By Hannah Stacey (@hanstacey)
For the record, I haven’t lost my marbles. I haven’t been captured and brainwashed by a mob of raving Bieberites. Nor have I succumbed to the alluring charm of his perfectly crafted fringe.
Perhaps I should qualify myself here: I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard a song by Justin Bieber (although I have been informed he is easily mistaken for a shrieking toddler, so I may well have done.) Like you, I have despaired at his ghastly pubescent diva tantrums. I too have found myself astonished by the seemingly endless ways in which it is possible to fashion his name into an appalling pun and get it trending on Twitter. I too secretly really hoped that kid was his.
In fact, I’m just like you: I can’t stand Justin Bieber and his band of merry, pint-sized gobshites. But I do have to admit, they’ve got the whole social media marketing thing in the bag. Here’s why:
1) They are EVERYWHERE – Beliebers to social media are what pigeons are to Trafalgar Square: no matter where you try to escape, they are always there in their hoards ready to hurl their crap (figurative or literal) in your direction. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or YouTube, you can bet your bottom dollar there will be at least ten thousand avid aficionados there waiting to tell you just how much they bloody love Justin Bieber.
2) They are passionate – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTCm8tdHkfI – need I say any more
3) They are persistent – Okay, so their content doesn’t exactly exude diversity. In fact, variations on the theme of undying love and (mildly psychotic) devotion seem to be the only content on offer from our Belieber friends. But at least they’re consistent. In fact, the tireless vigour with which Beliebers throw themselves into blogging about their idol and getting him trending on Twitter is pretty commendable.
4) They are reactive – Who cares if you’re a puny 17-year-old when you have an army of 17 MILLION hysterical fans ready to defend your honour on every social media channel available to man?
5) They love networking – Whether it’s through Facebook groups, re-blogging on Tumblr or following each other on Twitter, Beliebers have formed their own massive community with Justin as their demigod-like sovereign. Consider this: the turnout in the 2012 UK general election was 29.6m. Judging by his Twitter following, if Justin were running, he’d command a majority. Or something like that.
“Hold your horses!” I hear you cry. “I’m trying to market my product or service, not a floppy haired Canadian.”
This is very true, but I do believe there are several serious lessons that we can learn from Justin’s Beliebers:
• Be passionate about what you’re trying to market – If you don’t seem enthusiastic about your offering, nobody else will be. Social media-wise, this means finding interesting and creative ways of telling everyone just how much you love your product or service. Here’s a gem from Gourmet Burger Kitchen’s Twitter:
•Be persistent – It may seem too obvious to mention, but it is vital to get your brand and its message out on every social media channel where your potential customers may be hanging out. Look further than the obvious choices of Facebook and Twitter (although these are obviously important too) – users on more specialist social networks like LinkedIn, Yammer, Cofoundr etc. could be more receptive to you message.
Even if you don’t end up trending worldwide, regularly (and I mean regularly) updating your social media profiles with your latest news and views is bound to get people talking. Just make sure your content is a bit more exciting than the monotonous drawl on offer from our Beliebers’.
• Be reactive – Use social media monitoring services, or even simple RSS searches to keep an eye on what people are saying about you. Join in the conversation: if someone is waxing lyrical about your product, reward them. If someone is complaining about you, empathise and give them advice as to how to solve their problem.
• Turn your customers into fans and your fans into customers – A sense of loyalty as strong as the Bieliebers’ blind allegiance is probably a little too much to expect from your clients. But encouraging your customers to interact with you on social media channels – asking questions, responding to their queries, encouraging them to submit their own content like photos and videos, awarding prizes etc. – will make them feel more connected to your brand.
It is clear from Beliebers and other celebrity fan groups like Gaga’s Little Monsters that people are drawn to personality. Creating a charismatic persona for your brand by showing its clever, witty, thoughtful, but most importantly human side on social media will go a long way to create a sense of attachment.