Make $ on Twitter? // Random Thoughts

twitterlogobirdWhile we're on the subject of Twitter and how to do things that aren't stupid, let's check out Amanda Palmer's story, "How an Indie Musician can make $19,000 in 10 hours using Twitter" about how she and her band, the Dresden Dolls, are doing things right. Or just check out the basics: - Amanda sends out messages to her 30,000 Twitter followers inviting them to participate in experiences with her band. Things they're doing already, like press days and playing concerts. She uses the tool to enhance her ability to spend time face-to-face with fans. Then she sells them t-shirts.

- She moves really quickly, setting up impromptu concerts, inviting fans via Twitter, building websites, and making money in hours rather than days or weeks. She knows her brand and her fans intimately, so she can make these kinds of decisions without boardroom meetings and focus groups. And she bonds with them by talking to them about things that are important to them.

Okay, so maybe you're not an indie musician, you don't have 30,000 followers and your brand isn't that "cool." And you're thinking this doesn't apply to you. Bullshit.

You have to find ways to do what she does. Get out there and give people hugs - Amanda literally did that at an impromptu concert she set up and promoted on Twitter. She took requests and hung out with her fans, interacting with them, not just selling to them. If they don't want to hug you today, then it's your job to figure out what that's going to take. You have to be accessible. You have to know your audience. And you have to have something to say. We can help.

Here's another option: Why can't your brand invest in the Dresden Dolls? Get involved with Amanda in a meaningful way so that her fans become your fans. They see you supporting her and her music and them. That will make them want to hug you. And buy your products.

Rebel Europe - Day One // On the Run

Your humble servant traveled to Amsterdam to speak at Consumentrends 2009, apparently Holland’s biggest marketing conference. More precisely, I fly into Paris and take the train from there, mainly to get a leisurely view of Europe at 70 miles per hour. Jihaad is good friends with Mark Ronson, and got us (i.e. himself +1) invited to Mark’s birthday party outside of London. So I’m flying from Amsterdam to London to hit the party and spend Friday in meetings with our Brit friends.

Meanwhile, I’m writing from a seat on a high speed train zipping through the French countryside.

What strikes me most is that rural France ain’t all that different from rural U.S. I’m not in the part with the beautiful castles you see on Tour de France. Over here it’s highways with trucks and a few cars, power lines, agriculture, and an occasional graffiti wall. Only thing missing is a McDonalds and Starbucks at every rest stop. That will come, I’m sure.

Second thing that jumps out is how we’re sometimes so resistant to learning from what’s right in front of us. Europe has the train game on lock, and has for decades. At some point, we lost it. European travel by rail is fast, inexpensive, and easy. In America, it’s none of those. And when both automotive and air travel are in crisis mode, now is the time for the train business to get it together. I have to imagine ticket sales have seen some sort of bump, but there’s really no buzz about trains as a viable alternative.

Rebelize it:

I’d love to say Rebel will step in and show Amtrak how to effectively market itself in this new world, but the first problems to solve are competitive pricing and convenient scheduling. If they manage to sort those issues out, then it’s time to call Rebel.

First, we cover web 2.0 by getting real people to share their stores about rail travel. I guarantee there’s already lots of that out there, but no really good online resource exists for people to find out what it’s like. We need pictures, videos, blogs from the tracks. We need to facilitate people meeting up on trains, having fun together, sharing their experiences. That only works if there’s reasonable pricing and convenient scheduling. First thing people value is time, second is money. Get those right first.

Offline, let’s create cross promotions with popular events. Get tons of people to take the train to San Diego for Street Scene for example. The real opportunity to win is by making train travel not only affordable and easy, but fun. We know just how to do that. We also need to do exactly what the airlines haven’t done right, which is allowing sponsors to market to our captive audience by giving them cool stuff and enhancing the experience on-board.