"Whadya Want From Me?": Social Media Let Consumers Ask the Questions More Than Ever Before

March 7, 2011

Adam Lambert, Facebook and Others Participate in Grammy Social Media Rock Stars Summit
Facebook wasn’t widely used for brand marketing a few years ago. That’s what we have to keep reminding ourselves as social media continue to pave the way for brands to market themselves to consumers. It’s a constantly evolving space that we’re all running on our hamster wheels trying to keep up with.

I recently attended the Grammy Social Media Summit to gain a better understanding of how music artists specifically leverage social media to engage their fans – something that can easily be translated to our brand PR knowledge base. The panel discussion featured Grammy nominee Adam Lambert, Grammy winner Chamillionaire, Facebook Director of Platform Product Marketing Ethan Beard, Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai, and Pandora founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren. Moderated by veteran broadcast music journalist John Norris, the discussion mostly centered around how social media platforms have contributed to the popularity of many rising artists.

Noticeably missing from the panel was a representative from Twitter. An ever-popular mode of communication for brands and celebrities alike, the micromedia site was mentioned several times during the discussion. For public figures and brands, Twitter has become not only a source of information, but a source for direct quotes. As rapper Chamillionaire said, “Newspapers quote me on my tweets, so be careful what you’re broadcasting.”
Adam Lambert echoed this statement, but said Twitter is responsible for much of his claim to fame. The American Idol alum was a fan favorite from the start; and with nearly 1 million followers tracking his every move, Lambert says Twitter is the best way to stay in touch with his fans.

But as with any social media platform, it’s not just about broadcasting. All five panelists agree their platforms work just as well to sit back and listen. “With great data, you can impact a different way of life,” said Foursqaure co-founder Naveen Selvadurai.
The relatively new player, Foursquare, isn’t tapped by many public figures just yet (easy to see when Adam Lambert’s overly passionate fans quickly hijacked the Grammy Twitter conversation online). However, “Foursquare can be a tool to see where your fans are,” said Chamillionaire. Though the rapper has yet to experiment with the location-based check-in service, he strongly believes in listening to and finding out where his fans love to be. The same principle holds true for the brands we work on. Social media can be a shot in the dark unless we take the time to listen to our consumers, study where they live and work, and figure out what matters to them most.
We may often forget, but mobile marketing sits in social media’s corner as well. Ethan Beard, Facebook Director of Platform Product Marketing, predicted that consumers would rely solely on their mobile devices in lieu of a personal computer. As communicators, it challenges us to find ways to share news about our brands in a way that is easily digestible on a mobile platform. 
The most important takeaway of the entire one-hour discussion was that “sharing” in general is the mode of the future. Twitter reports the news, and the news reports on Twitter. The days of phone calls are replaced with Facebook and text messaging. Just as music artists are fighting to keep up with the social media stars of tomorrow, our clients need to stay on pace as well.