What Social Media Marketers Can Learn From Miley Cyrus…

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Miley Cyrus licks a hammerBy now, most of you likely know more than you ever cared to about Miley Cyrus – one-time star of Disney, now a self-proclaimed adult “acting like a kid.”

You’ll know, for example, at least a little about her salacious performance at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), when she donned a flesh-colored bikini and twerked her way into cultural consciousness. You’ll have glimpsed the provocative new image she has fashioned for herself, in her continuing efforts to outrun her vanilla past. You might even have heard a thing or two about the recent video for her single “Wrecking Ball,” released only last week, which saw the starlet straddling wrecking balls in the nude, licking sledgehammers, and smashing all previous records for online viewership within a 24-hour period.

Ultimately, what’s worth our study is the ubiquity and persistence of Miley’s re-branded persona. She’s just about everywhere these days: on every search engine, every major media outlet, every social platform. There’s little she does that we don’t know about – that she doesn’t somehow share with us – and to that end she has proven herself a MASTER of social media and search engine optimization. Her notoriety following Wrecking Ball is especially remarkable and offers valuable insight into how a person or business can jack news coverage, dominate searches, and score net new business.

HEREWITH, the lessons in SEO we can learn from Miley and Wrecking Ball:

  • Naked student on wrecking ballQuality links are everything. As Martin Laetsch pointed out in his presentation a few weeks back “5 SEO Strategies Every Company Needs to Master,” a company’s online content should be something that attracts people, that they want to read or watch, and share. It should be trafficked on high-ranking sites and be linked to by high-authority sites. Miley managed this by effectively tying Wrecking Ball’s video success to the upcoming release of her new record. She challenged her Twitter and Instagram followers to get the video up to 12 million views on the very same day of its debut, promising them the tracklist to her album Bangerz if they hit the mark. In doing this, Miley made a strategic offer that answered a specific demand, which made the content she pushed all the more compelling.Her actions ensured that the video was prominent on all the right platforms: it’s currently featured on YouTube’s home page, and shows up first when a person searches the phrase “wrecking ball.”
  • Be strategic. Cyrus’ strategy was to promote her video first by more personalized channels before expanding to larger platforms. She took care to promote the video via her Twitter and Instagram accounts initially, outlets she directly curates and shapes, well before releasing it to the video-sharing system VEVO – making it an integral feature of her re-branding and engagement strategy.
  • Crossing the channels to a call to action. With the right anchor text and hyperlinks, you can invite your audience to channel-hop, increasing exposure and perhaps taking them to some kind of “buy now” call to action. In the case of Wrecking Ball, the links on YouTube beckoned viewers to iTunes to preorder the album, and to Google Plus to buy the Wrecking Ball single.

Buy Miley Cyrus single Wrecking Ball

None of this, of course, in any way justifies Cyrus’ bizarre behavior of late; if her turn in Wrecking Ball was any indication, the young entertainer has quite a bit more growing up to do. What deserves our note (and maybe even a bit of our praise, too) is Cyrus’ savvy for social media and her outsized talent for self-promotion. She may well be an adult acting like a kid, but she’s also a bona fide master of social media and SEO.

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  • bri44any

    I’d like to add that we can also re-learn that not all SEO or social media is good for your brand.

  • Thomas Craft

    Disregarding the content and behavior would be a disservice to those reading. The strategy was smart but the damage to reputation may outweigh the benefits.

  • Bobby Holt

    Some say any publicity is good publicity, but sometimes it’s not.