At Burner we are always releasing features and bug fixes, but we don’t always talk about it. We tend to alternate between revolution and evolution. Today we are launching a new interface for texting, and one of its key features is the ability to view multiple lines when composing texts. It is always feels good to make the product a little better, and to know that our customer experience is always improving.
In all we will be releasing five new features (some are obvious and others harder to see) and nine bug fixes. Improving Burner is a never-ending experience, and that is the way we like it. Expect some significant new features in the coming months, but also relax and enjoy the little improvements that are being released regularly.
Iration is an alternative/reggae group out of Santa Barbara, CA. Their latest album, Hotting Up, recently debuted #1 on Billboard Reggae. To coincide with the release of the new album, they wanted to build a fan promo while sourcing album feedback.
Using Burner’s Soundcloud Connection, Iration were able to set up a phone number that fans could call to leave messages sharing their favorite songs from the new album. The messages would be automatically uploaded to Soundcloud, where the band could review, make a playlist of interesting content, and picks 3 winners of pairs of tickets to an upcoming show.
Sept 11-14th, 2015
Create a Burner phone number for the desired area code
Personalize the Burner line with a photo and the voicemail greeting with a call to action
Authorize the Soundcloud Connection to the new Burner phone number
Set Auto-upload to Private, so we could preview
Promote the number across social networks inviting users to call & leave voicemails
Users call & leave voicemails; Burner auto-uploads to your account
Review posts, curate a playlist, and post/re-share
Social Posts (805) 918-5999
The band received 100 quality fan voicemails about the new album. In the process they were also able to get a better understanding of the fan favorites (“Lost and Found,” “867,” and “Reelin”), which they were also able to combine with other data to build their case for radio play.
(“Reelin” is the 1st single off the album currently spinning on multiple radio stations across the country. “867” is actually in position to be the next radio single. “Lost and Found” is the reggae track that they knew would be among the fan favorites.)
The band narrowed down their top 10 fan voicemails to make a Soundcloud playlist, which they of course shared to their fans there as well as through other social media channels.
They also selected three fans to win pairs of tickets to the upcoming shows of their choice.
Collectively, the promotion generated a significant amount of fan content, user insights, audience engagement, and social media reach for a relatively trivial investment of effort and a with a very simple setup.
Iration’s Hotting Up Burner Fan Messages - WINNERS
Burner Connections for Soundcloud and Dropbox was SEAMLESS and beyond easy to set up and manage. The band set the Burner’s ringer to OFF and just watched the notifications come through indicating voicemails and messages uploaded to Soundcloud.
In addition to the Soundcloud Connection, Iration also implemented the Burner Dropbox Connection. The band has all the voicemails saved for archival purposes and also created a folder for the best messages. They will text all the fans back who actually called and left messages (since they have a record them and phone numbers).
Iration are working on the next Burner Soundcloud promos around their upcoming nationwide tour dates.
It can be unsettling to watch a computer spit out your personal information before it even knows your name. Especially when the information appears in a terminal font, superimposed over a map of your area.
Hello, Xavier from SocialSoundSystem again! In our first blog post we discussed how we rely on Burner for social media management and community management for the band Iration. Today I’d like to share how we’re using the app for direct-to-fan engagement.
A PRIVACY LAYER FOR THE PUBLIC LIFE
Burner is a privacy layer for your life. For artists, celebrities, and other public figures this is a huge value proposition. To expand on our use-case in the music industry, Burner gives artists and band members the ability to engage with fans and the general public without compromising their personal phone number. Our artists can now create and manage multiple phone numbers for press interviews, calling contest winners, saying hi to sick fans in the hospital, or even ordering a pizza from Papa John’s if you so desire.
