Talk is cheap, or so the saying goes, but what is the real value of conversation in the digital age?
The Taylor approach
When Taylor Swift was just beginning her career, her former manager, Rick Barker, asked her what her ambition was. She replied that she wanted a gold record. Barker famously told her that to have a gold record she needed to sell 500,000 albums, therefore all she needed to do was go out and meet 500,000 people.
Whether or not Barker was entirely serious in his response, Ms Swift took his advice to heart. She is well known for the amount of time she spends talking to her fans and signing at meet and greets, and for the thoughtful gifts and messages, she sends to her most ardent supporters…and that effort has helped her realise that initial ambition many times over.
Obviously, this is not just down to her networking skills; an awful lot of people around the world love her music, but the fact remains that she is a seriously accomplished networker, and also someone shrewd enough to recognise wise counsel when she hears it.
Despite being a megastar though, Taylor Swift is still human, and thus subject to the laws of physics - of space and time - the same as the rest of us. The amount of potential fans she can meet in the flesh is finite. And that’s where social media comes in. Taylor Swift is the ultimate social media user, expertly exploiting the benefits and somehow avoiding at least most of the potential pitfalls.
Twitter is her preferred platform, the immediacy and deceptive intimacy of that social network being perfect for her purposes. She works it like a pro - staying positive, keeping it light and fun, controlling her image, giving just enough of herself (or the self she wants the world to see) to keep fans interested and, importantly, often responding when people tweet her.
Taylor Swift is an example of how to ‘do’ social networking. Not just for other recording artists but for any businesses or brands wanting to maximise their reach and really build loyalty among their audience.
The golden twitter rules, as followed by ts:
- Tweet regularly. Don’t go quiet for long periods or followers may move on
- Be funny
- Be human (Taylor Swift often tweets friends or members of her family)
- Be brief
- Tweet video content - video tweets get retweeted more than any other kind
- Tweet photos - photos are second only to videos in retweetability
- Use appropriate hashtags but never more than two
- Don’t just shout, listen. Take an interest. Respond to as many people as you can
- Retweet. This follows on from the above - share other people’s message and they, in turn, will share yours
So yes, in once sense, talk is cheap. Spending a little time each day getting into conversations on the various social media platforms is a simple and inexpensive way of reaching a potentially vast audience. Looked at another way though, when properly executed it is of significant value.