What Social Media Users Can Learn from Justin Bieber

My apologies for the belated birthday wishes to Justin Bieber, who finally became legal turned 18 yesterday. I’ll admit, I’m not a huge Biebs fan — though you might be able to catch me on a sunny day with the windows open singing along to one of his bubblegum pop songs. Justin Bieber has filled in a gap long left behind by boy bands such as NSync and the Backstreet Boys (am I dating myself?) that teen girls just seem to need (and seemingly, older women, too).

However, while all I could do to show my appreciation for boy bands was attend a concert and try to throw a love note on stage, today’s teens and tweens have social media to interact with their favorite celebrities and popstars. Justin Bieber is currently not only the reigning king of pop, but also Twitter, holding strong as the #2 most followed person on Twitter with 18 million followers. (Lady Gaga barely leads at #1.) Justin Bieber also notably sets the bar on Klout with a perfect score of 100. Clearly, the Biebs is doing something right — not just as a celebrity, but as a social media superstar. So what can other social media users learn from Justin Bieber?

Be an Early Adopter

What were you doing five years ago? While most savvy Internet users were still hooked on MySpace and starting to feel out Facebook, Justin Bieber was starting to acquire a few thousand followers on Twitter. Someone (much more savvy than you or me) in Justin’s camp knew that Justin could be a big fish in a very small pond on Twitter, and that very smart marketing intern not only deserves a raise (if they haven’t received one yet) but proved a very critical point in being a savvy social media user. Many new social networks do burst and then bust, but some have amazing sticking power, such as Twitter. If you want to be be a social media rock star like Justin Bieber, it is essential to be an early adopter.

Know Who Your Audience Is

Justin’s career essentially started when Scooter Braun saw him on YouTube after Justin’s mother uploaded a recording of Justin’s performance during a talent competition. The rest isn’t quite history; Justin and his new team (which included Usher) helped Justin define his audience, which probably wasn’t that hard, but important. Justin couldn’t appeal to both 13-year-old girls and older, married men; these types of people have vastly different interests in almost every aspect of the world. Justin knew — or at least defined — his audience as tween and teen girls. This could help him shape his content and his voice both as a musician and as a social media star. As a social media user, knowing your audience will help you define the type of online identity you want to create for yourself or your business, which can help control your voice, messaging, and even ethics.

Create Content Specific for Your Audience

Ever turn on the radio and just know when a song is Justin Bieber — even if you haven’t heard it before, or rarely listen to his music? Justin’s songs admittedly sound very similar, and for a good reason: His defined audience loves that type of music. As a social media user, once you identify your audience, you will want to create the same defined type of style that your audience loves and comes to expect from you as well. While readers of other blogs, Twitter accounts, or Facebook pages may not like your content, your style, or your voice, that’s OK; readers of your social media channels do. While you shouldn’t necessarily write only for your readers, be sure to keep your audience in mind and remember why they choose to follow you or read your blog.

Create Social Media That Engages Your Audience

Justin Bieber may not be your cup of tea, but for millions of other Twitter users — and his adoring fans — they can’t get enough of his music or his social media content. He is an active musician, but also creates unique content that excites his fans and followers, which triggers replies from his fans. Then, Justin replies to and retweets his followers on Twitter, showing appreciation for their interaction with him. This creates a cyclical effect of fans that simply can’t get enough of the Biebs. As a social media user, you might not get the exact same effect, but you can create similar evangelists by creating content that others want to reply to, and as you share their replies, you can create a long-lasting dialogue that will allow your fans and followers to want to continue to engage with you on your social network of choice.

Make Your Audience Want to Share Your Content

Justin’s fans love talking about his content, whether it’s his music, a new YouTube video, or something he tweeted. You can count on anything he tweets getting hundreds of retweets and replies, especially if it contains a link to his #GiveBack campaign or a new photo. Justin’s trick to creating tweets that are shared and replied to by others is by including or discussing interesting content that appeals to his fans. Essentially, if you know your fans, and you know what content they’ll like, this final step will evolve naturally for a savvy social media user who isn’t also necessarily a rock star, too.