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Lady Gaga has captured the attention of the music world and her devoted fan base across the globe but beyond that, she serves as a case study for us as communications and marketing consultants. The Grammy Award-winning popstar‘s digital-single sales are at more than 20 million and album sales have exceeded 8 million in just 30 months (source: AdAge). She’s been compared to Madonna, but if she continues at this rate, I think Gaga’s sales are on track to surpass that of the Material Girl who has been releasing albums since the 80ies.
Why the incredible success? Sure, there’s the fact that her label is Universal’s Interscope Records, she’s tantalizing in concert and her music has fans across the world singing “I want your love and I want your revenge…” but Gaga is also tapping into digital platforms to gain fan loyalty and ultimately sell product in a way that’s yielding success in a way that few brands have done. Here are examples of social and digital tactics taken by the Billboard-chart topper to engage influencers and fans:
- Go where your audience is: Gaga has more than 5.9 million Facebook fans and @LadyGaga’s Twitter followers exceed 3.3 million as of 3/29. Her Klout Score is 81, representing her influence on Twitter scores range from 1-100 with higher numbers representing influence).
- Consistency: Gaga tweets at least once a day, often every few hours. Keep this in mind with clients. Tweeting only when they have an announcement, new blog post or coverage isn’t going to accomplish much; we need to consult clients to be consistent and establish ongoing credibility with Twitter, but also other social media platforms and blogs.
- Personality: Our CEO Aedhmar Hynes’ daughter was at a Gaga concert in NYC when the crowd starting going crazy. Gaga tweeted to her fans from her dressing room: “warming up for the show. i can hear u screaming from my dressing room. little monsters.” This doesn’t mean advise clients to reveal personal details. Encourage them to add personality to tweets so followers see a person behind the Twitter handle. They need to show they’re human.
- Authenticity: During another NYC performance, Gaga tweeted: “The team of doctors and nurses who saved my dads life came to the monsterball, one of the best nights of my life performing for u.Rejoice NY.” Social media is all about being authentic and transparent. This helps followers relate, connects people and encourages dialogue. Caution clients to strike a balance, so they’re not too transparent where it makes followers uncomfortable or unveils negative info about a client’s brand.
- Digital distribution: Gaga streams her music and videos for fans at no-cost on sites such as MySpace, VEVO and YouTube.
- Exclusivity: E! News exclusively premiered Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” music video with Beyonce on 3/11 during the show’s 11:30 p.m. broadcast. The video then made its online debut at midnight that evening on VEVO.com and LadyGaga.com before it was released elsewhere. This was all announced days prior via a press release on PR Newswire. Tweet estimates are at 28K and it has been shared on Facebook 121K times, according to the widget on LadyGaga.com. YouTube page views are more than 27K to date.
While Gaga’s tactics may not be a fit for every brand out there, her social strategy maps well to how we consult our clients and she has the proven music sales to back them up. As marketing and/or communications consultants, I say focus on her larger strategy as an example to drive sales of your product or service. Know your target audience, where they are, and what they want.