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Digital Marketing 9 min read

Taylor Swift Gives Us All a Lesson in Influencer Marketing

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Written by Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

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Expert reviewed by Alexandra Goss

Associate Marketing Manager @ Galactic Fed

Published 22 Feb 2024

Whether you know only one or two songs or are a certified Swiftie, there’s no denying the massive star power of Taylor Swift. While she’s been in the public eye since the early 2000s, her celebrity has risen dramatically in the past few years. In fact, she has so much influence that her attendance at a football game can increase NFL viewership significantly among younger generations. That’s the power of Taylor Swift marketing.

That’s right — even small businesses like Wove, the company that made Taylor Swift a custom bracelet for the AFC Championship Game, saw a 470% jump in sales. By attending just 12 games, Taylor made a huge economic impact and helped many companies along the way.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to get Taylor Swift to advertise your brand. However, there’s a lot to learn from her about influencer marketing and how it can drive sales. With a little extra effort, you can become the Taylor Swift of your industry.

Black and white photo of Taylor Swift's Reputation album

The Taylor Swift Marketing Strategy Is Powerful but Not Entirely New

The power of celebrities and social media influencers in marketing is not a new concept. For decades, media personalities have dictated what’s trending, what’s no longer in style, and what’s the next big thing — and people follow their lead time and time again.

Taylor Swift influences her audience in several ways. As human beings, we all want to belong. If everyone is rushing to buy the latest Taylor Swift album, you may feel a desire to buy it, too. Approximately 75% of young adults struggle with the fear of missing out. You can use that feeling to your company’s advantage.

Influencer marketing can put a popular face to your brand. Think about Travis Kelce. He was already a popular figure in his own right, but there’s no denying that associating with Taylor took his celebrity to new heights. 

Even his brother, Jason Kelce, is more popular than ever. It goes to show that making connections with the right crowd can open doors to even more success. 

With so many influencers out there these days, you’re bound to find one who resonates with your brand. There are so many influencer marketing success stories, and your business can be the next shining example (though you probably won’t win the Super Bowl — sorry about that).

The (Social) Science Behind Influencer Marketing

When Taylor Swift attended her first Kansas City Chiefs game last year to support Kelce, sales for his jersey skyrocketed. Interestingly, Taylor wasn’t even wearing a Chief’s jersey, let alone Kelce’s. 

She didn’t tell her fans to buy his merchandise, either. In fact, she didn’t speak to the media at all. She simply showed up, ate chicken nuggets and (seemingly) ranch, high-fived fans in the stands, and went on her merry way. 

So how, then, did she drive Kelce’s jersey sales up so significantly just by showing up to his game? The answer is that she didn’t really. We know that might sound crazy at first, but hear us out. It was actually the Swifties who joined forces and influenced each other, causing a ripple effect that led to more Kelce jerseys flying off the shelves than ever.

Social Contagion

Despite its somewhat serious-sounding name, social contagion isn’t a disease. However, it is contagious, which means it can easily spread from person to person. How does this relate to Taylor Swift and her influence? 

According to the National Institutes of Health, social contagion refers to the spread of behaviors, attitudes, and affect through crowds and other types of social aggregates from one member to another. Remember, Taylor didn’t wear Kelce’s jersey or tell her fans to buy it (could you imagine if she did?). They constructed this type of consumption behavior by themselves.

Swifties watched other Swifties buy the jersey, so they followed suit. While Taylor’s presence sparked this trend, it was her people who influenced each other. As a business owner, you can inspire your people to influence each other in similar ways, albeit on a smaller scale. 

A crowd of people watching Taylor Swift perform on a stage at her The Eras Tour concert

How the Taylor Swift Marketing Effect Can Inspire Your Brand

If you want a loyal customer base that supports your brand the way Swifties support their idol, it’s vital to focus on nurturing that base. This means making connections to those who purchase from you instead of writing them off as just another sale. 

These days, people expect more out of the brands they purchase from. They want to feel valued and believe that their opinions matter. If you want inspiration on how to engage with prospects, look no further than Ms. Swift.

Taylor has mastered the art of building personal relationships with her fans — no matter where they are in the world. Besides her undeniable talent, it’s this connection-building that sells out stadiums and clears CD shelves globally.

Cultivating Relationships With Your Customers

There are plenty of talented singers who reach critical and commercial success but don’t have the mass influence Taylor Swift has over her fans. Why? Throughout her decades-long career, she’s invested significant time and effort into building relationships with her fans that extend beyond just getting a sale. 

Taylor Swift has a tradition. Every time she releases an album, she invites a select group of fans to her home to give them an exclusive first listen to the new record. She takes pictures with them, shares the stories behind her newest songs, and even bakes cookies for the Swifties in attendance. Can you imagine Taylor Swift cooking for you? 

Though the Taylor Swift brand generates outrageous amounts of money, the singer comes across as a girl next door. For the fans sitting on her couch with one of her cats while eating a homemade chai tea cookie, Taylor isn’t an out-of-touch popstar looking to sell as many records as possible. She’s relatable, personable, and someone you can see yourself being friends with. 

Understanding Your Audience

While you might not want to invite customers into your house (though you could if you want — who are we to tell you no?), you can find ways to connect with them personally. Take note of your audience demographics. What do your customers have in common? What are their pain points? How can your brand address those concerns? 

Try creating a brand persona. It’s a literal depiction of your brand as a person. This helps put a face to the abstract characteristics, values, and voices of your ideal prospects. You can cultivate a loyal following of repeat clientele when you take the time to engage with your target audience and get to know them on a deeper level.

Working With Influencers

Influencer marketing is the modern-day equivalent of a celebrity endorsement. An influencer has a following in a distinct niche and has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others. It’s like working with the Taylor Swift marketing team on a smaller scale.

If Taylor Swift’s association with Travis Kelce positively impacted his success, your association with a well-respected influencer in your niche could have a similar effect. Influencers are accessible to businesses because they can be anywhere and anyone. No matter what your niche is, you’ll likely find someone with an excited audience of people who are interested in it. 

Kansas Chiefs flag flying in front of a building

Try Marketing Your Brand the Taylor Swift Way

Taylor Swift is an icon for a multitude of reasons, and she’ll certainly go down in history as having one of the most influential impacts of any artist of her generation. Indeed, her star power is so great that it affects far more than just her own legacy.

In particular, there is a lot that businesses like yours can learn from her fan engagement strategies. It’s incredible how Taylor Swift influences her base without directly telling them what to do. The personal connections she’s built with Swifties have helped her achieve a level of success that most artists only dream of. 

The Taylor Swift method involves several strategies. Make sure to show off your brand’s personality, engage with your clientele, and work with influencers who can help you and your business relate to your customers. 

As you look for new ways to grow your customer base, there’s much you can learn from the Taylor Swift marketing approach. You may not sell out stadiums or win album of the year a record-breaking four times. However, you have a high chance of finding significant success in your niche, no matter what trends come and go.

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Sarah Edwards photo

Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed