Taylor Swift has been reminding the world just how well she plays the social media game.
Earlier this month, she whipped fans into a frenzy by posting a countdown clock to Friday, April 26 — sans explanation of what folks could expect to happen that day. But she has been hinting, in ways big and small, that new music will be released then. Everything — and we do mean everything, from the color palette of her recent Instagram posts to the number of rainbow emojis used in a tweet from her official fan club — has been the subject of debate.
And that conversation isn’t limited to “Swifties,” either — online publications big and small have gotten in on the fun of speculation thanks to the buzz she created. (This morning, a news alert about the implications of Swift’s new ‘do awaited me as I checked my email: “Taylor Swift Steps Out with New Pink Dip-Dyed Hair — Is It Another Clue Fresh Music Is on the Way?”)
It’s the kind of sustained interest that most brands can only dream of. Yet while your customers might not spend their free time contemplating the potential hidden meanings of your latest Facebook post, there are still ways to effectively create buzz through your social media presence.
Here are two tips to keep in mind:
1. Engage — often.
Swift is known for her interactions with fans. From hand-delivering presents to her most ardent supporters and hosting pizza parties for foster children to sending one fan a break-up playlist and surprising another at her bridal shower, she reaches out to them on a personal level.
You don’t have to travel the globe or shell out big bucks to engage people. But you do need to be reliably present, Sabina Hitchen, a PR expert presently running Press for Success, has told us. “You should be posting regularly, and not just via statements about what you do,” she says. “Ask questions, share behind-the-scenes photos of you at work, curate information from your niche, share industry-specific inspirational or motivational quotes,” and interact with others in your industry.
Public relations executive Rebekah Iliff seconds that last point. “We are no longer relegated to one-way communication whereby we send out a press release to anyone who will listen,” she says. “We have the distinct advantage (enabled by technology platforms) of building two-way, conversational relationships with media, influencers, and customers, listening to their thoughts/concerns and then making real-time adjustments.” Women business owners would be wise to take advantage, she adds.
2. Set yourself apart.
Part of what keeps fans coming back so enthusiastically for more of Swift’s work is her dogged dedication to exploring love — and loss of love — through her music. She is both celebrated and maligned for this, it’s true, but those are undeniable themes that shine through even as she reinvented herself numerous times as an artist.
Business owners would do well to figure out — then celebrate — what makes them different, and special. Nell Merlino, who is leading a new girl empowerment movement called Born Worthy, urges women entrepreneurs to “focus on what is new, better and different about your product or service.” She adds, “Express the three best reasons to use your product or service every time you talk about your business. Write about it in social media or show someone using your services or product on YouTube.”
As author and business expert Julio Melara notes, backing up those claims with quality is key to making sure the buzz you create translates into long-term success. “Every successful company has quality standards for their product or service; it becomes part of the company culture and word of mouth travels fast.”