Social Media

A Brief Guide to Google+ Dashboards

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When Dorian Gray looks in the mirror every day he sees behind the illusion of beauty and gazes upon the horror that is his true face. You might have similar feelings when you look behind the curtain at the inner-workings of Google+. Long touted as the next big thing in social media, Google has continually pressed the web faring public into creating an account, and in many cases doing it for them. However, like our fantastical friend Dorian, Google+ has received numerous aesthetic upgrades, but on the inside it’s still somewhat of a monster. If you operate a small business and have had to navigate through the UI and various pages of Google+, then you’ll likely know what I’m talking about. I’ve recently had to optimize the presence of several clients on the big plus. What I’ve learned I’ll share with you in the hopes that you’ll be able to save yourself from similar anguish.

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Social Media Etiquette for Business

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What are the attributes of a good friend? They give more than they take in a relationship. They’re helpful. They offer to help you move with only the promise of some pizza and maybe a cold beer when you’re done. They are entertaining and playful. You don’t go out of your way to make plans with your boring and personality deprived “friends”. They have an overall positive outlook on life. They have opinions.

Well it shouldn’t take a degree in quantum physics to understand that if you display these attributes online, people will be more likely to follow you and interact.

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Is Macklemore a “sell out”? A Lesson in Social Media Marketing

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It’s no secret that we at Confluence Digital love us some Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.  It’s not uncommon to step into our office on any given day and hear tracks from The Heist bumping us all into a good mood. And so it’s not surprising that this is now my second blog post on the artists and his use of social media marketing (obsessed much? Yes!).   

My friend’s mom refers to Macklemore as “my guy Macklemore” as in, “Did you hear my guy Macklemore is going to be on SNL on March 2nd?!” and “I can’t talk right now, my guy Macklemore is on Ellen!”  The truth is a lot of us Seattleites feel that way about him too.  He’s “our guy”, our “dood” so to speak.  We’ve been rocking tracks like I Said Hey and White Privilege and Ego and even My Penis Song for years now, and so it’s not surprising that some fans have become slightly possessive of his music and the message his brand carries.  

I, personally, have never understood the whole “sell out” label.  It seems to get pinned in one way or another to pretty much every single artist who becomes successful in any way. The first thing we need to understand about Macklemore is that he never set out to just be a local artist or “underground rapper” in fact he hates the term:


Attending $5 shows with 50 people at venues like the Wild Buffalo in the beginning and listening to his earlier albums made me feel like I was a part of something special, a treasure that had yet to be discovered by the rest of the world.  I became a Macklemore fan-for-life, accepting that he may never make it big beyond the Northwest, accepting that his message may only resonate with a small portion of the population, but a portion I was proud to be a part of.  I, like a lot of his fans, accepted I would support him, even if no one else ever caught on. 

I honestly never thought this day would come.  That he’d ever actually get big enough to have an opportunity to be labeled a “sell out” (how exciting!). 

The Controversy: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis appeared in a promo for the 2013 NBA All-Star game featuring an edited version of Wings  

When I first saw the 2013 NBA All-Star game promo with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, honestly, I laughed.  I laughed because it must’ve been an interesting task (to say the least) for whoever had to edit Wings so no mention of anti-Nike consumerism was included. I wasn’t offended by the edits or outraged by the new arrangement or rushing to my computer to write “sell out” in the comments sections of his YouTube videos, however I wasn’t surprised that some fans were. 


Sheesh, so much “disappointment” going around.  

While I want to rush to defend the choice Macklemore and Ryan Lewis made to be in this promo, while I could go into what I think Wings means, and how I think the song is both an examination of consumerism in our generation, specifically consumerism around Nike shoes, as well as an ode to sports, specifically basketball and Michael Jordan… I think what’s more interesting is looking at how social media marketing is shaped by fans (customers) and how artists can and should use their social media marketing channels to respond to perceived controversies from fans. 

Social Media Marketing makes the Fans your Marketers 

The best part of and biggest problem with social media marketing is that your customers become your marketers.  And here’s a little secret about marketers: all marketers have opinions about what the most important aspects of a product are, and those opinions aren’t always in sync with one another. This is really where the controversy comes in, as most of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s marketers are marketers they earned through social media.  

The difference between marketers you hire and marketers you earn is that the marketers you earn can and do whatever they like to either promote or demote your product (the marketers you hire can do the same, however with a contract you can hold them legally accountable), you give up all marketing control when you give that marketing power to your customers. 

