I’ve talked a lot about the importance of building and growing social communities around a shared passion and offering unique and differentiated content within those communities to build engagement and advocacy. But is that enough? For now, maybe, but the evolution of digital content continues and the socialization of that content will increasingly grow in importance. One needs only to look at Facebook for a glimpse of what’s to come.
Facebook’s recent partnership announcements with players like Turntable.fm and others at the f8 developer conference has shined a huge spotlight on a crop of new players focused on leading the socialization of content including music, TV, and live events. So who are these players and how will the way they redefine music, TV, and live events impact your brand’s social media efforts? Here are three to keep an eye on and why your brand needs to pay attention.
One of the more interesting players in this space is Turntable.fm. While Turntable.fm raised $7.5 million back in August from Union Square Ventures, it has gone from a relatively unknown start-up to one of the coolest entities in the social space. While Facebook’s recent partnership announcement with the music sharing service turned the world’s attention on to Turntable.fm, the service has been quietly amassing a huge following – a reported 140,000 users in its first month alone. So what does Turntable.fm do exactly? Fred Wilson, lead investor at Union Square Ventures puts it best, “Turntable is where strangers play music they love to each other, talk and in time become friends.” Listening to music can now be a global social experience.
Chill has been called the Turntable.fm of online video watching. Chill allows users to search for videos across YouTube, Vimeo, and Hulu. In addition, like Turntable.fm, Chill lets users select a lounge where they can watch a video with others and converse in what amounts to a virtual theater. Users can even become VJs and queue up a collection of videos to share and engage with those who have a similar interest.
Imagine some of your favorite performers including Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Will. I. Am, and more are scheduled to take the stage together in a tribute concert for the one and only Michael Jackson. You and your friends want to go and experience this once-in-a-lifetime event but you can’t get off work and/or can’t afford the tickets and the trip to Wales. Well, that’s changed. Now you and your friends can view the concert on Facebook together for less than $5 a person. It’s a streamed social event that is expected to attract more than 1 million viewers, who together will participate in what is expected to be one of the largest social event experiences held to date and it’s powered by Milyoni and Ridgeline Entertainment. (Note: I am a marketing advisory board member at Milyoni.) Participants will be able to “like,” comment, chat, and share their experiences with fellow fans around the world without leaving the comfort of their own home. In addition, merchandise will also be made available through an integrated F-commerce solution embedded within the Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert Facebook page.
So what do these emerging players have to do with creating and building social communities? A lot!
The emergence and rapid growth and success of Turntable.fm, Chill, and others highlights the evolution of digital content within social networks – moving from consumption to participation. While it is critical to develop unique digital content for each of your social networks and communities, it will be the ability to socialize that content that will enable brands to create truly unique social experiences that will differentiate them. For brands, this sea of change will have a significant impact on how they leverage content partnership and approach and ultimately activate marquee sponsorships. While many brands will sponsor some of the platforms referenced above, many more will look to create unique opportunities using these platforms and will partner with publishers, entertainment properties, and sports franchises to create “ownable” social events to extend the value of their media dollars and sponsorships. In turn, these experiences will be instrumental in building value and will serve to deepen the relationships brands have with their fans and followers. In the end, the passion people have around their interests – be it music, sports, or entertainment – and the excitement of the socially shared experience, sets the stage for a deep emotional connection and the next phase of social media and community development as we know it.
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