Today’s blog post is in honor of Taylor Swift’s album 1989 selling 2 million copies. To say that this album has been successful is an understatement; it’s the first album of the year to go platinum and the first album since 2002 to sell 1.287 million copies in its first week. Taylor’s success doesn’t just come from her loyal “swifties” running out to the store to grab the album, but arises out of a brilliant marketing strategy. Marketers everywhere can take a few hints from the 24-year old.
Get the Goods
The foundation of any marketing strategy is the product or service you’re trying to sell. And Taylor knows that in order to create a buzz about something and sell it, you have to have a product that, believe it or not, is good. Her strategy could have employed all of the right tactics and generated hype, but if she had a lousy album, very few would have continued to buy it (or buy 4 or 5 copies as some have). Her greatest asset is promoting something that people can get behind, something that people are willing to go out and buy as opposed to streaming it for free on some site.
So she has a good product, a lot of artists do, so what makes 1989 so special? Taylor marketed her album like crazy, and did it in a way that made her audience want more. They wanted her to keep marketing to her. How do you build that kind of following?
Know Your Audience
We’ve talked about this before. Here actually. And here. It’s essential that you know who you’re trying to reach. Taylor knows her audience and knows what they like. And she engages them, constantly. She did a series of events in her home called “The Secret Sessions” and streamed her album with a group of fans. Then she shared pictures with the world, letting everyone know how well she knew her fans.
Mastering Social Media
We all know how important it is to have a social media marketing strategy. In fact, 98% of brands are on Twitter. However, that doesn’t mean that each brand is successfully leveraging social media.
Taylor walks the line between maintaining her brand and selling a product. In her social media posts, largely Instagram and Facebook, she often includes a call to action that emphasizes one of the two strategies. When posting something that would contribute to promoting her image, she calls her audience to interact by asking questions. When she wants her audience to take action, she prompts them with a link and a slight nudge in the right direction. By engaging her audience, she continually remains top-of-mind so when she does ask for a buy, people jump at the chance.
Rock What You Got
If you look at Taylor’s Facebook page, there’s not a single post without an image attached. Similarly, she uses Instagram as an outlet to continually engage her audience, a primarily visual platform. Simply adding a photo increases engagement by 83% from 4% for posts with just a link.
If you are a brand that has just started utilizing your social media, you might have heard about this thing called “hashtags.” Hashtags are completely necessary in any social media strategy. They help to categorize your posts and drive searches. However, and this is something Taylor does extremely well, hashtags should be used strategically and sparingly. One or two can serve the purpose of categorizing your post without making you seem like an over-excited, 14-year-old. If you need to, you can include up to 4 or 5, but never, ever use more than 7. #overbearing
DO Be a Tease
Your mother may have told you to never be a tease, but if you’re in the business of marketing, ignore your mother on this one. If you’re about to reveal a new product, tease the release with small details, hints or images. Don’t give too much away. Mystery always adds to the appeal. And Taylor knows how to tease.
When you do release your product, find an exclusive way to take it to market. Play into our psychological tendency to jump at scarcity. If you make your product desirable enough, and then make it available from select markets, it will only increase the appeal. If you’ve done your marketing well up to this point, people will be running to the stores, or wherever else, to buy your product. This also gives you greater control over your brand image and how the product goes to market. Spotify might not be happy, but over 2 million others are.
As a 24-year old, Taylor has mastered many techniques that take agencies and brands decades to understand. And don’t even get me started on branding. We’ll save that for another blog post. Do you have any Taylor-inspired marketing tips to share? We would love to hear about how Taylor inspired your marketing strategy.
Because that’s How You Get the Girl, err, Consumer.