It's hard to imagine that just a few years ago Taylor Swift's reputation was a mess.  After a string of boyfriends, she was described as "clingy," "desperate," "insane," "boy-crazy" by just about every pop-culture publication and glib talk-show.

Swift found solace with her loyal fan base that continued to adore her despite what was published in The Daily Mail or National Enquirer. She began interacting on a more personal level by liking, sharing, and replying to individual followers and fans. Slowly, the word got out.

All of the sudden, the adjectives that described her started to change: "compassionate," "earnest," "impressive," and then "creative genius," "bigger than Oprah," "best business instincts of her generation." The turn-around was fast and almost completely driven by her focus on cultivating the artist-fan relationship. These fans would fight for her, vote for her, buy her music, go to her concerts, read every article, and watch all her videos. They couldn't get enough.

Other celebrities and performers began to take notice, but what is the best and most effective way to engage your fans and followers?

Two New York City entrepreneurs, Michael Schonfeld and Alex Taub were able to answer that question with an ingenious piece of software. Their company, SocialRank organizes, sorts and filters your Instagram and Twitter followers into key segments: Most Engaged, Most Valuable, Best Follower, Most Followed.  You can overlay those findings with user activity, location, biography keyword and hashtag. Using the software (which is free), anyone is able to identify who are his or her best and most engaged followers.  Celebrities are using this information to strengthen and customize their fan outreach, interactions and marketing initiatives particularly "surprise and delight" campaigns.  We spoke with the founders of SocialRank who gave us a few examples great examples of celebrity campaigns.

Christina Perri

Christina was about to go on tour and her team went on SocialRank to identify Christina's most engaged and influential followers to surprise on Instagram and invite to the concerts. Using the product filters, Perri and team were able to layer her most engaged followers over each concert location.  Then they created posts to announce the winners and their prizes. Perri has a strong fan-base of 971K followers and they rallied around the winners by liking, commenting, and reposting. Taub mentioned "it was so easy for Christina's team to pull off and you see how much love the celebrity gets from the fans when they do it. It is easily worth whatever the gift is."

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali's team is always looking to better connect with The Champ's biggest fans. Ali has partnership deals with Roots of Fight and Under Armour, so he has a lot of merchandise avenues. His team found three very engaged followers on Social Rank and sent them some of his newest designs. The posts drove thousands of sales and likes which constituted a very successful campaign for Ali.

Kevin Spacey

Kevin's team had an idea to invite a fan of Kevin's to a concert he was performing at in Napa. With SocialRank, they found a Twitter follower that happened to be a huge fan and in Napa. The plan went off without a hitch and the campaign helped to get the concert details out on Twitter and increase ticket sales.

These are just a few of the many celebrities and influencers who use Social Rank to super charge media interactions by connecting with the best and biggest fans. Taub and Schonfeld note that the product helps their clients to clear millions in merchandising revenue. Their incredible metrics have attracted Boldstart Ventures, Converge Venture Partners, Vaizra Investments and Advancit Capital as investors, who are anticipating that SocialRank is a "must-have" product for social media marketing at both the individual and corporate level.