When Social Media should be Called Commercial Media

Facebook does it for a long time. Instagram just started it. Twitter stopped it for now after a massive user outcry. They all decide for you what you should see and what you shouldn’t. And you should mostly see information which someone paid lots of money to show you. Good bye social media. Welcome commercial e-media!

Remember the early days when it was so lovely to reconnect with old friends and family around the world? Not by phone. Not by e-mail. But by this funny new platform on the web called Facebook! We all loved it, didn’t we?

And the world got even better! It brought us Twitter – happy birthday, by the way! – Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and endless more platforms to connect. Software even allowed us to post our joys to all social media channels simultaneously.

But this time is no more. When have you last seen a post by your Facebook friend #1 on your timeline? Did you ever wonder what happened to your uncle in Australia who so keenly posted the sunset every single day? Facebook started to decide for you what you should see and what you shouldn’t see.

But Facebook did not stop there. At some point even the biggest internet giants found out that they needed to make some money. So they simply started selling your interests to the big ad agencies and their clients. And this re-filled your timeline with various offers from flights you just booked, to books you just bought.

Facebook still wanted to make more money. So they started charging the interest groups, community interest, NGOs and brands for being seen on your timeline. And now, Instagram, the beloved photo app followed suit. Twitter at least had the decency for now to reverse the same change after a massive user outcry.

And still the performing arts world and the classical music community pin their hopes on the wonderful world of social media to reach out to new audiences filling our halls and theatres. They still believe in the greater good of the social media giants. They still believe that a social media campaign comes for free and reaches so many more people than all the traditional campaigns together.

It is time to wake up. The content you post on your Facebook page will barely reach 10% of the people who actually liked your page in order to get your news. You now have to pay lots of money to Facebook so that the people who wanted to see your content can actually see it. And Instagram is just moving that way, too.

Go back to the traditional methods to reach your audiences. Don’t let your local classical radio station die but buy some airtime. Take out some ads in your local newspapers. And yes, use all the tools for direct marketing – sophisticated direct marketing to that people see what they want to see and are not flushed in spam.

We, at HELLO STAGE, are happy that we provide the classical music community tools to really reach their audiences. Our Fan Module is the first step in providing you even more tools. And more are to come. Many tools are free. Some cost a fraction of what the not any more so social media platforms would charge you. Most importantly, you reach the audience that mattes to you and who care for classical music.

Bernhard is the founder of HELLO STAGE. He is probably the first opera singer pitching an Internet start-up in Silicon Valley. Before founding HELLO STAGE in Fall 2013, Bernhard was the CEO and Artistic Director of the Wiener Konzerthaus. He held several C-Level positions in European technology companies with EUR 100+ million turnover. See www.bernhardkerres.com.

Bernhard leads HELLO STAGE from somewhere between Silicon Valley, New York and Vienna. He writes about his experience in the innovation hot bed on this blog.
Author: Bernhard Kerres
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