From partnering with game developer Zynga to promote her bestselling album “Born this Way” to Tweeting “natural” pictures of herself sans makeup, pop superstar Lady Gaga apparently knows how to use social media to her advantage.
The 26-year-old multiple Grammy and MTV award-winning artist (who’s real name is Stefani Germanotta) is a walking brand and admits to being stylistically influenced by the likes of David Bowie and Madonna.
Like Ziggy and the Material Girl, Gaga also has a dedicated fan base. According to one report, more than a million users are registered on Lady Gaga’s interactive community website littlemonsters.com.
We caught up with national marketing consultant and TV contributor Jen Groover to discuss Gaga’s success and how some of her marketing values can be applied to any business or brand.
Groover has degrees in education and psychology from Kutztown University and has appeared on numerous programs from QVC to PBS and been featured on CNBC, Fox Business News and The Huffington Post. She is the author of the book “What If And Why Not.”
Q: Lady Gaga is arguably a marketing genius. What do you like about her from this perspective?
A: Her marketing is so genius because she maintains a certain level of transparency and honesty with her audience. I think her use of social media has allowed for that engagement to amplify. The product lines she’s chosen to attach her name to have been an authentic extension of what her brand represents, making her a character with a clear message and a solid, consistent marketing strategy.
Q: How has she used the social media universe to uniquely promote her brand and associated products?
A: Although she has a highly respected social media team around her, I believe she’s been so successful because she maintains her true voice by Tweeting herself. Instead of outsourcing, as many do, Gaga gives her followers a glimpse of many aspects of her life. From her day-to-day routine to favorite foods, her updates allow her audience to genuinely know her. They feel connected to her, almost as if they truly know her. So when Gaga decides to back a product, her audience trusts her. They trust her to pick great products.
Q: Any advice for small businesses wanting to get into social media?
A: Focus on understanding your brand and knowing who you are, not what you do. First and foremost, be authentic and transparent. Build trust, educate, inspire, and allow people to understand why you do what you do more than what you do. If you, as an individual, allow people to see a story behind the business, they’ll be more likely to follow you. Don’t make your status’s/updates a chance to advertise, make it a chance for people to see your passion. Give in your updates more than take.
Q: Are there good websites or books where they can find more information about social media marketing?
A: I recommend, “Twitter Power” by Joel Comm and “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” by Shama Kabani. But more so than reading a book, I think it’s important to identify social media trailblazers and study their habits. See what these people are doing today, right now. Follow in their footsteps and absorb their habits to better understand why and how social media works.
Q: What about the subsequent industry of third-party apps like Hoot Suite? Any sustainability for these companies?
A: I think there’s sustainability but it’s a very crowded space that requires a lot of capital. And so whatever service they’re offering has to be stand-out from this cluttered market. They also have to have a strong branding and marketing strategy in order to stand out from competitors in a timely manner.
Q: What’s next for social media?
A: Social media’s allowing us to experience life more holistically and it’s changing the game in industries so quickly. The trend I find most profound is the movement from online newsrooms to Twitter in regards to accessing the news. It’s pretty incredible how ‘real-time’ our news is now…we’re not watching events from yesterday, we’re watching events as their happening. That in itself is incredible, and yet there’s always something better to come! So to answer your question, I believe shopping integration will be one of the biggest game changers that will successfully impact small business and continue to change the landscape of music and entertainment industries.
Q: If you could invent one social media app what would it do?
A: Good question! I’m already working on one. This app will help people build their business faster, in a step by step process. It’ll take out a lot of the guess work and risk.