People are willing to sleep on the street for several days just for the chance to see her. She has 81,513,762 Facebook likes, 31.6 million followers on Instagram, and 54.3 million followers on Twitter.
Her official fanbase, made up of over 2,422,175 fans who refer to themselves as her “navy,” is there to greet her at her concerts and appearances anywhere in the world, and have the power to get her songs to #1 on iTunes.
Yes, Rihanna’s fame and her huge fanbase, including the dedicated Rihanna Navy, are results, in part, of her musical talent. But it takes more than musical talent to reach her level of success.
What else has it taken for her to get to where she is today? She’s turned herself into a brand. How? She’s learned that social media is worth more than the diamonds she loves.
Here are 8 ways Rihanna’s social media practices can help your business’s social media presence shine:
1) She Keeps it Real
Rihanna may be a fashion icon, and she’s known for posting photos like this:
But she has no problem posting photos like this:
As for her jewelry and her hair? She’s got nothing to hide:
“My jewelry’s all fake — from Claire’s. Or I get it from my mom’s boutique in Barbados. Her shop’s called FAB-U-LUS,” she says. And she’s candid about her ever-changing hair. “It’s not my hair, but the girl who donated it, she’s the bomb,” she says. “I have two main hair people I work with. They’re always with me. I’m like, ‘I’m bored! I wanna change my hair!’ That’s the good thing about a weave. You can do whatever with it.”
As Brett Relander says, “Good content is created for people first, search engines second, so to get the best content, showcase the human side of your business.” He goes on to point out that emotional connections break down barriers in conversations with customers, and giving them the chance to “peek behind the scenes” builds trust.
2) She Stands out from the Crowd
Rihanna’s talent, humor, and style make her stand out from the crowd. But her willingness to speak openly about interesting aspects of her life helps her stand out even more.
Rihanna makes her love for her native Barbados known. Not only does she take frequent trips back, she’s the official spokesperson for the Barbados Tourism Authority.
As part of an interview, Rihanna took Oprah on a tour of her old neighborhood and her childhood home. Thanks to the tour, Rihanna’s fans had the opportunity to see her interact with old friends, who still refer to her as Robyn.
Some of her songs even have a Carribean twist.
Find what’s unique about your company, and use social media show your customers what makes you, you.
3) She Connects with Other Celebrities and Other Brands
FourFiveSeconds, the song Rihanna performed with Paul McCartney and Kanye West, was quite the hit:
— People magazine (@people) January 25, 2015
Rihanna has teamed up with countless brands, including Puma and Dior. As part of her promotion for her latest album, AntiDiary, she has teamed up with Samsung and released an app that takes fans on virtual adventures to rooms of a house:
— Rihanna (@rihanna) November 28, 2015
Although the release date for her new album is still a mystery, fans know that the last “room” will be opened on January 21st 2016, and they don’t mind waiting.
Meanwhile, Rihanna is using creative hashtags and intriguing images to draw them in:
— Rihanna (@rihanna) November 22, 2015
By collaborating with other celebrities and brands, Rihanna has exposure to potential fans who might not have already been following her. Don’t be afraid to collaborate and share the spotlight as a way of finding new followers and potential customers.
4) She Posts Consistently
The fact that Rihanna posts consistently does more than allow fans to get to know her. Posting regularly allows her to keep the attention of her fans even when she’s not on tour or releasing an album.
Find ways to stay connected to your clients and customers even during the times when you may not have exciting news or new products or services to promote. Posting regularly doesn’t mean posting constantly. Find the balance that works for your business.
5) She Creates Fun
Over the summer, Rihanna teamed up with Tidal, “kidnapped” 80 of her fans, took their cell phones, and took them on a road trip. When they got to their final destination, she gave her fans a live preview of her new song, BBHMM (please note that the link contains sensitive language and content).
Although only 80 fans were lucky enough to go join, all of her social media followers, and the followers of her followers, were able to live vicariously. By adding fun to your marketing strategy, you allow your customers to create memorable, meaningful and emotional connections with your business.
6) She’s Generous
In December of 2012, Rihanna donated 1.75 million to a hospital in Barbados in honor of her late grandmother Clara “Dolly” Braithwaite.
Thanks to her donation, the oncology department was able to purchase vital equipment.
Two years ago, Rihanna began the tradition of the annual “Diamond Ball,” which raises money for her charity “The Clara Lionel Foundation,” which aims to improve the quality of life of communities around the world. This year’s Diamond Ball raised over 3 million dollars.
Feel so lucky to have an evening like this, to spend with people with hearts like mine, who want to change and save lives at any cost! There’s so much to do, and I can’t do it all by myself, so I have to thank all of the supporters of and people who donated to #TheClaraLionelFoundation Looking forward to seeing you later this evening.
By donating to causes she strongly believes in, Rihanna gains respect from her fans and raises awareness. Let your customers see your social consciousness and learn about what’s important to you.
7) She’s Resilient
Rihanna has clearly mastered social media, but interactions with her followers aren’t always smooth, especially where her relationship with Chris Brown is concerned.
But, thanks to her resilience, Rihanna’s presence on social media is still strong, due, in large part, to how she handles sticky situations.
Her interview with Oprah, in which she was open, calm and respectful, helped her fans see her as human and make amends.
Don’t let fear of uncomfortable social media interactions, which are unavoidable, hold you back. Even after a slip, keep posting. Learn from your interactions and move forward.
With the right strategies, it’s possible to get back on track.
8) She Shows Appreciation to her Fans
No matter what kind of mood she’s in or how she feels, Rihanna never hesitates to express gratitude to her fans. She couldn’t possibly follow her fans back, but she does follow an unusually large percentage
Even after a long day on the set of an editorial shoot, Rihanna is willing to take the time to greet fans:
When she knew her fans were spending up to three days outside waiting for her to make an appearance, she expressed her gratitude:
Instead of being an untouchable celebrity, Rihanna has shown the world that she is a fascinating, living, breathing human being. Even more importantly, she’s shown her fans that she is accessible and appreciative. Show your customers how much you appreciate them by connecting with them on social media and, when possible, in person.
What other marketing lessons can we learn from Rihanna? Which of her strategies are more valuable than diamonds?