May McDonough & Company (by Angela Walton, Jeremy Randolph & Jacob Allen)

Over the past few months our class has been conducting research and learning about various social media marketing techniques in order to help us create online marketing campaigns for artists who are clients of Ariel Publicity, a New York-based company run by CyberPR® guru, Ariel Hyatt. Recently our 3-person team, which is composed of Jacob Allen, Jeremy Randolph, and myself (Angela Walton) has begun creating and conceptualizing those campaigns.

We began our 6-week online marketing campaign once we were assigned an artist. The company chose to pair us up with Los Angeles/Orange County-based band May McDonough and Company. The band is headed by lead singer May McDonough. If one had to describe the music the band makes one would tell you that it is filled with soulful, almost jazz-like lyricism over what the band calls a cacophony of sounds created by anything from bicycle parts to trumpets.

After being paired with this wonderful band, we then spent several days pouring over pages and pages of a marketing plan created by Christina Duran, head of CyberPR® Urban. After looking over the plan we created our own plan of attack.The team was tasked with creating a social media analysis.  The social media analysis gave an overall assessment of the band’s website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube Channel. We then provided suggestions on how the band could more effectively utilize each platform in order to increase its overall social media presence. Throughout the analysis we provided the band with ways in which we would measure the overall effectiveness of this campaign.

Anytime that one creates a social media analysis for an artist it must be shaped and honed in order to come up with the best strategies for that artist. Our initial marketing plan consisted of six strategies. Those strategies are as follows: 1) website cleanup, 2) Twitter outreach, 3) Facebook outreach, 4) YouTube channel exposure, 5) Blog outreach, and 6) podcast outreach. However, the team then had to create a final proposal for the band which paired those strategies down again. Our objective was to find the three most effective and time efficient strategies and include with it timelines and plans of action. We decided that it would make the most sense if we focused our efforts on the website, Twitter, and YouTube, while trying to conduct an outreach to various bloggers within the Los Angeles/Orange County area. This proposal, we hoped, would ultimately drive more traffic to the website, which is the home-base of any artist’s social media campaign.

While conducting our social media analysis we found the overall website to be clean and easy to navigate. We only had a few suggestions for the band and our expectations were that the website could be cleaned up with very minimal effort. Therefore, we decided that for the first two weeks the website would receive the majority of our focus.  We then sent out our expectations for the band and what the band could expect from us during those two weeks.

We wanted to start week one of the campaign with very basic changes.  We suggested that the band change the title on the mailing list tab on the website to let people know what it actually was and we suggested that the band add a couple of more well produced videos to the site.  We also began to prepare a list of bloggers in the OC and LA areas that we would pitch to later.  

During week two, we focused more on building upon the website and social media pages.  We suggested that they add an embedded music player and share widget to the page to make navigation and sharing much easier.  In addition to this, we asked the band to sign up for several analytics applications, such as Google Analytics, Edge Rank Checker, and Crowdbooster. The objective was to begin gathering data to assess how effective the band was at using Facebook and positioning its website.

We currently have only been able to successfully analyze the effectiveness of the band’s use of Facebook with the help of Edge Rank Checker.

We realized that the band’s Edge Rank had gone down over the past few months. We derived that those results may be due to the increase in the band’s fan base. We then suggested that May McDonough and Company begin to post more consistently to Facebook.

As for the website, we had hoped to begin assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of the overall site by utilizing the Google Analytics application. We were hoping to make an assessment based on site usage, goals overview, and map overlays. However, we do not currently have that data available. We do expect to receive the data within the week’s end.

Although the focus was primarily on the website we knew that we would be soon begin gearing up to focus our efforts on Twitter, YouTube, and blogs. Therefore, with the help of a list curated by Christina Duran, we began looking for potential bloggers to contact on behalf of the band. We decided that this would be best done during the remaining 3 to 6 weeks of our campaign.

We are now in week 3 of our campaign. Over the next three weeks of the campaign we will cultivate a pitch for May McDonough and Company and begin pitching the band to 7 potential bloggers from the Los Angeles area and 8 bloggers from the Orange County area. Our primary objective is to gain placements for the band, which we hope will ultimately drive more traffic to the website and YouTube channel.

In conclusion, this has been an eye-opening experience for all of us.  Our team has learned a lot about social media tools and analytics and how to work toward goals with the information we’ve gathered.  Working with a unique person like May has made us think beyond a textbook campaign and into more abstract ideas.  One obstacle we’ve had to overcome is communication; email turned out to not be as effective as just picking up the phone and calling May directly.  May is also a person who feels strongly about her privacy, so it was difficult to explain our intentions with her personal Facebook via email.  Since the beginning of the campaign, our group has adapted to this and has (hopefully) found out what worked.  We are glad to have the opportunity and hope that we can help May get the success she deserves. The band is definitely more than worth taking a listen to. You can find more information on them at www.maymcdonoughandcompany.com/

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