As of July, 2010, 16 year-old Justin Bieber is the most searched for celebrity on the internet and has the most viewed youtube video in history . His debut album, My World , was the highest grossing debut by any artist in 2009 and he is the first artist in history to have seven songs from his debut album reach the “Billboard Hot 100.”
At this point you’re probably asking yourself: “Who is this kid and how did he do it?”
According to his Wikipedia page , Justin was “discovered” when Scooter Braun, a talent agent, accidentally came across one of the videos his mother uploaded to youtube. Braun immediately flew Justin out to Atlanta and eventually signed him to a record label. But what explains his meteoric rise to fame, and what can we learn from it?
A live web interview of Scooter Braun , now Justin’s manager, offers some insight:
Invest Time to Create an Online Presence.
When Justin was discovered, he had 5 videos on YouTube, with the highest viewed having about 70,000 hits. At that point, Justin opened a Twitter account and spent over a year interacting with fans and uploading more homemade videos to YouTube. By the time his album debuted, he already had millions of fans.
Lesson: When launching a new product or initiative, engaging your existing customer base for support can make all the difference in the world.
Engage Early, Create a Sense of Ownership.
Justin’s appearances have already caused tremendous uproars with uncontrollable crowds flocking to see him at any opportunity. A video of a
3 year old girl crying over Justin
has over 12 Million views on youtube. As Braun, points out, “Kids would rather discover something on the Internet than hear it on the radio… there’s a sense of ownership. People feel more connected to Justin, and they deserve to, because they made him.”
Lesson: Create a sense of ownership with your customers- being transparent and building a real connection is a great way to generate loyalty.
Listen to Your Fans, React Accordingly.
Justin’s dedication to social media tools like youtube and twitter give him unprecedented insight into his fan base. When asked about next steps Braun remarked, “the next step is to figure out what the fans want and give it to them. We know a lot of kids want to see Justin in a movie and now we’re preparing for that.”
Lesson: Use social media to get feedback from your customers and incorporate that feedback into your decisions. Find out what your customers want rather than guessing or assuming you know best.
Stay in Touch with your Audience
. In order to prevent Justin from becoming another soon-to-be-forgotten child star, Braun researched former child stars who had fallen from grace. What he found was that “the talent was always there, but their heads got too big and swollen and they forgot that without the fans you’re absolutely nothing.”
Lesson: We often see companies get so big and removed from their consumer base that they have no idea how to interact with the public (ahem, BP). Maintaining that dialogue is the only way to stay relevant in the consumer’s mind.
Overall, Justin’s marketing strategy isn’t anything we haven’t seen before: create remarkable content, promote that content throughout the web, engage in dialogue with your audience and incorporate feedback into your decision-making process. But by being dedicated and investing enough time in the process, he was able to break new grounds within his industry.
How are you leveraging the power of social media in your industry?