For many brands social media is seen as the golden ticket to increase brand awareness far beyond their inner circle. Although many are active on social media, most find they don’t receive the traction or conversion rate that they expected. Brands fall into the trap of not controlling their own brand narrative. Partnerships are formed for immediate gratification or to boost sales without considering the long-term strategic value that the partnership will provide to both parties. They struggle to make their brand authentic, approachable, relatable, and relevant to their target audience. Many are too focused on short-term sales leaving the opportunity to build a long-term loyal fan base left at the wayside. And one of the biggest mistakes is not consistently adding value, incentivizing, or rewarding customers for continuing to stay engaged with your brand, which limits the likelihood of the consumer building a lifelong relationship with your brand.
At a time when most marketers struggle to break through the noise, Taylor Swift has effectively leveraged marketing and social media to expand her network since her humble beginnings on Myspace. Her 12 million Instagram followers, 46 million Twitter followers, and “1989” album sales that are projected to sell more than 1.3 million copies by Sunday, are redefining what success can look like in a world with Spotify and Youtube.
Repositioning your Brand: When Swift received negative publicity surrounding her private life during her media tour for her previous album, she took control of her personal narrative from the media. She stopped dating and made sure that, moving forward, the quality of her music would be what she’s known for and not how many men she has dated.
Rewarding Brand Advocates: Taylor handpicked hundreds of fans to meet with her in her various homes to listen to her entire album before it was released during the “1989 Secret Sessions.” She even baked for them—the fans lost their minds.
- Target: Continuing her long-term partnership with Target, the “1989” exclusive deluxe version included three extra songs, a handful of Polaroids of Swift with her handwritten lyrics on the bottom, and three voice memos stripped from her iPhone to show different kinds of songwriting processes. She also promoted herself, her friends, and her fans buying the album at Target on social media.
- New York: With the release of the track “Welcome to New York,” Taylor was officially deemed the “Global Welcome Ambassador” (unpaid) by NYC & Company for the city and all proceeds of the song will also go to NYC public schools.
- Diet Coke: In harmony with Diet Coke’s current campaign, Taylor showed what her life would look like if it tasted as good as a Diet Coke. The ad included a clip of “How You Get the Girl” which was unreleased at the time the ad first aired. The plug ends with her cat Olivia and a CTA for “1989” sealed the deal.
Leveraging Social Media:
- Tumblr: Before the release of “1989,” Taylor joined Tumblr. She has shared everything from general updates, recipes, animated GIFs of her and her friends, photos and videos of her cats Olivia and Meredith, and fan-generated content.
- Twitter: Taylor tweeted the release of several songs in the weeks leading up to the album release available on iTunes with world trending hashtags like “#5HoursUntilOutOfTheWoods.” Taylor is now sharing user-generated content tagged “#Taylurking.”
- Instagram: Taylor amplified the impact of her tweets with self-generated photos and handwritten lyrics. Her feed is full of backstage photos, images of her friends and family, and candid photos with fans from the “1989 Secret Sessions.”
The beauty of her marketing is that every piece feels completely authentic, relatable, and effortless. The various mediums of snackable content certainly contribute to her success but the real value is in the strategic, controlled release of intimate details about herself, her life, and inviting fans to be an active part of her story. That is what has allowed fans to emotionally connect with her and form a devoted network that consistently moves the needle.