When Beyonce makes a move she does not have to do much explaining. She just does it. She’s created a name for herself, and by extension, has created what we’ll call “the Beyonce effect.” It’s that social media sweet spot that allows some people to give something a gentle nudge online online and watch it catch fire via word-of-mouth.
Fourteen songs and 17 videos — Black twitter lit up when Beyonce surprised us with her self-titled album. People responded as though this is the first time Beyonce has ever done anything. Billboard says the album is already the 24th biggest-selling album of the year. Responses such as “Beyonce just snatched my edges” and “Ciara drops an album every year and no one even knows it” went viral from social media to BuzzFeed. We’ve been on edge all year with a tease and a leak here and there awaiting her fifth solo studio album. She sold all the albums and got all the attention. All hail Queen B.
But it’s not just talent that’s got her in the winning column. Beyoncé knows how to create buzz. She relied on her fans to do the promoting for free. Let’s pat ourselves on the back. We did it! We did the marketing for her! She figured out how to do it completely free, and put her money into the overall production quality instead.
Both Beyonce and hubby Jay Z show a level of branding savvy that pulls together their existing popularity with the power of social media. Jay Z partnered with Samsung earlier this year in order to release “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” Their deal gave the album to 1 million users of Galaxy mobile phones days before its official release. But in Beyonce’s case, she didn’t even give away her music. We simply flocked to iTunes and purchased it on our own terms.
Our emotional attachment to Beyonce keeps us on our toes for the next “Beyonce move,” because to miss it would be culturally unacceptable. She gives us just enough via social media to keep us interested; just enough Blue Ivy, just enough of her travels around the world, just enough of her romance with Jay, just enough of her hanging out during her downtime.
Behind Beyonce’s business savvy milestones there is a sophisticated social media content strategy that spans across key platforms, like Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook. According to The Washington Post, “Twitter said Beyonce’s album release generated over 1.2 million tweets in 12 hours, with a tweets-per-minute spike of 5,300.” Diddy, Alicia Keys and Demi Lovato were among the celebrities tweeting about the topic, expanding her reach.
When fans flocked back onto social media at the midnight launch time, it was a pick-me-up for those dealing with post-Scandal season finale depression. People went from tweeting out lines from Olivia Pope’s mother to #Beyonce and uploading album covers onto Instagram and Twitter. Twitter produced a shock effect.
Beyonce chooses to engage her audience on social media on a regular basis in a way that’s somehow provocative, yet very editorial. We’re not getting an overload. We’re getting updates, like we would on any other story that we’re both interested and fascinated with. By keeping the overkill to a minimum, she lets her fans turn the release of her album into a sort of “phenomenon.”