Social media monster – Going Gaga

If there is one celebrity who has successfully harnessed the power of social media to extend her reputational capital, it would be Lady Gaga.

Last year, Lady Gaga made $52m, reached a Klout score of 94 and has a Twitter following of over 30 million. Not only does she hold the number one spot for most followers on Twitter, Gaga’s Facebook page ranks among the three most popular pages in the world. It is not surprising that she is one of the most socially influential people in the digital landscape.

Gaga has created a social media monster machine that has allowed her to interact directly with her fans to sustain her celebrity status and music.   Her success is due in part to her control over her social media accounts. She not only uses her account to cross-promote her upcoming releases and tours, she also actively writes her own tweets and demonstrates her appreciation for her fan base aka ‘Little Monsters’ by retweeting and responding to their tweets / Facebook posts.

Lady Gaga shares personal photos of herself with her fans

Recently, Gaga created her own social media platform: Little Monsters. Set to rival Facebook, this social media networking site is dedicated to the fans of Lady Gaga. It is a space for fans to convene to participate in discussions, “put their paws up”, and post photos.

Gaga’s all-encompassing presence is a result of her integration of social and traditional media, engaging audiences in real-time and telling a story that is relateable and worth spreading. She has found the economic value of building her brand online by tapping into the relationships and interests that people share in the digital landscape.

What can Mother Monster teach us about building reputational capital?

Encourage participation: Provide opportunities for your fans to actively participate. Engage with them by allowing them to contribute at a personal level so they become invested and begin to identify with your brand.

Empower your fan base: Form genuine connections with your fan base. Be conversational and personable and real. Just like real relationships, companies should thank their fans /  followers for their loyalty, receive and respond to feedback and offer incentives.

Provide valuable content: Highlight offers, prizes and content that will keep your followers interested.

Integrate your platforms: Cross-sell your promotions and content across your online channels – whether that be your website, Facebook or Twitter – to create a uniform voice.

Social media creating spaces for views that challenge norms? Have some m$therf*cking’ compassion! Check out Kate’s blog on Gaga’s Body 2013 Revolution

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13 thoughts on “Social media monster – Going Gaga

  1. This is a great example of a celeb utilising social media to its full potential. From memory, Perez Hilton (a blogger, for anyone unfamiliar with him) also had a huge impact on her career as he would often post links to her song clips and rave about how great she was to his millions of followers, well before she reached her current level of fame. I wonder if the support she had from Hilton had any sort of impact on the way she has subsequently approached her own social media platforms? I think it’s great to see how accessible so many celebs are today, engaging with their fans and offering them insights into their lives they might not get via standard traditional broadcast interviews etc. On the flip side, there still seem to be plenty of celebs who are very cautious when it comes to SM, having their management team handle their accounts which is a shame. If only everyone would take a leaf out of Gaga’s book! 🙂

    • I do recall Perez having quite an impact on Gaga’s career! Third party validation via word of mouth is such a powerful means of driving interest and traffic (on social media). Would be interesting to know if Perez’ influence had anything to do with her social media strategy, although interesting to note that Gaga is also a digital native and seems to have a natural grasp of social media. Whilst reading up for this post, I read that the Little Monsters website was inspired by ‘The Social Network’ movie… she approached Backplane (the host of her networking site) and asked if she could create a Facebook for her fans.

      I agree that some celebs have been cautious in SM – is it laziness? It almost defeats the purpose of using the platforms available since it is for and by the people…

  2. Such a strange concept for this Lady Gaga. Alicia – you should also check out Kate Richard’s post about this same platform 🙂 As I mentioned on her blog, I think this is a great way of embracing one’s imperfections and being comfortable with who you are, and what you look like. Lady Gaga is no role model in my opinion, however I do think there may be a nurturing factor behind this as eating disorders are of major concern in modern society. There is also, ofcourse, the issue of monitoring this platform to make sure inappropriate material isn’t being posted. I do believe that there must be some sort of major damage control protocol in place as to manage this domain 24 hours a day. I will admit that if i hadn’t read your, or Kate’s blog, I wouldn’t have even heard about this. It does seem as though the platform is still in action so there must be several little monsters out there who believe this is a great idea.

    • Thanks for pointing me in Kate’s direction! The body revolution you speak of IS a great idea from Gaga and it does promote a very nurturing network of people who celebrate ‘imperfections’. Yes there will be haters, I think there will always be criticism for any of these things, but I do think that Gaga has created a ‘safe haven’ for people to share and support each other over the issue. Whilst Gaga copped some flak for posting about her eating disorder (seen as promoting disorders), I actually think it was inspiring for her to share it in this context. I think there is a bit of a stigma around eating disorders as being linked to vanity (and as Kate’s blog says, media does play a significant role in this) but I think it is also linked to a plethora of other issues that are so easily written off and judged. With Gaga talking about it and sharing it, I think it has been empowering for her Little Monsters.

