What Marketers Can Learn From Taylor Swift About Social Media Engagement
If you don’t have a “big reputation”, it can be difficult for your company or brand to stand out on social media. But if you want your audience to engage with you, you must engage with them first. To build trust and rapport, your brand needs a voice that speaks directly to your audience.
Many big brands and names exemplify the power of social engagement. Taylor Swift is a worldwide musical phenomenon but also happens to be a social media genius that digital marketers can learn a lot from. From wiping her social accounts clean to create buzz about her newest album, to hand selecting fans to invite to secret album listening sessions, to actively interacting with fans online, her marketing techniques are well calculated but also raw and real.
With her 83.2 million Twitter followers and 110 million Instagram followers, you may question what you can learn from someone who already had a big following to begin with. While Swift’s fans support her with anything she does, she has earned an even higher level of respect from them by engaging with them directly.
Engagement strategies can go beyond simply responding to comments as they come in. There are many tactical and spontaneous measures you can take by “stealing” some of Swift’s strategies.
Here are some key social media engagement ideas, inspired by some Taylor Swift song titles, that you can learn from Ms. Swift and her team…ready for it? (Beware, I am a huge Taylor Swift fan, you can tell from my Twitter).
Come Back…Be Here
You can’t just check up on your brand’s social profiles a couple times and then be absent from the Internet for the rest of the day. You need to actively study your audience, respond to comments and messages, and go out of your way to assure that they will keep coming back for more.
Swift is known for creeping on her fans’ Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. In fact, she has done it for so long that she has a personalized term for it: “taylurking”. She ‘likes’ and interacts with posts and will even save her favorite fan photos to her phone. She gets to know her fans on a more personal level through their social media profiles, and she goes out of her way to meet those fans in person.
This causes Swift’s fan base (aka “Swifties”) to create constant conversations about her online, using hashtags, memes, photos, videos, and more. She built an entire online community by influencing these conversations. These social media interactions have helped support a positive outlook on her personal brand.
If you want people to show appreciation for your company or products, you have to diligently show appreciation for them. Go out of your way to ‘like’ or comment on photos that people post of your product. Respond to indirect tweets of people talking about your company. Give shout outs to dedicated fans. Build up a positive reputation in your online community.
This Is Why We Can(‘t) Have Nice Things
In the midst of her taylurking, Swift hand picks dedicated and active fans that she wants to send gifts to or wants to meet in person at secret sessions or concerts. The possibility of “winning” these rewards motivates her audience to stay active on all the social channels.
Depending on the type of company you have, look for opportunities to host contests and giveaways. Run a Twitter campaign that requires people to retweet you, use a specific hashtag, and follow you in order to be entered into the contest. This will create more buzz around your company, and you’re likely to see a significant increase in engagement.
Like Swift, you can also reward loyal and committed fans with items, discounts, or anything free you can provide them based on your brand. Spend time throughout each day reading comments and tweets, and pay attention to the people who are posting frequently. Create a list of dedicated audience members so that way you will always have someone to give a reward to in the future.
You can also regularly take part in visual listening, to analyze those who feature your products in photos without tagging you or those who indirectly talk about your brand. By rewarding these people, who don’t even expect your attention, you are motivating them to start using your branded hashtags and tagging you in posts.
Partnering up with other brands can sometimes allow you to offer something “extra” to your audience, and it can even help you grow your audience. Swift has had many partnerships throughout the years to expand her brand. Leading up to the release of her album reputation, she partnered with UPS. When fans preordered the album through UPS, they were entered for a chance to win concert tickets, memorabilia, and other exciting prizes. Swift’s face was also temporarily placed on UPS trucks around the country. If fans saw one of these trucks in their area and took a selfie with it, they had another chance to win a prize.
Upon the release of reputation, Swift partnered with Target to offer an exclusive edition of her album that comes with a collectible magazine. This partnership not only resulted in fans rushing over to Target on the release day, but it also resulted in them sharing photos and tweets in excitement about the content within the special magazine.
You shouldn’t accept every partnership that crosses your path. You should only accept ones that make sense with your brand, and that can provide something useful or meaningful to your audience. Also, make sure that you and the other brand can both benefit from the partnership; you don’t want to burn any bridges afterward.
You can conduct research by studying brands that your current audience is talking about, and see how they can correlate with your brand. You can also create polls or discussion questions to learn more about other brands your audience is interested in. This will help you narrow it down to find your ideal partnership.
Call It What You Want
To open the social media floor up to more conversation, you can encourage your audience to use branded hashtags in their posts, especially during events, special promotions, and anything specific you are trying to create hype for. Swift’s team, Taylor Nation, frequently does this on Twitter. During Swift’s reputation Stadium Tour, Taylor Nation had fans use #reptour(city name) when talking about which city they’re attending the concert in.
Fans have used this branded concert hashtag to tweet about their excitement before the show, share photos and videos during the show, and continue the conversation days, and even months, after the show has ended. This also brought in the attention of Swifties who weren’t in attendance at certain shows. They actively contributed to the conversation with the attendees, to see if Swift was wearing a new outfit on stage or to find out the reveal of a surprise guest at the show. Fans who weren’t at the concert felt like they were there just because they kept up with the hashtag.
Create your own branded hashtags for your social media campaigns. If you are hosting an upcoming event, get people to start talking about it before it happens. This will create a strong buildup to the event and can also, in turn, get more people to attend. Additionally, just like Swift’s tour, people can use your branded hashtag to tweet photos and videos during your event, so those who were unable to attend can feel like they are part of it.
You can also create branded hashtags during any special promotions or sales that you have. For example, if you release a new line of products, you can create a campaign that includes a branded hashtag relevant to the name of the products. Those who purchase a product can then share their experiences and opinions by using the hashtag. This not only allows you to actively receive feedback about your products, but it also can inspire others to check out your product and overall brand.
You probably won’t be able to get a spot on the A-list like Taylor Swift, but you can learn a lot from her sly marketing techniques. Even if you’re not a Swiftie like I am, it’s easy to see that her social media tactics are successful and useful.
You need to remember that both audience engagement and audience retention should be top priorities. It takes time to master these strategies, but if your campaign fails, just shake it off and go back to the drawing board.
About The Author
Laura Wigodner is the Content Marketing Manager for Nex Gen Dynamics. Her lifestyle articles have been featured on Elite Daily, Medium, and Thought Catalog to name a few. She also writes professionally on Content Marketing, Social Media, Branding, and more. A Bradley University Alum with a B.A. in Communications and Creative Writing, Laura loves writing poetry and watching YouTube videos. You can find the Swiftie on Twitter and Instagram as well as where there is coffee because that is her lifeline.