Never underestimate the power of fandom. Fans keep singers at the top of the charts, turn average movies into blockbusters and get TV shows another season of commercial commitments.
When they’re on your side, their the best brand managers any marketer could hope for. Heaven forbid they turn against you, though, cause in that case, you’re going down.
Lady Gaga and her team fully understand the power of fans. So much so, they’ve built their own social network to capitalize on this precious resource. The network is called LittleMonsters.com but the real power is the platform that runs it, it’s called Backplane and it could revolutionize the celebrity marketing industry.
Wired magazine has a new interview with Gaga’s manager Troy Carter and it’s an interesting read for anyone in the social marketing biz. Put aside any feelings you might have for the singer herself and appreciate what they’re trying to do here.
The base of the idea comes from the fact that social media, at the moment, is splintered. Brands (celebrities are brands) have Twitter accounts, a Facebook page, YouTube, maybe a Pinterest account and a website. In addition, they might have posting boards and other special interest accounts. There will be a crossover of fans but you lose the power by dividing the load across all of these platforms.
What Backplane does is aggregate all of this data into a fully functional community. Carter envisions an online community that also handles all record sales, concert ticket sales, provides fan news and pushes whatever additional interests (charities, veganism, rock climbing) a celebrity might have. But the real secret behind Backplane is that it gives power to the people. The people who buy the tickets, the records and support the causes.
There’s a line on the graphic at the top of the Backplane blog that spells it out: LittleMonsters connected to each other and not just her.
That’s the line that makes Backplane different from any other celebrity website or Facebook page. It’s about engagement with the fans. You don’t visit LittleMonsters just to read what Gaga is up to, you visit to post the painting you made of her, talk about your favorite concert moments or discuss what her songs mean to you.
Social media is supposed to be a two-way street but it’s become more of a road with signs posted every few miles. Sale today. Have a nice holiday. Here’s a picture of us. Come read what we wrote.
The Gaga team isn’t interested in signposts. They’re looking for action.
Talking about LittleMonsters.com, Carter told Wired,
“This one isn’t for the passive. It’s for the die-hard die-hard. We could go to Facebook for pure numbers. But give us 500,000 really engaged people, and the blast radius will be enormous.”
It’s time we put the social back in social media.
[Photo credit: Backplane blog]