Over the weekend, pop star Katy Perry and that Russell Brand guy were married on a tiger sanctuary in India. As I read this story, two things occurred to me: 1.) How come I’ve never been invited to weddings on tiger sanctuaries? and 2.) Katy Perry, more than any other hitmaking starlet, has a solid and savvy understanding of social media marketing. While we’re certain Perry undoubtedly is receiving some help from a tiny army of PR minions, you certainly have to give the girl credit for never missing an online branding opportunity.
After being dumped by three record labels, Katy Perry released her first single, “UR So Gay” online in 2007. While the song didn’t chart, it was buzzed and blogged about enough to get her next single, “I Kissed a Girl,” noticed. The digital campaign by Perry and her label Capital worked, landing the pop star on the top of the charts. Thus, Katy Perry, pop diva and online maven, was born.
Perry since has released a slew of new catchy ear candy songs while embarking on a highly public relationship with Russell Brand – all of which the singer chronicles herself on her Twitter account. Perry has employed Twitter as her own publicity machine, her personal soapbox and, most importantly, an outlet for the voice her fans love. With currently 4 million tweeps following her, Perry wisely stays out of controversy, speaks openly about herself and endlessly chronicles/promotes her career moves.
In addition, Perry’s YouTube channel is a one-stop video Mecca for Perry fans. In addition to her hit songs, her banned duet with Elmo is here, as are personal messages and contests from Perry herself. Tweens (Perry’s bread and butter) love YouTube videos of their favorite songs (which include the lyrics). So instead of letting somebody else do it, Perry and Co. have posted a lyrics video for her new single “Firework” that features clips of the yet-to-be-released official video. Perry’s current contest in conjunction with the single invites fans to submit online videos of people who inspire them.
Her Facebook isn’t as chock full with as much exclusive content as her other channels, but the page clearly works given the amount of likes it has received. Again, she clearly knows who’s buying her records so all of her social media is composed with that audience in mind.
While it is up to the pop music gods to decide if Katy Perry will be long-lasting, it is certain that she has carved out a unique social media model. Many celebs wrongly use social media as navel gazing or, God forbid, as the platform to rant, but Perry reminds us the format should be conversational, entertaining and, above all, a good time.