A couple of months ago I couldn’t have told you who Miley Cyrus was. I genuinely miss those times.
But if like me, you’ve logged on to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Spotify during the past six weeks you’ll be well aware of her work, most likely because your news feed has been inundated with images of her gyrating her backside or fornicating with industrial machinery.
It turns out she’s a young American actor/singer, the daughter of achey-breaky country crooner Billy Ray Cyrus, a devout Christian and a former Disney starlet. It also seems Miley is attempting to shed her goody-goody image, along with all of her clothes.
Her new found online prominence is of course no fluke, she has an album out and her record company have set out an aggressive, stunt-laden advertising campaign to ensure it sells in the European market.
The sex-sells approach has been particularly unsubtle. I’m not exactly sure which demographic her music caters to, but it obviously overlaps the cross-section of the market that demands images of half-dressed American teenagers.
Salacious as the marketing material may be the advertising of her new album has been boosted massively by the use of social media sharing, not least after her controversial performance at an American awards show which led to her increased exposure (no pun intended) here in the UK.
The music industry was one of the first to recognise the marketing potential of social networks and the scale at which it can target, engage and convert customers who will in turn spread the digital word of mouth.
As Simon Cowell proclaimed: “For the music business, social networking is brilliant. Just when you think it's doom and gloom and you have to spend millions of pounds on marketing and this and that, you have this amazing thing now called fan power. It's amazing. And it's free. I love it. It's absolutely brilliant.”
He’s right, of course. But social media offers an effective approach for any brand in any number of industries beyond the music business. All you need is to produce engaging content that your audience will enjoy and feel that vital inclination to share.
With or without a scantily clad figurehead, a well-applied social media format provides an unparalleled free marketing tool that can generate interest in your brand or product.