Case Study: Comparing Rihanna’s Diverse Instagram and Twitter Marketing Tactics

If you think that Rihanna is just another vapid pop star that you can’t learn anything from, I’m sure there’s an unsuccessful Twitter or Instagram marketing account you could be managing somewhere. For those who want to learn from one of the most diverse social marketing campaigns going on right now, please keep reading.

You are going to learn about someone who is using a diverse social marketing campaign across multiple platforms. I am going to call it ‘content stream branding.’ You are going to see how you can better tailor your content to the platform, instead of using the same content across every platform. You are also going to see Rihanna in a less than the business-like state of dress. Be forewarned…

Case study: Rihanna’s Instagram & Twitter marketing

1 artist, 2 very different accounts

Something that brands fail to realize is that Twitter and Instagram, despite their image heavy-ness and use of hashtag marketing, are actually very different platforms. Rihanna, or her marketing team, realized this difference and capitalized on it. A brief summary of this difference:

  • Twitter: This is where she does the bulk of her direct marketing. She will advertise her latest album, her upcoming tour dates, and give very formal presentations of her merchandise. Rihanna focuses closely on the business side of being a popstar with her Twitter account.
  • Instagram: The handle for this account is @BadGalRiRi. She is notorious for living up to this handle, frequently posting things that are much more risqué, and personal. You will see photos of her friends, photos of her showing skin, and possibly photos of her doing things that are less than legal.

Let’s look a little bit deeper at why she did this, and how she did this, so that you can apply it to your own social media campaigns.

Rihanna keeps it professional on Twitter

Look through Rihanna’s Twitter account and you will quickly realize what her strategy is. The tweet you see above is a perfect example of how she focuses on her products. Everything is presented very professionally and with common branding. You can feel the production value oozing off of her images:

Her consistent branding on this social platform gives people expectations. Her fans know what to expect when they go to her Twitter account. Managing your audience’s expectations is very important on any social media platform. You know that when you go to Rihanna’s Twitter account you’re going to get information on her latest products.

If you choose to use this tactic you will help guide your fans and followers to the appropriate content stream. When Rihanna’s fans want to learn about her products, they know to go to Twitter. She hasn’t just branded herself, she has branded her content streams. This is the point of content stream branding.

Tactics for linking

Given that she has branded this account so clearly as a place where she’s going to market, she freely includes URLs for direct product purchases:

This is something that is very difficult to get away with if you do it too often. Given that Rihanna has properly managed her audience’s expectation, she does it more often than most pop stars on Twitter. This has contributed greatly to her ability to market her music on social media.

Things do still get personal

It’s not all direct marketing on her Twitter account, she has a very minimal amount of personal information. This is very rare and she usually saves all of her personal content for Instagram. When she does tweet something personal she uses it wisely by tweeting about things that are happening right now:

By only using her Twitter to tweet about personal things right when they happen, she maximizes her ability to get retweets from trending topics. At this time, she has not sent out any content like this since November 2016. It’s unlikely she will not post any new personal content to allow her account to remain focused.

Rihanna on Instagram Warning: @BadGalRiRi ahead

This is not a joke; if you do not want to see some rather sensitive content this section is not for you. Rihanna does not hold back on her Instagram account, and in order to properly understand how it functions I cannot hold back either.

With that said, here is the type of content you can expect from Rihanna on Instagram:

  • Videos from backstage
  • Photos of her with friends
  • Lots of pictures in bikinis
  • Videos taken from the concert stage
  • Fan art
  • Her personal interests

In short, everything that you do not commonly find on her Twitter account is on her Instagram account in full color. Not only will it be in full color, but it’ll be full of colorful language:

Game 7 as phuck!!!

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

Yes, we found out that she is a fan of Lebron James. Let’s just say I’m going to allow the language she used because of the careful changing of one letter to two.

Rihanna keeps it very personal on Instagram

The majority of content you will find on Rihanna’s Instagram account is personal. Pictures of what she gets up to with friends and videos of what happened backstage are common topics:

To keep the behind-the-scenes feeling going, while still tying in a bit to products, she will also post pictures from photoshoots.

Behind the scenes #KISSbyRihanna available now at @macys

This is a very easy way for her to let her fans feel like they are a part of personal moments, as well as the personal moments behind her business.

Another very interesting and personal aspect of her Instagram account is how often she posts fan art:

If you truly want to create something like the Rihanna Navy, this is the kind of personal interaction you need to build. How could you not become a fervent fan when someone you look up to gives you the time of day like this?

It’s not all work work work work work

Take a look through her account long enough and you will see some content that isn’t there as a behind-the-scenes peek or a look at her personal life. There is some content which is purely for the LOLz:

When me and squad found out we were number one on Billboard this week #WORK

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

There are many different ways she could’ve gone with that announcement, this is the one she chose. That tells you a lot about how she views her Instagram account, and even more, about what you can learn from funny marketers. It can also tell you a lot about how you can use your own Instagram account to occasionally just make your followers laugh.

Why Rihanna’s Instagram and Twitter marketing tactics differ so much

After reading all of the above points, and taking the time to scroll through both accounts, it’s simple to see that the tactics being used on these accounts are different. To understand why, we turn to Frank Cooper of Buzzfeed speaking to Vanity Fair:

“Most of the celebrities that actually have been effective on [social media] definitely are willing to allow a pretty high level of transparency.”

With Rihanna, you are getting the marketing-driven side on Twitter, and you’re getting personal transparency on Instagram. Anyone with multiple content streams can do this. Use one account for your business content, and another for intimate content. This can be a good way to avoid the trap of posting the exact same content on both accounts, keeping your content fresh all of the time.

Rihanna taught us content stream branding

If you learn anything from Rihanna’s marketing style, make it that you can create different streams of content using your different social media platforms. Instagram and Twitter are two very different social media platforms. Posting different content on them only makes sense.

In truth, Rihanna could have easily reversed her direction and used her Instagram formally, and her Twitter informally. The decision likely came down to which one was better at selling her products online. I do not have access to Rihanna’s social media analytics, but we can take a guess and say that she was getting much better conversions from Twitter. Her Twitter account was chosen to be more business focused, and her Instagram’s meant purely for fun. Try content stream branding for yourself and let us know how it goes!

This is the end of the article…


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Case Study: Comparing Rihanna’s Instagram and Twitter Marketing Tactics in 2017

  1. International pop star Rihanna and her social-media team definitely know how to target her posts for maximum impact. Come, learn from her….
  2. Like the singer herself, Rihanna’s online presence has multiple sides.
  3. She uses Twitter for her more professional goals, like marketing her fragrance lines.
  4. Instagram is where she lets loose: sharing bikini shots and pix with her fans.
  5. Managing your audience’s expectations is very important on any social media platform, and Rhianna is a master at this.