Everybody has heard of pioneer internet sensation 'Soulja Boy Tell 'Em' or simply, Soulja Boy.
He's known today as simply a rapper or Hip-Hop artist. Ironically, some people still only know him as the 'Crank That Soulja Boy' guy. But for those more familiar with his story, it's no secret that Soulja Boy is a marketing mogul who has built his platform from the ground up by leveraging social media-- and was the first artist to be successful at it!
So how did Soulja Boy go from an aspiring rapper posting his music online for free, to a world renowned face with millions of fans who remain loyal to his brand over a decade later?
With these 5 marketing strategies that we can all apply!
1. Strategy Development
Soulja Boy went from an average joe internet user, to the very first viral sensation turned millionare who's primary medium was on the internet--namely social media. But how?
The very first marketing key we can learn from him is to have a strategy. His main objective was to maximize his exposure, and we can tell this from him connecting ALL of his accounts. He linked his SoundClick with his MySpace and vice versa, making it seamless for users from both platforms to find him on the other. Just by having his brand easily accessible, he amassed a larger following and grossed over $1 million in online music streams!
The Lesson: Connect ALL of your profiles & channels through one medium to maximize coverage and link-clicks!
Have you joined us on Instagram yet? Weekly Branding and Marketing Breakdowns just like this one, and behind-the-scenes exclusives at Touched By Ty are all available there! Just follow @TyllahsWrld
2. Audience Engagement
Soulja Boy was one of the first, if not the VERY first to become a mega internet sensation via YouTube, and he utilized social media platforms like MySpace primarily to connect, network, and discuss business as opposed to using social media purely for entertainment purposes.
Soulja Boy has a sparkling 'social media record' with no racist, problematic or harmful tweets, statuses or scandals that we need to dig up. Why? Because social media is about business, not lollygagging!
With every link he shared, video posted, or status created, Soulja Boy in his pioneer days was fixated on one thing and one thing only: #GROWTH.
The Lesson: Don't mindlessly engage on social media-- HAVE A PRODUCTIVE GOAL IN MIND, for example: find potential clients, increase exposure, deliver a product/service, establish brand voice, etc
3. Brand Maximization
Soulja Boy never stopped at just being a rapper, and as a result, he can still be relevant, live comfortably, and generate revenue even if he did not currently have an ongoing music career.
He didn't aim to just be known as 'Soulja Boy'; with his gains, Soulja Boy financed S.O.D.M.G. (Stacks On Deck Money Gang), a team of solo artists and talented creatives who served as assets.
Additionally, he set out to permanently impress minds through original branding with his signature dance Crank That Soulja Boy (a dance many people are still doing), create ringtones, create his own video game console, and produce his own MySpace layouts and graphics for his fans to use.
This not only brought him more income, but established very early on that his fans could expect more from him than catchy songs.
The Lesson: Don't just create a product or service; create a BRAND with signatures, originals, and accents that let your potential clients know, "You won't find this anywhere else." For example: if you are a hairstylist, aim to produce your own hair care product; if you are a social media consultant, create spreadsheets or worksheets for your clients and potential clients.
4. Hustle, Hustle, HUSTLE
There is hardly anyone who can say they've never heard Soulja Boy be criticized, laughed at, or have his achievements minimized.
From haters accusing him of destroying Hip-Hop (an indestructible force), to people laughing at his endeavor to create a black-owned game console, Soulja Boy has been the subject of cruel taunting since his very first internet appearance.
But he never allowed criticism or lack of respect (something small business owners know about all too well) to stop him from a. staying relevant, b. producing even more music, or c. stepping into new industries!
He had his sights set on GREEN and hate was not on his radar!
The Lesson: People laughed at Soulja Boy, an internet and social media sensational pioneer, and they will laugh at you, too! KEEP SHOWING UP AND SHOWING OUT!
5. Humanity First, Business Second
Soulja Boy's 2019 Breakfast Club Interview was so monumental for his career, and even earned him the title, 'Greatest Comeback of 2019'. But how?
During his interview, he wasn't ashamed to be vulnerable about his frustrations with all the constant hatred, lawsuits regarding his gaming console, and the lack of respect people had for him despite him being the one to pave the way for other internet sensations (Soulja Boy walked so SoundCloud rappers could run)!
His raw emotion and openness sparked a more honest conversation surrounding his achievements, and allowed the world to see that Soulja Boy has always been the non-problematic, dorky, fun-loving, tech-savy, street and book smart rapper we had been hoping for all along!
One of your most valuable assets in business is your vulnerability-- your willingness to be honest, open, and invite others into who you are, not just what you do.
The Lesson: Humans connect with humans-- not companies. Show your face, wear your heart, and don't be yet another faceless/humanless brand that only ever asks for money. Your audience isn't looking for perfect, they're looking for authentic.
Take your brand marketing to the next level! Get your custom cut thank you cards, coupons, hole-punch rewards cards, and greeting cards just in time for your Black Friday campaign when you place your order before November 3rd!
Did you miss the November 3rd deadline? Don't worry, you can still enhance your brand marketing for Christmas!
Gift tags, coupons, personalized boxes and so much more!
Need some custom print ideas? Check out our print portfolio!