James Challis

Six Business Lessons From Global Twitter Stars

7th Jan 2014 Social Media, Social Media, Twitter 6 minutes to read

bigstock-The-words-Next-Big-Thing-on-a--46760632-300200It is nearly impossible to log on to Twitter without seeing a reference to an international music artist, regardless of whether they have a reason to be in the news.

The success of a social media campaign for more traditional businesses is unlikely to be as popular but we can still learn a lot from the way these music ‘brands’ interact with their audience and gain international success.

Music has always provoked intense emotion and excitement, for instance BeatleMania, with fans and critics often desperate to share their opinions of a band or artist with the world.

It is important to remember that the music industry is essentially a brand (Group or Artist) that is selling a product (Music and Merchandise) on behalf of International corporations (Record Companies) to make a profit. Below are a few aspects of these social campaigns that may help businesses connect with their audience on Twitter.

Demonstrate Personality

After reviewing the 10 most recent tweets from the top five music related accounts on Twitter (via www.twitaholic.com) one thing is common, each artist has at least one tweet that reflects a personal insight into their life and each Twitter feed is written in exactly the same way you would expect to see them speaking in public on chat shows.

For example, the world’s second most popular Twitter Account, @JustinBieber, posted an image featuring himself snowmobiling:


Whilst this is unlikely to directly enhance sales of music or merchandise, it helps to maintain the idea that these stars are personally identifying with their followers.

The importance of keeping Twitter personal is reflected in the difference between the statistics of the official Twitter account of One Direction and band member Harry Styles’ own Twitter account. As of the 30th December, Harry Styles had over 1.5 million more followers than the official Band’s account.

To further enhance the point, the Bio of one of the band members from One Direction shows a personal side to a band member without the risk of offending anyone:


This highlights an opportunity for businesses to encourage their employees to use company social media accounts and develop independent personalities based on brand principles and policies. Here at Koozai, every employee is encouraged to use their social media accounts with the freedom to promote their own interests and share articles, images and ideas that are relevant to them and the company.

Update Regularly

During the month of December including the Christmas period and Thanksgiving there was never a gap of more than 5 days where the top 5 music accounts didn’t Tweet, with the majority of these accounts tweeting multiple times a day, every day.

Many businesses ignore the importance of keeping their social media up to date and often try to excessively promote products and services without building a rapport with their followers. Creating a social media strategy can help ensure your main social channels are being kept up to date with relevant information that customers would be interested in.

Recognise Early Adopters

The use of social media across the world is growing. A brand, artist or sports teams can gain a following in countries that they don’t actively operate or promote themselves in. One common theme across the top five music accounts is that they regularly include re-tweets from fans especially before album releases and after gigs and tours.

The football team @SouthamptonFC have focussed heavily on social media over the last couple of years and regularly re-tweet fans from around the world to demonstrate the growing global fan base of the football club. Re-tweeting these fans also acts a recognition from the club that these fans are very important to the club.

Traditional brands can use this idea by engaging with people in prospective markets and re-tweeting any positive feedback from previous customers.

Associate With Popular Accounts

It has long been a strategy with Global brands to pay millions to sponsor influential people including sports stars to help promote their products. Twitter has opened up slightly different opportunities as it allows company’s to be endorsed by popular figures with retweets and interactions without the need for expensive marketing and advertising.

One account that proves how important association with a popular figure can be is with Harry Style’s sister, @GemmaAnneStyles. The Twitter statistics below shows Gemma Styles is in the Top 800 most popular Twitter accounts in the world putting her above global celebrities and brands such as @RobbieWilliams, the official NHL Twitter account (@NHL) and @McDonalds.


Businesses can utilise the idea of association in a similar way. Of course many of the major celebrities will have teams of people demanding an expensive contract to mention a brand, however by interacting with and providing freebies to up and coming celebrities, sports stars and industry figureheads you may be able to promote your business for the fraction of a major sponsorship contract.

The famous Nandos High Five Black Card is testament to a successful low cost social media campaign using well-known celebrities willing to show images of themselves eating at the restaurant so they can obtain the invitation only card.

Relate To Your Target Audience

The language of previous tweets from popular bands and artists enable you to take an educated guess at their target audience. The content of their Twitter feeds are often related to the things that are important to the target audience and it’s very apparent that the most popular performers on Twitter are aimed at Teenagers and Young Adults. Topics include references to family, personal causes, love and relationships.

Many top performers have also created a ‘team’ to be a part of; Lady Gaga fans are known as Monsters, Katy Perry fans are Kittens and fans of Justin Bieber are known as Beliebers. Similar to sports teams, these ‘teams’ give fans a reason to regularly debate, defend and celebrate their ‘team’ (music artist) and help add to the daily online interactions of these superstars.

Businesses have used tactics like this in the past, for example Apple encouraged users to support them in a PC vs. Mac advertising campaign. Uniting your fans and customers can help gain an emotional edge over competitors, increase loyalty and give consumers a reason to promote your products or services across social media.

Building A Reputation Internationally

One of the major advantages for social media in the music industry is the ability to create a reputation for a band or artist in another country purely based on social shares, likes and follows from the home country. This was demonstrated on One Direction’s first visit to Canada, where they were supposed to be a support act for another band however roads had to be closed off in Toronto because of the number of fans that had come out purely to see them.

This lesson can help a business by helping to provide an indication to the potential popularity of a product or service before launching an expensive marketing campaign. Once a strong following has been established in the home market, it should be possible to attract early adopters to try your products and promote them to people in new locations. This can be then be supported with more active promotion once the brand has a foothold in the new location.

Is there anything else we can learn from these superstars? Can businesses succeed on Twitter using these lessons? Let me know by commenting below.

Image Credits

Next Big Thing via Bigstock

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James Challis

James is chairman of Koozai FC and a fan of Southampton FC, so if you’re a football fan you can judge him accordingly. He also turns up late to our Christmas parties and we never let him live it down. Ever.

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