9 Marketing Tips to Take Away from Taylor Swift

Country-turned-pop princess Taylor Swift dropped her fifth studio album 1989 this week and, in case you took a break from social media, created an online frenzy surrounding the release. The official hashtags #TS1989 and #taylurking have already garnered 700K tweets with a reach of 4 billion social users. 

Oh, and album sales? 600,000 copies of 1989 sold in the first 24 hours of its release and the album is predicted to be the first Platinum album of 2014 within the first week of being on shelves. Talk about ROI.

In a rapidly evolving consumer landscape, Taylor continues to strike a chord with fans—using social, mobile, and digital to keep a chorus of consumers engaging with (and investing in) her brand. So, brands, it’s time to sing a new tune. Here are 9 ways you can amp up your own marketing efforts inspired by Taylor Swift.

1. Use social media to offer #BTS shots

Taylor’s team gave fans behind the scenes access, teasing lyrics from 1989 leading up to the album’s release. Never forget, your fans love to feel like an insider with special access.


Bonus Track (Only available at Target) #1989lyrics 2 days, guys.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

This image earned 526K ‘likes’ and helped build deluxe-edition awareness for the album’s corporate partner, Target. Which brings us to…

2. Partner up

Taylor is no stranger to corporate partners; most notably she collaborated with Diet Coke for her Red tour and promotion. Target has lead the charge on this album by offering Swifties the chance to get her deluxe album, which includes additional tracks and polaroids that accompany the 1989 tracklisting and lyrics, exclusively through them. And to top it off New York’s Tourism board appointed Taylor Swift their global welcome ambassador. Talk about having some powerful partners! Place social at the backbone of your campaigns and allow the cross-promotion to help foster independent partner goals. It’s a win-win.


3. But find partners that work for (not against) you

You can find 1989 almost everywhere…except Spotify. Swift has notoriously held back from streaming her new albums amidst claims that streaming offers artists too little exposure and pays-per-click to warrant the service.  Spotify, in turn, has 1989 listed in their album catalog but there are no tracks available. Instead listeners are confronted with a message that passively blames Swift for the lack of streaming. Not a great way to win over the new Princess of Pop, Spotify. When it comes to brand partnership, don’t jump at every opportunity – make sure that the networks are working to help support your overall brand mission.

4. Make your own press

Instead of trying to break through the noise, come in loud and clear by creating your own press coverage. On August 18th, Swift and iHeartRadio with Yahoo! presented a worldwide live stream with previews from 1989 and Swift led discussions about the next album. Swift was able to debut 1989 with her perspective instead of waiting for the reviews to come piling in. A smart way to set your brand message and have it resonate clearly. 

5.  Start promotion with your best foot forward (bonus points if that foot is dancing)

Shake It Off launched on August 18th, same day as her Yahoo! debut, and is currently sitting pretty with 216,533,694 million views on YouTube. The gif-ability of the video helped spread anticipation for 1989 onto visually heavy channels like Tumblr.

6. Get in with your fans

Speaking of Tumblr, if you’re unfamiliar, the network has a humor all its own. When a picture of Taylor Swift became a PSA against marijuana use and was then flipped on its head and turned into a meme, it became part of the Taylor Swift Tumblr lexicon. Swift’s reaction? To take the meme’s catchphrase, “no its becky” and slap it on a t-shirt. The Internet went wild. The lesson from Tay: Your fans (even the ones that really, really love you) will poke fun at your brand from time to time. Embrace it, have a little fun, and the Internet will love you for it.

7. And then do even more for your fans

If we had to sit down a teenage fan of Swift, we can imagine they would say their absolute #omg dream would be to meet Taylor and get the chance to hear and talk about her music. And Swift’s team did just that for a few lucky fans who were hand selected by Taylor through their comments on various social media sites. Fans were shuttled for their Secret Sessions in limos to private locations in Nashville, New York, and a London destination. Fans were treated to a preview of 1989 and Swift even baked cookies. Cookies. Tay Takeaway: surprise and delight never, ever gets old. 

8. Also, fans

And then each of those fans were documented on Swift’s personal Instagram. Adorable. For your brand: find more ways to put your fans at the center of your marketing


Yes we are cats. #1989SecretSessions

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on


9. Bring your friends along for the ride

As if T.Swift needed any additional social momentum, her legion of famous fans chimed on Monday to cheer Taylor on with her new release. From Lena Dunham to Ed Sheeran, Hollywood’s elite was celebrating right along Swift. 


It’s not like we need to tell you that influencers are important for your brand’s social strategy. Just remember, it looks even better when your influencers are authentic and enthusiastic supporters of your brand.


Taylor Swift may be the CMO that brands need when it comes to reshaping ideas about celebrity and purchasing power through social. We hope these 9 tips have you feeling inspired to tackle your upcoming social campaigns and, if not, hey, you can always shake it off.


cgreenwood@spredfast.com's picture

Caitlin Greenwood

Caitlin Greenwood is the Community Manager at Spredfast. With a background and passion for journalism and creative writing, Caitlin fosters engagement and builds meaningful relationships across the Spredfast social communities. Follow her on @mcgreenw for all things pop culture, social media, and snapshots of her corgi Marfa.