When we first checked in on singer Michelle Shaprow, she was getting big in Japan while struggling with how best to maintain personal contact with her growing fanbase on Facebook. Since then she's continued to build her Facebook following while developing business contacts facilitated by her Facebook activities and expanding her activities to other countries. She most recently signed to a worldwide publishing deal with BMG.
Michelle Shaprow - Thank you to my Facebook Friends
Though Michelle Shaprow hasn't completely solved her dilemma regarding her desire to maintain direct, personal contact with her fans on Facebook, she has found a few solutions while also using Facebook to develop her team and establish business relationships. In fact, she now views her Facebook friends as an important part of her team.
To some degree, Michelle's solutions to connecting with her fans via her Facebook Page and maxed out personal account is what one would expect. She now reluctantly accepts that she cannot respond to all personal messages and focuses on interacting on public posts on her wall as well as posting more general shoutouts.
However, she's been able to maintain her personal touch as I feel she demonstrates in the above thank you message to her fans marking the latest milestone in her blossoming career, signing a publishing deal with BMG. This video is also scheduled for posting today at Music on Facebook, a nice touch given how instrumental Facebook has been as a tool for building her career to date.
Because Michelle has been focusing on international label deals, introducing her music to the world country by country with the assistance of national labels, signing a worldwide publishing deal with BMG allows that process to continue while offering her support with licensing, music placements and connections with sponsors.
Michelle has found that, due to the strength of her fanbase on Facebook and her growing international presence, she's able to work with a major company like BMG based on proven appeal. For example, they can see that she is reaching a much broader demographic than one might expect for her music and so she is able to avoid approaches that target only populations that might seem the most obvious fit.
This flexibility has also allowed her to continue working with labels in such countries as Japan, Korea and the Netherlands to tailor her approach to each territory. These deals are being developed by her manager, Dominique Trenier, with whom she had mutual friends but who first listened to her music video on Facebook and then established direct contact. In fact, they began working together before actually meeting in person.
In addition to developing such traditional business contacts with the help of Facebook, Michelle also now considers her Facebook friends to be part of the team. For example, fans have recommended particular blogs with which she was previously unfamiliar that have been receptive to her music. Fans have also connected her to business opportunities including, for example, getting her music on radio in Botswana.
Though she expects to eventually sign a U.S. label deal, she is biding her time and working from a position of strength enabled, in part, through Facebook. She also recognizes that one day she will have to find a helper for some of her Facebook activities but such a person will need to be closely aligned with Michelle's philosophy of music and life to become a solid part of the team.
Though some elements of Michelle Shaprow's use of Facebook are similar to previous success stories, other aspects seem rather unique and serve as a strong reminder that social media-facilitated success can take many forms. Given that good things come in threes, I imagine we'll be doing a future followup regarding Ms. Shaprow bringing it all back home to the States.
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. He currently maintains a writing hub at Flux Research and periodically blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest music services and related topics for review at Hypebot, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.