October 15, 2012

A Note from Tiana

I’m so sorry it’s been SO long that I’ve said hi! I have enjoyed keeping in touch with a lot of you on my Facebook and Twitter pages!
I’ve been a bit busy!

Since the last time I wrote, I had a beautiful baby girl (Coral Rose born 5/28/12), finished my Masters Degree in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University in Florida, been working on a new business (Firefly Media– click for details), went camping at Big Sur (gorgeous!!), started a Health Blog, and lots more!

HOWEVER, I do apologize as I have truly missed my musical friends and I can’t wait to hear how you’ve been doing!

I wanted to write before it was too late as I am performing THIS THURSDAY, October 18th for a local Top Chef event with proceeds going to the amazing Wellness Kitchen in Templeton, CA. Details are attached, but it’s going to be an amazing time! I’ll be performing from 5:30-7p.m. at this special event. I TRULY hope to see you there!

Well, for those of you who can’t make it because of scheduling or distance, please drop me a line and say hi! I do update my Twitter/Facebook daily- so stay in touch there for easier communication!

More news coming SOON! Thank you for being a part of my music and life! I’ve missed you and look forward to staying in better touch again!
Much love,



P.S. I also got my FIRST PIANO one week ago!!! I have played for 14 years, but only ever owned my own keyboard. I’ve named my gorgeous piano by Baldwin, Belle. :) Here’s a little pic of her!

May 19, 2012

Social Media Tips for Business Owners

How To Utilize Social Media to Grow Your Business

Infographic Courtesy: hongkiat.com

After writing and distributing my most recent multimedia project, The Musician’s Guide to Social Media Awesomeness through my blog, TianaStarBlog.com and business website, FireflyMediaServices.com, I found a lot of the tools I shared to not only be effective for a music entrepreneur, but any business owner.

I consult businesses of all kinds on a regular basis on how to effectively market their business online, leading to more sales of the product or service the business provides. If you’re a business, of any kind, it’s imperative to stay connected with your current and past clients. Utilizing social media and online newsletters allows a business to do this in a time and cost efficient way.

No matter the business, most of the online marketing techniques are all the same. To prove that, I will share a short, to the point list of how I utilize social media marketing for my clients, which include: a Pilates studio owner/instructor, photographers, musicians, doctors, and colleges.

Quick List to help Businesses run their own Social Media Presence:

1.    Have an Online Presence and Brand that Presence:

  • From Your Website to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Blog pages, everything should match. When someone goes to one of your sites, it should match every site. Think of the Pepsi logo. You know it anywhere. You need to have a logo/brand that people know is you, and any site that your business is on should match the other sites.

2.    Stay Active on your Pages

  • Ideally, not one day should go by that you don’t post on your social media pages. Sites like Hootsuite.com are very helpful so that you can update all your pages in one place. People will forget about you, and you won’t come up as high in search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) if you’re not posting daily.

3.    Have Fun and Connect

  • Isn’t it exciting that people are interested in your business? Don’t dread saying hi and connecting. If someone called you or walked into your business, you’d hopefully be so nice and helpful that you’d have a sale. Treat people the same online, and be truly interested in them.
  • Don’t just post about your business, get a little personal. Talk about the weather, share helpful links to your followers, and don’t forget to mention specials and coupons you’re offering.
  • Research online what other  successful businesses in your industry are doing and saying online, and pattern your posts after them. “Follow” these businesses on Twitter,Facebook, and Pinterest and “follow” their fans as these could be your fans/clients someday also!

There are a number of other ways to utilize social media effectively. I’ve posted some of my favorite articles at the bottom as well as a couple  info graphics, including one that I created with some of the businesses I’ve helped brand.  Be sure to also check out the rising Pinterest, and my article that I wrote about Why Every Business Should Be on Pinterest.

***Feel free to comment, and also ask any questions or request an article. I’d be happy to oblige.  I hope this helps- and get social!


