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Gig Calendar Social Media Challenges, Foursquare & Gowalla Demystified

Question of the Day:  Why has no one created an application for independent artists to expediently  update a band’s gig calendar across multiple social media platforms? Maybe this is a project to take on with the tech experts and designers I know in KC?  The task is daunting, time consuming and occasionally frustrating (FB/MS Error Messages) updating new band calendar/ events on a main website, Facebook, MySpace, Sonicbids (EPK) and ReverbNation.  Ironically, Facebook and MySpace are the easiest platforms to add new gigs to, Sonicbids & Reverb are the WORST!  Sonicbids recently changed its platform to a flash-based update style; if Sonicbids had talked to artists who use the EPK calendar, the new platform might not now be so un-user friendly.  Both Sonicbids and Reverb require an artist to enter tedious details, qualify a gig as a “traditional or non-traditional” event and “force” a artists to enter extraneous details or an email contact for the event!  Sometimes, one does not have all the information handy or details from a festival coordinator, but wants to get the gig online so fans and followers can get the date on the calendar, with only a few tidbits of information.  Reality, many fans are not concerned about intricate event details, but the Who, What, Why, Where and When!

This topic requires serious exploration, I am in a space of frustration about the management of calendar dates, but will get over it, discover or create a solution and move forward.  @CyberPR suggested utilizing ArtistData.com as a remedy.  Unfortunately, this platform is still a Beta-test site, requires you to purchase a “calendar linking membership” for $2.99/ month;  it doesn’t work with several of the main social media site and more often than not, does not work at all.  Trust me, I have tested the platform out with a free trial, $2.99 does not make calendar entries less complicated, but more cumbersome.

Foursquare & Gowalla Demystified

Realized I should take a minute to discuss the latest trends in social media, marketing and CyberPR; otherwise known as FourSquare and Gowalla and how these technologies might be used for independent music artist or entrepreneurial business purposes.  In the last several weeks I created accounts with both social applications and downloaded the FourSquare & Gowilla iPhone apps to ascertain and test how this potential marketing/ branding concept works.  Looking forward to meeting Scott Raymond, Co-Founder, at the FreeStateSocial next week to discuss Gowalla’s applications further.

With both platforms, I am a leery about sharing GPS location when posting where I or the band is located (see Please Rob Me website), recognize it is not a requirement to broadcast a location when checking in at a vendor or venue.  Reality, younger individuals (Millennial) I have discussed the above concern with seem to have no problem checking in, disclosing location (Herdmap), anything goes with mobile or online communication.

When checking in with Foursquare or Gowalla, one is given the option to Facebook or Tweet location, GPS map or provide a comment about the location.  From a marketing perspective, if an organization/ business can create a “grass roots” following and entice other individuals social media/ talk about it, then there is merit in the communication.  I have yet to discover local businesses in Kansas City where “checking in” offered incentives such as a fee service, discounts or a unique tip about the business space or employees/ owners.  What about creating a type of “groupon” mentality or usability with these applications? Another possibility.

Reality, does my day become more fulfilled because I am the Mayor of Banana Republic, Scooters Coffee House or I received an Adventurer Badge for visiting multiple locations on the KC Plaza?  No, not really.  Means I work at BR a few days a week, like Scooters Coffee or am a nerd with too much technology access and an overpopulated iPhone app cache.  While the concept of earning rewards is fun, the marketing impact is minimal.  If there was a way for businesses or a band to create a marketing value-added proposition and perceived consumer value, and drive consumer traffic effectively via these apps, then therein lies the businesses reward and additional free advertising!

For True North, I have begun checking in at venues, bars, festivals, posting an incentive such as “Check in on Foursquare or Gowalla, show the band your check in on a break, receive a free tee or CD.”  I have offered the incentive a few times at various performances, with no takers.  My assessment is there are too few individuals or businesses that are clued in to this technology.  Who knows, this “check in” ideology make take a life of its own and create new connectivity like Twitter had generated over the past year.  Foursquare and Gowalla warrant continued monitoring and how this type of check in, incentivizing social media will evolve, what people are requesting from it and how it can benefit an entrepreneur or business.  Did I mention at last month’s True North Café Acoustic show, we took an informal poll of 50+ people about who was using Twitter…I was the only individual who was Tweeting or utilizing the technology! Thanks Music Success and @cyberPR for kicking me into the next realm and getting True North on track!  If you have creative calendar solutions, let me know and as always, feedback is appreciated.  –Will Gladhart


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