After getting expelled from school in eighth grade, surviving nights on an empty stomach and being locked up in jail, Tekashi has grown to become the talk of the town. Hailing from humble roots, this rapper has turned into a platinum-selling artist, hitting over 5 million subscribers on YouTube and going viral on social media – all in a span of one year!
Takeshi has redefined what it’s like to be a rapper in 2018, carving an exclusive new niche in the modern hip-hop space. He has triggered a wildfire of comments with his trashy talks, sensational antics and aggressive rapping style. Apart from his rainbow hair, colourful teeth and controversial numbers ‘69’ inked over 200 times throughout his body, Tekashi also has a bang on marketing ploy. Here’s how this rising star struck virality super fast and you can too:
- Create a branding strategy that will shock people
Incorporate head-turning imagery with contrasting colours, trending fashion, sexual references and humorous content into your branding. Anything that shocks viewers or gives them originality they’ve never seen before, leaves a long-lasting impression. Tekashi’s vivid rainbow themed branding not only catches the eye but also works wonders on a monitor screen, setting it apart from other three/four toned colour schemes. Additionally, rainbow hair made a massive fashion splash, trending in 2018, and Tekashi bagged this opportunity to brand his videos and clothing in rainbow hues. The myriad of tattoos labelled ‘69’ emblazoning his skin go further in building a stark sexual innuendo associated with his name.
- Use social media to leverage your non-celebrity personality
Accentuate your big personality through social media. Being humble and acknowledging your flaws will help people relate to you better. In one Instagram video, Tekashi portrays himself as a bad dancer and his humour struck a chord with fans. At the other end of the scale, Tekashi also gloats unabashedly about his achievements, showcasing himself as ‘king’, and ‘the hottest thing in town’. By portraying such confidence and energy, he makes people believe that he’s better than his competition. Promoting yourself as being the best in the market and oozing confidence goes a long way in getting people to check out what the hype is all about.
- Create topical controversial content
Include controversial content, pull off publicity stunts or refer to a topical controversy in your video. According to a study, people love to share videos that spark a debate. Give people something new to talk about. It doesn’t have to be negative, it could be as simple as organizing a publicity parade. Renown for getting his YouTube videos deleted, Tekashi has a history of battling with social media platforms. Some of his controversial content includes videos of him wrestling with twerking girls, flaunting big stacks of money, playing with guns and highly sexual content that goes against social media laws. From getting kidnapped to being robbed, Tekashi always lands up on the news. And all of which could very well have been schemed to keep him raging at the center of attention.
- Create memes and advertise them on popular forums
Create a unique product, sell your branded merchandise and showcase a part of your eccentric personality through memes. And then cross-promote your meme on popular forums. Knowing exactly what catches the internet’s attention is the key to going viral. Wearing t-shirts with sexual slurs like ‘HIV’ and ‘69’ blazing across has made Tekashi a living meme. When Tekashi used Reddit and Twitter as a forum to market his clothing line, it elicited more trolls, thrusting Tekashi further up the popularity plane.
- Promote yourself heavily in a region where a majority of your fanbase is located
Research where the majority of your fanbase is situated geographically and promote heavily in those areas. Post your content on channels and forums most used by fans in that area. After forming a solid viewership, start expanding your promotions globally. Tekashi initially released his music and videos on a channel based in Slovakia called ‘Fck Them’. Since most of his followers were based in Slovakia, Tekashi spent most of his early gigs touring through Europe.
- Find out what your viewers want on a deeper psychological level and give it to them
Learn what in specific your target audience love about your videos and base your identity and music around this theme. This will help you retain loyal fans and reach out to a highly targeted, similar fan base. Tekashi makes use of this marketing psychology strategy to target his audience. The rapper belongs to a generation where children and young adults with strong personal identities find it hard to conform to social norms. Since most of his fans belong to this category, it has made him an advocate for social outcasts like himself. Tekashi flaunts about being a social outcast in many of his songs, and even named some of his music videos ‘SCUM’ which stands for ‘Society Can’t Understand Me’.
- Use negative comments to boost viewership
Use any negative comments you get to leverage your name, form collaborations and reach out to a new audience. Tekashi sees haters as “people who help get his name out there”, treating all press as good press. When rapper Trippy Red lashed out against Tekashi, Tekashi messaged the artist saying that he liked his music. This resulted in a music collaboration that bolstered Tekashi’s profile like never before. Tekashi also lashes out publicly against other celebrities, and they, in turn, lash back by posting about Tekashi on their social media profiles. Regardless of the negativity, when Tekashi is mentioned on another’s celebrity’s wall, it puts him in the spotlight and introduces him to a new audience. YouTube monetizes videos based on views and interactions so even when a video is disliked, it counts as an interaction and the video is boosted.
- Get involved in community work to emotionally connect with audiences
Actively take part in community work in-person, conduct inspirational talks on topics like “following your dreams” and “creating a better lifestyle”. Getting involved in charity events balances out negative press coverage as well as lets you contribute to the community. Tekashi frequently visits children’s hospitals and makes an effort to give back to his community.
Tekashi hit a home run with his singles, even before releasing a debut album and doing features. This shows that promotional tactics and a sound marketing strategy are the keys to gaining virality in 2019.
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