Great Articles to Help Businesses on Successful Social Media and Online Marketing:

15 Must Know Tips to Rock Your New Facebook Timeline Business Page

Social Media Career Success

How To Develop a Social Media Marketing Plan in 5 Steps

Five Quick Ways to Tweet for Business


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May 8, 2012

Musician’s Guide to Social Media Awesomeness

With more than 800 million active users on Facebook according to Facebook’s statistics, and Twitter just recently passing the 300 million mark according to independent watchers, it is clear that Social Media is here to stay. Whether on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even the recent rise of Pinterest, millions of people are engaging daily on social media sites.  These social media facts can be especially useful for Musicians looking to gain exposure and take their marketing into their own hands.  As the old saying goes, “Go where the people are,” and the people are online! By tweeting daily, updating posts and pictures to Facebook, and uploading original music videos to YouTube, musicians around the globe can effectively market themselves for free.

Infographic by ArielyPublicity.com

Other useful social media management sites like Hootsuite can help the music entrepreneur update all their social media statuses in one place, instead of having to login to each site individually, thus creating more time to create music or do other things towards their career. Klout is also a helpful site to track a person’s true social media reach, and every music entrepreneur would be wise to sign up on these sites to effectively track and manage their Social Media pages.

One of the best ways for an up-and-coming artist or band learn how to effectively market themselves online is by learning from artists and bands who are successfully maneuvering the social media landscape. Artists like Ingrid Michaelson and The Civil Wars have built their fan base over the last several years by utilizing and connecting with their fans online. By maintaining consistent marketing and branding through their websites, social media pages, and blogs, both bands they have grown their fan bases considerably. See slideshow below for examples.

However, looking at these two famous bands, as well as the numerous other famous acts that have their own marketing teams, booking agencies, and labels helping do all their work, can be very intimidating for a musician running all their own booking, marketing, and every other music related thing. Although a musician or band may be completely DIY, they can still have hope to market and brand themselves alone by using successful musicians as examples and guides on how to market successfully online.

Kurt Hunter is an excellent example of a truly independent singer/songwriter who has garnered a lot of success on his own by being smart and savvy with Social Media Marketing. Kurt Hunter is a singer/songwriter based out of Orange County, CA that has been pursuing his music career and marketing himself since 2003. Kurt has his own cool vibe with sounds reminiscent of Jason Mraz and Train.  From booking his own gigs, sailing around the world performing on a cruise ship, and even garnering Film and TV placements with his original songs, Kurt is a true DIY musician.

Kurt Hunter Photo Courtesy: KurtHunter.com

Tiana: How long have you been promoting yourself as a singer/songwriter?

Kurt: I’ve been at it since I first uploaded my songs that I recorded myself up on myspace.com, which I guess was around 2003.

Tiana: How often do you use Social Media to promote yourself?

Kurt: Every day!  Sometimes I use Social Media twice a day on multiple sites.

Tiana: What social media site (s) do you use the most and what do you like about it?

Kurt:  I use Facebook (of course) most often, and YouTube second most.  I also use Jango.com every day too, but that one’s automatic.  I use twitter too, in conjunction with Facebook.

Tiana: Is there a social media site that is confusing or not as useful to you at this moment?

Kurt:  I have a Google plus site that I don’t think I ever use, and I’m not sure what Pinterest is yet.

Tiana: Have you garnered any specific success because of social media (a certain gig, press, etc.)?

Kurt:  I definitely have made a lot of new fans though Jango.com, which is a sort of pay to play Internet radio station.  I’ve seen my digital album sales go way up every month.  I have to assume that it’s related at least on a small scale.  Also, YouTube has been great exposure as well.  I definitely am making new fans everyday.  I actually landed a gig on a cruise ship for four months because of the Esurance thing.  The guy who was answering my emails said it was a big favorite commercial of his.

Tiana: Would you consider telling people how you got your Esurance gig and anything you learned from that and/or any other success stories from social media!

