To call Taylor Swift influential is like calling the sky blue, which explains why the Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-born singer-songwriter was just named one of the 100 most influential in Time magazine. Swift, 25, has more than 56 million followers on Twitter, 70 million fans on Facebook and more than 27 million followers on Instagram, for a combined total of 153 million fans. That’s roughly half of the U.S. population of 318.9 million people.
How did Swift make it to the top in 25 short years? Yes, her talent, soul-searching lyrics and girl-next-door beauty can partially be credited for her success. But Swift’s also got some pretty useful strategies that helped her along the way.
â€” Taylor Swift Updates (@TSwiftLA) April 16, 2015
1. She aligns herself with the right people.
In songs like “You Belong With Me,” Swift crooned about feeling lonely and rejected in high school. Now, she parties with celebrities such as Jay Z, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and Selena Gomez. When the songwriter turned a quarter of a century old last December, Swift threw what Kelly Osbourne called “one of the best parties I have been to.” And remember, Kelly is rock star Ozzy Osbourne’s daughter. Swift is also regularly spotted with former Victoria’s Secret model Karlie Kloss.
And don’t get on her bad side. Remember when Victoria’s Secret model Jessica Hart dissed Swift during the brand’s annual fashion show in 2013? Hart was mysteriously absent from the 2014 runway event, which a source from the New York Daily News said was due to Swift’s request. She performed during the fashion show in 2013 and 2014.
2. She directly communicates with fans.
â€” Taylor Swift Updates (@SimplySFans) September 1, 2014
Swift doesn’t just thank her fans via social media or at concerts. She engages them. Last fall, her uplifting response to a fan who was being bullied on Instagram went viral. “Don’t let them change you or stop you from singing or dancing around to your favorite song,” Swift posted on the girl’s Instagram account.
Swift has proven over and over again that she’s genuinely a kindhearted person, but the attention her actions receive from social media doesn’t hurt, either.
3. She knows her brand.
Swift’s brand is part down-to-earth country girl, part girl next door and part wide-eyed ingénue. She’s easy to relate to. Young girls want to be her best friend. She sings about love, loss, rejection and heartbreak -- topics that every teenage girl can understand. She’s not a high-maintenance diva. She’s the type of girl who unashamedly sings Faith Hill songs with her friends in the back of a van. She doesn’t pretend to be something she’s not. And though many musical artists have their images carefully crafted by a team of PR specialists, Swift’s image seems 100 percent genuine.
4. She stands up for herself.
Despite her nice girl image, Swift isn’t afraid to fight for her beliefs. Last fall, she yanked all of her music from the streaming app Spotify because she felt that artists didn’t make enough money from its services.
“I think there should be an inherent value placed on art," Swift told Time in November. "I didn’t see that happening, perception-wise, when I put my music on Spotify. Everybody’s complaining about how music sales are shrinking, but nobody’s changing the way they’re doing things. I think that people should feel that there is a value to what musicians have created, and that’s that.”
5. She collaborates with others.
Being a team player is important, and Swift, whose closest friends include Lorde and Ed Sheeran, uses her status in Hollywood to help others out. Swift usually refrains from petty arguments on social media and projects a cooperative image that other celebrities love.
Swift even sang “Super Bass” with rapper Nicki Minaj in 2011, proof that two completely different artists from two different genres with different fan bases can work together.