Giving Up Control Doesn’t Mean Giving Up the Message 

A big concern a lot of businesses have about using social media is that it requires giving up a certain degree of control over the message around their product.  “They could say bad things about us,” is the usual reason given for not participating in social media marketing.  Now no one wants people to say bad things about their business or their product; however, in order to sell your products you need customers talking about you if not online, hopefully they’re talking about you in private. 

Social media is unique because it provides a space in which you can actually see what fans/customers are saying about you, as well as participate in those conversations and help shape them to be positive ones.  Remember, giving up complete control doesn’t mean giving up your message or your brand.  

I started writing this blog post yesterday morning before Macklemore posted his response on his blog. I wrote:

Something I am surprised I haven’t seen from Macklemore yet is a blog post or Facebook message in which he explains the decision they made to be in that promo.  Obviously artists can’t be concerned with every individual fan whose loyalties may be waning, but when you make a move that gets a significant amount of reaction from fans; it is worth addressing that reaction with your fans/customers directly.  

Reaching out and addressing these controversies with your customers via social media not only shows them that you care about what they have to say, but using reactions from your customers can help you make better business decisions in the future (for example: if Netflix had listened to customers, maybe they wouldn’t have lost a million of them by changing their services). 

I don’t know how Macklemore or Ryan Lewis feel about the promo, if they’re proud of it or regret it; all I know is that addressing your customers’ concerns sooner rather than later is always the best way to come out on top.  

As soon as I got home last night I saw that Macklemore had posted a link on his Facebook page to his blog and a piece titled, “Wings, The NBA All-Star Game, & Selling Out”, in it he writes: 

Over the past couple days, I’ve read numerous tweets and a couple articles about the use of our song “Wings” as the intro for the 2013 NBA All Star Game.  While most people were congratulatory over the television appearance, it seemed like there were a fair amount of people that were quick to throw out the good, old-fashioned “sellout” statement.  The bigger our profile gets, the more I’m getting use to the phrase and the “purists” who toss it around so liberally.  But I figured I should probably break it down from my perspective to let you know where I stand.
In my stripped down definition, selling out is compromising your artistic integrity for money/fame.  In my heart I can tell you that my personal artistic integrity remained completely intact over the weekend.  TNT used our song.  They’re still my words….If you take away the consumerism cautionary core of Wings, a story still remains.  And that story is one that I’m still proud of, and it’s dope to me that it’s relatable enough for TNT to want to use it.
If there was any trace of irony by Wings being one of the official songs of the 2013 All Star Game, that’s great.  That means that we won.  The song about consumerism was embraced on a national level, and played to the entire country of sports fans that tuned in.  More people download the song, got the truth (the actual/full song) and we converted strangers that didn’t know who we were into fans. If that’s selling out to you, word.  But to me that’s nothing but an all around win.


The response on Facebook was immediate; in less than 24 hours that status update has gotten 4,280 likes 280 shares and 310 comments.  And when you start digging into the comments you can see just how important a statement like this was to his fans and customers:

sell out pic response 2 (360x48)

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sell out response 3 (360x94)

sell out response 4 (360x98)

The Social Media Marketing Lessons Learned: 

Whether they’re fans or customers or both, responding to even perceived controversies quickly and directly is the best way to make sure you don’t lose business.  Big businesses could learn a lot from how Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have used social media marketing to promote their music as well as retain their customer base.  

Lesson 1: Don’t be afraid of marketing with social media

Lesson 2: Controversies are really opportunities to communicate

Lesson 3: Not every customer is a customer for life, but your customers are your customers because they feel a connection in some way or another with your product; try to validate that connection when you can (use social media as the channel to do so).

And to the fans that remain jaded, I offer you this line from one of my favorite Macklemore songs titled Contradiction: “Consumption, contradiction, I’m conflicted with, being a hypocrite, and through these songs you can witness it, the difference is I admit this sh*t, ‘cause I’m just like you, walking a fine line between saying it, and living it”. 

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How Businesses Could Benefit Big from Facebook Graph Search

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The other day the internet lit up with news that Facebook was testing a new “Graph Search” function that could mean big changes for Facebook and the rest of the Internet.  It’s always exciting when the tools and programs we use are updated and improved, but not all updates are necessarily improvements.  So what does this new Graph Search mean for business owners using Facebook?  We asked our social media guru of sorts Alonso Chehade what his thoughts were on the new Facebook Graph Search, and here is what he had to say:

Question: How does the new Facebook graph search compare to the Google search engine?

