In my writing intensive course that is required for my communications major, I had to choose a musician to analyze for my final paper. Naturally, I chose arguably one of the most successful artists of all time, none other than Miss Taylor Swift. But why is Taylor so successful? Don’t get me wrong, I am a hardcore Swiftie, but I can even admit she is not the most talented singer in the business. In my opinion, one of the keys to her success has been her social media presence. I decided to extend my research from my other class in order to compose it into a blog post, analyzing the ways Taylor has made social media work for her,and ultimately bolster her career. However, analyzing a celebrities social media usage was not entirely my idea and I do not want to cause any Bad Blood, so I admit, I loved Matthew Pierce’s blogpost about Tom Brady and credit him as my inspiration for this blog. I follow Taylor on Instagram and Twitter and have liked her page on Facebook (still waiting for her to make a snapchat…c’mon girl). Through her social handles, I have observed various social media habits and noticed the following ways in which she wins the social media game:
- The Taylor Swift Brand
It is extremely rare for celebrity’s to even stand behind their own social media profiles. Most of them hire people to post for them or have their own social media team that displays their “brand” effectively. Taylor on the other hand isn’t branding “Taylor Swift” but actually is just being her natural, goofy self. Clearly this tactic has worked for her. She has 65.8 million Twitter followers, 73 million Facebook likes, and with 54.4 million Instagram followers tops the chart for the highest followed female. Taylor can most often be found posting pictures of her cats Meredith and Olivia, funny animal videos, teaser videos of upcoming music, music videos, or photos alongside her infamous squad. Aside from the teasers of upcoming music, this is content that can be found on most social media profiles of women in their low twenties. She appears extremely relatable and diminishes the concept of othering by making herself appear to be an average person, just like her fans. One would think scrolling through their newsfeed it is just another picture that a friend posts, until you see that this friend has bout 2 million likes. With posts like these, I can’t see how the “Taylor Swift” brand will ever go out of style!
2. Interacting directly with fans.
Since Taylor is a worldwide phenomenon, it is impossible for her to physically meet and interact with all of her fans. In order to attempt to change this, she uses social media as a tool to keep in touch and check in with as many fans as she can. She admits that she is constantly looking at the internet, reading what her fans are saying to her, watching youtube video covers of her songs, and even scrolling through her fans tumblr pages. She even responded to our very own Boston College video featuring her song “Shake It Off.”
She also responds to her fans with pure excitement and empathy, making it seem natural that she is commenting on anyone’s photos or videos, just like any of one’s other friends would. She even has her own hashtag for this activity she calls #TayLurking, where she lets her fans know that none of their content is safe, their Wildest Dreams may come true and Taylor herself, just might see it.
Taylor wishes her fans happy birthday (I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22), provides advice to those she sees having a hard time, compliments them, and even makes fun of herself along the way. If someone who lived under a rock analyzed Taylor’s social media activity without knowing who she was, I’m not sure they would expect her to be a celebrity at all.
3. She clears up rumors.
As everyone probably knows, Taylor is talked about in the media quite a lot. Some of this talk however, is far from true. Many celebrities will choose not to get involved, will often even not check online media sites because they do not want to know what is being said about them whether it be presented in a positive or negative manor. Taylor on the other hand, is up on her facts and will be the first to clear up a false rumor and laugh it off on social media. She doesn’t let her haters hate, she simply shakes it off. They way she sees it, if the media are talking about her, she will give them something else to talk about by clearing up the story. For example, earlier this year, rumors began to fly that after her infamous 1989 World Tour, Taylor would be buying a castle in Europe and moving their with her current boyfriend Calvin Harris, talk about a love story! Taylor decided not to let this one slide and cleared it up in true Taylor fashion, using one of her lyrics to add humor to a serious, targeted tweet.
As much as Swiftie’s may like to believe that all of this kind social media behavior comes from the bottom of her heart, she is also an incredibly intelligent business women. Yes, Taylor does her fair share of her promotion for upcoming albums, tours, music videos, etc. However, she is also letting the fans do the work for her. With her millions of followers tweeting and instagramming lyrics from her songs and photos from her concerts, that gets her recognized by even more people. Some may even join in the movement and become a fan for themselves. If anything, she tweets or Instagrams about something she has coming up that she is excited about, and doesn’t hold back this excitement by any means. This could be compared to someone tweeting, “I just got accepted into my top choice university, this is surreal and dreamlike.” We have all seen posts like this on our feeds everyday. It is not everyday however that we see celebrities talking about their life as “dreamlike” and acting so genuinely excited about life as Taylor does. Here, we see Taylor tweet ecstatically about a re-release of her 1989 album by Ryan Adams and her reaction to her “Wildest Dreams” music video premiering.
If anyone ever finds themselves in a position where they need an influencer to gain advice on how to build up your online social media presence, fill that blank space with @TaylorSwift’s name and take notes. Taylor has an amazing way of covering up this celebrity identity she has established, by creating a presence on social media as your typical twenty-year-old girl. She knows her fan-base and more importantly her target market remarkably well. She understands it is more important to appear to her followers as one of their friends rather than another verified blue check mark user that they follow. Taylor Swift’s social media strategy is beyond Fearless.