Most people wouldn’t think to mention Taylor Swift and marketing lessons in the same sentence. After all, what do a pop and country singer icon and marketing have in common?
More than you might think.
A few years ago, I was listening to a marketing podcast and came across an episode about Taylor Swift . Naturally, I was intrigued at the connection. The episode explained how Swift handles her career, particularly marketing decisions.
Here are 5 takeaways to help empower your marketing efforts.
Do you like when a company seems to be holding something back? Chances are neither do your customers. By transparency I don’t mean posting your political views on Twitter or writing a blog post where you gripe about Joe B. who has a complaint about your product every other week.
What I do mean is being real, being authentic. Act professional and courteous, yes, but don’t become so mechanical about your interactions that you start sounding robotic. Don’t sound so scripted that people aren’t able to relate to your message. And, don’t be afraid to admit you aren’t perfect. If you make a mistake, own up to it, and perhaps most important, show humility. An honest, humble approach will be attractive to your customers and give them a positive view of your brand.
This is a hard lesson to learn. Often, the temptation is to say “yes” to every opportunity, every possibility, every offer. However, learning how to restrain yourself is a good habit to develop.
How does it apply to marketing? One example from the podcast was how Swift refused to let her brand be devalued by putting her music on Spotify for no charge.
For marketers, this can translate into examining the pros and cons of providing freebies, whether that’s a piece of premium content or giveaways as part of a contest you’re running. Don’t get me wrong, giving things away is a great marketing tactic if used correctly (more on that later). But avoid falling into the mindset of constantly offering giveaways for the sake of growing your email list, generating leads, and building your online following. At some point you need to start charging, and your ideal customers, those who are in it for more than freebies, will be willing to pay.
There’s a time to give and a time to sell. The key is to strike the right balance.
This means don’t make your Twitter feed and your Instagram handle and your LinkedIn profile all clones of you Facebook Page. Mix in variety based on the type of followers each of your channels has.
This one can be a bit tricky for a couple different reasons:
It may not be realistic to send out 20 unique Tweets per week as well as a post per day on FB and LinkedIn if there’s no crossover in the content. As I said, the key is to understand your audience. Your LinkedIn followers are likely more business-oriented and corporate and would appreciate a thoughtful blog post about handling workplace conflict, while your Facebook fans may be more inclined to enjoy a GIF and a lighthearted post about communication problems.
Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to know your customers’ personas and give them meaningful, relevant content . There should be continuity of your brand across your channels, and you certainly want to avoid draining your time and energy on coming up with too many unique posts. However, don’t be afraid to throw in some variation that will help keep your audience on each channel engaged and interested.
This ties back into the first point, and again, I’m not saying give away your content, your services, the kitchen sink. However, people appreciate receiving, and by giving something away without charge, you’ll form a connection and create a positive impression of your brand.
In a sense, providing valuable content on your social media sites and blog is giving that content away. Adding in premium content like a free eBook or industry report is a great way to build rapport with potential customers, get your brand’s name out, and gain some exposure. Free content will garner like and trust, and position you as an industry expert, all of which will make people more inclined to purchase your product or hire you.
The biggest takeaway from the podcast episode was a story one of the hosts told near the end, about how in 2014 Swift picked a number of her most avid fans and learned about them by stalking them on social media—an action that became known as Taylurking . Not to be creepy, but so that she could send handwritten notes and gifts .
Not only did she make her fans feel special, it made her seem genuine, giving, and all around awesome. A celebrity who takes time to personally invest in her followers? Talk about making a statement.
While I’m not suggesting you stalk your customers or spend hours penning personal cards, this principle is a great one to keep in mind when marketing. How can your efforts make your customers feel appreciated, special, like the most important thing to you? (Hint: because they are.)
Marketing in the 21st century isn’t just about promoting, especially when it comes to social media . People want to connect, to feel included. The more you genuinely care about your customers, the more loyal you can expect them to be.
In summary, when approaching your marketing, don’t be afraid to be real, learn the value in saying no, look for ways to use different content on different channels, be generous with the content you give away, and above all show that caring about your customers is a top priority.
What are some of your favorite marketing tips?