Partnering with a celebrity and tapping into the celebrity social media influence is one of the best ways for a brand to reach an already engaged and targeted audience; and a strategy that highly influences future purchase decisions based on that association.
Celebrity endorsements are proven to impact brand sales, but typically are attached to high dollar price tags.
Today, social media provides brands wanting to work within smaller budgets the ability to create major impact and value with a celebrity partnership.
With social media having become such a tremendous PR force, the power of a celebrity is amplified by each social platform, and by how numerous the celebrities’ “Likes” and “Follows” are.
The right strategic social media plan is cost-effective and easily activated – with a short time window to see results.
Creating the right celebrity social media plan is based on a number of factors. Here are 15 steps brand managers should take to strategize, select, and procure a celebrity advocate on social media:
1) Determine The Audience
No matter what the brand objectives, the first step to determine is who the target audience is. What are their habits? What are their needs and wants? What social media platforms do they use? And how do they use them? Though not an easy task and one that can require research, this is most important step to ensure the campaign is a success and will create the overall skeleton structure of who to hire and what social platforms to utilize.
2) How Much $$$
Choose the budget for the program. There is no point in spending time pursing celebrities outside of budget range, and there is a vast range of fees between talent types, starting at a few thousand and ranging from the tens to hundreds of thousands. There is no magic formula, nor do the words “CPM” exist in celebrity social media, and there is no set pricing based on the number of followers. Instead the fee will be based upon the overall campaign components, celebrity type, social platform fan reach and marketplace competition. Very few, if any, celebrities will embrace a ‘backend’ fee deal off of sales generated by their social post tied to the brand, and celebrities aren’t all that interested in stock plans based on future speculation without an upfront cash fee involved.
3) Who To Choose
A-Listers need not necessarily apply – many B, C and even D-Listers have tremendous social media strength, and are actually more relatable to fans than those celebrities so far up on a pedestal that a partnership won’t feel realistic and will just feel like big bucks were spent. Decide what type of celebrity is the best fit. Is it a musician, athlete, actor or personality? A specific age? Or a certain personality type? Figure out what the overall objective is versus playing it too safe in order to reach and engage that new audience.
Look to see who the marketing demo being targeted favors, and already follows. Also see where the brand may already have natural celebrity advocates. Past celebrity event lounges where engagement has occurred and testimonials secured is a great place to look – and also a key reason to participate in these types of events.
Make sure the chosen celebrity has a strong fan base (many of the larger names don’t) and is active and not ‘silent’ on the preferred social media sites. Keep in mind that if a talent is extremely active across multiple platforms and shares one post across all of them, the price tag will significantly increase. Also determine if the celebrity has a following that shows engagement. This largely is based on the celebrity’s own posting and how hard they try to engage back with their fan base.
Regardless, make sure the entire brand team agrees on the chosen celebrity before activating, and do research to make sure there are no hidden red flags that are deal breakers from the celebrity’s past.
4) What Social Platform(s)
The chosen celebrity should already be active on the social media channels favored for the campaign – which will traditionally be Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook. Having the celebrity post messaging on more than one platform is ideal, but each post should not be exactly the same.
5) The Post
Keep it authentic and fun. Or serious and engaging. But always relatable. Dependent upon the overall goal, ensure the messaging of the partnership feels real to fans. Whatever the marketing campaign, make sure the association is based on a realistic partnership. The celebrity should have a natural tie to the brand that allows the partnership to be believed by fans. Build an authentic interaction that isn’t over the top. Make sure the post is not too ad-like and robotic in feel. It is important to make it seem organic; straight from the celebrity’s own mind, while ensuring everything is obtained that is needed, including proper mentions and hashtags.
Often brand managers mistakenly write posts in a brand-centric corporate tone – not remembering the celebrity is a 3rd party totally unaffiliated with the brand. Instead, the goal is to put the post in the appropriate celebrities’ own voice. It is proven that the more organic posts are more impactful and embraced by celebrity fans and followers.
6) Photos & Video Or Even A Contest
A simple post can be amplified with a photo or video, and provide shareable content through fans. A contest that provides fans with a number of ways to enter through heightened share drastically increases numbers. Look for ways to provide more interaction than a simple tagged post.
7) Charity Component Increases PR Friendliness
Build in an altruistic angle for the celebrity partnership. Having a charity benefit in some way will not only bring more sharing of the content, but also help create a bridge uniting the celebrity and brand together in a common cause – making the partnership more believable. This also provides a nice story angle for press release development and media pitching.
Plan the launch of the partnership for a time frame where there is not expected celebrity clutter. This means targeting timeframes that are not already laden with celebrity and entertainment posts, such as awards season.
9) Build In Future Growth Opportunity
Look for future ways to continue the celebrity’s engagement with fans and build a long term relationship after proof of success. Celebrity brand appearances, twitter parties, contests with meet & greats, or even POS branding initiatives should be considered. This is when the partnership can truly turn into an endorsement platform.
10) How Many Posts
Realistically determine how much social media is needed. Is it one post or a series of posts? A solitary social media post by a celebrity with a call out to the brand can lead to significant leads in a very short amount of time. Multiple posts on a variety of platforms will reach a wider demographic and encourage higher engagement. Regardless, either will result in increased awareness, exposure, brand clout, and ultimately sales. By ensuring that not a step is missed from the planning stages through to the final press of the post button, there is great potential to launch a brand into success as a result of the powerful, aspirational celebrity association.
11) Reach Out To Talent
When all of the above steps are completed, it is time to reach out and make an offer. Make sure all of the required asks are already built in, as additional asks cannot be made without an offer of additional monetary compensation. The best option is to ask for the moon – within reason – and then continue to negotiate the final terms. Know what the ask of the talent is going to be before a phone call is made or email sent, and be prepared to back up why that specific celebrity is a good fit to management. This is the time to sell in the partnership in a big way.
12) Make The Offer
Create an offer letter outlining the deal points and set a deadline on receiving answers before sending. The letter states what the talent is required to strategically do (social media post number, platforms, other campaign involvement, hashtags, brand messaging call outs) and any other relevant component thought of.
13) Educate The Talent
Provide the talent with a cheat sheet of ideal social media posts, who the brand is, what the campaign goal is, and what the brand stands for. Having the celebrity be on the team versus left in the dark is beyond value as they are able to help craft resonating and true-to-voice messaging. Also make sure they have the correct handle and hashtags to tag. If there is a social platform where the brand does not have presence, still include the correct hashtags, as otherwise the celebrity in the heat of the moment may choose to make it up.
Work behind the scenes to make sure that fans that interact are retweeted and even direct messaged. This is a major component of any social media program, and should always be activated. Retweet and reply to others’ posts in order to acknowledge participation and drive more conversation.
15) Repurpose & Continue The Interaction
Don’t let all the social interaction and conversation go to waste. Utilize positive quotes generated from the celebrity or even fans as testimonials either to repost later, or to include on the brand’s website.
Determine the desired end result and then build the campaign plan backwards to best develop a comprehensive plan that will be a surefire win. The easiest way to oversee and activate any celebrity social media partnership is to hire a seasoned entertainment marketing agency with the experience to build a solid campaign. Working with a company that has experience in this space will provide the desired end results.