Tay-lurking and Social Media
Since Taylor Swift came on to the music scene, I never really considered myself a fan. Too wrapped up in “edgier” music, my angst-filled late-teenage years had no room for Taylor Swift’s upbeat love songs. However, as the both of us grew up, I found that couldn’t help but hum along and dance around when I heard her music. Even if you’re not a fan, you have to be able to appreciate her massive fandom and what she has done with the Taylor Swift brand. With the release of her newest music video “Bad Blood”, Swift wrangled up a powerhouse of stars from her BFF Victoria’s Secret model Karlie Kloss to Ellen Pompeo and Mariska Hargitay. Fun fact about Taylor’s friendship with these two women: she named her cats Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson, characters who these women have portrayed. That’s the kind of power Taylor Swift has, she names her cats after fictional characters and then becomes friends with the actresses. Before the music video aired, Swift created promotional posters of the personas her pals would be playing in her new music video. This was a genius move because not only did Taylor post them on her social media accounts, her friends who were included also posted about it, gaining that-many-more views to create hype for the video. The video broke Vevo’s record for most views: an astonishing 20.1 million views in 24 hours.
Social media has always been a tool that Swift has utilized and she dominates at it. During video premiere, if you used the hashtag #BadBloodMusicVideo on Twitter, a custom emoji – a bandaid with a bullet hole in it – would appear. So even if you’re not a fan of Taylor Swift, you might’ve tried the hashtag out just to see if it works, helping “Bad Blood” to become a trending topic. Taylor is constantly interacting with her 140 milliion fans on social media. She engages with them as friends instead of as fans, constantly giving them gifts, showing up to their bridal showers, and even inviting them into her home for a listening party for her new album. In 2014 Taylor admitted to #Taylurking – basically creeping on her fans via social media to find out what they like in order to give them personal gifts for “Swiftmas”. She even shared a video of herself hand wrapping these presents, and the reactions of her fans when receiving them.
Taylor is doing something that not many artists/brands have achieved: getting people to listen to her music and buy her product without it feeling like a sales pitch. Of course, she is using marketing tools to entice fans but she is doing it seamlessly, to the point where the fans believe that she cares about the them and the art of making music – and not being a tacky money making machine. And as a newer fan, I truly believe that. She’s still going to make a ton of money because she’s talented as hell and she knows her fan demographic, but we don’t feel that’s why she does it.
~ Samantha Banner, Account Coordinator, The S3 Agency