Aubrey Graham. Drake. The 6 God. Drizzy Drake. Jimmy Brooks from Degrassi… It doesn’t matter how you know him the rapper constantly trends. Whether as a meme, a dance challenge or at an NBA game.
But why is it that this rapper from Canada continues to go viral, continues to break streaming records and continues to see his name trending.
Before we analyse this and what we can take away from the OVO owner let’s look at the Social Media/ Viral history of Drake.
STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM – The History Drake is no newcomer to the entertainment industry. Thanks to a popular Canadian high school franchise – Degrassi, the rapper first gained attention as Jimmy Brooks.
In 2007, he left the teen drama to pursue a career in music and made waves with his 2009 mixtape So Far Gone that featured his now signature melancholic sound through songs Best I Ever Had and Successful. Drake was being authentic long before it became a marketing buzzword 10 years later. Think about it, if he were to come in as a Thug rapper like 50 Cent and the G-Unit crew, no one would have bought what he was selling.
Whilst Drake was dabbling in “authenticity” ahead of time, it was in 2011, that Drake’s influence on pop culture was about to be unleashed. The popular song The Motto features the term “YOLO” which has become a popular hashtag for the millennial generation.
The hashtag of YOLO may have started the rapper’s first foray into Social Media, but it was the video clip for Started From the Bottom that would begin his rise to “King of the Memes.” With the release of his mainstream hit Hold On, We’re Coming Home, the web saw an influx of memes with the rapper photoshopped looking sad and surrounded by money.
And then with the now-iconic first line “you used to call me on my cellphone…” from the Hotline Bling video, Drake’s Dad dance moves saw him go viral once again.
Add to this dance challenges based upon his song In My Feelings (#dotheshiggy) and the release of his album Scorpion reaching 3 million Tweet mentions in over 24 hours after the album dropped the bombshell that the rapper had fathered a child.
His love of his hometown Toronto and the city’s basketball team has contributed to his trending ways. In 2014, Drake sat courtside and lint rolled his tracksuit pants whilst watching the game. The image went viral and the following week the OVO label head and the Toronto Raptors had partnered giving out branded lint rollers to those at the following basketball game.
These are just a few examples of how the rapper has trended in some way or form. POP STYLE – How Drake Remains On Trend
Now, let’s find the key takeaways from his virality and how we as small business owners, personal brands and social media managers can learn from this.
AUTHENTICITY As already discussed, Drake is authentic. He isn’t afraid to embrace those uncool mannerisms that allow him to go viral and use them to his advantage. His brand started with a melancholic sound and whilst innovative, if he was to début as a more aggressive rapper from the “hood”, the fans would never have bought the concept due to his TV history. As fans played into his sombre, emotional ways, he continued to serve himself to his audience, clear in the Hotline Bling Dad dance and its popularity.
Therefore, by remaining true to ourselves when it comes to our social media, we can build a loyal follower-base that in turn can lead to customers who will eventually want to buy what we are selling. This means showing transparency, vulnerability and sharing your unique story and not just selling to your audience.
LOYALTY Drake is proud of his origin. He represents his hometown of Toronto. This was never clearer than the controversy he caused during the recent NBA finals series against the Golden State Warriors. His passion for his home team saw the rapper trolling the opposition with his antics and, you guessed it, was trending every game. He also ensured if the Toronto Raptors won, he was ready to release a song to commemorate the historic occasion.
This is a great example for us to represent what we believe in. That might be our hometown, our group of small business collaborators or even our favourite products and services. The more you do this and represent your origin or loves, the more your audience is going to get to know you better and believe in what you say.
ENGAGING The capitalization of going viral that Drake consistently demonstrates shows an example of the “network effect” that he has on his audience. The way he acts ignites fans and (trolls) to turn him into yet another social media trend – he is indirectly engaging them (almost baiting them) to make him go viral once again. This cycle is why he remains at the top of trending lists. He drops a song and instantly excited fans make sure his songs stream heavily and chart. In some cases breaking streaming or download records.
By engaging with our audiences on Social Media we are able to use the algorithms to our advantage. Maintaining our relationships with our followers and those who we wish to become our followers. If we are lucky we might even be able to go viral ourselves.
CONSISTENCY And once it’s all said and done, he does it all over again. Consistently serving himself on a Social Media platter to the world. Ready to capitalize on his virality once more.
Drake has been a trending topic regularly since 2009. That’s a decade of maintaining himself and his reputation on Social Media. And this consistency is one of the major keys to his success.
As personal brands, small business owners and social media managers, we also need to make sure that consistency remains in our Social Media Strategies too. While, we may not be beefing with another rapper, releasing a new track or trolling the court-side at a Raptors game, we can still use consistent posts and messaging to make sure we build our brand name, our loyalty from our followers and convert them into buyers.
These are the 4 key elements that highlight how the Canadian Rapper, Actor & businessman uses Social Media and its channels to his greatest advantage. It’s also 4 key elements that we can use in our Social Media Strategies to help us work with the algorithm and give our brand names the best opportunity to trend as possible. Because just like Drake we all “just want to be successful.”