The easiest way for public figures to engage with fans and followers is through Q&As. Reddit AMAs have become hugely popular and more celebrities are starting to use Meerkat, but all of the platforms that enable this kind of engagement still require fans to be a member of whatever network they are using. With a Burner number, you’re able to use the one thing that everyone has, a phone number! Simply create a new number and post it to your sites and socials. Answer fan questions or calls that come in. Then burn the number when you’re done! PS you have the ability to turn off notifications in the app for calls/texts so the artist’s phone doesn’t explode when posting
I came across this use-case the other day and thought this was a pretty ingenious way of using the app. The CTO of Citrix, Gunnar Berger, was giving a presentation at conference and included a Burner number to field questions:
In October, Burner added support for MMS and you now have the option to create an MMS specific number. So far we’ve heard a lot of positive support for this feature from the Etsy community and other online stores. For Iration, MMS gave us the ability to run some flash fan engagement campaigns. While off tour Iration started recording their new album in Santa Barbara. Iration posted lyrics to an unreleased song they were working on in the studio and asked fans to send us pics of what the lyrics meant to them. It helped pass the time as they responded to fans and enjoyed learning what the fans thought of the lyrics.
DIGITAL MEETS PHYSICAL
Using Burner allows us to bridge a gap between the digital and real life. Iration doesn’t always hide behind the phone number. I’ve seen them use the app to find surfboards, a copy of Cabin Boy, want to know where to go for a local hike or play golf, or even local “greenery” because everyone knows you NEVER carry anything across any I-10 border checkpoints from Arizona to Texas (SERIOUSLY). In all instances, it’s a chance for the band to connect with local fans and hook them up with tickets.
Another fun way we like to use Burner reminds me of all the old rave days. Remember when you used to have to call a phone number to call another number to meet at a certain place/time to follow someone to that underground party? No? Well, it was a thing. In any event, sometimes we like to do similar promos using Burner. Since you can add custom voicemail greetings for every number, it’s very easy to create a new number in any tour market for fans to call in to find out what the “Burner mission” of the day is (should you choose to accept it). We’ve had fans meet us at a certain local landmark, bar, or restaurant to give away merch, autographs, or tickets. When the guys are on the East Coast and the waves are firing, they’ll tell fans to meet at a certain beach and bring boards for them. They once asked for a copy of Cabin Boy for the tour bus that only had a DVD player. A new favorite is doing flash ticket giveaways. We’ll post a Burner number with the stipulation that we will delete the post once someone has claimed the tickets.
SOURCING FAN CONTENT
This is one of the main reasons SocialSoundSystem started working with Burner. One of the first campaigns we developed with Burner allowed us to source fan content using voicemails. Burner helped us build a direct integration with Soundcloud. Fans could call into a special Burner number and leave a voicemail. We QA the calls and upload our favorites to our official Soundcloud account. In doing so we are able to learn more about our fans while rewarding them with some social currency considering our Soundcloud account alone has 100K followers.
Over the years we have received messages from sick fans telling us how our music is helping them. Sadly it’s occurring more and more frequently. Jorge Santana (from above) is an example one of these fans. He won a pair of tickets for the Fillmore San Francisco show and couldn’t make it because his doctors wouldn’t let him out of the hospital. He sent his kids instead and the lead singer, Micah, gave Jorge a call in the hospital telling him to fight the good fight. We’ve since stayed in touch and they’ve been out to a few shows. I met him in person last year at the Greek Theatre Berkeley where he and his wife told us backstage that he was 100% cancer free. It’s the little things like this where we can give back to our fans that really makes an impact on what we do. The smallest bit of effort on our part really can change a life
A more recent experiment we’ve been playing with is a Burner Message Board. We set up a basic site on subdomain Messages.IrationMusic.com and attached a Burner number. One of the band members recorded a voicemail inviting fans to text, send a pic, or leave a voicemail for them. Text and audio are transcribed and show up almost instantaneously on the page. Fans receive a notification if someone favorites or leaves a response. Everything occurs anonymously on all sides. The band loves how easy it is to use and fans love seeing their messages on one of our official sites.
For all the hoopla over the latest and greatest apps (we’re looking at you Meerkat), we truly believe that phone numbers will continue to play an important part of our personal and professional lives. They have the lowest barrier to entry, fans do not need to download anything, and 99.9% of the world knows how to make a phone call or send a text.
Why are people still using SMS in 2015? Despite the growth in other communication channels, SMS is still widely in use and remains one of the primary channels of communication.
