If you’re an artist with two million fans on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook but only get 2% engagement how useful are those tools? Wouldn’t it be better to have direct contact with your fans instead of third party go-betweens? Wouldn’t it be better to have a personal relationship with them, the kind of direct contact that you have with your friends? And wouldn’t that personal relationship be strengthened and enriched with an approach that you’re already pouring into social mediums?
This was the scene set by Ryan Leslie and Bonin Bough at Brooklyn’s Northside Festival where they expanded on the idea of Personal Relationship Management. PRM, they believe, is the next evolution of the social network. But what’s new to this evolution of social is that the future of PRM belongs to texting.
Texting, that ability to bypass apps and emails and go straight to the source is where PRM will truly be useful for artists and brands alike. Bough was tipped to this exciting future by Leslie through a meeting at SXSW this past March. Introduced by Jesse Kirshbaum of Nue Agency, the three had a brunch that changed the way Bough thought about the future of social. Bough, who heads up media and ecommerce at Mondelez International (the biggest snack food company in the world) was immediately taken by the concept and it struck upon his own theories that texting will be huge. Bough claimed that “this will be bigger than social and we’re just at the start of it.”
PRM is a great theory but without the appropriate tool it’s not scaleable. That’s why Leslie built Superphone, a platform that allows PRM to thrive. With Superphone you give your phone number to your fans. They text you (calls are screened to only allow those who you know). An automated message replies back asking for your name and location. From there the amount of interaction is set by you. The contact info is simply the first layer, having a conversation worthwhile is the next and rather than putting effort into a third party platform, Superphone leaves it all to you.
Leslie spoke about not only using Superphone for engaging conversations but moving to monetize his contacts. Leslie uses it to look for photographers, videographers, even flight attendants if and when he needs them. All of these contacts are filtered through Superphone and in his experience he’s been able to make more money, connect with more fans, and expand his social network in a more meaningful and authentic way. With Superphone, Leslie’s phone number (646.887.6988) has become a way where he can send fans custom birthday messages, inform them when he’s in town performing, or connect about his new album. All things that were possible with traditional social media but all had engagement rates that were minuscule.
It’s clear that fans and investors are listening to the PRM future. Recently Andreessen Horowitz, Betaworks and others poured in $1.5 million to help seed Superphone and in Japan messaging platform Line (560 million users) is about to go public with the years biggest IPO. But like all novel tech Bough believes that it will eventually be cannibalized by overzealous brands. But currently Superphone is on the cusp of a big change in our world and PRM will be able to help you sort through the noise and get to the most out of your social network.