Answer: Facebook has something that Google doesn’t.  Facebook has social data of over 1 billion users, which is why the Facebook Graph Search is a huge move by the company.  The new feature is going to give Facebook users open access to finding, discovering and connecting with others through their friends and connections in the platform. 

Google has been trying to humanize the search experience with all its latest updates, but without all the social data that Facebook has accumulated, haven’t really been able to do what Facebook is now attempting to do! 

Question: How will Facebook’s Graph Search affect businesses using Facebook?

Answer: It could be the beginning of a new way to get found online.  If Facebook search graph is widely adopted, we are talking about that check-ins, page likes, and interactions would become key elements for a business social strategy to get found or discovered online.

For example, a user who would turn to the Facebook graph search to find a gym or an Italian restaurant near the area may type something like this:

  • Gyms near the area that my friends like 
  • Italian restaurant that my friends have been to in Seattle 

If that’s the case I would imagine that Graph Search algorithm would rank results based on the gym’s or restaurant’s Facebook Page with the most “page likes” by friends or friends of friends of the user, and with the most social interactions (likes, comments, shares).

Question: What do businesses need to do right now to capitalize on the new Facebook search function?

Answer: Now more than ever, it is very important that businesses get ready to stay competitive and visible online by:

– Establishing a presence on Facebook
– Investing resources to build and grow their social endorsements (page likes)
– Encouraging check-ins and social interactions to optimize their visibility online

We are all really just speculating how Facebook new graph search may impact businesses at the beginning stages of this new feature (like what Facebook’s new want button could mean). However, any new opportunities for businesses being found online should be taken seriously and explored.  We’ll keep you updated on how this turns out!

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Measuring ROI in Social Media Part I: ROI? What ROI?
Measuring ROI in Social Media Part II: Facebook Metrics
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Measuring ROI in Social Media Part III: Twitter Metrics

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In a previous blog post we discussed how difficult it is to measure ROI in social media as well as which metrics currently exist for measuring ROI in Facebook.  In this blog post we will be discussing Twitter metrics your business can use to measure ROI in Twitter.   

Twitter is Designed to Help You Bring Visitors to Your Website

Twitter is a unique social channel with significant reach it can be easily and visibly integrated with your other digital channels.  Unlike Facebook where most users don’t typically venture away from the platform, Twitter is purposefully designed to take people away from the Twitter platform, directing them to other places online. That’s why successful integration of your twitter feed with your website is just one way to distribute content on your site you want to promote and drive traffic back to your website.  

Social Media Should Help You Reach Business Objectives

As we’ve previously mentioned, the end-goal of any social media channel shouldn’t be solely to gain more friends and followers, instead social media should be used to help you meet previously set business objectives.  Understanding what your business objectives are will help you determine whether or not your social media effort is helping you achieve those objectives.     

For example, say you are selling custom T-shirts.  Your primary business objective is to increase revenue and sell more T-shirts.  And so you want to be producing and distributing social media content that would appeal to the right kind of customer at the right time, and get them engaged.  Ask yourself:  am I creating content that is engaging to people who are interested in custom T-shirts (e.g.: holding T-shirt design contests)?  Is my content driving traffic to my website and is that traffic converting into sales?  If it isn’t, keep reading.  

Most people who are using social media are doing so in order to increase the reach of their network, brand awareness, and ultimately traffic to their website to sell their products or services.  However, just because you have a million followers on Twitter doesn’t necessarily mean you’re rolling in the mon-ay. You don’t want them to just like your stuff, you want them to buy it.  

How to Convert Followers into Customers?   

And how do you measure that? First, you need to figure out what standards you will set around your business’s use of Twitter.  These three can apply to any business:  

1. Quality: You are providing useful and interesting high-quality material for your followers.

2. Genuineness: Treat Twitter as a social media channel, not a marketing platform.  Give followers a look at your life, be genuine, honest, and clear.

3. Engagement: Listen to your community and respond with quality content (meaning that the content is useful and relevant to the engagement taking place).

By creating similar standards to these focused around building strong, loyal and engaged online communities, you will be able to use the following Twitter metrics to determine whether or not you are successfully meeting these standards and ultimately your overall business objectives.  

