ALANA BLY – CEO / Founder of SocialLadderApp
For centuries now women around the world and across this country have been fighting for equality in all aspects of life. Woman have made enormous leaps in the last century and are showing no signs of slowing down! Women are now taking over and pushing us forward in every aspect of our society from politics to businesses, healthcare, education, technology, the music industry and so much more. Less than 100 years ago women were not allowed the basic right to vote and now after the 2018 November midterm election women set records making up nearly half of the House of Representatives and took over more seats in the Senate! Other than politics, women have created successful businesses that are continuously growing, made huge technological advances, and are taking over the music festival industry by storm! The future is very much female!
Three months ago, Festival Squad announced that we were looking for five leading women in the festival industry to send to FestForums in Santa Barbara, CA. FestForums is a conference held for all of the leading members of the festival industry to discuss important topics affecting the festival community and the Santa Barbara installment is the largest of the year! Throughout the weekend topics including cutting-edge technology, talent, ticketing, sponsorship, scheduling, merchandising, operations, sustainability, charitable work, and innovation and safety are among the things discussed. This year FestForums has created a new program focusing on leading women in the music festival industry and their technological advancements! Five leading women under the age of 35 were select as TechTrenders 2018 and received an award at FestForums this past weekend. One of the five women selected was Alana Bly, CEO / founder of the SocialLadderApp!
What is SocialLadder?
SocialLadder is an all-in-one platform that enables companies to track and and manage influencer, brand ambassador, street team, affiliate, college reps and advocates from one single platform. SocialLadder makes it easy for you and your fans to promote! Whether you pick a fully managed program or self-service, you will be up and running in less than 24 hours. 100% mobile means ambassadors stay engaged and can promote while they’re on the go. SocialLadder is fully integrated with EVERY ticketing / ecommerce platform on the planet so you collect the money upfront and your ambassadors can sell with the click of a button. SocialLadder is also fully integrated with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram making it easier for ambassadors to promote. You can also see exactly what your ambassador team is doing in the field. Stop doing things manually – SocialLadder automatically tracks everything including: Fulfillment, Leaderboard, Detailed analytics on each ambassador, & more…
SocialLadder also works with some of your favorite music festivals including Firefly, Electric Zoo, Warped Tour, Insomniac Events and more!!
There are over 150k brand ambassadors worldwide! Becoming an ambassador and earning various rewards is easy!
You can request a demo here!
FS: How was your experience at this weekend’s FestForum in California!? Tell me a little bit about what you learned
AB: FestForums was a great opportunity to meet with clients, talk strategy with partners and meet a ton of amazing people — especially women — in the industry. Plus, how can you beat waking up with that view!
FS: Where / when did SocialLadder get its start / what inspired you to get this started?
AB: Word of mouth is the most powerful selling tool for any brand. We started SocialLadder 5 years ago off of a simple idea — “A guy walks into a bar. If that guy had 20K followers on social media, shouldn’t the bar owner buy him a drink because he knows everyone in town?” Brands have such a hard time cutting through the “noise”, so the idea of creating a network of REAL people who are good at promoting and giving them a platform where they can use their social capital to unlock experiences / rewards was born. We built SocialLadder for fans, not for brands.
FS: What was the biggest obstacle you faced while getting SocialLadder started?
AB: Our philosophy has always been “Treat your fans like friends, not commodities.” When we started in music, a lot of promoters saw ambassador programs / street teams as nothing more than a sales arm — sell sell sell. But as a fan, that doesn’t feel authentic. With SocialLadder, we had to educate the space to shift their perspective and to think about their ambassadors as their family. Getting 1,000 fans to join a program where all they do is sell tickets is not the best way to build a relationship. We built SocialLadder to create a community of fans around a festival — not just super fans, ANY fan. SocialLadder is a game that fans play to earn and unlock rewards. Fans do challenges to prove their fandom to earn points — quizzes about artist lineup, adding songs to their Spotify playlist, creating content “show us your festival outfit on Instagram” or even invite your friend to buy a ticket. By giving fans multiple ways to build value for the brand, we help our clients put the data to work and deepen the relationship they have with their fans.
FS: Every year SocialLadder has been recognized for an award (Best Digital Music Marketing Campaign 2016, Top Social Media Tools 2017, Winner Top Company To Watch Globally In Music & Technology) what does receiving the TechTrenders2018 award mean to you?
AB: This award was important to our team on a personal level. At SocialLadder, diversity is the number one most important building block to us. Diversity is about different perspective, and perspective creates collaboration and ultimately innovation. Our collaborative environment pushes us to provide our clients AND our network of 300K+ ambassadors with the best possible experience we can. My partner and I — both minorities — have always believed in the power of building a team of people who are experts in things we are not and then empowering them to take ownership. Having a publication with the reputation of TechTrenders recognize us for having both a leading technology in our space & diverse team feels like a feather we want our whole team to put in their cap.
FS: Just recently you landed a huge deal with a Ticketmaster division, how has this deal changed SocialLadder and where would you like to see the company go in the future?
AB: TicketMaster is one of the oldest and most successful technology companies in the world. A lot of people see them as simply “ticketing”, but they are constantly exploring new and innovative technologies to revolutionize the industry. By fully integrating our platform into their self service ticketing system, Universe, we had a bit of “pinch me” moment because we were being recognized as having a strong technology that is changing the industry.
FS: What advice do you have for a young entrepreneur (especially women) wanting to start up their own business?
AB: Find a partner(s) who shares your vision, but who does not have all of your same strengths. There is an incredible power in partnership and without my partner, I know SocialLadder wouldn’t be where it is today. As an entrepreneur you see the world with “holes” and constantly want to fill them. Having a partner see / want to fill a different set of “holes” is what creates innovation.
Ok, let’s do a fun speed round and get to know you a little better as a person/ festival goer!
FS: What was your first / favorite music festival?
AB: H.O.R.D.E. 1993 was my first music festival and might be my favorite to date. I grew up in a house where music was always playing and H.O.R.D.E. emerged at a time when I was hungry to discover artists that my parents didn’t know. There are still so many artists today that I discovered at that festival that are on a constant rotation on my Spotify playlists.
Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) is probably my favorite city festival. The conference is so well organized and it is built to encourage networking with industry peers. You will literally have 20 meetings in 1 day and then find yourself dancing the night away in 3+ venues around the city — for 7 days straight. City festivals aren’t easy, especially ones with multiple venues. ADE really sets the bar for city festivals — 2500 artists, 140+ venues, a conference and one of the world’s most walkable / beautiful cities as the backdrop.
FS: Best food to eat at a festival?
AB: If there’s kimchee on a menu I’m trying it. Aspen Food & Wine and Pebble Beach Food & Wine are two of my favorites because they combine an unbelievable setting, top chefs & creative cuisine. I love how more and more music festival organizers are weaving food into the overall experience.
FS: If you had to pick three bands / artists for a dream festival lineup, who would they be?
AB: Phish. Violent Femmes. LCD Soundsystem.
FS: Whats your favorite part of music festivals?
AB: The people. I love the diversity.
FS: Any festival that you haven’t been to but are wanting to experience?
AB: Lightning in a Bottle. I honestly can’t believe I haven’t been to this one. I think the experiences the DoLab curates are just unbelievable. I love that it is more than just a party.
FS: Camping festivals or city festivals?
AB: Glamping festivals; it honestly depends on the festival & the reputation of the organizers.
FS: (I noticed you were an Eagles fan) Who would be your dream performer for the Super Bowl half time show?
AB: I’m actually a Steelers fan, but living in Philadelphia, it was hard not to support the Eagles. Halftime show, Daft Punk — is that even possible?