The Epicness of Beyoncé’s Instagram
|Courtesy of Instagram @Beyonce|
First off, if you are not following Beyoncé on instagram do that now. You don’t have to be a stan (“stalker” + “fan”) and you don’t have to be a member of her fan club the BeyHive. Don’t fear being apart of her massive following that is currently 12.3 million stong. Just be prepared for pure communications genius.
Personally, I am a Beyoncé fan and have been since the days of Destiny’s Child. However, it wasn’t until last year that I started following Beyoncé on instagram. In the past I didn’t follow many celebrities on social media. As a marketing professional, I only followed those high profile people that were thought-leaders, trendsetters, pioneers or industry experts; people from whom I can casually observe and glean valuable information. Beyoncé became one of those people for me last year.
How it All Began
On December 12, 2013 Beyoncé released a historic “visual album” just before midnight on iTunes. An album with 14 songs and 17 videos was planned and produced with an extreme amount of secrecy from the general public. Let’s stay focused here. The secrecy is not the feat of amazement here. What we should be amazed by is the delivery of relevant content to a hungry audience when they least expected it but wanted it.
First, Beyoncé’s self-titled album was released on a Thursday, completely ignoring the industry standard of Tuesday new releases. Second, videos were produced for every song on the album and then some. Beyoncé fans had the option of listening and watching the entire album. No waiting for the first radio single to do promo, then the second single to boost sales and a third single to promote a tour. Fans received it all upfront. Communications genius! I was hooked and I had to follow her.
That was just the beginning of my social curation of Beyoncé. After reading a few articles about her album release I noticed several comments about her increased use of instagram leading up to the event. Being highly analytical, I decided to go see for myself. Sure enough, there was a visible pattern. From March 2013 to mid September Beyoncé’s instagram posts were limited to 2 or 3 times a week. From mid September to December 11 her instragram posts were daily, sometimes several times a day. On December 12, 2013 there was only one post – the post that made history. The instagram posts leading up to the album release are a perfect illustration in the fundamentals in media planning. Reach, Frequency, Impact and Continuity were all working together to create a sense of urgency. I’ll spare you the media planning formula showing how the four work together. Just know it was well planned.
Here are 3 Communications tips from Beyoncé’s Instagram
Relevant Content – Give people what they want. Sharing relevant content doesn’t mean jump on every trend or hot news item to stay current (which isn’t bad) it means make yourself relevant to your audience. Share who you are, share what makes you unique.
Timing – Anticipate the needs of your audience. Be on time with your content. Be early even but never ever be late. Being late will cost your relevance.
Create Urgency – One of the courses I took at West Virginia University while completing my master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications (shameless plug) was Consumer Insights. This class combined principles of in depth consumer research with Anthropology. One of the key take always from that course was the impact of culture on consumer habits. Two insights that span all cultures are the fear of the unknown and the fear of isolation. Careful use of the two can yield amazing results as shown to us by Beyoncé.
Is Beyoncé trying to change the way communications professionals disseminate information? Is the news source becoming the authority as opposed to the news outlet? Those are questions that cannot be easily answered. Only time will tell what the future of communications holds. What I can say is, I know I will be watching to see how Beyoncé communicates next and so should you.