In the age of social media, pop stars aren't just burning up the song charts.
Using social media, personalities the likes of Justin Bieber, 50 Cent, Puff Daddy and Kanye West have evolved beyond the music industry into some of the biggest brands online. Through a combination of social platforms including Twitter and Facebook, they've been able to create a conversation around their music and grow their fan base. They've also been able to promote their entrepreneurial ventures from fashion and films to sites and apps.
So how does the one and only rap icon Snoop Dogg handle the online game?
While Snoop has millions of followers on Twitter and Facebook, he doesn't consider them just 'fans.' Rather, he calls them his "family." "My recipe is just being me: I'm up front; I'm up close and personal. My fans don't have a wall between me and them," he says.
Snoop's social-media team at the Los Angeles-based marketing firm Cashmere Agency also offered some insight on how they work to keep his online presence consistent and growing. "As with all of our clients -- Far East Movement, RZA and Raekwon -- we are focused on helping them enhance what they're already doing," says Seung Chung, president and co-founder of the Cashmere Agency. "The strategy with Snoop is to give his audience both an insider look at his life and to continually pump out relevant video content."
Here, Chung answered more of my questions about Snoop's social media successes and how other entrepreneurs might follow suit:
Beyond the social media giants, which new platforms or tools are providing the most traction for your clients?
Viddy.com is one new platform that we feel will continue to explode. The app allows users to records brief video clips, apply various filters and then share with their friends on the app or through their social networks. We helped Snoop Dogg get started on the platform and then we aided in launching an actual Snoop Dogg-themed filter late last month. We know that video content is now firmly rooted in cyberspace, so we feel that helping users interact with brands using video is a real plus.
Chill.com is another platform that we are very interested in. Chill allows groups of people to gather online and watch content together and create a dialogue around it. Users login and create personal avatars and then comment on curated content. There is already a Snoop avatar that he uses when he is on the site. So far, fans love it.
What can entrepreneurs learn from how the music industry uses social media?
The entertainment business is about winning customers/fans over one at a time. Since the first customers you interact with will likely be your best fans, make them your focus. These early adopters will help spread the gospel of your product. It is the interactive power of social media that will not only get your name out to the masses, but also identify core customers where you can learn, reward and repeat.
And what's the best way to keep fans coming back?
You must stay consistent and cohesive. To be most effective, you have to have a real commitment to putting up content and messaging on a regular basis. You also must have real interactions with your core audience and customers. In a way, social media allows you to build a voice and a persona for your brand -- a personification that can work to build your brand's message.