Leave it to Queen Bey to break the internet on an otherwise average Wednesday afternoon. It wasn’t a surprise album drop this time — it was a surprise baby drop.
Most digital marketers would kill to make such waves with a single post, so what can they take away from Beyoncé’s latest stroke of social media genius?
Beyoncé understands that for pop artists, the visuals — album covers, promo shots and, of course, music videos — are just as important as the music. In fact, her last two releases were “visual albums” that paired each track with its own mini-movie. So why should her pregnancy be any different?
Shortly after dropping that bombshell of an Insta, Beyoncé published an entire maternity photo shoot titled “I Have Three Hearts” on her website. The colorful photos are so meticulously art-directed, they’d look just as at home on the walls of the MOMA as they do in your Instagram feed. Art critics and historians have even jumped in to dissect the shoot’s eclectic influences.
Brands should take note. Visuals are more important than ever in the digital marketing space. A carefully curated Instagram feed is no longer strictly the purview of artsy influencers. Brands such as the beauty start-up Glossier and eyewear retailer Warby Parker garner just as much loyalty with their distinctive aesthetic as they do with their actual products.
Have a point of view
No one can accuse Beyoncé of being bland. Everything she does makes a statement, including, it seems, her pregnancy announcement. Although the eye-popping fever dream of a maternity shoot was polarizing, it certainly got people talking (and double-tapping). Bey isn’t afraid to make a statement with her art, and she knows that for every fan she loses when she takes a controversial artistic or political stand, she gains countless more.
Similarly, people respond to marketing with a message. Brands are often afraid to take risks for fear of alienating their audience, but they’re also missing out on the rewards that can come with staking out a particular point of view. Breaking through the information overload of a crowded online market requires taking a few risks, even if that means making some mistakes along the way.
Beyoncé is notoriously private, so when she deigns to offer a peek into her personal life, the Beyhive laps it up. The raw vulnerability of her latest album “Lemonade” — which explored themes of betrayal, rage and forgiveness and hinted at husband Jay Z’s alleged infidelity — made it her most powerful and relatable work yet. (Hey, even Beyoncé has relationship issues!)
It can be hard for brands to be vulnerable with their customers, but it can also pay off. Don’t be afraid to be transparent with your audience on social. Your customers like to know there are real people on the other side of the screen and not just a faceless corporate entity. Sure, you may not be #flawless, but your audience will appreciate the honesty.