What Twitter Metrics Should You Be Tracking?

Whether you’re very familiar with Twitter or not, if you’ve used it before then you at least have some working knowledge of these three Twitter-specific metrics:  

1. Followers – the number of followers you have on Twitter is like the number of friends you have on Facebook, it’s a popularity contest.  People with more Twitter followers are often assumed to be more influential, however, the number of followers you have alone does not clearly reflect how much influence you have or how much action you can inspire.

2. Retweets – these happen when another Twitter user finds your tweet to be interesting or relevant to them or their followers in some way and they choose to “pass it on” by re-tweeting   your content to their network

3. Mentions – when someone mentions you or your business on Twitter, this most likely means that they consider you to be an influencer, they find your content to be of high-quality and helpful, and believe you or your business to be genuine.

However, Twitter-specific metrics alone don’t shed any light on whether or not you are meeting your business objectives.  The only thing Twitter-specific metrics tell you is how well you are doing in the Twitter community.   

In order to find out if your Twitter activity is helping you meet your overall business objectives check these areas of Google Analytics:  

1. The Conversion Report – which can be found in Standard Reporting (Traffic Sources > Social > Conversions), shows conversion rates as well as the value of those conversions that happened due to visits from your social channels.  You set the goals in GA, and GA tracks referral sources and directly links those to eCommerce transactions.  You can specifically track which tweets are leading to the highest conversion rates.

2. Social Sources – which can be found in Standard Reporting (Traffic Sources > Social > ources), tracks which social networks are referring you the most traffic.   Knowing which social networks refer the most traffic to your site will help you figure out which social networks are most relevant to your product/service/business.  Track which tweets bring the most traffic to your site to find out what types of tweets resonate most with your followers.

3. Social Sharing – which can be found in Standard Reporting (Traffic Sources > Social > ources and clicking the Activity Stream tab), tracks your content as it is shared off of your site and on other networks.  This gives you great insight into what’s happening in off-site engagement.  Track what content of yours is being tweeted about, and where that content is being shared elsewhere online.

The business value of Twitter is there, but for many cautious business owners the issue with measuring direct ROI is what is preventing them from using the channel.  Come back next week and we’ll explain the five off-platform benefits (non-Twitter) of using Twitter!  

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Measuring ROI in Social Media Part II: Facebook Metrics

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In a previous blog post we discussed how beneficial social media can be to businesses as well as how hard it is to measure ROI in social media.  Because many businesses big and small operate with the mentality “if it can’t be measured, it isn’t worth doing”, in this blog post we will discuss available Facebook metrics that businesses can use to determine ROI on that platform. 

Facebook is perhaps one of, if not the, most popular social media channel used today.  Facebook is so popular that it is considered strange for an individual (no matter their profession or station in life) to not have a Facebook page.  Here are three metrics any business can measure in order to see if your business is using Facebook effectively and getting you a higher ROI: 

Readily Available FREE Facebook Metrics 

1. Page likes – How many page likes your Facebook page has is not only an indication of how many people like your product and/or service, but more specifically how effectively you are using this page to promote your products and/or services. 

For example, Facebook’s Facebook page has 79M+ likes, however that is nowhere near how many people are using their product (1 billion+ with 500M+ daily active users).  This is a perfect example of why page likes can’t be the only metric you look at. It doesn’t reflect how many people are actively engaging with your content. 

2. Post likes and shares – Also known as “talking about this”, this metric is the best way to figure out if what you are posting on Facebook is considered valuable by your community. 


It’s one thing to get people to include you in their community by liking your page; it takes much more effort to get them to talk about your content. A share is a more interesting metric than a like in that it requires the user to post your content on their page, typically with some comments, thereby actively endorsing it and also ensuring that it will show up in their friends Newsfeed. 

3. Comments – Comments are also included in the “talking about this” total, however, if someone takes the time to actually comment on your page or a post, it is a higher level of engagement than a like or a share.  Highly engaged visitors should be considered more qualified leads. In other words, understanding what is generating comments can help you know what content attracts the more qualified leads.

A Tool for More Facebook Metrics 

For any page with at least 30 likes, Facebook Insights is a free tool which compiles all of the readily available metrics and displays them so you can see how well you are doing compared to previous periods. It also allows you to see how far your overall reach extends and what demographics your Facebook community is made up of.


