DJ Khaled’s Keys to Social Media Success



DJ Khaled Fans

DJ Khaled taking a selfie with a handful of his countless loyal fans.


I was recently listening to the newest DJ Khaled hit “Top Off” with power couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé, and it made me realize he would be such an interesting person to blog about. DJ Khaled is a name anyone who listens to media regularly recognizes. It feels like he has been around my whole adult life. In a way he has been because some of his hits from ten years ago are still played today. But there was a period of at least five years where it seemed like DJ Khaled was gone for good. This Business Insider article talks briefly about DJ Khaled’s fall from stardom. From 2007 to 2011, he was putting out catchy hits like “All I Do Is Win” and “I’m On One”. In this time period, he had four tracks go platinum. But what happened to him after? His career seemed to be slowly fading away. His October 2015 album, “I Changed a Lot” sold 19,000 copies in the first week. It was the lowest-selling album of his career. In comparison, DJ Khaled’s most recent album, Grateful, had 149,000 equivalent album units sold in its first week. DJ Khaled is clearly a talented producer who knows how to produce record hits, but his career may have never been revived if it wasn’t for the creation of an app you may be familiar with—Snapchat.

DJ Khaled has mastered the art of social media marketing on several platforms, but his best-know content comes from Snapchat. As someone who has always used Snapchat frequently, I remember DJ Khaled being the first celebrity to go wildly viral on Snapchat. But what makes him so likeable and worth a follow?


Catchy Sayings

Most people my age know at least one of DJ Khaled’s famous phrases. “Bless up!” is a saying adopted by Khaled as a “reminder to [himself] and those around [him] that God is good.” He makes sure to remind people of the blessings of life with at least one “Bless up!” Snapchat a day no matter what he is doing.

DJ Khaled Bless Up

His most viral saying is about the “keys”. For Khaled the keys could mean many things: the keys to success, the keys to happiness or just the keys to life.

Key to Life Khaled

His constant optimism and humility make him likeable and make his message effective. If this guy who has had many ups and downs can continue to bounce back and have this great outlook on life, then he must have some wisdom about the “keys” to life. Regardless of whether you watch his Snapchats for a laugh or for motivation, DJ Khaled bas mastered the art of building a personal brand and a strong fan base on Snapchat. The interesting part is that they were not following him for his music, but for his popularity as a person.



It seems like almost everything DJ Khaled said on Snapchat was catchy, but what made people even more obsessed with him was his ability to motivate people. His saying “Ride wit me through the journey of more success” took off on Snapchat. The first Snapchat I remember saying this was one where he was out riding his jet ski.

Khaled Journey to Success.png

How could you not love this guy? He is living his best life, and instead of being obnoxiously flashy and distant from fans he is able to take fans on his personal journey to more success through Snapchat. Even if you aren’t truly motivated by Khaled’s Snapchats, it is still hard to argue against this friendly-to-all-ages, positive message to join him in living the best life possible. And if you think he is all talk about the journey to success, you’re wrong. He joined Weight Watchers to make one of the keys to his journey better health.

Another message he constantly repeats is to “Stay away from ‘They’” in life. Well who is “They”? In his new book, The Keys, Khaled gives a description only DJ Khaled could give: “YOU HEAR ME SAYING “STAY AWAY FROM ‘THEY’” ALL THE TIME, BUT WHO ARE “THEY”? I’LL TELL YOU: “THEY” ARE THE ENEMY. “THEY” WANT TO KEEP THE KEYS HIDDEN AND BLOCK YOU FROM THE PATHWAY OF MORE SUCCESS, AND “THEY” WANT TO SEE YOU TO FAIL…THE PERSON WHO WANTS TO DISTRACT YOU FROM YOUR STUDIES OR YOUR CAREER WITH THEIR DRAMA? THAT’S A “THEY.” THAT’S A BIG “THEY.” BUT HERE’S A MAJOR KEY: AS LONG AS YOU STAY AWAY FROM “THEY,” YOU WILL PROSPER.” Again, how can you not love his message? In this digital age, social media is often used to bash celebrities and discuss a lot of negative things going on (i.e. celebrity misbehavior). It does not matter if you laugh at and make fun of DJ Khaled (like people like this) because he has learned to block these type of people out. His motivating message of positivity and inclusivity have been a breath of fresh air since he has joined social media.

DJ Khaled is able to take his catchy phrases and motivational sayings and make them a part of people’s lifestyle. By having this effect on people, DJ Khaled was able to gain six million followers in his first four months on Snapchat. He now gets three to four million views for each of his Snapchats. DJ Khaled does not stop there though. As a smart businessman, he has been able to turn this social media success into more business opportunities. In 2016, he became the face of the new mango flavor of the popular alcohol, Cîroc.

That same year, DJ Khaled released his book, The Keys, and it became a New York Times Bestseller.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter even paid Khaled to promote their product.


His relationship with his son

The newest reason to love Khaled is he is social media’s favorite dad. Asahd Khaled was born in October 2016, and the social media world has been obsessed with him and their father-son relationship ever since. Khaled created an Instagram for his son. He posts and comments from it pretending as if Asahd is the one doing so. Obviously he is not, but people find it hilarious, and it makes people love him even more. Asahd’s growing follower count is now at 1.8 million. DJ Khaled and his bank account are both happy about this.