  3. Same thought as Eva on this. I read Kate’s Blog and that was my first time hearing about Lady Gaga’s impact on her fans. I agree with the major damage control protocol but how will it measured? Sure there are spam filters but there will need to be a strong influence of social media management by an actual person to maintain this. Lady Gaga might be able to afford to hire someone for this but even big companies seem to lack these protocols (or staff) so what chance do smaller businesses have to maintain or even create such protocols?

    • I see your point re. moderating the site and ensuring that there is protocol and sure Gaga can afford to have someone monitoring the site but I think smaller businesses have a chance to maintain their own social media platforms because I don’t think it is likely they will generate the same momentum / following / content as Gaga. Her celebrity and influencer status will continue to attract criticism (due to her extreme actions that seem to outrage us all) but I think smaller businesses are more consistent in messaging and would likely be safer in the content they produce. Having said this, I am aware that there are several cases of smaller businesses failing to monitor properly (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/celebboutique-tweet-colorado-batman-shooting_n_1690308.html).

      When businesses start in the SM space, I agree that having a protocol in place is crucial and I think it boils down to how many resources the business can / wants to dedicate to it. Business are joining SM to measure and monitor what people say about them so that they may raise capital via generating leads or make improvements to / create product. I think moderating or doing damage control correlates with how much of a presence the business wants to have ie; they could be on SM to monitor but not actually engage with consumers.

  4. Great post. As Hannah said, great example of a celebrity using all means available to promote and cross-promote herself! She’s entertaining and engaging with her fans, and at the end of the day a strong and loyal fanbase means more dollars for her! Although she’s obviously in the entertainment biz, its a great example for the corporate and political sectors on how to use social media to great advantage.

  5. Hi guys – thanks for the plug to my post on Gaga – here is the link: http://whatmediado.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/media-effects-can-we-breed-some-mtherfcking-compassion/
    I was pretty shocked to understand how much of a following she has but looking at how well the site is populated already it’s pretty clear.
    But the question I have is whether we think that a platform like this can engineer social change. Do we think that Gaga’s Body Revolution campaign will have cut through? I hope so but the cynic inside me says it has all been tried before. You see, this will be an interesting social experiment as she is essentially battling a multi-billion industry of advertisers who project images daily of what is considered ‘beautiful.’
    Will her movement change the tide?

    • Thanks for the link Kate – such a great read!!

      I’m a bit of a cynic like you and it does feel like its all been done before (even by huge companies like Dove and their ‘Real Beauty’ campaign). I think what mades me think that Gaga’s campaign will have cut through is her influential social media status and her celebrity pull. She has access to so many avenues to promote her cause; her Lilttle Monsters website, social media platforms, her concerts, award ceremonies, interviews with music journos etc.

      I think these underlying alternative voices have been getting louder, people are paying more attention the falsities perpetuated by the media about what ‘real’ / ideal beauty is and I do think in this instance that Gaga’s mass following has a strong chance of helping to engineer social change.

  6. Pingback: Media effects: Can we breed some ‘m$therf*cking’ compassion? | What Media Do

  7. What I find amazing is that, when it all boils down, she’s a musician. In the “old days”, that was about making money from selling records. The advent of fast internet connections and file sharing, coupled with the fact people just don’t pay for music like they used to (remember the old Napster?!) means that musicians need new revenue streams. Enter the “personality”, a musician with opinions and the ability to drive more in consumer behaviour than just what enters their ears. There’s revenue from tours, appearances, endorsements, advertising – all made possible because the musician is a brand with a following. Social media has been key to linking the musician directly to the fan base, and a means of communicating more than just a pop song. While I admire Gaga’s social media cred, I wonder whether her own social media channel will stand the test of time. Will her fanbase gradually turn off as they find new stars to engage with? Or will Little Monsters end up evolving like the Harvard online student directory that we now know as Facebook?

    • 100% agreed. Celebrities, brands, organisations are having to keep up with the offerings in the digital landscape in order to support or create new revenue streams. The personality of the brand is becoming just as important as the product/service itself, not only is it a point of differentiation, it is also a relatable way for consumers to connect!

      ‘Just Dance’ came out in 2008 which makes me think that Gaga has been building her cred for four years, I feel this is a long time in celeb world and there doesn’t seem to be any celebs in her space that have come close in terms of achieving social media powerhouse status. She could be the new Madonna of pop music (who has been around far too long in my opinion) or she could lose fans if the next best thing comes along / decides to make a dramatic exit from the music scene. Speaking of directories, I think Gaga has a … GAGAPEDIA.

  8. Great post Alicia. I’m probably not her demographic, but I though I knew Gaga had a huge social media following, I didn’t realise that she’d created her own platform. Interesting too that she has managed to create such a consistent persona across so many platforms and engage with her fans at a personal level. As Tam says – I will watch with interest to see how this evolves.

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