Learning From Lady Gaga's Social Media Success
CREDIT: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com
UPDATED JUNE 9, 2012 10:45 A.M. ET
CLARIFICATION – Jaunique Sealey, the subject of this story, says she worked on the Lady Gaga "Born This Way" social media campaign while working at Atom Digital, the agency responsible for the project. Atom Digital is the digital marketing arm of Atom Factory, which counts Lady Gaga among its clients.
Atom Factory was founded by its CEO Troy Carter.
Carter posted the following comment on Mashable, where this story also appears and reiterated the sentiment to BusinessNewsDaily in a phone interview.
"Jaunique Sealey was an employee of Atom Digital for less than a year, but had nothing to do with leading Lady Gaga’s social media strategy. Bobby Campbell, Matt Michelsen, and many others went through long days and sleepless nights crafting a great campaign that led to great results. Even the bench players get a ring when the team wins a championship, but you can’t claim you made the game winning shot when you didn't."
Sealey no longer works for Atom Digital and has started her own consulting business. The story below is in its original form…
Lady Gaga might have been "Born This Way," but the success of her megahit album of the same name didn't happen by chance. Instead it followed a comprehensive social media campaign led by strategist Jaunique Sealey.
Sealey, whose company specializes in social media marketing and branding, audience development and digital media distribution, was charged with developing a campaign to help make the album's release the largest in history. The 1.1 million copies sold in its first week made "Born This Way" the fastest-selling album in 2011.
"Lady Gaga's team is huge, and I would never claim the success was because of me, but I do think that the strategy we used was very groundbreaking," Sealey told BusinessNewsDaily.
The goal was to roll out the album in much the same way movies are released.
"We wanted to drive interest in every possible platform," Sealey said.
The centerpiece of the campaign was a partnership with social network game developer Zynga. Known for its fan favorite Farmville, Zynga and Sealy created a spinoff called "Gagaville" for the album release.
The three-day feature let Lady Gaga fans complete tasks that, when finished, unlocked online versions of unreleased songs from the album.
"No one has ever used a gaming platform to release an album before," Sealey said. Her strategy resulted in more than 13 million users downloading songs.
Sealey said the key to this campaign's success, as for any social media campaign, was to always focus on the target audience.
"A large part of the conversation involved the fans," Sealey said. "Our first concern was: How do we involve the fans?"
The trick is knowing the audience, knowing which social media outlets they visit, and tailoring the message specifically to them, she said.
"You need to craft a message that they will understand," Sealey said.
The biggest mistake others make is constantly thinking about what can be done instead of what should be done, she said.
"They are chasing after new platforms but are not focusing on why people are using these platforms," Sealey said. "So their efforts end up being for naught."
Sealey recently authored the book "Piece of the Fame: Rockstar Social Media Marketing Strategy for Everyone" (Inkspiration Press, 2012). The book isa guide to creating a successful brand online. It provides in-depth views of social media platforms by examining them from both conceptual and literal angles and gives advice on how to take advantage of the close relationship with consumers that social media offers.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.