Got Social Network? (from left) Hannah Hooper of Grouplove, Michael Fiebach, CEO of Fame House's , Paul Sinclair, SVP or Digital Media at Atlantic Records, Dan Scheinman, SVP and General Manager of Cisco, and Bill Werde, Billboard Editorial Director.
So you've got thousands of Twitter followers and you're a Facebook rockstar, what do you do next? That was the premise of a SXSW panel entitled "You've Built a Social Network, Now What?" moderated by Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde.
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The topics covered by panelists Michael Fiebach (CEO of Fame House), Dan Scheinman (SVP and General Manager of Cisco), Paul Sinclair (SVP of Digital Media at Atlantic Records), and Hannah Hooper (Grouplove) included growing your fanbase, monetizing your social network, and the best applications.
Fame House's Fiebach told the packed room that growing a fanbase is more than just trigger happy Facebook and Twitter updates by band members. He recommended using tools such as Fanbridge, Mobile Roadie and Google Analytics as part of a broad-based strategy. Atlantic's Sinclair recommended Push Media, which helps connect digital sales with online presence and data collection.
Sinclair also noted the importance of email collection, which skeptics note can garner fake addresses. Sinclair countered by explaining that, "you get legitimate emails more often than not and they're fans enough to think up a fake address, whereas with social networking they just click a button."
Werde brought up Radiohead's "In Rainbows," model, stating "Radiohead didn't give their music away, they got you on their site and made double what they would have otherwise."
Sinclair stated that putting something on sale, be it a show or a product, needs to be an event. The run up to it should have constant reminders by the artist and be an obvious push for sales rather than playing it coy.
As an artist, Hooper explained it is difficult to know exactly what fans want in terms of updates. "We'll tweet drunk quotes at 4 a.m., whereas our management update with show dates."
Werde stressed the importance of "artists needing to think strategically about timing, what they share and how they share it -- that's their leverage"
One salient point brought-up by the panel is the importance of an artist website, which is core to online revenue and often overlooked by artists who increasingly focus on their social media presence. Sinclair explained that Atlantic stresses the importance of drawing fans to artist websites. Scheinman added that websites lead to greater monetization, resulting in 3-5 times more revenue than Facebook or Twitter.
For more from the panelists, check out their Twitter pages: @grouplove @mfiebach @bwerde @dscheinm @spinclair