Being able to compare your performance on this social media channel to previous periods will allow you to figure out which of the tactics you are using are having the best outcomes.  Along the same line, knowing what demographics make up your audience is important in order to make sure you are creating content they will engage with (and will help you make sure that you are connecting with the demographics you want to connect with).  

Facebook is still a relatively young marketing platform and the problem with using these metrics to calculate ROI is that digital marketers aren’t yet sure what these metrics mean (specifically as a determinant of action, such as a purchase).  However, because Facebook is a platform on which businesses can communicate directly with their customers, it offers a perfect opportunity for businesses to build their brands at a relatively low cost.   

Facebook isn’t an ad-centric platform and so constantly promoting your business will not make you popular on it, but promoting your brand, your business’ personality, through pictures and non-product related content is a much better tactic for marketing your business on Facebook.

Come back Friday for Measuring ROI in Social Media Part III: Twitter Metrics  

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Measuring Social Media ROI Part I: ROI? What ROI?

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The popularity of social media is unquestionable. It has become ubiquitous to the point that its reach often seeps into other forms of media, sometimes even dominating the story. Every week it seems there’s a new tawdry scandal reported involving Twitter and elected officials or an aide to one.  And it isn’t uncommon these days for a TV advertisement, show or magazine print ad to suggest to viewers or readers to “like us on Facebook” or “follow us on Twitter”.  But what’s the social media ROI for social media marketing like we’ve seen so far?

We can all agree that there is value in social media for marketers, but how would we go about measuring social media ROI?   

In a recent survey done by *Chief Marketer, 56% of digital marketers who took the survey said that the challenge of calculating ROI on their investment into social media was their biggest frustration with the channel.  In a close second 55% said that not being able to link engagement to sales was their next biggest problem. These frustrations are leading many people to wonder, if high ROI happens in social media and no metrics are around to measure it, how do we know we’re being effective?  

Why do Social if it’s such a Challenge to Measure?  

Most people today profess a dislike for advertising.  Whether we’re talking TV commercials or billboards, there is a certain amount of disdain people reserve for overtly promotional content.  And so, marketing has had to evolve from its original primary purpose of pushing a message, to its purpose today which is starting a conversation and engaging with a brand’s target audience. So here are some reasons why social media matters, even if the ROI measurement is slippery (for now):  

1. Learning the Platform isn’t Difficult  

Social media is such a valuable marketing tool for companies that don’t have a large budget, or an in-house marketing team because it’s marketing that almost anyone can be trained to do it.  Social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) are free and relatively easy to use, and the role of these platforms is to provide a space where people can gather and share information in a way not typically perceived to be heavily associated with marketing (so far, however it is evolving).  

As we pointed out in our post about Macklemore’s success in social media, the key to doing social media effectively is having people who are passionate about connecting with other people running those channels.  And because the main focus of social media isn’t to market but to communicate, it’s much easier to assign social media tasks to a member of your team who may not necessarily have a marketing background. You don’t have to be a marketer to be an effective community manager.  

You just need to understand how the different social channels function, listen to conversations your potential customers are having and know what content your company’s target customers are interested in seeing on those channels. Once you do this social media will become an even more valuable tool. And as a bonus engagement in social media – likes, shares, tweets, and other social signals are becoming increasingly more important contributors to SEO.  

2. Easily Gather Valuable Consumer Information  

With social media, not only are marketers able to communicate with their customers in a “marketing-neutral” space, but they can also find valuable information about consumer behaviors and habits on social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.  Users are voluntarily sharing a ton of useful information about their likes, dislikes and interests on social media sites – information that marketers would have had to work hard to gather on their own until not too long ago. And now it’s provided for “free” (in as much as anything is free) as long as they return the favor with good quality content and engagement.  

The goals of social media marketing are the same as for digital and traditional marketing.   The intent is to gather information about your customers, use that information to create relevant content (or ads) promoting a solution your customers are searching for in order to encourage them to visit your website and – eventually – make a purchase or otherwise convert.  

3. Build Brand Awareness – Builds Product Value  

Since all this valuable engagement with customers is happening online, marketers are desperate to figure out ways of measuring the value in those engagements, in order to determine the amount they should invest into the channel.  However, social media is still evolving as a marketing channel and there aren’t any technical solutions currently available that can capture all conversions from social media.  

