Did you know that Beyonce recently released a new album? Of course you did – who didn’t hear about it? So what was it about this album in particular that made it such big news? The fact that she promoted it endlessly, did talk show appearances, and ran television, radio and print ads? No, that wasn’t it. Because she didn’t do any of that. Instead, all she did was post one simple Instagram post to let people know that there was a new album available for purchase. That's it. The post put the social media world into a frenzy, landing Beyonce a top spot on iTunes.
If that isn’t a perfect example of why having a social media following is so important for your business, then what is? Rather than saturate our minds with endless promotion as in the manner of traditional marketing, she simply used the best tool at her disposal – which happened to be Instagram – to give her target consumer group information they wanted to hear.
And it worked. With more than 8 million Instagram followers, the news went viral almost immediately. Facebook mentions of “Beyonce” spiked over 1,300 percent in the hours after the album was released. In just one day there were nearly 1.5 million tweets mentioning the singers name, which is truly incredible considering the day before there were just 66,000.
The self-titled album, which was released around 9PM PST, had sold nearly 80,000 copies by midnight of the same day. It shattered previous iTunes records, racking up more than 617,000 units in its first three days in the U.S. and 828,773 worldwide. For a time the album was both number one and number two on iTunes – the clean version of the album trailing just slightly behind.
All of that success, with no press whatsoever. It’s unheard of. But it just proves that the best way to be successful in the digital age might just be to abandon our previous marketing methods. This is an extreme case, because what average business has 8 million followers? None probably. But it shows that in today's world, being active on social media and building a solid group of followers is vital for business success.
Obviously the music industry is looking for a new way to drive sales. With so many free music services around, and with the ability to download only one song rather than an entire album, record sales are dismal. Something new and fresh needs to be done, or people show little interest. Think about the last time you actually went out and psychically purchased an album. Or the last time you even downloaded an entire album. Most likely, it’s been awhile.
What Beyonce’s Instagram post proves is that times are changing. It’s a lesson not only to those in the entertainment industry, but to all of us as marketers as well. People love a surprise. They love a new approach. Shock them, and you have their attention. Provide value, and they will love you. Push your message in the form of an ad or a commercial, and they will ignore you. Inbound marketing is the way of the future – it’s time for you to get on board.
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