Yes. Musicians all around the world should be following Taylor Swift’s digital strategy. Her online presence is striking: with over 75 million page likes in Facebook, 77 million followers in Twitter, and 78 million followers in Instagram; there is no doubt that she is a real social media queen. If there’s something more impressive than these numbers is how she reached them by executing a flawless integrated strategy.
Taylor Swift may be one of the biggest musical phenomenon of our era, each of her 5 studio albums has sold over 5 million copies; she has won over 270 awards including 10 Grammys and holds 5 Guinness World Records; she is considered the Biggest Digital Act by the Recording Industry Association of America with 77 million certified units (a certified unit is equal to one paid download or 100 streams); her 1989 World Tour generated $250 million in ticket sales and sold out over 70 shows worldwide; and she was ranked by Billboard as the highest-paid musician in 2015 earning $73.5 million in total revenue. This list could go on for days, but how does she do it? The key is how she converts regular fans into hardcore “Swifties” through her digital strategy.
The first step to convert someone into a hardcore fan is engagement and nothing works better than direct communication with fans. Unlike most celebs who have big PR firms that manage their social media accounts, Taylor generates her own content giving fans a master key to her personal life. Whether it’s a video of her getting ready for a concert, a picture of her cats (Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson), or a post about having pizza in a hotel room with friends after an awards show; she connects with fans in a way that makes them feel very close to her. One of the most unique things that Taylor likes to do is engage directly with her fans by doing things like writing comments on her fan’s posts; inviting fans to participate in the “Shake It Off” music video; giving someone $1989 to pay off their student loan; inviting fans to her house to listen to her new album; or buying, wrapping and sending “Swiftmas” presents to some of her most loyal followers. These simple but very meaningful actions bring not only more loyal fans to her social media profiles but also plenty of earned media.
Having over 75 million fans in each platform is not a goal but a medium for the 26-year-old artist. All these fans are now the audience for any message that is sent through the digital space and here is where brands come into play. Taylor has endorsed many brands such as Diet Coke, Keds, CoverGirl, Apple and American Express; but just like everything in the superstar’s life these are not your typical endorsements, they always try to go one step further. An example of how Taylor’s digital strategy meets tech and innovation is her partnership with American Express (American Express Unstaged) where they launched an application giving fans an exclusive look of the “Blank Space” single through an interactive 360-degree interactive experience. This app gave fans an immersive experience and also worked as a perfect setting for American Express to showcase their concert promotion strategy through their “Unstaged” program. You can check out the experience here.
Taylor Swift has implemented a very strong digital strategy that resulted in nothing but great success both as an artist as well as a celebrity. This strategy can teach other entertainers about how to conquer the digital world, the world where fans live.