Kurt: The Esurance came about because I actually read the email I got from Esurance about the contest they were having, instead of pushing it in the delete pile.  I happened to be the only entrant that wrote a song for the contest, so it made me stand out.  I think only a few hundred entered, so it was good odds!  I think I was successful, because I had a good product, and there wasn’t a huge hoopla over the competition.  I made sure that my jingle was only 30 seconds, so if they picked it, it would be easy to make into a commercial.  I did use social media (Facebook, MySpace) to get the word out for voting though, which I think made a big difference too.

Tiana: Any other info you’d like to share that you find interesting/helpful to others?

Kurt: I’ve found that non-exclusive licensing sites like www.pumpaudio.com, and jinglepunks.com, are great for getting music on television shows, movies, and other great opportunities, plus, it never hurts to garner some extra cash.  I know my song Bright Stars would not be my top download on iTunes without jinglepunks.com.  I’ve gotten a lot of placements by also uploading my instrumentals to these sites too.  They always need background music for shows.  It’s awesome to hear my music on shows that people are watching all around the world.

From Customer to Crooner: Esurance Writer… by multivu

Another successful DIY singer/songwriter who has used Social Media outlets to book her own international tours, perform at Sundance Film Festival, and connect with her fans daily is Melinda Ortner.

Melinda Ortner Photo Courtesy: Melinda Ortner's Facebook

Melinda shares her view of Social Media: “Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are the big ones that are fantastic for outreach. They’ve replaced my monthly newsletters, by accident really. I think it’s allowed for a less intrusive and less cumbersome way to notify fans and potential fans of my shows, releases, and news. It’s also a more consistent way to keep them intrigued on my daily epiphanies or stream of conscience without being an additional burden to their inbox collection.”

While on a European tour in Fall 2011, Melinda explained that “social media was not only vital for getting the word out about my tour dates but essential in keeping my US fans and family up to date while I was always limited on time to send personal emails or make calls. It’s so easy and it still amazes me that I’m able to connect so easily all over the world.”  Melinda was also able to garner more than 45 thousand views from her music video for her song “Heartbeats” just by uploading it to YouTube, resulting in placements of her song on Film creating song royalties for her.

Making Rumours by Ken Caillat Photo Courtesy: MakingRumours.com

Social Media is an essential element to all musicians actively pursuing a music career, and not just for bands and artists. All kinds of music business entrepreneurs can use social media to increase their business and clientele. Ken Caillat, best known as a producer for Fleetwood Mac and his daughter Colbie Caillat, shared that he uses social media to promote his business and products. Ken Caillat recently released his new book, “Making Rumours- The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album.” Caillat confessed, “I’m using old fashioned PR combined with social media.  I wish there were teams of kids who could be hired to do mass SM.” Although Caillat may prefer old fashioned PR he still sees the importance in New Media and uses Social Media daily, particularly Facebook, as a way of promotion for his new book and his production business. Check out the video below for ideas and ways that musicians can use their “old school” media outlets like radio and TV performances to connect with new fans through social media!

From connecting with fans, promoting a new book, or announcing tour dates, Social Media is a unique and essential way for music entrepreneurs to promote their brand online.  The Social Media landscape is always growing, and can be confusing or daunting for any entrepreneur. However, there are a lot of online tools, articles, and books available to guide musicians on their quest of Social Media awesomeness.  Below are some links to helpful articles on growing a musician’s online fan base through Social Media.


In closing, it is important to remember that people still relate to music through an emotional connection. That is something that no kind of media can ever change. First, musicians should make great music that they are sincere about, and then they should utilize social media marketing to help them along on world and online domination.

*I’d love to hear what you think, and if you have any questions please use my contact page and email me! Thank you for reading and I look forward to your comments.

Special Thanks to my Interviewees:

Kurt Hunter’s Official Website

Melinda Ortner’s Official Website

Ken Caillat and Making Rumours Book



Ariel Hyatt’s Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter

 The Social Media Bible by Lon Safko


Facebook Timeline Tips and Tricks 

Pay With A Tweet– Charge your Fans a Tweet for a new song- Awesome Idea!

