What Our Favorite Celebrities Can Teach Us About Managing Brands Online

Remember the days when fans had to wait to hear a full album when it was released? Or wouldn’t get a glimpse of their favorite celebrity until it was published in a magazine? Today, fans are given almost 24-hour access to some of their favorite actresses and musicians from their social media accounts like Tumblr or Instagram.

From buying a house, to vacationing in the south of France, to announcing an engagement, or a releasing a new album, fans are often getting a first look at photos, videos and even Twitter Vines from their favorite celebrities in real time.

Depending on the celebrity you follow, you can sometimes find yourself shaking your head thinking, “What were they thinking with sharing a photo like that?!” Instantly, the masses are made aware by mainstream news sources of what could possibly be a huge social media blunder, often made by celebrities managing their own social accounts.

As marketers, we can learn more from monitoring celebrity social channels than the latest fashion trend or hottest restaurant to dine at – each celebrity is their own brand. We can watch to see how each celebrity brings their brand to life, the content they share, how they connect with their fans and even take note how they activate new social channels.

Let’s look at a few key takeaways from following celebrity social channels and how those learnings can be applied to your clients:

Backstage Access

kim-kardashian-behind-the-scenesFans love to be in-the-know with their favorite celebrities because it gives them exclusive access to someone they idolize through photos and other content.

With platforms like Instagram, fans feel like they have instant access to movie stars, athletes and their favorite musicians. It humanizes the celebrity and makes them more relatable because the content is coming direct from the source – not from the mainstream media.

From Sofia Vergara posting a wardrobe malfunction at the Emmys to Kim Kardashian posting photoson the set of an upcoming photo shoot, fans clamor to be the “first” to see it and tell their friends about it.

Next to receiving discounts and coupons, consumers “like” brands because they crave exclusive and insider information and are often more engaged because they feel more connected, special and in tune with their favorite brands.

Stay True to Your Brand

justin-timberlake-mirrorsWith the launch of his new album, Justin Timberlake is pulling the look and feel of the brand through his Instagram channel (literally) by only using the black and white filter to carry the 20/20 Experience through every aspect, including live performances, videos and promotional posters.

Even though Lady Gaga’s concert tour is on hold because of an injury, she stays connected to her “little monsters” through her own community, Little Monsters, and carries the same language and tone throughout each of her social platforms. Her message of equality and individuality is sprinkled throughout each platform and as she evolves, her social presence evolves with her.

Fans resonate with a cohesive and authentic voice – it’s what pulls them in, keeps them active and engaged with your brand from following an Instagram account to entering a contest. Brands that have a clearly defined social persona will see higher engagement and a more loyal community, resulting in higher ROI.

Oops, Did I Post That?

Justin Bieber is one of the most followed celebrities on Twitter and often controls his own account, sending messages out to over 37 million followers. He has drawn the attention of mainstream media after ranting on Twitter about rehab rumors, leaving fans to wonder what is happening with him and his brand. Online rants can do more damage to Bieber’s brand than he realizes, leaving his public relations and social media teams scrambling to delete and fix his mistakes.

Whether intentional or not, brands like KitchenAid and Chrysler have also had to overcome mistakes from poorly trained community managers who have posted inappropriate messages to the masses.

Social media mistakes can easily happen but to avoid these blunders, it’s imperative to extensively train community managers how to engage with consumers in the appropriate brand voice, create policies for managing multiple accounts and how to handle a crisis if one emerges.

New Platforms, New Ways to Engage

As the newly named global director for Blackberry, Alicia Keys’ “Set the World on Fire” tour is partnering with Tumblr to choose a member in each city to document the show, providing them with tickets to the show and meet and greet passes. Other digital highlights from the tour will feature crowd sourced videos and opportunities for fans to tweet for a song dedication from the artist herself during the show.

Successful brands listen and watch how consumers are using and interacting with each other within a platform and infuse themselves naturally into the conversation versus trying to control the behavior.

Celebrities will continue to surprise and inspire us when it comes managing their brands online. What other key takeaways do you see emerge from following celebrities on their social channels?

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