Friday, January 11, 2013

Kannada artists and their social media management

At the outset, it might look like I am taking a dig at Kannada artists. Infact, I am against few and not all of them.
Most of the net savvy artists working in Kannada entrainment sector have created a profile, page or fan group on Facebook and manage them on their own in their free time. Very few of these artists have the art of taking the feedback positive,negative alike and work on them. 

Internet-based social media make it easier for people to listen, interact, engage and collaborate with each other. We all know how important word of mouth is, and social networking is like word of mouth on opium.
As a artist or any businessman/enterprise, it’s vital to tap into and join online conversations not only about your brand, but also those about your competitors, your industry and your areas of expertise.

I rarely see any Kannada artist talking good about their industry and their competitor (there is no harm in appreciating a good work done by others). Boot-licking is a passe and it can be easily identified. So, it might have worked for you on a personal note during your back stage conversation or green room chit-chat but doing it online doesn't get you any brownie points.

Social media helps us to keep a pulse on what people are saying — good or bad — about our work, competitors and major trends. And, a artist by representing himself as a brand and a person in a positive, authentic way, should build credibility for his/her expertise and business and link to customers(audience) and prospects quickly.

Whenever there is any feedback or conversation happening in a social media, they should be

1. Naturally Curious. Being naturally curious about what everyone’s working on in your segment/industry and their impact on customers, is important. Its equally important to be critical of developments happening in the Industry which might affect the prospects remotely or strongly connected to your business, since a happy customer/audience is the need of the hour. 

If a artist intends to become have a good social media presence, he/she should hire a social media manager. A manager would tap into different areas of the business and gather appropriate information that is engaging. If the artist can't afford it, atleast he/she should learn the basics of social media management. 
There is no room for arrogance and snubbing people online. Its totally no-no!!

2. Writes conversationally. Most of these artists from Kannada industry writing messages sound like advertising. It's important to advertise but its better if done in a conversational voice. If they cant do it easily, hire someone who can write in a conversational voice. Well-crafted conversational content for social social media opens up a dialogue between business/brand and customers, and ideally, between customers themselves.
I have seen so many artists turn up on social media just before the launch of their movie or just keep pushing random updates about their shooting schedule. All these turn up like an advertising page rather than a conversational page between artist and the customers. 

When FM radio was re-launched in Bengaluru, all the radio jockey were advised to talk in singular tone so that it looks like a conversation between listener and the RJ. This mode of presentation become a instant hit when compared to usual AIR style of addressing listeners in collective manner. 

3. Understands his/her business-related goals. All content on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter profile, YouTube channel, etc., has to support your business-related goals. Which means that you should/must have an intimate understanding of the audience pulse.
So, talk to your audience , collect their reviews, work on the negative feedback, convert them into winning points and polish your skills. All these would lead to working towards your business related goals. There is no point in spending time online and adding 100 subscribers to your mailing list, FB page etc ; if it doesnt lead to revenues in long run!

4. Seeks input from others. Artists shouldn’t work in a vacuum. They need to be proactive, checking with those who know best like people working in show biz industry, performance art and front line folks in electronic and mass media. Artists are only as good as the people around them and the information they freely grab up from their surroundings. If they have to break their shackles and grow big, its important to connect with the audience. Social media is one such platform which can help in big time.

5. Respects opinion. A customer/audience needs access to all areas of your business. They are curious about your next venture, next project and so on. So you must know what’s okay to share and what can never be revealed. Even when you are sharing information related to your next project , gig , event or anything major ; be prepared for variety of opinions which are going to flow out from the customers/audiences.
If you cant take a negative feedback and possess a "when someone give a negative comment, kick it out" mentality; then you should NOT be on social media. This is going to impact your prospectous in long run! Even if there is a disagreement, agree to work upon it in next venture or just accept that its a opinon of one of your audience.

I have seen some artists who make up, good "natural" social media managers and some $uck at it.
Based on my personal experiences,the good ones are Beesu Suresha, MG Srinivas, Achyutha Kumar. I had lot of conversation with these artists on dubbing issue and even though we differ on opinion ; its always a healthy (somtimes mud throwing) debate which has never resulted in enemity.
I respect such social media management since they look at feedback as feedback and not as personal one! 

In my opinion, Pawan Kumar has used the social media to maximum advantage. His 2 new ventures , Lucia (crowd funded movie) and (Online Kannada movie portal) generated out of the user comments, discussion, blog posts and so on.
Agni Sridhar also receives the pat on back since he ensures that his posts are mixture of social issues, cinema and much more. Even Gautham Machaiah (Zee Kannada channel head) has good social media management skills.

Again on personal experiences, I can list some artists who are bad at social media management. Ex:  Deepak Thimaya, PD Satish Chandra, Pavan Wodeyar and so on.. 

These folks believe that any person who disagree with their view, doesnt like their work have no further right to comment on it. The only solution they see is to ban that person permanently from their FB profile. Such actions leads to creating unhappy customers who will ensure that they would never appreciate their work in future nor even try to check it out! 

Some artists use the FB medium just to express their views on some issues which connect to them on a personal note and use the FB medium for the rest of the time to publish event updates. Such artists can vouch to become good social media managers by invoking more of conversational type of interactions and asking their audience to become more interactive.

There are some more who use the FB medium just to post 10-50 words about their new upcoming movie, just finished shooting etc of messages! It looks like a press release posted on their FB profile.. If the artists intended to post his/her Capitol Hotel conference summary in short mode; then FB is not the place..

As customers wield more power and influence over businesses than ever before, it’s vital for artists to understand the social media phenomenon and prepare their brand/work/industry to thrive.

Through social media, massive numbers of customers are engaging in new ways with companies, artists, enterprises and each other. This is having a significant impact on businesses everywhere—whether they know it or not. 

So, connect better and perform better!

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