The tour has only just begun, with shows set to run over the next six months. But the social media guessing game is in full swing, with posts dedicated to easter eggs from the concerts garnering 35 million views on TikTok. As the online discourse ramps up, we break down some of Swift’s successful engagement strategies.
- Meetup Treasure Hunts: In 2019, an unidentified butterfly mural appeared in Nashville with a matching colourway to Swift’s recent Instagram posts at the time, with seven flowers (to mark her upcoming seventh album), and 13 hearts (her favourite number, as her followers are aware). Superfans correctly guessed her association with the artwork. Swift later announced she would host a surprise meet-up at the location on April 25. The following day, April 26, she released a new song and music video, Me! – another accurate prediction by her fans. The artist had been repetitively captioning her Instagram posts with the date '4.26', and hosted a mysterious countdown on her website, which ended at midnight on April 26.
- Scoping Re-Release Signals: After a tumultuous contractual fallout with music manager Scooter Braun, Swift set out to re-record past works to her liking. Fans have kept a keen eye, hoping to guess which archival album will resurface next.
Following the release of Red (Taylor’s Version) in November 2021, the artist tweeted: "Red is about to be mine again, but it has always been ours." This instantly sparked discussion among ‘Swifties’ who noted that Mine and Ours are both track titles on the album Speak Now, hypothesising that this meant it was next on the re-record agenda. An odd price point for merch for Red's relaunch was also flagged: $20.10, matching the year (2010) Speak Now was initially released.
- Episodic Social Media: In 2022, Swift made a mini TikTok series Midnights Mayhem with Me, which ran from September 21 to October 7, and was watched over 98 million The star sat spinning a bingo cage, pulling ping-pong balls at random to read out the track titles on her upcoming album, Midnights.
The videos gave her followers something to follow and look forward to, engineering anticipation for the release. They eagerly dissected the symbols and phrases to try and predict what the songs would be about. Swift scripted the videos with payoff for her fans in mind: for example, she opened the first video by saying: ‘It’s me, hi,’ which ended up being a viral lyric from the album’s first single, Anti-Hero.
By centring fans in this version of guerrilla marketing, Swift crafts a direct line of communication between artist and follower, while also fostering a community as fans collaborate online to decode what she may do next. Those who remain dedicated – keeping a keen eye on the singer’s work and socials – are affording the chance to ‘win’ the game, gaining access to Swift and cultural clout among the fandom.
For further insights, see Reddit's Community Canvas Mobilises Millions in Pop Culture Pulse: April 2022.