4 things Justin Bieber can teach us about social media

By May 31, 2011 Social Media

So last week I confessed that I am a twitterholic. Today, I have another confession to make: I’m also a Belieber (as defined by urbandictionary.com: one who is an obsessive fan of justin bieber.)

Ok, so obsessive might be a bit too far. Its more of a low-grade fever (Bieber fever that is).

I’ve actually been a fan of his for quite some time, which is part of why I’m not embarrassed to admit it. And I have my social media addiction to thank for introducing me to him.

From Youtube to Bieber Fever

For those who aren’t familiar with Justin’s story (and should watch his movie Never Say Never ASAP), his rise to fame  was largely due to social media (and his unbeliebable talent).  At age twelve, his mom posted videos of him singing on youtube to share with out-of-town relatives. He quickly gained a large group of loyal followers (including yours truly) and was shortly thereafter discovered by manager, Scooter Braun. Scooter introduced him to Usher, and he quickly signed on with Raymond Braun Media Group

But that’s not the point. The point is, he wasn’t just a product of the Nickelodeon/Disney machine; he proved his talent and grew his fan base with grassroots methods – primarily through social media.

His use of social media didn’t end after he was signed. Bieber uses social media, especially twitter, constantly. And he knows what he’s doing.  Besides Lady Gaga, he has more followers on twitter than any other user. In fact, it was estimated that at any given time, Justin takes up 3% of the server’s infrastructure.

So what can the Biebs teach us about social media?

1. Know your market

Justin’s audience is primarily teenyboppers, and he knows it. Scratch that, he OWNS it. His entire social presence is catered directly to that market. He gives them what they want when they want it.

An electronics store cannot tweet about the same things Justin does and expect similar results. It’s audience wouldn’t respond.

Every user and every brand must determine who their audience is and give them what they want.

2. Show your followers some love

Justin is always appreciating his fans. I would estimate that about half of his tweets are retweets of his fans and another quarter or so mention his fans. Here’s his most recent tweet:

He knows that his fame depends on his fans, and he gives back. The same is true for any brand. You wouldn’t be in business if people didn’t use your service or buy your product. Show them some appreciation.

3. Don’t show off

Along the same lines as the one above, Justin’s tweets focus on his fans, not himself. He knows he has talent. He doesn’t need to talk about what a great singer he is or how well his latest hit is doing (except when the fans want to hear about it).

The rules of twitter are much like the rules of a conversation. Nobody wants to listen to people talk about themselves all the time. They want give and take. Its okay to share a new product or share a good experience with a customer, but focus your attention on serving your followers, not yourself.

4. Be yourself

Justin may be performing to sold out crowds around the world, but he’s still a teenager. His tweets sound like they come from a teenager. He’s goofy, pulls pranks, and has a good time. Why shouldn’t he? Social media are fun, so let loose a little and have a good time.


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