By Steve Blakeman | Poser at Linkedin
Beyoncé is pregnant. With twins. Unless you have been living under a rock you will know this. The already iconic picture was released on Instagram just a few days ago and has already become the most 'liked' picture ever (at last count just over 9 million likes). Now, to be honest, I'm not that interested in the picture or the pregnancy. However, I am intrigued by the social media masterclass that she is providing for us all...
Beyoncé and her media team have managed to leverage her social-media reach through various channels by creating genuine excitement about her personal brand. First trick? The pictures she releases are always intriguing in some way. And this latest one is no exception. There has been as much talk about the construction of that shot as there is about her having twins. Was it taken in a florists? Why is she wearing underwear that doesn't match? Why isn't she smiling? What's the significance of the pale green veil? And of course, none of this matters one iota. The point is that she is completely authentic and true to her personal brand. And most importantly? People ARE talking about all these elements (just as she knew they would).
Next trick? She captures the zeitgeist by launching the picture on Instagram. Not Facebook. Or Twitter. Instagram. Why? Because it's cooler. And she has her largest following there (over 100 million). She also knows the platform well and equally knows how to get the best out of it. For example, she rarely uses captions. Why does she need to? The pictures will speak for themselves. She may well use a comment to support the picture but these are usually very short and offer limited information. Again this is very smart. She knows there is an air of mystique surrounding her personal brand and as such wants to maintain that. Less is most definitely more.
On that same theme, she only posts sparingly. So whenever she does post something, it immediately turns into an event. Unlike say Kim Kardashian, who documents every single detail of her life and endorses products she has no connection to for cash. Although interestingly she didn't take to her social feeds to congratulate Beyoncé on her pregnancy...
What's more she doesn't share beyond Instagram. Given that she has over 14 million followers on Twitter, you might imagine that she would post the same picture on there too. But she doesn't. In fact, she has only posted in Twitter 9 times since she joined. So why doesn't she post elsewhere? Frankly, because she doesn't need to. On Twitter for example, within 45 minutes of the picture being released over 500,000 people had tweeted the shot. She clearly knows a thing or two about what goes viral online. Why does she need to share when she knows full well that everyone else will?
Some have questioned why she didn't wait until the upcoming Grammy Awards to make the announcement? After all, she announced her previous pregnancy on-stage at the 2011 MTV Music Awards and that created a huge stir. Well, I would say she avoided that for three reasons. Firstly, she had been there done that. She isn't the kind of artist that would repeat herself. Secondly, social media has moved on at a fair pace in the past 6 years and the power of Instagram is now massively more important than it was back then. And finally, she has already created massive 'talkability' prior to the event which benefits both her and the Grammys themselves. Clever move.
So what do you think? Can Beyoncé teach the marketing, communications and PR experts a thing or two? Is she manipulating social media brilliantly to enhance her personal brand? Or is she just relying on the fact that she is a huge star and frankly if she took a picture of her clipping her toenails out there it would still get viewed and shared? As ever, interested in your point of view.