This is Part 2 of WiseStamp’s celebrity blog post series, where we cover someone famous and discuss what businesses can learn from them (don’t forget to check out Part 1: Rihanna).
Celebrities naturally attract a large number of social media followers – their performance, art, or beauty means they’re openly admired and adored by fans. But not even a famous celebrity gets over 61 million followers on Instagram without the know-how and social media smarts to cash in on their fame.
While some may use social media for self-promotion, the savvy user knows that social media is all about the fans. Just take a look at how Taylor Swift has become the Queen of Social Media, with more devoted followers than the entire population of Italy! And let’s try to figure out how we, as businesses, can learn from her massive success.
1. It’s Not Always About You
While many celebs only talk about themselves on social media, Taylor Swift is a millennial just as many of her fans are, and they grew up in the “sharing” culture together. That’s why Taylor Swift doesn’t only share about what’s going on in her life, but also in the lives of her fans.
Her Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of shared and retweeted news of others. She shines light on undiscovered artists in the form of retweets and shares, makes YouTube photo collages of fans, and she even sent holiday presents to a bevy of her most loyal fans in 2014.
This is exactly the kind of interaction that creates intense feelings of loyalty and devotion for Swift from her fans, because she makes them feel important and loved. Taylor Swift uses social media, a very public digital stage, to document very personal interactions. The result is that millions of people share the perception that she genuinely cares about her fans (I’m one of them!), and so they follow her every move, making her one of the most influential personas of her generation.
What Can We Learn From This?
For businesses, it’s important to focus on our users, instead of only on our products and services.
How can what we do affect our user’s lives? How have our products helped them? What are their stories? How can we show them that we genuinely care about them?
A great example of a brand doing exactly this is LinkedIn.
About a year and a half ago, the Linkedin blog featured a great story about Matt Henshaw, and how LinkedIn helped him make a comeback. I still remember this article clearly because it so perfectly highlighted Linkedin’s features and how to use them, while weaving them into a powerful story that’s all about the user, not about the business. Imagine you could do that for your brand?
Imagine if you could do that for your brand?
2. Who Are You, Really?
Taylor Swift may be known for her beauty as much as for her music — after all, a big part of being a pop star is looking like you belong in the spotlight. But sometimes it pays to let your guard down, shed your popular image and let fans see what’s underneath. Yes, I’m talking about authenticity, which is buzzword you’ve probably seen used over and over and over again. But that’s because it works.
In late December of 2015, Taylor Swift posted a picture on Instagram of herself dressed as one of Santa’s elves.
Alone this would have been a playful gram, but the fact that it was a rare look at Swift without a stitch of makeup made it genuine as well. The next day she announced her Instagram following at over 60 million people.
Swift understands her fans want to know her as a person, not just as a pop star, which can often times seem unreachable. The image described above shows a less glamorous, more accessible person than the Taylor Swift seen in music videos and on the red carpet. It shows her at home – playful and real.
What Can We Learn From This?
People crave authenticity – they want to know that there are real people behind the brand, people who care about them.
One of WiseStamp’s most recent blog posts, written by CEO Orly Itzhaki, got thousands of views. It was one of the most popular blog posts we’ve ever published. The reason is that we, as users, appreciate sincerity. We don’t want a brand to be represented by just a logo, or a product, or a service. We want real, human interactions and connections with the people behind a brand, and as businesses, we shouldn’t be afraid to make these connections.
3. Engage and Reward Your Fans
It’s important for any social media user to show their followers how much they appreciate them, but it’s not always easy, especially for celebrities.
Taylor Swift took fan appreciation to a whole new level when she filmed her music video for “Shake It Off.” The video ends with Taylor Swift dancing with a crew of individuals who look a little out of place in a music video filled with professional dancers. It seems like a strange choice for the end of the video, until you realize that those people are fans who contacted Swift through letters, Twitter, and Instagram.
Can you imagine how those fans felt when they realized they were going to be in her video? And can you imagine the ripple effect it had?
What Can We Learn From This?
Show your users some love! Encourage them to be in touch with you and your brand, and reward them.
Sometimes all that’s needed is a personal reply, although surprise gifts and prizes are always welcome. Communicate with them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, wherever they are. Answer their questions, thank them for their support, invite them to participate in Instagram or Twitter competitions using hashtag.
Most importantly, surprise and delight them whenever possible.
A great example of this is when Morton’s Steakhouse showed up at Newark Airport with a steak for Peter Shankman. About to board his plane, he’d jokingly tweeted Morton’s, asking them to meet him at the airport with a steak when he landed. Not only did Morton’s do it, it was witnessed by all of his followers, and then millions more when the story went viral.
Let’s Sum It Up
Taylor Swift has proven that personal, sincere interactions with people result in strong positive emotions, not only in the people involved, but in everyone who witnesses the interaction. This has a snowball effect, resulting in more engaged followers and a powerful brand. What business wouldn’t want that for their own brand?
So, what other lessons do you think we can learn from Taylor Swift?