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SMM: 5 Lessons Marketers Can Learn from Celebrities

Updated on September 26, 2016
Celebrity Social Media Marketing
Celebrity Social Media Marketing

The world’s biggest brands spent decades developing comprehensive print media and TV marketing strategies. In a world where 78% of US population have at least one social media account, they somehow find themselves at a loss. Although US SMM spending is expected to reach $ 11.72 billion in 2016, the content companies share on Facebook or Twitter often alienates customers (or leaves them confused at best).

Perhaps they could take a few lessons from Selena Gomez, a popular American singer and actress who has over 45 million followers on Twitter and reportedly charges $ 550 thousand for a sponsored post.

How do celebrities use social media to build their brand and get more followers?

Social media and celebrities: 5 tips to grow social media presence

  • Cross-promote your content. Over 50% of Americans use 2+ social media websites. If you share the same content on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, users who follow your company on these platforms might be annoyed to see the message again and again. Although some marketers say there’s nothing wrong with cross-posting, it is preferable to cross-promote your content instead – that is, rewrite text for different social media websites. Ask questions on Facebook, share quotes on Twitter and don’t forget to incorporate tracking code in URLs to monitor link performance across several platforms. You should look up to celebrities, too. Check Rihanna’s Instagram (42.8 million followers), for example. Professional studio photoshoots, beautiful makeup, fashion; it’s pure quality, right? On the contrary, her Snapchat posts look like something you would see on your best friend’s feed. If you run an online clothing store, you could utilize Instagram to showcase your latest catalog entries, publish links to relevant articles (6 tips for choosing sunglasses) on Facebook and announce sales/new arrivals on Twitter;
  • Give users a strong reason to follow you. Britney Spears announced her 9th LP via Twitter. Artists often share video teasers and upcoming tour dates on Facebook. Kim Kardashian asked her followers to choose a title for her hubby’s latest album. Celebrities engage their audience on social media by offering exclusive content, sharing latest news and creating an illusion of “being involved”. Sure, you don’t make multiplatinum albums like Taylor Swift, so no one’s looking forward to hearing from you. However, you can increase customer engagement by crafting high quality content and offering digital coupons exclusively through social media;
  • Share content more often (and on a regular basis). Since Kim Kardashian joined Instagram 4 years ago, she has posted over 3 thousand pictures. It’s two posts a day. She never disappears from the public eye, and that’s how she managed to gain over 40 million followers. According to Tania Yuki, founder & CEO of Shareable (company that analyses the effectiveness of SMM campaigns), most celebrities share 300% more content than the average US company. If you want to boost your social media presence, you should schedule your posts throughout the day. Sure, it takes some time to craft engaging posts and follow the plan. However, you can use SMM tools like Buffer to automate content sharing and track its performance;
  • Show your audience that you care. In 2014 a Taylor Swift fan wrote a heartfelt comment on the singer’s official Instagram account, asking Tay for relationship advice. The singer (or her SM manager) wrote back, saying unrequired love was “selfless and beautiful and kind”, and comforted the girl by saying she would surely meet someone who loved her that way. The story was all over the Internet, and the hype certainly fueled the sales of Taylor’s latest LP. There’s a lesson to be learnt here. Treat your followers as your friends. Reward them with comments, likes and retweets. Two-way communication is essential for improving customer loyalty;
  • Don’t over-promote yourself. Most celebrities use social media to advertise new music, films and upcoming events. They do sponsored posts, too. In 2011, Weight Watchers hired Jessica Simpson to inspire women (and new moms in particular) to lose weight slowly. If you look at the singer’s Instagram posts, you’ll see how much the Watchers’ program transformed her appearance. And here’s a perfect example of celebrity endorsement gone wrong. Scott Disick, Kourtney Kardashian’s former boyfriend who gets $ 15 thousand for an Instagram post, recently messed up an ad sponsored by Bootea pasting the entire message he’d received from marketers in the caption field. Look at Dwayne Johnson. When he’s not busy promoting the next installment of the Fast and Furious franchise, he takes social media to raise awareness among dog owners. Britney Spears launched a CrowdRise campaign to help Louisiana flood victims. Although users who follow your brand expect to see ads on your timeline, enough is enough;
  • Share stories, not ads. Storytelling is one of the hottest content marketing trends for 2016 & beyond; why not integrate it into your SMM strategy? Unilever explored the reverse side of masculinity in their Dove Men +Care campaign, filming real-life emotions of ordinary guys who discovered they would soon be fathers. The #RealStrength campaign blew the entire Internet – pretty much like its 2004 Real Beauty forerunner which increased Dove sales by 700%. Give your customers something they can remember and relate to;
  • Don’t get too personal. Companies cannot follow celebrities’ SM steps blindly. While Justin Beiber got away with a nude vocation pic, you’ll certainly face backlash for publishing a controversial photo. Azealia Banks’ debut album was met with rave reviews and earned the rapper her well-deserved place in the sun. However, Banks never held back her opinion on any subject, no matter how valuable or blunt her replies were. She openly supported Trump, called VMAs a “contest of the basics” and produced a series of homophobic and racist tweets about Zayn Malik, bringing her Twitter account (and career!) down. There are several topics you should avoid on social media, including religion, race and controversial issues (war, rape, etc.). SMM is all about raising awareness and providing real value to your customers – and NOT about making them upset.

SMM gone wrong: 8 things that will send your business down the drain

I’d like to elaborate on “being too personal” a bit further.

Facebook was launched in 2004. Twitter has been around for only 10 years. Instagram hit the App Store 6 years ago. Social media is a new thing, and most businesses didn’t really have a chance to grasp its concept. However, controversial comments and Twitter feuds have effectively sent some careers into hiatus.

Here’s what can destroy yours:

  • Anti-LGBT comments. In 2012 Dan Cathy, the owner of the Chick-fil-A sandwich restaurant, took social media to voice his support for traditional marriage values. As a result, gay rights activists dragged him up and down the Internet – and even held a series of “kiss days” at Chick-fil-A locations;
  • Arguments with customers. A visitor who went out to Pigalle restaurant (Boston) for her Thanksgiving dinner didn’t like the pumpkin pie she’d been served there and shared her disappointment on Twitter. Although her comment was hardly unbiased, Pigalle’s chief shouldn’t have written to her back, calling the visitor a “b****” and labelling her messages as “disrespectful”. The story was all over the Internet, and Pigalle had to apologize;
  • Invisible walls. CVS Pharmacy made their SM accounts private in order to protect its followers against trolls. As a result, users who wanted to check the company’s latest tweets had to wait for approval;
  • Fake accounts. Here’s another Chick-fil-A entry on our list. When the online community picked up the “traditional family” thing and started criticizing the restaurant for its bad attitude, Chick-fil-A created a fake Facebook account and went on to comment on every post made by the opponents in an attempt to restore their reputation;
  • Bad timing. In mere hours after the Aurora theater shooting the US National Rifle Association published an animated tweet, wising “shooters” a good Friday morning and asking what their plans for the weekend were;
  • Bad sense of humor. The PepsiCo-owned Mountain Dew once asked its followers to think of a name for their new apple drink. They obviously suffered a troll attack, since the winning variants were “Fapple” and “Diabeetus”.

Social media can make or break your business. Provided you learn a few SMM lessons from celebrities, craft high-quality content and adopt latest technology tools, you will boost your revenues and customer loyalty.


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