G'day G'day how ya goin' Burner! Today we have some big news for you!
We know the world revolves around communicating via SMS, and it’s hard when you’re living or traveling outside the US to stay in touch without incurring crazy long-distance charges. To help with this problem we’ve made Burner available, for the first time, outside the US and Canada. You can now download Burner in Australia and buy a US and Canadian number for texts and voicemail to text anyone in the US and Canada, long distance charge free!
Once you create your number you’ll have access to tons of great Burner features like reminders to stay organized and of course you can create as many numbers as you would like and burn your number any time to take it out service.
There’s tons of other messaging apps out there that you can use to message with friends or family in the US, but they’re a hassle. Once you decide what service you want to use and create an account, you then have to get everyone you want to talk to to create an account as well. And then you have to find and connect with everyone -- search your address book, connect Facebook, sign in with Twitter -- just to send a simple message.
Burner makes messaging dead simple, with the one thing everyone has -- a phone number.
These are text-only numbers, so you won’t be able to make or receive calls, but if someone does call you they’ll be able to leave you a message that you can listen to in the app!
This is only the beginning and we know we have tons of Burner fans that want the app available in their country. Please feel free to reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter or through support and let us know where you are and where we should expand to next. You can also stay up-to-date with all of our news by signing up for the newsletter.
March 10, 1878 - Alexander Graham Bell makes the 1st phone call in history to his assistant Thomas Watson. Celebrate this day in history and make that call to a friend or family member you've been putting off
Hola! Xavier here from SocialSoundSystem. We’re a boutique management, digital marketing and advertising agency based in Los Angeles. SocialSoundSystem got it’s start working with the band Iration, back when I lived with some of them while at UC Santa Barbara and Myspace was a thing. Over the years we’ve worked with a number of touring artists including Slightly Stoopid, their management company Silverback Artist Management, and Ink-N-Iron Festival.
We love being the geeks of the music industry. We like to play with the newest apps and services, break them, help put them back together, and hopefully make them better. This is exactly how we started working with Greg and the Burner team. What began as casual conversation and user feedback, gradually turned into us moonlighting in the mobile app world as brand liaison growth-hacker.
The latest technology and hottest new apps seem to change by the hour, all promising to be the next best thing in direct-to-fan relationships, but we’ve found that a simple phone call or text message still has the lowest barrier to entry and the highest value proposition for community management and fan engagement.
This post is Part One of how Burner has become an indispensable utility for our daily operations in the music industry.
BURNER FOR COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT
As a community manager, working with any size brand can be overwhelming and daunting. You are the representative of the brand across their respective channels and as your followers grow, at some point, you will not be able to hide behind an account name or handle. There’s no way around it: you’re going to have to talk to your fans or followers. This is where Burner’s value as a privacy layer becomes most apparent.
First things first: create a long term Burner number specific for that particular brand or client. I have one Burner for Iration that I have been extending for over a year. My marketing assistant has one as well. We only use these numbers for communicating with and providing support for Iration’s fans.
GIVE A FAN A LIFELINE
We’re constantly running online promos, contests, giveaways, etc. to generate larger outreach and promote shows/tours. Or maybe we read a funny or heartbreaking message and want to help out a fan with free passes. We’ll confirm their names over email and add them to our guest list.
During the confirmation process we always provide our fans with our Burner number in case things go wrong. Sometimes the band forgets to add their name to our guest list. Sometimes we forget to submit their names to the official list. Whatever the reason, the last thing we want is to leave a fan standing out in the cold at the box office unable to get in. When you see a call come in on your Burner number at 11pm on a show night, PICK IT UP! Chances are it’s a fan with an issue that can be resolved with a quick text or call to the production team on the road.
“When you see a call come in on your Burner number at 11pm on a show night, PICK IT UP! “
THE VIP EXPERIENCE
Iration offers VIP packages for every show and tour. These usually include a private performance during soundcheck, a meet & greet, autographs, and some limited-edition merch items. For some fans, these VIP packages are a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For the management team, it can be a logistical nightmare trying to coordinate when you get your VIP list 2-3 days before the show. If the fan doesn’t receive their details, you run the risk of losing a fan for life.
