Maluma on Shirtless Selfies, Being 'Real' & the Secret to Netting 20 Million Instagram Followers

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Maluma visits SBS Broadcast Center and La Musica on Feb. 9, 2017 in Miami. 

No other Spanish-language act comes close to the Colombian star’s 20.3 million Instagram followers. Ahead of the 23-year-old’s first U.S. tour (starting March 2), Maluma and Shareablee CEO/social media guru Tania Yuki break down what he’s doing right

Know Your Demo
The Star: “Sometimes I post something unwittingly that connects with women,” says Maluma of his popularity with the ladies. “But I never think, ‘OK, let’s take a shirtless picture for the girls.’”
 
The Expert: “About 78 percent of Maluma’s engagement is from women,” says Yuki of the photogenic singer, adding he favors his right side on IG.
 
Make It Personal 
 
The Star: “I like to show that I’m real,” says Maluma. “It’s not only about the material things — I also have a spiritual side.”
 
The Expert: “Recently, Maluma has been making an effort to be more approachable, including a lot of the images of his house, his dogs and his friends,” says Yuki. “It gives him more depth.”
 
Speak Their Language 
 
The Star: “A year ago, I went to a mall in Thailand and people followed me. They didn’t speak Spanish or English, but they loved my music,” says Maluma. “That’s when it hit me: My audience is global.”
 
The Expert: “When he uses bilingual captions or just emojis, which are obviously universal he gets more multilingual engagement,” says Yuki.

 

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This article originally appeared in the Feb. 25 issue of Billboard.