Taylor Swift, Winning in Social Media

At this day and age, when music is mostly streamed or downloaded, artists find it very hard to actually sell their physical albums. However, that is not a problem for Taylor Swift. Taylor’s new album 1989 was released only a week ago Monday, and already it’s expected to sell over 1.3 million copies within this week. She may very well be the first record artist this year to go platinum within a week. How did she do it? Well, firstly, Taylor has mastered the art of “Tumblring” and secondly, she has literally won the game of social media.

“I think forming a bond with fans in the future will come in the form of constantly providing them with the element of surprise,” she wrote. “No, I did not say ‘shock’; I said ‘surprise.’ I believe couples can stay in love for decades if they just continue to surprise each other, so why can’t this love affair exist between an artist and their fans?”

Taylor Swift recently joined Tumblr to promote her new album 1989. At first, when she joined, she claimed she doesn’t know a thing about Tumblr and asked her fans to teach her. Her first success came from her quick engagement with her fans, asking them to teach her. She quickly grasped onto the idea of this platform by learning the language of it. With the knowledge of “tumblr talk”, the next tactic she implemented was her engagement in conversations with her audience. Taylor did not simply focus on posting her own material on her blog, she also focused her attention on monitoring what her fans were saying about her, what her fans were doing on the blog and with that knowledge, she responded accordingly. Taylor would occasionally “like” her fan’s posts, reblog their posts, and even reply on their posts. Tumblr has been classified as a platform in which people posts quirky blogs accompanied with humorous tags. Taylor has since mastered that usage of tags on Tumblr and used these quirky tags to capture her audience’s heart.

Taylor understands that different social media platforms hold a different opportunity for her to present her story. She knew how to take advantage of each platform to tell her story in a different way. She uses Twitter to “taylurk” (a term she hashtagged to let her fans know she cyber “stalks” them, which displays her interest in them) her fans. She uses Instagram to post teasers of polaroid pictures she’s included in her 1989 album, motivating her fans to physically purchase 1989. She uses Tumblr to actively interact with her fans by reblogging her fans, and by simply conversing with them. Taylor Swift has posed herself as a friend on social media instead of a celebrity, therein humanizing herself. We always hear that people want to buy from people, so when a celebrity acts as your friend, you’re more likely to go purchase her album because you feel more emotionally invested towards this relationship she’s built with you. This really shows how Taylor Swift has mastered the art of social listening as well as mastering relationship building over social media. If that doesn’t compel you to go out and buy her album, then I don’t know what would…cause right about now, I really want to physically own this album.

Did you know she also held a secret pre-release album listening party with fans she hand picked (talk about marketing win!)? Watch this interview with Taylor Swift on Ellen’s show to know more about it:


Claudia Cheung