Being able to measure return on marketing investment (ROMI) is a real concern for any business owner or digital marketing professional who may see the value in social media yet is unable to put that value into terms they (or their clients) can understand. Facebook’s beta testing of the “Want” button suggests that they’re looking for ways to help tie activity on their platform to real returns for users.  

But just because measuring direct ROI from social media is a bit more difficult than measuring ROI in traditional marketing, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do social media.  Participating on social media channels allows you to build (valuable) brand awareness. This won’t necessary lead to a sale right away, but by creating a strong, trustworthy and engaged online presence you may be informing a future customer and helping them make a purchasing decision down the line.  

Why the Challenge is Worth it in the End  

The truth is the money you spend on social media should be measured in a different way than you would measure money spent on other digital marketing solutions.  With a channel like paid search you can easily see if someone clicks on your ad, goes to your site, and buys your product, making measuring ROI much more straightforward (cost of clicks on your ad vs. the revenue generated over some time period).  

Social media is considered more of a “top of the funnel” marketing channel, and is a great place to test your messaging and offers to see if they are resonating and if they are, incorporate that messaging into other direct response channels (like paid search).  And so, social media marketing channels should be considered opportunities for building brand awareness and loyalty – once you figure out the value of that you can better measure the ROI of your social media efforts.   

You may not get a customer to visit your website from your Facebook page, but if you are making connections with customers via Facebook hopefully they are sharing your content with their networks making it so that they as well as their networks can recognize your brand in the future and hopefully will convert later on down the line.   

What do you think about using social media to market?  What metrics have you developed to measure engagement?  

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*Check out the full Social Media Marketing Trends and Frustrations Research Brief

How Social Media Made Indie Hip-Hop Artist Macklemore #1 on iTunes

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How did Seattle-based, independent, hip-hop artists Macklemore & Ryan Lewis not only reach #1 on iTunes in it’s first week after being released, but keep the spot for four days straight?  The answer is simple and it may or may not surprise you: social media.  Using social media isn’t rocket science, but it does take a certain amount of knowledge and understanding to do social media effectively and that’s exactly what they’re doing.    

Selling 78,000 copies of The Heist in the first week alone, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis beat the likes of Mumford & Sons and Jay-Z for the #1 spot on iTunes and #2 on the Billboard 200.  With 83% of The Heist’s first week sales being digital downloads, it’s obvious that they have a large online community and an incentive to keep it engaged.  

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis focused their efforts on four social media channels to build their fan base so successfully. And in an interview with DropOut UK, Ryan Lewis explained that those efforts were all them, “I think that just for how we’ve been operating and how we continue to operate, um, we probably just have too far reaching of a hand across the board of our brand. Whether that be web sh*t, or photography or music videos or sounds or fonts, like, we care about everything.”

So, let’s take a look at how that effort and care manifested itself in their social media channels:  

Social Media Channel 1: Website/Blog  

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s website is what all musicians’ websites should look like.  The cover is their macklemore-website-snapshot-social-medialatest album at the top of the page directing visitors to purchasing their latest album.  Underneath the album cover is a navigation bar directing visitors to where they can find merchandise, information about show times and locations, as well as additional information about the performers.  

Their blog is on the main page “below the fold” and has tons of pictures of their performances, fans, and a few of their friends.  The “letters” section acts like an extension of the blog where they post pictures with longer explanations of where they were and what they were doing.   

The website is incredibly user friendly, loads quickly despite the amount of media on it, and the feel of the site is intimate, and lets visitors feel as though they are getting a behind the scenes look at the process.  

Social Media Channel 2: Facebook   

With 313,008 (as of January 8th: 498,556) page likes and growing every day, Macklemore updates his Macklemore-Facebook-Ellen-Twitter-Shout-Out-social-mediaFacebook page every day, sometimes multiple times a day, sharing with his fans everything from announcing a free performance, thanking them for their support, and even cross-promoting what is happening on other social media channels, for example Ellen DeGeneres tweeting about him:             

Beyond what he posts on his page, Macklemore has also included photo albums on his Facebook page that include images from shows, pictures of and from fans, pictures of his family and friends, as well as pictures of his life outside of his music career. He is also tagged in fans photos, and so their pictures show up on his page. Allowing his fans to be a part of his life by letting them see what he does outside of music and connecting with them outside of music, is an important aspect of building loyal and excited online communities.  

