After Tom, the most popular person on MySpace is Tila Tiquila, a model turned Internet celebrity thanks to MySpace (see Figure 5.3). Tila began experimenting with social networks in the form of Friendster.com, where she experienced similar attention and popularity. However, she received a little too much attention, and Friendster was forced to remove her profile. Tom and the other founders were well under way creating MySpace, and they asked Tila to be one of the founding members. Millions of page views later, Time magazine included her in its “Person of the Year” issue and called her “The Madonna of MySpace.” Her social network is now just shy of 2 million friends, and her page has received more than 67 million visitors.
Figure 5.3 The official profile of Tila Tequila.
She has used this exposure to help launch her music career and several Tila Tequila-related products. I tried to contact Tila several times to ask her about how she uses MySpace marketing, but I did not get a response. She is probably too busy recording her new album or hosting her next party. We can, however, get a great idea of her MySpace marketing efforts by simply viewing her page.
One of the best uses of MySpace marketing is directing visitors from your page to your official website. Once you bring someone to your website, you have more opportunities to monetize the visit or generate a lead. Tila Tequila runs a personal website at www.tilashotspot.com, where visitors can access all things Tila. There is also a subscription service, where for $10 per month, a member gets access to exclusive content like photo galleries, videos, and live-chat sessions. The website also includes advertisements for other Tila-related promotions and a message board for fans.
Lately Tila has been focusing on launching a music career. She has used her MySpace page to generate interest in and sales on her iTunes music store (see Figure 5.4). Although her background is in modeling, she has always been a musician as well and has performed in several bands. She debuted her new music video on YouTube and used MySpace comments to announce its availability on iTunes. This was an effective strategy. The video received over one million views, and her single landed in the iTunes top 100 songs list.
Figure 5.4 Tila uses the top of her page (the most valuable real estate) to announce her new single and music video.
The MySpace demographic is crazy about ringtones (a song that plays when your cell phone rings), so you’ll see a lot of advertisements for this service. Many people are happy with their default ring, but many MySpace users customize their cell phones with ringtones they find on the Internet. Tila partnered with Boost Mobile to offer some of her music as ringtones.
This type of marketing is most beneficial to musicians, but the idea can be applied to other businesses as well. If you can align your product with something people will use as a ringtone, I highly recommend looking into this further. Services like Phonezoo (www.phonezoo.com) will create a free ring tone for you based on an MP3 file of your choice. You can even try to sell your ringtones through various services. However, if possible you should give away your ringtones because this will give you much greater reach and increased branding.
Tila Poker (www.tilapoker.com) offers members traditional online gambling themed around images of Tila. I’m not a big fan of online gambling, and I can’t recommend using MySpace for its promotion. Because MySpace has so many young members, most are ineligible to play. Additionally, the industry itself is filled with fraudulent and deceptive practices. It also causes untold numbers of family problems, such as when someone loses his house due to an online gambling addiction. Try to avoid this industry. There are many other ways to generate revenue online.
Clothes and fashion in general translate very well to the MySpace crowd, so many have tried to launch brands from their pages. Tila has tried the same but has had some trouble getting started. It seems with everything else she has going on, she just hasn’t had time to focus on this. Her profile now states that an entire new line is on the way. If you want to include clothing as part of your promotion, try Zazzle (www.zazzle.com). It offers simple tools for designing and selling your own clothes and other accessories.