written by: Lyu Yizhe, Eleanor
“PSY’s Gangnam Style becomes the first video to be viewed 1 billion times on YouTube” “BTS overtook pop superstars like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez to win Top Social Artist Award at Billboard Music Awards 2017” “EXO concert tickets sold out in 0.4 seconds”  … These kinds of news are no longer wonders. Since the turn of the 20th century, K-Pop entertainment has become a multi-billiondollar industry  and set off a hurricane around the world under the name of Korean Wave or Hallyu.
The artists, mostly members of an idol group, are managed as products and brands by entertainment companies. The target consumers of these unusual products are the fans. At the mention of K-Pop fans, many people describe them as “crazy” or “obsessed”, which means they will do countless things for their idols, from purchasing albums, attending their concerts to casting votes on music charts day and night. All in all, they take actions for the products. An intriguing question is: What is the formula of the Korean entertainment companies to cook up such high level consumer engagement?
First and foremost, the K-pop industry is actualizing a brand culture that allows participation, interaction and co-creation. Consumers/Fans can vote to decide the name of the fan club of one of the hottest rookie groups from PLEDIS Entertainment, SEVENTEEN . In this process of involvement, the consumers/fans role changes from merely paying for the products to being part of the brand.
What’s more, get the most out of touch-points management helps the k-pop brands to maintain emotional connections with their fans, especially making the best use of social media. Lyn, a two-year Army ( fandom of idol group BTS), explained why she keeps following BTS on social media platforms. She gets to stay close to BTS latest/fresh activities even in between the blank period when no new album is released.
BTS, the winner of 2017 Billboard Top Social Artist Award, is a typical example of meticulous social media management. Their YouTube has different columns with categorical content focus , such as dance practice and BANGTAN Log. The Facebook account is used to publish official photos and announce official information. They post selfies and share personal experiences on Twitter, Café Naver (a paid fan club mainly for domestic Korean fans) and Weibo (for Chinese fans) on daily basis. Besides, they also prepare live shows and self-made variety shows through V LIVE (a live broadcasting App). Although many platforms are used, contents disseminated are converged to the same message and integrated. They made it clear to their fans on where to find what on the different social media platforms. Up to now, they have 8.34M followers on Twitter, 4.23M subscribes on YouTube, 0.56M on Café Naver (nearly twice to the first runner-up).