How to Develop a Social Media Plan– by Mashable

Related articles

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February 5, 2012

Blogging and Legal Responsibilities

Navigating the Blogosphere while Maintaining Legal Responsibility

In this New Media age with Social Media sites and blogging sites seeming to pop up everyday, a lot of amateur and professional writers have started publishing their own articles through their own blogs. According to a very informative article on TheFutureBuzz.com concerning Web 2.0, the article presented some astounding facts on the amount of people who run and read blogs:

  • 133,000,000 – number of blogs indexed by Technorati since 2002
  • 346,000,000 – number of people globally who read blogs (comScore March 2008)
  • 900,000 – average number of blog posts in a 24 hour period”

Blog Art Couresty of blog.resumebear.com

Although people may consider their blogs “personal”, when a person posts their articles, whether facts or opinions on innumerable kinds of subjects, to the World Wide Web, their blogs cannot really be considered “personal” anymore. If a person writes and publishes on their blog- whether their opinions on a subject, person or a business- it would be wise, as well as necessary, to do a little research into legal issues that bloggers face.

With the number of personal blogs being written daily, privacy laws should be researched by every writer before posting what could be considered private information.  Amateur bloggers and writers may not realize that they are breaking a law by publishing personal information they shouldn’t be sharing with the world because of privacy and intrusion laws.

Sandy Duerr- Executive Editor and Journalist for San Luis Obispo Tribune. Photo Courtesy Ms. Duerr

Executive editor and journalist, Sandra Duerr, who works for Central California’s San Luis Obispo Tribune, offered some great advice when asked how they handle intrusion and privacy laws. Ms. Duerr shared the San Luis Obispo Tribune’s views on what they publish or keep private: “As you may know, there are some instances where we are legally entitled to publish a person’s name, action or public record but we do not because we have determined that the public’s right to know does not trump the individual’s right to privacy. These are determined on a case-by-case basis. For example, it is our policy to report suicides only if they are committed by a public figure or in a public place.”

Atascadero News Building in Atascadero, CA

Ms. Duerr also expressed how they protect themselves against libel (attacking of somebody’s reputation) and privacy laws. Ms. Duerr shared: “A First Amendment lawyer gives our news staff an update on public records and libel law in the state of California about once every year or two (we arrange that), and we discuss any specific questions that arise on a case-by-case basis with our parent company’s First Amendment attorney.”

This respectful view on keeping people’s information private, even if legally able to publish, was also taken by the Atascadero News when I interviewed their editor, Heather Young. Heather Young explained, “We don’t publish private information, even if our sources have shared information with us. We want to respect people’s privacy.”

Heather Young- Editor at Atascadero News

It is clear that professional news teams take privacy and libel laws very serious, even consulting and working with lawyers on an ongoing basis. Blogging is a way of reporting and giving news, whether on a small or large level. Therefore, every blogger, amateur or professional, should take note of the seriousness of reporting on private and public stories and making sure to keep it all respectful, and legal.

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January 29, 2012

Musicians and Social Media: Following Up

Answering questions and responding to feedback from my last post, “Musicians and Social Media.” 

Haute on Vintage's Facebook/Etsy Store (Store Owner is a Follower/Commenter of my Blog)

When I received a comment/email from one of my blog readers, and fellow business owner, Louellen (She runs a Vintage Store on ETSY: Haute on Vintage) I was so excited. Louellen wrote me, “Wow!  GREAT JOB!  I love it!  Your blog is so informative!  I’m totally going to follow it.  I like the Civil Wars a ton too.  I’m convinced.  I’m not doing NEARLY enough using social media,”  That kind of feedback is EXACTLY what I am always hoping for from a fan, friend, or follower of my blog. Not only was it encouraging to hear such kind words after working so hard on my last article and video, but what really got me excited was to hear that a fellow business owner wanted to use the information I shared towards her own business!