All of this has led to DJ Khaled’s success as a businessman and helped revive his music career. His most recent album, Grateful, went platinum. I mentioned some of his business partnerships, and the list goes on for Khaled. He has partnered with a variety of businesses, including Champs Sports, Zappos, TurboTax and Beats. He has had 6 platinum singles since 2016, with each of those songs, like “For Free” with Drake and “I’m the One” with Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne, being massive hits including world-famous artists. His dominance of social media is clear, as his Snapchat is still very popular and his Instagram and Twitter have a combined 13.7 million followers. This popularity helped make him a more attractive producer to work with. Once he began working with these artists and showed he could help produce a catchy track, his career took off once again. In my opinion, it is impossible to not be a fan of him and his message. Here is to hoping DJ Khaled stays on the journey to more success so we can see more great Snapchats like the ones in this video compilation.



Other Sources


  1. Lucy Wilson · ·

    Tully, really great post and something I think we are all pretty familiar with, especially being such avid social media users. In my opinion, a lot of his success has come from the ability to dominate one platform, Snapchat, rather than to focus lesser energy on a wider variety of them. However, this comes with risk, as he is placing the majority of his marketing efforts on a platform that Kylie Jenner has recently deemed irrelevant.

    One other thing that I think is interesting to note about DJ Khaled’s self “marketing” is that it’s all free due to the fact that he makes use of social media. These free platforms have brought him numerous profitable spokesperson and advertisement deals. To me, this just further highlights how social media is rapidly changing the way in which brands and celebrities interact with their followings.

  2. HenryChenChen · ·

    Nice post Tully, I like the way how DJ Khaled uses social media, this makes connection with audience make also a great way to build personal brand. He promotes his life style and attitudes which helped him to have many fans and follower, which reminds me of a NBA player called Richard Jefferson, who is not a very famous NBA player but he is Lebron James’ teammate, and also used Snapchat to share his life and his teammate’s. This make him have so many followers and built a good reputation among players and fans, and helped him to sign contract.Using social media in such way really helped those celebrities’s career.

  3. Tully, I love your blog topic of choice! As Lucy mentioned, DJ Khaled is a public figure/DJ many of us are familiar with and enjoy discussing. To be honest, although I had listened to some of DJ Khaled’s music before his Snapchat popularity grew, I had no clue who he was until all of my friends starting referencing his Snap slogans. As you mentioned, at this time he already had some amazing hits, but it wasn’t those hits that made me recognize his name or his personality, it was Snapchat. Now, whenever I hear his music I feel personally connected to him and his life, which is something I cannot say about most artists! #BlessUp #MajorKey

  4. danmiller315 · ·

    I thought this was a hilarious and insightful blog post. DJ Khaled has done a masterful job with revitalizing his career by connecting with new and old fans through social media. The reason I think that he has been so successful in this venture is that he has done a great job remaining authentic in what he posts on his accounts, which is something that celebrities often have a hard time doing. Oftentimes, it is easy to tell when a celebrity is trying to put up a facade for their fans on their social media accounts, but not with Khaled. I really think that he wants me to join with him through the journey of success.

    On the other hand, I think this also speaks to the ability for businesses to spot things that are trending in the world and capitalize on them. If you’re a company trying to promote a product to a young demographic, it might be advantageous for you today to solicit DJ Khaled for his services. That might not be the case two years from now because his message might not resonate as much with the general public. This not only speaks to the power of capitalizing on virality, but also the ability to be aware as a business that what is hip and trendy today might be different when you wake up tomorrow. Awesome post Tully!

  5. nescrivag · ·

    I love this post because it is very insightful and relevant to today’s social-media driven world. The momentum that Dj Khaled has gained through Snapchat could not have been possible ten years ago. This successful turnaround proves how much power social media can offer to celebrities.
    I think that DJ Khaled’s success mainly comes from him being authentic and not hiding his true self. A lot of other celebrities (like the Kardashian’s) have a very different image on social media and they try really hard to keep up their reputation. DJ Khaled’s honesty and authenticity makes fans more empathetic towards him. Through social media, it is pretty much effortless for him to reach people because he just has to post from time to time and he can get millions of people to see his posts.

  6. addisonBC2018 · ·

    Tully, I love this post! It really brought me back to when I first discovered DJ Khaled’s snapchat as it was just starting to blow up, and how I picked up all of his social media phrases. Not only do I think this is such a unique post and a great topic, but I also love how you went further in depth to explore the correlation between his rise of social media fame and his career relaunching. It’s a correlation that becomes clear as you look into it further, but I never considered it until now! Great post!

  7. Nice post. It’s been interesting to see his rise on SM. He’s sort of like the Kim Kardashian of Hip hop.

  8. Keenan Neff · ·

    DJ Khalid is a man amongst children when it comes to his self-marketing on Snapchat. When Snapchat allowed fans to start following their favorite celebrities, no one capitalized on it more than DJ Khalid. I think what makes him so likable is the fact that he doesn’t cater his message to a certain audience. He really tries to spread positive vibes to all people, which is why he has become a fan favorite. I also think that a big reason as to why he is doing so well is due to the content he puts out on Snapchat. Other artists in the rap industry may put out Snapchats of them doing drugs, or stacks of money, but Khalid seems to have steered clear of that and focus on motivational messages. I think this allows him to draw in a more family-friendly audience, that other rappers cannot attain.

    Great post Tully!

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