Lessons from Beyonce: How to Master the Media

No interviews, magazine covers or late-night talk shows led up to the release of Beyonce’s “Lemonade”.  Instead, Queen Bey turned to social media to promote the weekend release of her visual album.  Through videos and photos, she tipped off her “bee-hive” and set the internet on fire.

After kicking off her first solo-concert tour in Miami, we take a look at the public relations and social media marketing lessons we can all learn from Queen B.

Beyonce Social Media Blue Ivy
Beyonce’s personal photos of daughter Blue Ivy.

Give them what they want

Candid shots, family photos and behind-the scene videos make up most of the content in Beyoncé’s social media accounts.  Bey woke up like this, but for us non-celebrities, it takes a little more work to figure it out.  First, analyze the top performing posts and research the most engaged followers to find commonalities.  Then, test your findings.  Once you know what makes your audience tick, you’ll be able to drive high impressions consistently.

But also give them what they need

It’s not all fun and games on Beyoncé’s social media accounts. She uses the platforms to promote campaigns she is driving.  Ads for her new ath-leisure clothing line, Ivy Park, details on her tour and album are worked in among her personal posts.  While specific types of content drive high engagement, they don’t always meet a company’s goals.  Mixing in core messages with highly-engaging posts is key.

Instagram Ad for Ivy Park
Instagram post advertising Beyoncé’s new athletic line.

As an example, let’s take the Miami Downtown Development Authority’s Facebook account:  followers react positively to photographs and news of downtown Miami’s growth, but the DDA’s mission is to be more than just a promoter.  Homelessness, transit problems and other urban core issues are among the topics tackled on social media – these combined with lighter content keeps the reach high.

Control the message

Although posts spread instantly on social media, content should take time to create and perfect.  The Beyonce brand is the perfect example.  It’s built around flawlessly crafted imagery that allows her to bypass traditional media and fully control the message. Instead of running into crisis communication mode when rumors swirled that her marriage with Jay was on the rocks, she dismissed them, went on tour with her husband and then explored the issue in “Lemonade.” Bow. Down.

Beyonce Social Media Use video

As public relations professionals and digital marketers, we’re storytellers at heart.  Video allows us for the stories to be told in a way no other medium allows.  The music industry is no exception: think of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the international sensation it caused.  With the number of hours people consume digital video surpassing that of time spent on social media, radio and music streaming, video is a must – and if it’s good enough for Queen B, it’s good enough for us!   Beyoncé uses the medium throughout her social media accounts, interchanging highly produced videos with raw footage of home movies – it’s her way of connecting with her audience.

Now, let’s all embrace our inner Sasha Fierce and get to tweeting!