
Now if you are a band and have music to sell, well, that flips everything around. You do have something your friends want to buy: CDs, tickets, and merch. But there’s smart ways to do it. Grace Kelly just posted a poster of Facebook her new release of gospel and spiritual songs, entitled, nicely, “Grace.” Honestly, I must tell you that I designed the poster and Grace’s latest album, so that you know before you jump over to check it out this could possibly be a Greenberg example on how to do soft marketing for the social network. Yes, but that’s not the point here. Immediately her FB friends wanted to buy a copy, or asked when it’s going to be released in Japan, and on. Take note, Grace was telling her FB friends that she just received the hard copies of the album and she’d then tell her fans when they would be able to buy it online, soon. She was letting us, her fans, all in on some news and the fans, running with that tidbit pushed the hard sell to their friends, and their friends of friends.
Bruce Berger runs around the world as RebbeSoul, showing off his amazing guitar chops and playing a fun, exciting, and spiritual blend of world beat and rock. I know him from our years together at Ithaca College and he asks for some marketing ideas every-so-oftern. His latest release is a tribute to the late Shlomo Carlebach who had, himself, written thousands of Jewish tunes, a few of them, if you were of the Temple persuasion at any time in your life you may have even sung.
And there’s great stories behind the stories of the songs, all of which, RebbeSoul has blogged about and set up on Facebook, and he will be sending to the press soon. That is after I write this bloggette and have some spare time this weekend to proof the publicity pieces prepared by Molly Wolf–a former intern at TKA who I connected up with Bruce. RebbeSoul did announce the release of his album, a few months ago, and he set up a player on his Facebook page for anyone to listen to the tracks. But more importantly, it’s these stories that are going to move his sales forward. He nabbed his fans with the hard sell, even though they would buy anything at anytime. The soft sell is what is going to gain him the interest of the disinterested.
It is so obvious that online is not the real world–though Second Lifers and online gamers may vehemently disagree. This flip/flop of perceptions just underscores it. Out in the real world you need to sell people hard so they flip out–OMG!–and buy your stuff, instead of shelling out shekels for someone else’s stuff, or buy the you in you, if you are looking for a job instead of going off and hire someone else. It’s the elevator pitch. The five-minute date.
IN HERE (since you are reading this online) think of it like you’re at a party and you want someone to notice you out of everyone else there, but from way across the room. You? Check your teeth in a mirror. Are you dressed well? How about that hair? You need to look the part. Punk crowd, obviously you’re not going to wear Armani. Straighten your tie, your dress or loosen your tie, rip your dress. Play to the crowd. Tell a story, a joke, impart some wisdom, give out a recipe, as you would, to your friends who do want to know how you make that scintillating kind of canapé. Your new friend may sidle up to you, or, perhaps, go to another party; one with more fun, or brighter, wittier, shinier happier people. You may be able to show off your etchings, so to speak. Or you may be dusting them off. Alone.
In taking this metaphor to it’s bitterest and boorish end; say, if you were the loud, used car salesman type at this party. Do you have everyone entranced? Or slowly moving over into the next room, hitting the drinks and canapés? I, myself would not go yammering up the room with the verbal equivalent of a billboard. Though, those of “that type” don’t get that they are not only being ignored, but they aren’t going to be invited back. Not at first, but they will get the point sooner or later. They will be shunned, excommunicated, ejected forcibly and de-friended by their circle of so-called-friends.
“So-called” for even Mr/Miss Used Car Salesman would not treat their real life–real world–friends like that, would they? Would you? Have you? How’s it going for you,then? Dancing and having a blast with your so-called friends? Or are you dancing with yourself?
David Greenberg is Director of Marketing for Ted Kurland Associates, where he also runs the intern program. Many of his interns do come from Berklee, and since TKA receives their skills for free, Greenberg thought the very least he could give back was a few thousand words a month imparting his view of the business, verbalizing his grimaces at those who should know better, and perhaps spitting out a pearl or two of wisdom to the Berklee-ites who visit this blog. Greenberg has spent the better portion of his life marketing great music created by musicians with albums in the Rolling Stone Top 100 as well as those whose albums were formerly known by a cultish few. He loves too many genres of music for his own good. He honed his marketing skills doing the multitude of jobs he’s held since graduating out of the film department of Ithaca College, a rather full laundry list best best read on Facebook or his LinkedIn profile. One tidbit: Gerry Casale, of DEVO loved the title, but could not believe that a marketing person–me–would even suggest that our Rykodisc release of their pre-Warner’s live tracks be called “DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years.” So unPC and in bad taste. He knew the fans would eat it up, but that would not fly at Warners. Which is one reason I never worked there. The other reason is that I never applied.