The name Beyoncé needs no introduction. She’s Queen Bey to her legions of fans, a global superstar, and one half of a power couple, the other half being rap mogul Jay-Z. She is fierce in her videos, shy and self-effacing in her interviews, and a total social media pro. Beyoncé hasn’t relied only on her massive fame to gain social currency; rather, adopted smart strategies to amass a vast and loyal following. Here are three simple yet effective social media lessons from Bey that small businesses can learn from.
1. Choose the best social media platform(s) for your brand
Beyoncé last tweeted on 19 August 2013. Her Twitter stint was brief, the number of tweets even less so (for the record, just eight), despite having over 13 million followers.
According to her social media team, Twitter’s 140 character restriction doesn’t allow Beyoncé to communicate as much or as effectively as she would like to. Beyoncé likes to communicate via images, and has found her ideal social network in Instagram, where she posts directly herself. The superstar also has an active presence on Facebook.
On both networks, she maintains an equity between concert promotions, sneak peaks into new albums/songs, behind-the-scenes photos, and personal pictures of family and friends. She has a whopping 70.1 million followers on Instagram and over 64 million Facebook likes, not really surprising for a pop star who is a brand unto herself.
Fans and followers apart, Beyoncé’s pages have a high engagement rate, with her Instagram comments for every post numbering in the high thousands, and her Facebook posts attracting thousands of shares and at least half a dozen comments, again for every post. Her enormous popularity apart, Beyoncé’s judicious choice of platforms that allow her to leverage photos and offer freedom to create wordy or brief posts at will, seems to be paying off extremely well.
To choose your social networks, first find the latest data on monthly active users on popular social media sites. Currently, Facebook tops the list, followed by Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Next, answer the following questions:
- Of the six networks mentioned above, which ones are your customers on?
- Do your industry peers/competitors also have a presence on these networks?
- What are the networks of choice among your target audience?
- Which social network is your target demographic highly dependent on?
- How compatible is your content with each of the shortlisted social networks?
- Do you understand what the network is all about and how it works?
A thorough research of the potential of various social media sites for your business, audience and marketing goals, is necessary to maximize engagement and results from your social media presence.
2. Diversify content with videos
Beyoncé also happens to be the queen of visual albums, a strategy that her social media management team has carried over to her campaigns. The singer has been quick to leverage Facebook video and Instagram short-form video to engage and amaze audiences.
On her FB page, Beyoncé can be seen sharing her Vogue photo shoots, promoting her branded merchandise, behind-the-scenes footage of her music videos, and personal videos celebrating social causes and initiatives. Beyoncé’s Instagram videos are often snippets of her concerts and ad shoots. So, yes, she markets her personal brand 90% of the time, but the lesson for businesses is to assess the value of video for their brand.
If you’re a B2B company, you may not even choose to be on Instagram, let alone create videos for the network. But if you’re in the food, fashion, or comic retailing industry, Instagram videos must be a part of your content mix.
However, don’t give up on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube videos, and explore different ways in which you can position your messages before your audience. Brands such as Salesforce, Starbucks, Taco Bell, and GoPro have increased their audience engagement rate with Facebook video marketing in particular.
Taco Bell’s Breakfast Crunchwrap promo generated 21 million hits within 30 days of being posted natively to Facebook. On Twitter, Taco Bell is partial to GIFs over videos, usually using them as witty comebacks to followers’ tweets, and for more personalized interactions showcasing the human side of their brand.
The different types of video content that you can share on social media include:
Educational content, which tells your audience why they should buy your product/service, highlighting its features, benefits and value.
Instructional content, mostly “how to’s” on using your product, understanding owner’s manual, navigating a software, and more.
Promotional content aimed at new buyers or reinforcing your brand proposition before existing customers
Aspirational content, where you communicate brand value with customer testimonials and share positive brand experiences narrated by happy customers, to enhance the desirability of your product/service
3. Build anticipation around your new product/service offering
Like other social media savvy celebrities, Beyoncé is a pro at dropping hints about her upcoming albums. Her team created speculation that her new tunes would be released on April 4, 2016, with ‘4’ supposedly holding special significance for her husband Jay Z (whose birthday falls on December 4). There was buzz among fans about ‘Project Lemonade’ on social media, with everyone offering their own views on what the album might be like. Taylor Swift also dropped cryptic clues on Instagram and Twitter just before the release of her fifth album 1989.
You can always check out celebs’ social media pages for inspiration; till then, here are some effective strategies to explore:
- Start a conversation around your new offering by leveraging the Facebook and LinkedIn groups related to your product. Solicit opinions, spark off a discussion, and then provide information about your product to capture attention.
- Tease your new offering with visual clues and cryptic comments that elicit interest
- Use imagery to drop hints about your new offering, creating excitement with out-of-focus shots, fuzzy shots or partial photos/edges/corners.
- Create a hashtag associated with your upcoming offering. Use it for all your promotional content for a cohesive campaign.
Make sure you maintain a consistent brand personality, voice and ethos across all your social media campaigns. Beyoncé stays true to who she is, and her fans love her even more for it. Make yourself more relatable and your social media community will keep coming for more.