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TS: Beyond the Music

Posted: November 17, 2014, 1:38 p.m.
by Katie Lansford.

Blonde hair, red lips, killer lyrics — Taylor Swift is the epitome of a living, breathing brand. The 24-year-old pop artist is rocking her personal brand, breaking records and dominating the social media scene.

Love her or hate her, there is no denying she is doing something right and public relations professionals can learn from it.

Swift’s fifth studio album “1989” just sold 1.3 million copies in one week and in an age where purchasing music, especially in physical form, is all but extinct. It is the first album to reach platinum status this year, with some saying it will be the last to do so. Even more impressive, more than half of the copies sold were physical ones. In a bold move to encourage album sales, Swift removed all of her music from Spotify, a leading music streaming service, and wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about it.

*Social media*
Virtually everyone in the music industry aspires to use social media as a tool for building their personal brand and promoting album sales. But Swift goes above and beyond that and connects with her fans on a personal level. Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook are most widely used by the artist and her team.

On Twitter, with over 46 million followers, Swift retweets her fans, tweets pictures they have sent to her and uses #TS1989 to promote the new album. According to the hashtag tracking site Keyhole, in the past three days #TS1989 has garnered a reach of more than 969,000.

With over 13 million followers, Swift made some interesting moves on Instagram prior to the release of her album. Beginning 13 days before it’s release she posted a handwritten lyric from each track, leading up until the day it was released. Each lyric was unique in where and how it was displayed. For a star as popular as Taylor, this shows her fans that she is actually and actively involved with her fans on social media. Swift’s Facebook page has over 71 million likes and, like her other platforms, she constantly uses it to engage with fans. She even posted a picture of her as a 12 year old, when her album reached more than a million copies in sales.

Swift also has partnerships with Target and Diet Coke that precisely target her audience, young women. These partnerships have helped her album release in one way or another. A few days before the release of “1989,” the singer was featured in a Diet Coke ad with a never before heard song from the album. And, as in years past she partnered with Target to promote her album with both a television commercial and a deluxe copy of the CD. The deluxe album, exclusively sold in Target stores, features three songs that can’t be purchased anywhere else.

Taylor Swift Speak Now Concert at Heinz Field

In another surprising move, she even launched an app, “The American Express Unstaged Taylor Swift Blank Space Experience,” for the release of her newest single and music video “Blank Space.”

From social media to partnering with popular entities, the singer leaves no stone unturned when it comes to promoting her album and personal brand. Professionals in the public relations industry can look to Swift for inspiration. Whether it’s trying to revive a dying trend like purchasing music or to better connect with an audience through social media, her campaign has you covered.

Swift may have titled her album “1989,” but she clearly understands life in 2014.

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