Social Media Allows Early Adopters to Share the Experience w/out The Risk of being the Entrepreneur Creating It
I always tell my team “it doesn’t cost money to execute, be creative and provide an amazing experience” and this has always been the foundation of my existence as an entrepreneur. In 2007, I started my company with no investors or Venture Capital funding, nor was I going to wait for it. I did have a rather grand vision, which was to restore the experience back to the music space as the next generation of music companies and business executives.
How would I achieve this? I would begin to develop a script or as some corporate executives might say, “a forecast”. However, this forecast or in my case, script,
wouldn’t involve a bunch of numbers or projections but more so, executing a series of ideas based on a dream or vision and seeing which one stuck first. Basically, trial by fire. It would focus on creating an experience, telling a story that most wouldn’t or can’t. Because I didn’t have any money when I first launched MusicIsMyBusiness, my thought process was simply to build the brand first and the money will come. Money comes and goes but the opportunity to sustain your brand and make it authentic in the eyes of others … that opportunity only comes once when you’re a new company.
Enter stage left…Social Media, a character that would change how myself and other early adopters would share our experiences with the world. This Social Media character wouldn’t be as complex as some analysts and experts would later report. Social media, in its simplest form, would cater to some of our most basic needs:
1. Our need for mental stimulation, connectivity, and instant gratification
Early adopters of these social media platforms (i.e., Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter) took the power from originators of the 24-7 news cycle (i.e., CNN and ESPN) and became the news cycle themselves. Places like Facebook took the monotony of a chat room (think AOL back in 2001) and created a global community. This satisfied our innate need for control and satisfaction. The power was restored to the people (sort-of)! No longer did you have to go out and be around people … you could bring the party right to your laptop, thus
satisfying our need for human interaction. Not saying it replaced the thrill of being at an awesome party with family and friends but it’s the next best thing.
2. Our need for security and discretion
Early adopters could interact with people, places or things without the fear or pain of being rejected. You could be yourself, re-brand yourself and choose your level of exposure or discretion while interacting with the hundreds of millions of people within these networks and all from the safety of our homes, offices, favorite coffee shops or wherever you chose to hang out that day.
So with all that being said and my “naïve” (as an older music executive once called me) understanding of how this world functions I begin to set forth a script or strategy that would allow the world and a community of social connectors to grow and live as we do.
The (working) Social Media Script for MusicIsMyBusiness :
Act 1 … Determine what your experience or story is
Someone said, “Entrepreneurship is living your life like most won’t so that later on you can live your life like most can’t”. It was the fabric of that quote where I realized people will follow us (whether it be via musicismybusiness.com, MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter) in order to experience what we experience, learn what we learn (and share) without having to take the risk of doing it themselves. It’s almost like going to see your favorite play or movie… whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, the viewer is always engaged because they are watching something that they can experience from afar with no-risk at all. Well, social media has become the interactive movie or stage play.
Our stage play would be presented via video on our YouTube page in HD or via our Facebook page (s) and via our 140 characters or fewer twitter updates. From there it would spread to other social mediums like CNN (and cnn.com), vh1.com and various other sites and blogs like Rnbexclusive.com, Next2shine, Genjuice.com, mbmclassic.com etc.
Act 2 … Understand The Importance and marketability of your story; allow your followers to interact
I realized early on, that Social Media would serve as a visceral way to allow early adopters to experience what we do everyday: the inspiration, the struggle. Someone told me “it’s interesting how people become friends on Facebook and start feeling like they truly know a person… gives a sense of familiarity.” That would be my goal, for everyone to know us a company, as people, as average kids with a vision that happen to be doing above average things. Our followers don’t support us because we have a company or product per say to push but because we showcase an experience that only our story as young executives building a company can show. We allowed our followers and friends to truly interact and grow with us, support us and live with us on this journey.
The key, however, was packaging our story and presenting it to my community of friends and followers, so that they could also benefit. We had to be transparent and not put up any fronts about the path to building MusicIsMyBusiness. I had to let them know, yes I did leave my corporate job to work as an unpaid assistant/intern for Sean “Diddy” Combs, one of the most amazing Entrepreneurs of our time, but it came with a heavy sacrifice.
In understanding the marketability of one’s story … it’s not bragging or boasting but knowing that you’ve traveled a path matched only by few and people want to know how you did it. Once we began to engage people with our authentic content, our social media community could experience the sacrifice and the successes … and in some respect they became the people who helped us grow and achieve those successes.
So in the words of my good friend and Global Philanthropist, Garret Gravsen, “So start sketching out your story … the world is dying to hear from you.”