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3 ways Taylor Swift educated us on customer service

By Aja Frost Aja Frost

Taylor Swift is undoubtedly one of the most beloved people alive.

How do you quantify popularity? Well, if we use social media as a metric, Swift is presently the sixth most popular person in the world. Between Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and her other platforms, the superstar has more than 246 million followers. And those millions don’t just show their support with their iPhones—they show it with their wallets.

Her last album, 1989, was the most popular album in 2014. One reporter quipped, “Evidently somebody forgot to tell Taylor Swift fans that albums just don’t sell anymore.”

Her staggering record sales led Rolling Stone to call her the biggest star in pop.

Taylor Swift has cultivated this level of adoration by spending an enormous amount of time and energy on pleasing her fans who also happen to be her customers.

And while Taylor is in the music business, her customer service techniques can be applied to any organization that wants to inspire similar devotion to its clients. It equally applies to professionals who want to create the same high level of satisfaction in the people they serve because service leads to profits.

Here’s how the Queen of Pop provides memorable customer experiences:

1. Social Media 

As noted above, Swift has more than 246 million followers between her various accounts. However, while she’s on multiple platforms, she’s not on all of them. For instance, although Swift has a Vine account, she hasn’t posted anything in over three years. The star has chosen to focus on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and this appears to be a deliberate choice. By limiting her social media channels, Swift can devote more attention to each.

Tip: Rather than trying to be active on every single site, find the social channels most popular among your customers and focus on them.

Swift also tailors her content to each platform. New York magazine’s social media editor Tara Abell explains, “She treats each platform as a different entity.” On Twitter, the celebrity publishes lots of shout-outs, nerdy jokes and cat humor. On her Instagram account, she shares behind-the-scene photos of her tour. Swift uses Tumblr to show her fans she’s just like them—picking up on Tumblr etiquette and inside jokes remarkably quickly.

This customized approach is radically different from the one most brands employ. Marketing expert Joshua Swanson has said, “We continually see the same content cross-promoted on brands’ social networks. If your social team isn’t creative enough to take one piece of content and craft that story differently on each platform, then you need a new social team.”

Tip: Take a different approach to each channel you’re on. For example, use LinkedIn to post thought leadership pieces and establish yourself as an expert in your field, Twitter to engage with other professionals and Facebook to foster personal relationships with your organization’s customers.

2. Personal Branding and Reinvention

When you look at Taylor Swift now, it’s hard to believe that just a couple of years ago she was a country singer. A sleek bob has replaced her big bouncy curls; her sweet pink lip gloss discarded for a glamorous red lipstick, and her peasant dresses and cowgirl boots have been shelved to make way for sophisticated pencil skirts and stilettos.

Reinventing one’s professional brand—or going through a company rebranding—is tough. After all, how do you drastically change your current image without losing your original audience? But Taylor Swift has rebranded herself multiple times, continually expanding her audience while retaining her old one.

As entertainment writer Rachel Simon explains:

“In the nine years since she first became known, Swift has managed to transform her public image from teenage ingénue to boy-hating spitfire to independent superstar, with a dozen other labels easily fitting in-between. Everything about her—her attitude, her music, and her look—has been revamped more times in the last few years than most celebrities do in their lifetimes, and, perhaps most surprisingly of all, it’s worked. The Swift of today is loved for entirely different reasons than the Swift of 2012, or 2009, or 2006, and it’s easy to imagine that, even just a year or two down the line, the singer’s image will be entirely new.”

The pop star has successfully evolved by always paying attention to the public’s mood. Beginning as a country singer was incredibly smart (even if Swift was following her passion, rather than her business sense). After all, the only other artist in country music trying to appeal to young women rather than middle-aged men is Carrie Underwood. Swift’s heartfelt, sweet, relatable lyrics filled a previously empty niche in the country music market. In four years, Swift sold more than 7 million albums.

Tip: Keep an eye out for audiences that aren’t being served or have needs that aren’t being met.

3. Fan Interaction

Although Swift’s social media and personal branding strategies are large components of her success, the way in which she interacts with fans is probably the biggest factor for her current status.

While most celebrities pay attention to their fans, Swift is hyper-focused on them. In fact, it’s fair to say the star is more in the people-pleasing business than the music business. Take the secret messages she hides in her album, like capitalizing random letters to hint which guy each song is about.

The celebrity told The Atlantic, “If you guys keep on liking that I do that, I’ll keep on doing it …  All of what I decide to do on albums is based on what I think you will like.”

Tip: Make sure you never try to sell people something they don’t want. Listen to your customers and incorporate their feedback into your product. If something isn’t catching on with your market base, move on rather than trying to force it.

So if you’re looking for new ways to drive growth to your bottom line, start with your customers. Consider revamping how you service them by building a Swift-style approach. Who knows? Your business might just be the next big thing.


Aja Frost

Aja Frost

By day, Aja is a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in California, and by night, she is a highly successful freelance writer and content strategist. Two years ago, she was writing for Cal Poly's student paper. Today her work is regularly featured on Forbes, Inc., Mashable, TIME, The Huffington Post, The Daily Muse, Newsweek and the Billfold just to name a few.

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