It’s debatable whether Taylor Swift is a country star or a pop star, but there’s not doubt that she is a PR rock star. This is the girl that turned her Kanye West VMA interruption into a song that debuted at number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Ever since the release of Swift’s latest album, 1989, she has been in the media more than ever and has been making waves in a very positive way. We can all learn a lot from the way Swift handles every move she makes.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
Before automatically heading into an angry Twitter rant about a topic that pushes your buttons, think about if you could really have an impact on the topic. Sure, a few heated tweets are fine when you don’t like the Bachelorette’s final rose selection, but when it’s a topic that you could have real influence over, consider a different strategy.
Earlier this summer, Swift wrote an open letter to Apple on her Tumblr page asking them to change the way they ran their free trials of Apple Music. Originally, Apple was offering 3-month free trials of their new streaming program, but during those trials artists weren’t going to receive royalties. Swift took to Tumblr to explain why royalties are important and why artists deserve to be paid for their music being streamed. Apple responded by changing the royalty policy; a huge win for artists and for Swift. If you can get real results, that’s always more productive and better for your overall image than mindlessly complaining on social media.
Stay Relevant on Social Media
Swift also debuted her “Bad Blood” music video in May. She filled the video with tons of her celebrity friends and created an Instagram campaign debuting each character leading up to the video premiere. The video starred everyone from Selena Gomez to Kendrick Lamar to Ellen Pompeo, and Swift posted 20 pictures on Instagram in the weeks leading up to the video’s premiere. The video currently has over 385 million views on Swift’s YouTube channel. That is just one example of how Swift is constantly engaging with her fans on social media.
Staying relevant on social media is so important in public relations. You need to keep followers engaged and interested in what you have to say. During Swift’s Instagram campaign, followers and fans were constantly refreshing their browsers to see the next character to be released and waiting on edge to see which celebrity would be next. Making sure you’re timely and relevant on social media keeps you relevant to your followers.
Don’t Let Your Ego Harm Your Image
Last week, Swift and rapper Nicki Minaj exchanged words over Twitter after the VMA nominations were released. Minaj tweeted “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year” after learning she was not nominated for Video of the Year. Swift responded with “I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your spot.” Minaj then tweeted that she was not referring to Swift, though the other nominees in the category are Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, and Beyonce. The media was quick to call the exchange between Minaj and Swift a “feud,” but Swift tweeted at Minaj the next day saying “I thought I was being called out. I missed the point. I misunderstood, then misspoke. I’m sorry, Nicki.”
Her quick response and apology showed her fans and the media that her ego wouldn’t get in the way of her public image. Being humble and able to apologize when everyone views what you did or said as wrong shows that you’re a mature adult, and you almost always come out looking better.
If anyone knows how to act in the public eye, it’s Swift. She’s consistent and every action and social media post is very deliberate. It would be hard to argue that anyone in the entertainment industry right now knows public relations better than Swift, and we could all benefit from taking a page out of her book.
Ali Razzi is a Junior Associate at Flackable, LLC, a national public relations agency supporting the communications needs of registered investment advisors (RIAs) and other forward-thinking financial services firms. To learn more about Flackable, please visit www.flackable.com.