The first wave of social network communities is over now - it was the time of generic communities, such as mySpace, Facebook, Bebo. The members of social network communities are very loyal, as we have learnt, and therefore it will be very difficult to compete with these communities. But the second wave is now in full swing: It is the time to establish social network communities for each and every niche topic - so called niche social network communities.
Social network communities around a niche topic are much more valuable to members than generic communities. Musicians and artists already have a specific fan base and followers, and a professional web site. Hence it is so much easier to build, integrate and market an artist centered social network community.
Famous artists such as Jewel (www.jeweljk.com) and Kate Nash (www.katenash.co.uk ) have Web 2.0 features such as a forum but dont use the full potential of Web 2.0 and call this a Community. But instead of being able to communicate with other fans and supporters a registered user only gets access to special downloads and can discuss in the forum. Many artists websites are using similar limited Web 2.0 functionalities. There often is a Forum for fans to discuss topics and a guestbook to leave comments. Although this is already a good start it is now time to take the next step and use the full potential of a full social network community by adding a fully operational fan-community to the web site.
A full social network community offers additional functionalities to members:
Other artists have already taken the next step. The Pussycat Dolls (www.pcdmusic.com/home) have integrated a social network community on their web site and many fans have joined in and are heavily making use of the features and functionalities. The famous band Green Day has its own fan social network community "Idiot Club" (www.idiotclub.com) that offers premium content such as:
Also local musicians like Jeanette Biedermann (www.jeanettebiedermann.de/start) in Germany use social network communities to engage with their fans an enable them to build networks among equals.
The more focused a social network communities is on a particular niche, the higher are the benefits to its members. As a result, the marketing of the community becomes easier and the higher are the prices that one can ask for premium membership.
A rule of thumb says that a niche social network communities should earn between EUR 1,00 - 5,00 per member and month.
In summary, the social network community focuses on the main topic or interest of fans and supporters. In particular, the social network community will become a marketing vehicle for the Artist, reaching people of the target group at very little expense. Apart from this, the community will also in itself generate revenues, additional income through premium content subscription and an increased advertising inventory on the internet.
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