5 Lessons Celebrities Can Teach Marketers about Social Media

By Nate M. Vickery

The year 2014 saw the release of “The Interview”, a controversial comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen as two journalists who set-up an interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and are recruited by the CIA to assassinate him. While Sony’s last minute decision to distribute the film on video-on-demand (after hackers interrupted the release) diminished its box office potential, it opened the door for a creative social media campaign. One of the highlights of the campaign was a live-tweet session with Franco and Rogen. The movie was digitally rented or purchased over two million times, making it the most successful online release in studio’s history.

Companies have spent decades trying to figure out how to market themselves in magazines and on TV. Yet they often flood their Facebook, Twitter, etc. accounts with boring content that puts their target audiences to sleep, or even sometimes making them angry enough to avoid the brand entirely. Although most lists of “things to learn from celebrities” are filled with more don’ts than do’s, here are a few things marketers can actually learn from them.

  1. Using hashtags

Jimmy Fallon encourages massive fan involvement with his #FallonTonight. Followers are invited to use the funny show-created hashtags, and the best tweets are featured on the Late Night Show, boosting activity and the interest in the segment. Marketers have to create campaigns that people will want to be a part of and eventually get their idea trending on Twitter. Creating a phrase and saying that followers can give their own spin on it is crucial. Using a product name or even the company name as a hashtag is just not enough. Sure, for a purpose of spreading brand awareness using a hashtag with your brand name could be beneficial. But when you want real press (well, digital press, to be quite honest) you will simply have to get creative.

  • Respecting and rewarding the supporters

After discovering tons of videos using their music without permission on YouTube, the band Blink 182 decided to reward its fans instead of pursuing legal action like many other bands in the past. The band created a video for their about-to-be-released single “Up All Night” composed entirely of scenes from fan-created videos.  The fans were all thanked at the end of the video for their loyalty throughout the years. Communication, and more important – positive communication is the corner stone of every fruitful relationship.

  • Identifying with your supporters

The fact that you have to remain “positive” all the time, doesn’t necessary mean that you have to always smile and take whatever the audience serves you. In fact, if you know your audience well, you can be a regular Timothy Sykes in your campaigns. As long as your supporters are digging your style you’re good to go. Identifying with your audience is simply a must. Always stay in character, and if you are breaking it – break it for a good reason and try to keep your unique signature at all times. Consistency is always the key.

  • Pulling back the curtain

Celebrities are in the public eye 24/7, 365 days a year being analyzed and scrutinized, so their privacy is really important to them. However, every now and then, an actor shares a snapshot from the set and a singer shares a video from the recording session. Taylor Swift posts recordings on her Facebook profile regularly, she frequently makes memes and provides the fans with an occasional glimpse of her quiet home life from time to time. Businesses also have an aura of mystique surrounding them, similar as celebrities.  So by showing your followers, for example, the gaming room from your office – that shows that you have some actual people, just like me and you, working for your company. Believe it or not, that sense of connection to something that intimate actually boosts engagement, and eventually your ROI in the long run as well.

Blake wins at birthday pies. @blakelively I honestly can’t stop laughing rn

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on


  1. Not being overly promotional

Vin Diesel, the star of the “Fast and Furious” franchise, has one of the most popular accounts on Facebook with more than 95 million likes. The popular actor uses his account to promote his upcoming movies from time to time, but he also posts personal stories and pictures of his former co-star, the late Paul Walker, mentioning frequently how much he is missed. Therefore, instead of trying to sell their products, companies could gently boost their brand by commenting on recent events and current social issues. So the key is to not be overly promotional because the followers will get tired of it quickly.

You should still stick to basics. Track your metrics, your KPIs, your ideal time for posting – but add a little style to your campaign. Remain confident, witty but serious from time to time, and, after all, be a regular movie star for your customers.

Nate M. Vickery is a business consultant from Sydney, Australia. He has a degree in marketing and almost a decade of experience in company management through latest technology trends. Nate is also the editor-in-chief at bizzmarkblog.com.

 

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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at: andrefbourque@gmail.com

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