Among all the amazing partnerships the Internet has produced, perhaps none is as perfect as the one between celebrities and social media. These two are a match made in digital heaven, where one accentuates the other. But social media celebrities aren’t the only ones who can create and enjoy this dynamic. If you use social media right, you may find yourself promoting your brand on celebrity-like proportions. And who better to learn all this than celebrities themselves. Here’s what you can learn about social media based on how some successful (and unsuccessful) celebrities have used it.
What Social Media Celebrities Teach You About Social Media
It’s a powerful communications platform
Social media is one of the most powerful, if not most powerful, communications platforms today. It’s free, widely accessible, and open to anyone who wants to view it. More significantly, unlike more traditional communications (i.e. TV, radio, print), social media is a two-way platform, allowing users to instantly give feedback and create conversations with you.
A great example of social media done right is Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaigns. Unlike his rival, Barack Obama and his team invested heavily on social media and made it a major part of his communications strategy. The result? Becoming the 44th president of the United States.
Screenshot of President Obama’s Facebook page taken from https://www.facebook.com/barackobama.
It can make you (or your brand) more human and authentic
Celebrities love to remind the world that they’re also human, despite their popularity and social status. There are many prime examples of this, but the most famous one may be Ellen Degeneres’s selfie at the 2014 Oscars. She showed that just like the other millions of people around the world, celebrities love to take selfies too. You would do well to follow suit and use social media to give your brand a more human, reminding your audience that behind your brand is a genuine person (or people).
It’s a cheap and very quick way to promote a message/campaign
When all elements come together perfectly, there’s no better (or faster) way to spread your message than on social media. Once your campaign goes viral, it can spread like wildfire – all for a minimal cost, or sometimes even for free. This was shown quite remarkably in 2014 with the wildly popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. While it was already an interesting campaign to begin with, the campaign really took off and went viral once celebrities started doing it and shared it with their followers.
Photo a screenshot from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS6ysDFTbLU
What Social Media Celebrities Remind You About Social Media
Social media may be an online marketer’s dream, but it can also cause headaches and produce more harm than good if misused. As demonstrated by celebrity mishaps throughout the years, social media can just as quickly break your brand as fast as it can build it. Here’s what you should always remember when it comes to social media.
Everything is public
Because social media is open to the public, everything – whether good or bad – can be easily seen and shared. This includes unfavourable feedback, arguments and fights, impulsive comments, and any other thing that could harm your brand. Just learn from the infamous social media mistakes of some celebrities (there are many of them!), and you’ll see how exposed your brand is on social media and how quickly things can go sour.
It takes resources and social media savvy to succeed
Social media may be easy to use, but you’ll need an expert (if you aren’t one yourself) to run it if you want to unlock its full potential. That’s why celebrities hire social media managers to be part of their team. If you’re not a social media expert, consider hiring experts to run your social media channel for you, especially if you want to see what it’s truly capable of.
Screenshot of Lady Gaga’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ladygaga
Things can go viral…FAST!
The viral nature of social media can be both a blessing and a curse. Unfortunately, you can’t choose what goes viral – bad campaigns can just as easily spread as the good ones. While you definitely want a campaign or message you’re promoting to go viral, you also don’t want it to happen to things that aren’t as desirable (i.e. a business mistake, a bad review, etc.). Celebrities have shown than one comment said in bad taste or posted at the wrong time can quickly gain a backlash.
Once something goes viral, it’s hard to take back
In the world of social media, once something goes viral, it won’t be shy spreading as fast as it can. When something snowballs in social media, it’s often difficult, if not impossible, to stop. So remember to always be mindful of what your brand is saying and doing, and treat every post or content as something that’s directly tied to your reputation.
A recent example of this is the current backlash that Dolce and Gabbana is going through. Fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were recently quoted as going against gay marriage and In Vitro Fertilisation, even describing children born through IVF as “synthetic”. Naturally, this offended several social groups and resulted to a boycott of their products. Now, despite Dolce & Gabbana’s explanations and reasoning for their comments, they’re still notably suffering from the backlash on social media.
Photo from http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/31896339
When you remember that celebrities are also brands themselves, you realise that your company may have a lot in common with them in terms of marketing strategies. Whether it’s a new promotional technique or a reminder of what not to do online, you can definitely learn a lot from social media celebrities.
Joe Fox is Studio Culture’s Business and Development Director.