Yep, this is a blog post about Taylor Swift, from a 31-year-old dude.
It sounds weird, but stick with me, because Taylor Swift consistently kills it on social media, and there’s a lot for a large brand to take away from it. In her most recent, highly publicized interaction, she helped advise a young fan on how to deal with a breakup (and curated a playlist for her).
1. Listen—i.e. listen
For starters, she had to know this person’s post existed. That’s not easy, because there is an ocean of posts about Taylor Swift on any given social network.
I’m assuming she has at least a small team of social media managers that surface this type of stuff for her. That’s an extremely important point—she cares. She wants to know this stuff exists. She wants to interact with it. In other words, there’s literal listening, and there’s listening, as in, I-actually-care-about-what-you’re-talking-about.
2. Define your voice and speak authentically
It’s a little easier for Taylor Swift to define a “voice” because she’s an actual person. It might be a bit harder for a brand, but approach it like this: If your brand were a physical human being, what would s/he look/talk/sound/be like? Develop that, and make sure when it comes time to speak up, you sound like an human being—not a bot or a press release.
3. Talk, don’t broadcast
This is a hugely overlooked point that ties back to No. 1. Really look at the interaction T-Swift had with this fan. She’s talking to a single person over the course of multiple comments. It’s not exactly the type of strategy you employ if you’re going for the most reach or engagement.
4. Recognize that it’s not all about you
Let's talk about what Taylor Swift didn't do: She didn't make this an opportunity to say, "Sorry about your breakup, Kasey. Here's a playlist, which includes a few tracks off my new album 1989, available in stores now!"
I can't help but think that's what a lot of brands would have done in a case like this. That's a huge misstep because by doing that, you're trading a one-time call-to-action for long-term dedication. This girl got a message from Taylor Swift (!), and to top it all off, it was a legit, sincere message that she won't ever forget. If she wasn't already, she's now a Taylor Swift fan for life.
T-Swift recognized that she didn't need any call-to-action or sales pitch. The fact that her message was coming from Taylor Swift herself was all the sell she needed. Think about that next time you converse with someone on social media. Do you need to say "buy my thing"? Or is your profile picture and brand name the thing?