What Taylor Swift can teach brands about social media
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that Taylor Swift recently re-released her 2012 album, Red. Complete with nine new tracks — including the long-awaited ten-minute version of All Too Well — Red (Taylor’s Version) is the second of six re-releases Taylor will be dropping to regain control of her masters. To celebrate, Orchard’s Community Manager Georgia Carroll, shares five lessons Taylor Swift can teach brands about social media.
Lesson One: Find your audience where they are
Okay, yes, technically Taylor can find her fans everywhere, but she’s a pro at joining the right platform at the right time to meet her key audience where they are. That’s why despite all the success in the world, Taylor herself is extremely limited in where she engages with her fans (she’s most known for finding fans on Twitter and Tumblr, but has been known to respond to certain fans on Instagram!).
It can be tempting to want to jump on every new social platform that comes along, but real value is found when you meet your community in their natural habitat. While Taylor instantly went viral on TikTok, if you’re targeting an audience who thinks that’s just the sound a clock makes, your energy is better directed towards other platforms. Understanding your audience and their participation habits should be central to your social strategy.
Lesson Two: Engagement is here to Stay (Stay Stay)
The heart of Taylor’s marketing strategy is giving fans attention. This primarily comes from a secondary official (marketing) account, Taylor Nation, who share news about Taylor and her associated releases, appearances, and products, and then engage in conversation with fans. Being responded to by Taylor Nation is a huge deal for fans of TSwift.
While your brand might not have the draw of being Taylor Swift, frequent direct communication with your audience increases trust, positive sentiment, and loyalty. What that communication looks like varies from brand to brand and is very industry dependent (most brands can’t get away with being Steak-Umm or Wendy’s), but audiences always appreciate a timely response.
Lesson Three: Jump on the buzz (but only if it works for your brand)
This one has less to do with Taylor, and more to do with brands’ responses to Taylor.
The Empire State Building turned red and tweeted lyrics to Welcome To New York; Go Fund Me temporarily changed their social logos from green to red, and shared a thread of support Taylor had provided to their platform over the years; Starbucks (in a branded partnership) released “Taylor’s Version” lattes (Taylor’s favourite Grande Caramel Nonfat Latte), and a number of brands with connections to the colour red could be found sharing their love for the album.
Just like memes and viral moments in general, not every brand can get away with joining a pop-cultural moment. But if there’s a connection there and it fits your existing tone (and audience!), plan ahead and have some fun!
Lesson Four: Repackage your content
Taylor knew her fans would go wild for the ten-minute version of All Too Well, so she didn’t stop at just releasing the song. The evening after the album dropped, Taylor released a short film to accompany the track (the short film later played onscreen behind her as she performed on Saturday Night Live).
If you have a piece of content that’s getting a great response, think about ways you can remix it to other platforms and mediums. Turn a tweet into a blog post. Turn a blog post into a podcast conversation. Turn a longer-form video into a Reel or TikTok. Know what the hook is and make the most of it!
Lesson Five: Revisiting hits never goes out of Style
While Taylor is re-releasing her albums out of necessity, reactions demonstrate that fans are excited to go back to being 22 and have their love for Taylor Begin Again. If your brand has past popular content on hand, don’t be afraid to throw it back. Just remember there’s a difference between deliberate re-use and spamming your audience with old posts.
While some of this might be Nothing New, it never hurts to follow Taylor’s lead to make sure it’s The Last Time you feel like you’re better off sending a Message in a Bottle rather than Fearless(ly) embracing the power of social media for your brand.