Juliet Lee (singer/songwriter) commenting on my Blog Post

The reason that I’ve started to share what I’ve learned from my music career, education and recent dive into Social Media Marketing, is to share and help others! So, of course, I get excited when someone writes me and tells me they want to do more! I received a few other comments through my posts on Facebook. One of my fellow singer/songwriter friends, Juliet Lee (I featured her on a compilation album through my record label, Coffee Shop Girl Records), read and commented on my blog (picture to the left).  Juliet said, shortly but sweetly, “Love this! You’re a smart cookie!” It’s exciting to see that others in my business are reading and learning from my blog!

I will continue to research and post my findings on Social Media Marketing (for Musicians and other business owners), and share that information  in hopes to help others pursue their dreams successfully. Please let me know if you have any specific questions about promoting yourself on the web (Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Ads, YouTube, etc), and I will write you back/comment back directly. I may even write a whole blog on the subject if it’s something that pertains to others (which it probably does!).

I’ll leave my readers with a video that I found to be helpful in this Social Media Jungle! This is Ariel Hyatt at ASCAP’s Music Expo. I had mentioned Ariel Hyatt and posted her info graphic, The Social Media Food Pyramid for Musicians, on my initial blog post. I hope  this video inspires you as well.  Thank you for reading and being an active part of my blog! I hope to hear from you soon.

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January 22, 2012

Musicians and Social Media

How Musicians can Effectively use Social Media To Connect With Fans

Most musicians that are actively pursuing a career in music are on some sort of social network, the most popular being Facebook. But most of these musicians and bands don’t really know how to effectively market themselves through the social media landscape.  With the number of social media sites seeming to grow everyday, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube aren’t the only sites that an artist needs to focus on.

Social Media Food Pyramid for Musicians by ArielPublicity.com

Michael Epstein explains some of the basic principles in his article, “Seven Rules for Effective Social Networking for the Artist”  “The most essential point to note in my approach to social media is that it begins with the word social. In order to generate interesting discussions and interactions, you must follow exactly the same practices as you would at a party.  You wouldn’t just stand up on a table in the middle of a room full of people and shout, ‘come to my show!’ or, ‘buy my music!”

While it is important to tell people how they can buy your music, that shouldn’t be the only thing coming out of your mouth through your Social Media Network. Like anything else in life, people want to know you care for them in some way other than wanting them to buy something from you.  Besides reading “How-To” books and articles on Social Media, one of the best ways to see what works is to follow and seek out other musicians who are succesfully utilizing Social Media to connect with their fans.

This video examines, in just a short 3.5 minutes, how Ingrid Michaelson and The Civil Wars use Social Media Platforms to share their music and connect with fans. The video also uses quotes and advice from successful Music Promotional authors how to start and continue a lasting relationship with your fans through Social Media.

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January 14, 2012

Musicians and Social Media

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January 7, 2012

New Media and Business

Why New Media is Essential to Small or Large Businesses

Photo Courtesy: http://girlonstilettos.blogspot.com

Whether a small business started out of your house like the successful MamaBargains.com who tweet every time they have a new item for sale, a musician promoting their brand and connecting with fans through their Facebook page, or a huge company like Southwest Airlines promoting secret flight sales through their Twitter- there’s one thing successful  businesses have in common- they’re utilizing New Media Outlets on the Internet.

With over 300 million users as of 2011 on Twitter according to Wikipedia, and more than 800 million active users on Facebook according to their statistics, obviously it makes sense to tap into this built in potential client base!

Whether  it be Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or the many other social networking sites available on the web, New Media is here to stay.  Using New Media, companies can create a community for their clients, where people can feel connected to a business personally and emotionally. Having an online presence also makes it easy for word of mouth to spread when people can give a direct link to your Social Network Page or your website to their friends through their own social networks.

Example of how people can instantly share your business with all their contacts on Facebook!

Unfortunately a lot of companies, haven’t taken advantage of New Media. Whether because of frustration with new technology, or just not seeing the need for it, all businesses, large or small should be taking advantage of all the parts of New Media like Social Networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc), uploading pictures and videos, blogs, and more.

