Jason Hill, aka DJ Bankrupt, lives in Edmonton, Alberta. He provides professional social media management services to record labels, independent artists and small businesses.
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Jason, thank you for answering my questions. How did you get started in social media?
Jason Hill: Not a problem. It started by accident really. Not much else to do in the deep freeze of Alberta. I had been studying Internet marketing for a while and decided to jump on the Twitter bandwagon. For me, it was super easy to get followers, I tricked out some code to make Twitter do things I wanted. The music niche hadn’t really been exploited on Twitter yet. I saw a great opportunity to bring exposure to new artists.
CM: Where does your nickname DJ Bankrupt come from?
JH: This also was an accident. I was chatting with an artist named JQ from Burbetto Productions, one day. I had written an article about this CD that he had released. He loved the review so we started talking and somewhere in the conversation, he said, “You should be a DJ.”
I was so broke at the time, that I came up with the only idea I had which was to call myself DJ Bankrupt. I actually was bankrupt at the time, so it is kind of a joke, and smack talk towards an industry that takes talent for granted. It was also this ‘Us’ versus ‘the World’ thing. It started small, but then the name just stuck. The economy collapsed and all of sudden my popularity exploded amongst unsigned artists.
CM: How do you usually work with your clients? And is the approach different depending on the industry?
JH: I like to work closely with my clients. The approach is very different with each niche market on Twitter. Not everything will sell. But sometimes you would be surprised with some things that do sell. Like gift baskets for example.
One lady was selling them and when I finished she was around 5,000 active followers. What I mean by active is that she was smartly using her Twitter to communicate with them.
Every industry has a different speaking style, keywords that indicate a buying signal. Other industries like plastic surgery were difficult because most people on Twitter talk badly about it, so following by the keyword “facelift” for example would miserably fail. I actually learn a lot about emerging markets from every client.
CM: What kind of social media tools do you use to help your clients? And would you tell us about your new software called “Tweet Boss”?
Although, I can’t speak to my exact formula for following I can say I use, both automation, and non automation tools to succeed. Tools like Twaitter, for example are great for scheduled tweeting.
I created this tool called Tweet Boss, but I’m still working on the marketing before I publicly launch it.
Tweet Boss brings all the best Twitter tools into one place, to make sharing easier. It’s built for manual following, it isn’t built on Twitter’s API. But it makes it easy and fast and fun to follow people without getting your account suspended.
Since twitter changed their API this year, a lot of automated products are being flagged, and are failing miserably. I lost a bankrupt hat full of money that day, so I’m trying to stay ahead of the curve. More impressive than my software are my custom content feeds, and my custom follow lists for Twitter, but that’s another story.
CM: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+? And why?
JH: My first love is Twitter, it’s a different breed of people. Facebook, I hate but I have occasionally been asked to set up fan pages and that sort of thing, so we co-exist. But marketing on facebook is a whole other beast.
LinkedIn is for business types. It’s ok but I don’t like the platform. It comes off like they are trying to catch up. My impression of Google+ is I think it’s cool, maybe they’ll beat out facebook. I heard they are starting to slow down with momentum. But do you want Google to own all your personal information?
CM: You work with a wide range of entrepreneurs. Have you noticed differences in the way they ‘do’ social media?
JH: My opinion, most companies approach it from the wrong angle. They think, “I can go advertise like crazy,” and it literally gets tuned out, and becomes a giant waste of money for them. I think they really have to concentrate on the user interaction portion of media, and be personal, entertaining, and provide interesting content to people, on Twitter especially. Otherwise, no real people will follow them.
CM: According to you, what are some of the most basic steps a business/entrepreneur should take before launching a social media campaign?
JH: Take the time to study your own market, and how people in your industry use social media like Twitter. Don’t just take the word of a company that offers fans or followers for a dollar value. Look at the quality of your following when you build, clean out irrelevant followers to make room for people who are interested in your niche market. Study the metrics. I mean the results.
See if direct from network sales work, or if you need to send people to a sales page. Provide useful, interesting content for your fan or customer base. Don’t hit people outside your niche, they will only get annoyed or offended. Hire an expert like myself, that can properly provide that content in a fashion that will build your business. It’s hard work, and don’t let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise. Don’t fall for fan or follower gimmicks, look for an offline business that does things by the book, or hire some staff who can pay attention to it.
Most importantly, stay a daily active – real participant. People appreciate that and when they appreciate you, the sales come “automagically”, I like to say. Become the expert advisor, then sell later on. Sneak it in, people are cool with creative cool, viral advertising content.
CM: How can people get in touch with you?
JH: Easiest is tweet me (@DJBANKRUPT) because I’m always there at the helm. But people can also easily find DJ Bankrupt on Facebook as well. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more serious inquieries.
Of course, you can “google” me if you want hear some great music.
CM: Any last words?
I would like to thank Jerry Doby for hooking me up with wonderful people like yourself.
I guess, the whole “Bankrupt” but “Cash Rich” thing is becoming more popular with this economy we’re in. I hope everyone benefits from my real world advice in the trenches of the social media battle. Most of all, I hope everyone gets a laugh out the irony of all of this. Even in the harshest climate, you can always find a way to make things work.