As of late, there has been some discussion discounting MySpace as a viable channel for marketing. While Facebook has skyrocketed globally to more than 300 million users, MySpace has still been quietly delivering millions of visitors every month.
According to Quantcast, as of November 2009, MySpace has just under 60 million regular users per month, making it the second largest social network in the US. 57% of users are female and 43% are male. As far as age is concerned, 46% of MySpace visitors are 18-34, followed by 13-17 at 26% and 35-49 at 17%. MySpace also boasts a large Hispanic and African American population.
Like all marketing, the trick for brands is to fish where the fish are. In other words, make sure the digital properties included in any social media strategy attract your target audience. Its also a good idea to align your brand appropriately with the content of the property to ensure relevance for the community.
MySpace attracts a younger audience than Facebook, and the content is more entertainment focused, including, celebrity, fashion, video, sports and most importantly, MySpace is building their business largely through music. With recent acquisitions of imeem, and iLike, as well as the build out of MySpace Music, News Corporation appears to be focused on billing MySpace as the premier social destination for all things music.
So how can event marketers leverage MySpace for events? Here are 8 ideas to get you started.
1. Its not about the event, its about the community. This may sound familiar from my earlier posts, but it bears repeating. As marketers, its important we change our thinking from using MySpace or any other social media platform for an event, to understanding how we can incorporate our event into the community. Changing our state of mind will help ensure we are focused on the right things and enable long-term success. What’s most important is approaching social communities comprised of the right audiences for our products or services. In some cases, there will not be an organic fit between branded content and community interests. Content should be carefully crafted to align, or alternate channels should be explored if content alignment is not possible.
2. Create a profile for your event. Although designed for people, a profile can be built for an event. This is really easy to do on MySpace. Make sure your presence is branded appropriately and community centric. Myspace is completely customizable. You can change the layout and background or create a custom look and feel using CSS tools. From here you can add different modules that display exactly the kind of information you want to display on your profile. Take advantage of appropriate modules for your presence like:
- Blurbs – Shows the “About” Section of your profile
- Details – Miscellaneous details about your event
- Interests – Here you can include the subject matter of the event
- Companies – Here you can list participating companies
- Friend Space – Friends or fans listed (think attendees or other interested parties)
- Events – Create and manage all your events or curriculum / agendas
- Calendar – Displays important dates about your event
3. Add multimedia content to your profile. Keep it updated to educate, inform and excite your audiences.
- Music Player – If your event is entertainment focused, this is the place to keep and showcase it (under MySpace Music)
- Video Player – Record or upload your own videos (under MySpace Video)
4. Keep the information fresh, interesting and engaging. Other modules can be used to better communicate and engage with your community. Use them daily.
- Status and Mood – Keep your audience apprised on event activities
- Activity Stream – Publishes everything you do on MySpace
- Comments – Allows you or others to post comments to your profile
5. Create additional value for attendees. Still other modules can be used to help attendees navigate the locale around your event
- Local Reviews – Helpful for destination events where attendees may be looking for hotels, restaurants, attractions, etc.
- MySpace Local – Can be used for attendees during regional events to find restaurants, hotels, and attractions
6. Identify, attract and befriend the right audience. You don’t need to boil the ocean here. Start by searching MySpace for people who you know who are already part of the community and “friending” them. You can also invite people you email or IM via your contact list to join MySpace. The next step is to use MySpace search functions to conduct searches of Profiles, Groups and Forums to identify folks who might be interested in your content and your event and “friend” them. Finally, you can promote your MySpace presence off site to attract others to become your friend.
7. Engage your community. If you build it, they might come. In order to be truly successful, you must engage and interact with others. Reach out to other MySpace profiles with related content (industry, fan, speaker, exhibitor, etc.). Post photos, videos, music, stories, links and updates that will keep your audiences interested and engaged. Also take full advantage of MySpace:
- Blogs – Allows you to create your own blog or view others blogs – update your blog regularly. For more guidance on using blogs effectively at events, please check out my earlier post, The Importance of Blogs in Experiential Marketing.
- Groups – Join relevant groups or create your own group based on the event – make sure you participate actively.
- Forums – Start new discussions or participate in other revelvent discussions actively to foster your community and drive interest in the subject matter of your event.
Here are some thoughts on the kind of content you should post regularly.
- News about event content (again, think community interest first) and event operations
- Links to outside blogs (speakers, exhibitors, industry sites, subject matter experts, etc.)
- Links to other MySpace pages (speakers, exhibitors, industry / subject matter groups, etc.)
- Photos and videos (speakers, experiences, exhibits, demonstrations, previous events, subject matter relevant, audience and fan provided)
Remember, the beauty of social media, is you don’t need to create everything, you can leverage and share what others have done, provided it is on brand, relevant to your audience and appropriate for your presence.
Think long-term. This is not just about awareness and audience generation for your event, but an engagement strategy that will make your event a vital component of the community and an important accentuation point in the relationship with your audiences, whether they be attendees, speakers, exhibitors, press, analysts or otherwise.
8. Leverage appropriate applications. There are hundreds of applications in MySpace. Browse application categories or search apps based on keywords. You can also create your own applications to be included in the MySpace universe. Here are some I’ve found useful:
- Custom Countdown: Allows you to create customized countdowns for your events
- iTwitter: Syncs your tweets to your MySpace profile
- RSS Reader: Include RSS feeds from your blog, news sites, subject matter experts, etc. on your MySpace profile
- Create Free Polls: Survey your MySpace audience and report the results
- YouTube Post: Post your YouTube videos directly into your MySpace profile
- Business 3.0: Integrate your business information, products, services, etc. into many social media platforms
Building a MySpace engagement strategy (or any other community engagement strategy) is easier said than done. Participating in communities takes time and diligence, but with the right focus, your event can become a prominent fixture both within the MySpace community and beyond. Remember to observe, create, share and engage and long-term success will be yours.
These are just some of the things you can do with MySpace. There are many other uses and applications for events. If you have other ideas or ways in which you’ve used MySpace for events please share!