There are a ton of blogs, magazines and books to help coach you on how to set up these sites for your business.  The Social Media Bible by Lon Safko is a Bestseller for a very thorough, yet easy to read, help book for any  kind of business owner. There’s also a great book for musicians titled Music Success in Nine Weeks by Arial Hyatt, which can help musicians learn the basics of Social Media and promoting their act online (even if the title is a bit unrealistic!).

However, one of the main things a business owner doesn’t always have is time. Since that is the case, there are a lot of consultants (including myself) who can guide you, or just take care of, setting you up online and even run your new media outlets on a consistent basis.  From your business website to social networks, and even promotional business videos, New Media consultants can help a business owner build their clientele reach online- which results in more sales. If more people know who you are, then more people can come to you for your services when they need them- and then tell all their friends online when you’ve provided GOOD BUSINESS.


I made this video to promote my own Blog that I uploaded to my YouTube, to show how New Media is here to stay and makes promotion and connecting with your clients fun and essential.


October 30, 2011

Positive Thinking

Photo Courtesy: worktravellearn.wordpress.com

A Biblical Perspective

After writing my blog “Changing Our Minds to Change Our Lives” a few months ago, I was very inspired by all the feedback I received. I decided to do a follow-up story with yet another perspective on Positive Thinking.

In my last blog, I shared my own approach to positive thinking, as well as quotes from different Life Coach’s and positive minded blogs. I thought it would be interesting to look at a very old, but historically accurate book- The Bible, to see what it had to say about our thoughts and positive thinking.

I also used this video to interview a minister of the Church of Christ who’s been preaching and a scholar of The Bible for over 30 years to see what he had to say about the Bible’s perspective on positive thinking.

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June 7, 2011

To Give, Or Not To Give…Up

My Son under a beautiful rainbow

A Rainbow over my son during the rain

Sometimes I feel like giving up, on so many things. On my friends that never call me first, I always have to call them first and hope they’ll call me back or write me.


I feel like giving up on always trying to lose weight. Am I not good enough the way I am? When will it be good enough? Don’t I need to love myself? I mean it’s one thing to eat healthy and exercise on a consistent basis. But am I not allowed to have a chocolate bar once or twice a week? COME ON!


But then, I remember and think about so many people in the world who don’t have enough to eat. Who don’t even have any family or friends to lean on when they’ve lost everything? People are being sold into slavery.  1.2 Million children are trafficked every year throughout the world. (Source: Various, Noted by UNICEF)

I then think. I CAN’T GIVE UP! I may have my problems, we all do, but the truth is that living in this country, and with a loving family as I have, my lowest points of life may never even be compared to some people’s daily lives. When faced with the way that most people live, these things I often worry about don’t seem as important.

I look at my sleeping 2-year-old son and my amazing husband who loves me very much. I think of my mother, father and sister 70 miles away who just drove to visit us today.

I realize even if my friends don’t call me back. Even if I gain 10 lbs., stay the same, or lose weight. Even if I lose my health and all my looks, I do have people who love me and would do anything for me. So many people on this earth have never had that, and may never have that.

So. I WILL GIVE UP my selfishness and my pride that thinks I know why my loved ones aren’t calling me- perhaps they’re going through a harder time than me and I need to keep reaching out.

I WILL GIVE UP feeling bad about myself if I don’t lose a pound this week, or even if I gain one. Because I am exercising and eating healthy, and that’s supposed to be the point, right? And more importantly, I’m trying to be a good person!

I WONT GIVE UP trying to give a voice to those who don’t have one.

I WONT GIVE UP loving even when I don’t feel loved, because our feelings often betray the truth.

AND I WON’T GIVE UP on me. I will remember “every day is new with no mistakes in it yet” as said by one of my favorite fictional characters ever- Anne of Green Gables. (Books by L.M. Montgomery)

I WON’T GIVE UP trying to right any wrong that I can be a part of righting!

I WILL GIVE UP all things that keep me from being a light in this world.  Look for a rainbow through the rain!

I’d love to hear what you will give up and won’t give up. Please leave a comment and say hi! I write this blog and these articles to connect with others, and I love hearing what you have to say! Thanks!

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