Social Media Channel 3: Twitter  

It seems like not a day goes by that we don’t hear about a politician, celebrity, or Courtney Love making a Macklemore-twitter-feed-social-mediafool of themselves on Twitter and consequently getting tons of media coverage on TV, radio, and in print. Needless to say Twitter is a platform with a potentially alarming large reach where a screw up goes very far.  However, the potential for high ROI from Twitter, cannot be ignored.

Macklemore uses his Twitter account as a direct line of communication between him and his fans (now including the famous ones like Ellen and Taran Killam).  He often retweets fans’ tweets, he responds to their questions, and he makes announcements about upcoming shows all on his Twitter account.  

Because Twitter also requires people to keep their communications short, Macklemore is able to more easily communicate with fans.  Retweeting a tweet from a fan is a really simple way of letting them know that you are paying attention and that you care about what they have to say.  It’s the same in any business. You quote and pass on what you find valuable, thus giving props to the originator of the content (whether they’re a fan, customer, business partner, etc.).  

Social Media Channel 4: YouTube   

For years Macklemore has allowed most of his music to be posted on YouTube.  Ryan Lewis has an Macklemore-YouTube-videos-social-mediaaccount through which they both post music videos as well as short clips of them promoting upcoming events.  

However, they’ve relinquished a lot of control over their music on this channel and you can still find tracks from Macklemore’s earlier albums on several different YouTube channels.  Making his content available to his fans has allowed the fans to market his product for him by placing it on their own channels and sometimes even making their own music videos to go with his songs.  

None of their official music videos from the Ryan Lewis channel have advertisements at the beginning, and I’m sure with 30+ million combined views (Update: since this blog post the YouTube video for “Thrift Shop” alone has gotten 300+ million views), that they’ve received offers to include advertisements.  But by doing this, he’s allowed his fans to access his content completely free of charge.  This decision to make their music accessible to anyone who wants it is actually a brilliant marketing move.   

Since the flash in the pan that was Napster, the relationship between musicians and their music has changed, a lot.  Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?  Where most musicians don’t want their music on any websites for free, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have chosen to ignore such advice like this from the New York Times:  

 “Get money from YouTube ads. If your video is on the road to viral success, YouTube, a  part of Google, is eager to make money from you. It will send you an e-mail asking if you want  to become a partner. If you give your permission, the site will run ads alongside your video and share more than half the revenue with you, sending you a check each month.”

Instead, they went a different route, confident in that their content is good enough that fans will still purchase their music, purchase tickets to their shows, and purchase merchandise even if they are able to listen to their music completely free.   

Update: At around 90 million views the duo opted to add advertising at the beginning of “Thrift Shop”.

Obviously, content is king, and with songs like “Same Love” and “Thrift Shop” Macklemore is making content his target customers can get behind and support financially – not because it’s required of them in order to listen to his music, but because it’s the kind of message, the kind of brand they’d like to support with their dollars.  

How to do Social Media like Mack  

Now don’t worry, you don’t have to be Macklemore in order to get people really excited about your brand.  He is just one example.  One of my favorite things about using social media for business is that it allows you to connect with your customers on a more personal level.  And you end up brand building organically.  For example, you could be selling business cards, and on your Facebook page you’re raising awareness for bullying by participating in something like Glaad’s Spirit Day

Social media channels give you the opportunity to connect with your customers on a much deeper and meaningful level.  

Macklemore has taken all the necessary steps to avoid making the mistakes a lot of other businesses are making in social media right now by: 

 1. Consistently updating his channels
 2. Understanding how each of these channels function
 3. Crossposting content across the different channels
 4. Making his content easily available to locate, purchase, and share
 5. Interacting with fans and participating in social media beyond his pages

Today social media is one of the few tools artists like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis can use to get their message – their brand – out to the masses, but it’s a powerful one.  Social media is one of the few marketing platforms that allow your customers/fans/friends to act as direct marketers for your product. By liking and sharing your content with their networks, your customers can help you reach a much larger audience than you most likely could reach on your own.     

It’s obvious from all of Macklemore’s social media channels that he is passionate about his fans, and in order to reach more of them he had to get passionate about social media.  So what are you waiting for?  

Check out Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ performance on the Ellen DeGeneres show from October 30th.  Or check out their performance of “Thrift Shop” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon from December 12th.

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