Social Media

Bow Down: 3 Moves Brands Should Steal from Beyoncé

April 5, 2013

Beyoncé knows how to create buzz. Since the end of 2012, she’s already inked a multimillion dollar endorsement deal, headlined the Super Bowl halftime show (some say she even caused the blackout) and circulated a new single via music startup, Soundcloud, which has garnered 3 million plays in less than a month.

Behind these milestones has been a sophisticated social content strategy that spans across several key platforms. Earlier this week for example, she released a video spot that previewed her new single on Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube. On Facebook alone, the teaser received more than 37,000 fan interactions in just three hours.

Although Beyoncé might not have the biggest social media following, her numbers are nothing to scoff at. Let’s take a look at some of her stats:

And while pop stars like Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber are leading the numbers game, Beyoncé’s content strategy is a cut above the rest. So, what is Beyoncé doing right? And what can brands learn from her success?

Move #1: Share vivid, disruptive visual content.

Beyoncé’s social media photo galleries portray a clear and disruptive strategy, one that utilizes collective content to tell a vivid story. She creatively uses photos to promote her documentary, her charities and her tour instead of repurposing promotional images – and she uses Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr as a cross-promotional platform, creating a cohesive narrative of her life and work in the spotlight.

Her content has always been carefully curated, as though each image exists for the sole purpose of being displayed on someone’s Pinterest or inspiration board. In the age of celebrity aspirational culture, Beyoncé’s content creates a living, breathing share-worthy brand.

Move #2: Make content relevant to what people are already talking about.

Being topical when it comes to social content is incredibly important. We’ve seen it during the presidential election (e.g. “Binders Full of Women”) and with 360i’s client, Oreo, during the Super Bowl. Beyoncé engages with her followers on current events beyond expected holidays and milestones, tailoring her content to what people are passionate about.

For example, Beyoncé posted photos of her voting in the 2012 election and shared snapshots of herself and Jay-Z with President Obama. She likewise recently shared the image below across her social platforms to advocate her support for marriage equality. While not all brands can or should take such stances on certain controversial topics, being attuned to topical conversations shows fans that your brand is relatable and relevant.

Move #3: Find creative ways to bring fans into the fold.

Many celebrities have their own branded cluster of fans: Rihanna has her “Navy,” Justin Bieber has his “Beliebers,” and Beyoncé has her “BeyHive.” But what is Beyoncé doing differently? While most celebrities are merely conversing with their fans socially, Beyoncé is highlighting them and encouraging them to display their talents.

Just last year, she asked fans to remix her single “End of Time” for a chance to be featured on a Beyoncé release. Last month, after releasing her key art for the much buzzed about single, “Bow Down,” which featured a throwback photo of herself in front of hundreds of awards, she posted a collage-image of her fans’ own versions of the artwork. By displaying the work of her fans, she is keeping them engaged and motivating them to become brand ambassadors.

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Beyoncé might not have the same Facebook numbers as Rihanna or Justin Bieber, but she interacts with her fans artistically and carefully. She creates polished content, is relevant with her posts and finds ways for fans to engage in a creative way. Moreover, she has established a unique and instantly recognizable look for her social engagement—a Beyoncé post LOOKS like a Beyoncé post—which, for a brand like hers, is much needed.

Brands can mimic Beyoncé’s approach by establishing how their persona should come across in social (e.g., identifying a social tone of voice), and keeping their messaging consistent and relevant.