As the number of VIPs per show has increased over the years it has become harder and harder to communicate the information with them. Younger fans simply do not check their emails -- they aren’t chained to their inboxes yet. Good for them! Bad for the band and management dealing with crying, angry fans who feel they’ve been ripped off. We can’t afford to lose fans like that and have them taking their negativity to social media; especially today when all the band is on social media. Fans can message their grievances direct and it’s the last thing they want to see after stepping off stage. Enter Burner!
For the past year we’ve been using our Burner numbers to text all VIPs. We tell them that we’ve sent all the details for VIP to their emails and to respond with a confirmation. In the VIP emails we also include our Burner numbers in case they have any further questions or they need to change the name on our list. This has greatly improved our process and decreased the number of disgruntled fans. We’re actually receiving a lot of positive feedback from fans on our communication and organization.
Finally,there’s the time old tradition of street teams. Over the years Slightly Stoopid has developed a large network of street teamers through extensive touring. Their team is managed in-house by their marketing coordinator Sarah Abdel. These teamers are the boots on the ground talking to people, putting up posters, handing out fliers, giving out stickers, hitting up lifestyle stores, anything and everything to promote for their favorite band. Naturally, this requires a lot of coordination on behalf of their marketing team.
This is where Sarah began running into issues. She would receive calls at all hours of the day/night working with fans across the country. They’d have questions on their orders, maybe need more materials, send in pics of them handing out promo, call begging for tickets, or maybe they just really, really wanted to hang out and be friends at shows.
Solution: Burner. Sarah started using the app to connect direct with her street teamers and centralize communication. This has enabled her to build relationships fans while keeping her privacy and personal life separate.
“Burner has been awesome for keeping me connected to all the ‘Stoopidheads’ without being too connected! I love the simplicity of the app, and that it also has a ton of useful features. The latest MMS integration allows teamers to send me photo updates of their promotional work. The Contacts list feature helps me remember who I’m talking to without having to save their information to my phone. And I love their new Reminders that can helps me to respond to someone later if now is not the best time. Thanks to the folks at Burner I have my own work line without having to get another phone.”
- Sarah Abdel
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how Burner has come to play an important role for community managers and our daily interactions with fans. We can now create multiple phone lines for different shows, tours, releases, promos, support -- the utility is endless. It’s really changed the way we connect with our fans and build relationships. In our next post, we will discuss how our artists are using Burner for direct-to-fan engagement and promo campaigns.
Burner came out of the idea that people needed better ways to manage their identity in different situations. But Will and Greg also wanted to make it a simple and intuitive product.
This great piece by Chris Messina puts a lot of context around why "unlisted" and "burner" identities makes sense -- and why we should all get used to these concepts
The Burner Chrome extension is a great way to keep your multiple Burner numbers handy. You can see how many minutes, texts, and lifetime are left on each, and can copy them for use in emails or conversations with just one click.
When we started building the extension we knew it would be useful, but when we actually started using it during testing even we were surprised at how many times a day it came in handy to give out a phone number. Emails, chats, food delivery, signing up for new websites, political surveys, food deliveries, confirmation codes... the list goes on-and-on. With a simple click you can access all your numbers without having to remember each of your Burners or searching through your app to find the one you want to use. We're sure you'll love this this handy little extension too!
Filling out an online form that asks for a number? The Burner button will automatically appear next the the text field so you can pick one of your Burners to put on that field instead.
In order to use the Burner Chrome Extension you need to download the Burner mobile app - available on iOS and Android - and set up an account. If you already have the app, you need to be updated to the latest version of the app. 3.0 on iOS, and 1.2.0 on Android. If you would like to use the extension but don't have the app itself, simply head to http://burnerapp.com for download links, or search "Burner" in the app store.You can NOT set up an account through the extension itself.
If you do have the mobile app set up, simply enter the main account phone number to log in, and not any of your Burner numbers. We'll send you a verification text that you will type in - just like you did with the Burner mobile app - and you'll be logged in.