Past headlines:

I confess

13 Apr/15

A social media primer – in three parts

22 May/14

The state of content marketing, 2013

15 May/13

Same great taste, stylish new name

18 Jan/13

Mega Quarry Stopped.

29 Nov/12

Owning your own moment

09 Jul/12

Melancthon: our greatest success of 2011

11 Jan/12

Sometimes it’s easy

03 Aug/11

The fall of Rome

05 Jul/11

Not a %&* problem!

26 May/11

Information snack packs

13 Apr/11

Disaster optics

19 Mar/11

The wireless marionette

13 Mar/11

The Oracle Effect

30 Oct/10

Sometimes it’s easy

Sometimes it’s easy

When you’re this big, they call you 50.

50 Cent may not have anything over other stars with 4 million-plus Twitter followers, but just like them he wields tremendous power. With a few keystrokes he can boost or ruin a fledgling career, influence millions of young minds or make himself tens of thousands of dollars, all of which he does on a regular basis. His tweets are right on—why bother with mainstream?

@50cent has an obvious edge over the rest of us. Being a famous rapper, he’s already built a brand and lots of preference among the keenest demographic of social media users. But you’ve got to admit, he works it: 4.894 tweets at last count, an average of 8-10 per day. The man speaks to over four million people as if he’s sharing a private joke with friends. And I get the sneaking suspicion that’s exactly how he sees it.

It’s an irony that while it’s getting tougher to make money selling music, musicians potentially wield more power over fans. But the flipside is that direct contact with the fan base can result in many kinds of revenue-generating opportunities well outside of the tradition artist-label relationship.

It’s not difficult to extend this model to the business world. Once you’ve gained mindshare and preference—and leveraging ubiquitous connectivity is part of building that preference—you can keep, strengthen and make use of it through direct interaction channels, including social media. Build buzz that would otherwise be costly to build, and keep your fans enthralled via regular updates. Then, when you’ve got something to promote, you’re already plugged into your audience. You can push it and spread the word without much spend. The trick, of course, is keeping that low-level direct marketing going all the time.

Individuals and companies now hold greater sway over mindshare through technology, once they’ve built a brand and gained preference. Naturally, building preference is the tough part, and there’s no magic bullet. There is, however, a clear path to follow, starting with a great brand story supported and nurtured by some carefully chosen, ongoing marketing and/or sales support activities.