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Five social media lessons we can learn from Beyoncé

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I’m out in Miami at the moment speaking at the IE Law School conference on how to build a personal brand through social media.

Beyoncé is a great example for seminars like this. She is very strategic in her use of social media – choosing the channels she likes and which suit her brand – and this means she ticks all the boxes when it comes to being authentic.

Beyoncé doesn’t use Twitter. Did you know that? She has a (blue ticked) Twitter account, of course (@Beyonce) and almost 15 million followers. But she doesn’t exactly excel on tweet frequency with just one tweet in 2016 and then nothing going back to 2013.

This is an interesting discovery for two reasons: firstly, it would indicate that Beyoncé actually does her own Instagram (at least one post a day) and secondly even a multi-millionaire megastar with legions of willing social marketers on tap to maintain a profile for her has decided that with social media you must choose your channel.

Lauren Wirtzer-Seawood handles digital strategy for Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment and she has been quoted as saying “We take a very strategic approach to platforms. Primarily we use Facebook and Instagram at this point.” Instagram, she says, is something that Beyoncé posts to herself to offer fans a little personal glimpse into her actual life. Facebook is the more promotional channel and yet “we’re very careful not to be too salesy in anything that we do, that’s not the kind of relationship that Beyoncé has with her fans.

As one of the most powerful brands in the world, Beyoncé might be a good case study, even for the less Sasha Fierce (Beyoncé’s alter ego) of us who operate in less high-profile industries.

Beyoncé  likes to communicate with images and she doesn’t appreciate the 140 character limit – according to Wirtzer-Seawood – plus, Beyoncé feels that Twitter channels are ‘too crowded’ when it comes to reaching her fans and giving them an authentic Beyoncé social experience. Also, Wirtzer-Seawood said “I would never open an account and not expect that we can continue to fill that channel forever: that it will continue to grow, and we’ll need to continue to fill it. That’s a huge responsibility.”

So, how can the rest of us benefit from Beyoncé’s smarts? Well, there are a few key lessons to be learned from this particular pop princess:

  1. You don’t need to have 100% coverage across all platforms – in fact, you’re more likely to do better if you put all your energy into one social platform.
  2. Social media platforms are very different – not all are created equal, which means you can’t expect to apply the same strategy and approach to each one.
  3. It’s really important to find a channel that works for you – you’ll communicate better and achieve more impressive engagement (hell, you might even enjoy it too) if you’re using the channel that fits with your personality.
  4. It’s so important to be authentic – the reality is that many of Beyoncé’s fans would probably still follow her on Twitter if it was a minion tweeting for her (most of them are currently following an empty feed so it couldn’t get any less interesting). However, she’s only boosting her brand by not going for an account maintained by someone else.
  5. Social media requires commitment – if you open 10 accounts and half-heartedly maintain nine you could actually damage your reputation. Open the number of accounts you can actually handle and then create genuinely useful and authentic content on an ongoing basis.

Maybe you can’t sing, maybe you can’t twerk and you probably don’t have an “aggressive, strong and sexually confident” alter ego (maybe you do… ) but you can still Be More Beyoncé where social media is concerned.

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